The answer to the first question is pretty simple: There are more students than ever applying to college, the collegiate system has not created any more Harvards, Princetons or Yales and over the past 30 years, prestigious colleges haven't expanded their class size significantly to meet the crushing demand of an overwhelming supply of well-qualified high school students.
The second question is tougher to answer: Outstanding grades and SATs, a singular talent in a desirable subject or musical instrument and, of course, athletics.
At a recent meeting, the Manhasset Athletic Advisory Committee (MAAC) took a close look at how athletics help Manhasset High School students get into top colleges. The findings were encouraging and clearly indicate that athletics give Manhasset students an edge when applying to the best schools. Consider these statistics compiled from 2005 through 2009:
• 102 student athletes had their college applications supported by the college athletic department
• 10 student athletes attended a Top 5 college (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, MIT)
• 15 student athletes attended a Top 10 college
• 24 student athletes attended a Top 20 college
• 15 student athletes attended an Ivy League school
• 8 student athletes attended a Top Liberal Arts college
The above rankings as determined by the most recent study by US News & World Report.
While lacrosse helped the most student athletes gain support from college athletic departments, other sports were well represented:
Lacrosse, 66 student athletes with 9 at top 5 colleges, 12 at top 10 colleges, 12 in the Ivy League and 6 at top liberal arts schools. Crew, 11 with 2 at top 10 colleges, 2 in the Ivy League, track/cross country, 6 ; field hockey, 5 with 1 at a top liberal arts school; swimming, 5; baseball, 5 with 1 at a top 5 college, 1 at a top 10 college, 1 in the Ivy League; soccer, 3 with 1 at a top liberal arts school; and tennis, 2.
Based on these statistics, MAAC is convinced that athletics give many students an edge in the college admissions process. Therefore, MAAC believes that Manhasset must continue to invest in its athletic facilities, fields, coaches and equipment so as to be able to continue to give its students the edge they need to compete in the ultra-competitive college admissions process. The return-on-investment for Manhasset students, and parents, is clear.
If you'd like to comment on this story or learn more about MAAC, go to www.maac-blog.blogspot.com.
Submitted by Manhasset Athletic Advisory Committee (MACC).