From the Right



You Can't Always Get the College You Want, But Life Gives What You Need

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO - Welcome to the season of disappointment.

For high school seniors who apply to college - and their parents, who go along for the ride - the selection process is like the Hunger Games.

More and more schools report an admissions rate of less than 10%. The most selective schools are admitting less than 5% of applicants.

Members of Generation Z - born between 1997 and 2012, according to the Pew Research Center - play the game of life by their own rules. They approach college in vastly different ways than earlier generations did. Similar to how they approach jobs, they want their college experience to be meaningful.

A father wants to give advice. But is anyone listening? As my wisecracking 13-year-old daughter informs me, things are different today than when I was a teenager "way back in the 1950s."

I was born in 1967. I'm a proud, card-carrying member of Generation X, I inform her. Unfazed, she responds: "Whatever, Boomer."


When I applied to college, I wanted to get as far away as possible from the dusty farm town in Central California where I was raised, without falling into the Atlantic Ocean.

Today, it seems, many students are focused on where they want to live for four years. Not surprisingly, Southern California - with nearly year-round sunshine - is a huge draw.

This year, the University of California at Los Angeles received almost 150,000 freshman applications. That is the largest number of applicants to any four-year college or university in the nation, according to news reports. UCLA admitted fewer than 13,000 students, giving it an admissions rate of 8.6%.

The UC campuses at San Diego, Irvine and Santa Barbara were likewise flooded with more than 100,000 applicants each.


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