Everywhere you look, it seems most of the discussion and ink spent on higher education focuses on the most selective institutions in America. In addition, if you listen to parents and students and counselors talk, you'll learn that there is a perception that college is increasingly hard to get into.
So, I broke the whole world of 1.403 four-year private, not-for-profit and public colleges and universities into bands, based on the absurd input measure of their freshman selectivity. On the visualization below, they range from red (less than 15% admitted) to purple (over 60%) admitted.
Each institution falls into one of these boxes.
The four charts, clockwise from top left: The number of colleges in those categories, the number of freshmen they enroll, the total number of freshmen with a Pell grant, and the total undergraduate enrollment.
If you think you see a lot of purple, you do. And this is before anyone enforces any sort of standard definition of what an "applicant" is. Sometimes, it's just a person who accidentally clicks on an email link.
Of course, sometimes the scarcity of a good is exactly why people freak out about it. And of course, this doesn't even consider open admissions colleges (nine percent of all college enrollment in the US is in California's Community College System). So, this won't change the world, but I feel better for sharing. Now you can't say you weren't told.