Over recent days the notices have gone out, an annual ritual of dashed hopes.
Brown University offered admission to the lowest fraction ever of the applicants it received: fewer than 1 in 10. The arithmetic was even more brutal at Stanford, Columbia, Yale. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had a record number of students vying for its next freshman class - 31,321 - and accepted about 1 in 6 who applied from outside the state. Notre Dame took about 1 in 5 of all comers.