THE numbers keep rising, the superlatives keep glowing. Each year, selective colleges promote their application totals, along with the virtues of their applicants.
For this fall's freshman class, the statistics reached remarkable levels. Stanford received a record 32,022 applications from students it called "simply amazing," and accepted 7 percent of them. Brown saw an unprecedented 30,135 applicants, who left the admissions staff "deeply impressed and at times awed." Nine percent were admitted.
The biggest boast came from the University of California, Los Angeles. In a news release, U.C.L.A. said its accepted students had "demonstrated excellence in all aspects of their lives." Citing its record 57,670 applications, the university proclaimed itself "the most popular campus in the nation."