With the college application season in full swing and many high school seniors– and their parents– in full “what if I don’t get in anywhere” panic mode, it’s worth looking at how difficult it really is to get into college. Colleges have become more selective, true, but does that really mean your kid isn’t likely to get in anywhere?

In a recent New York Times article, Kevin Carey argues that “For well-qualified students, getting into a good college isn’t difficult. It probably isn’t that much harder than it was generations ago. The fact that everyone believes otherwise shows how reliance on a single set of data — in this case, institutional admission rates — can create a false sense of what’s really going on.” Read his analysis here.

This doesn’t mean your kid is going to be accepted. What it does mean, though, is that students are well-served by doing their homework to find schools where they are a good match, and applying there.