I once belonged to a group that claimed that there should be a ninety percent dropout and failure rate between certain Grades. It doesn't sound so bad until you actually do the math. (Or maybe it is just to my ears that a ninety percent failure rate doesn't initially set off alarm bells...it has been known to happen that I do not catch the perfectly obvious.)
So based on a ninety percent dropout and failure rate how many members would have to apply and be admitted to Neophyte to generate a single Third Order member? Quite a lot actually with a ninety percent discard rate.
At the most strict version of the system with ninety percent failure rates for Neophyte, the rest of Outer Order, Portal, Adept Minor, Adept Major, and Adept Exempt, all adding up, the math looks like this...
Third Order 1
Adept Exempt 10
Adept Major 100
Adept Minor 1000
Outer Order 1000000 (a million)
Neophyte 10000000 (ten million)
...you would need ten million Neophytes to come in just to generate a single member of the Third Order (and that presumes that the Third Order has no built-in failure rate of its own).
Now assuming that this level of failure is too extreme (and it does assume a full Inner Order course, such as Pat Zalewski's), what would the numbers look like with the entire Inner Order, and not the individual Adept Grades, having a total ninety percent rate of failure. The numbers are friendlier, but I wonder if there are enough Neophytes worldwide to generate a single Third Order member in our lifetime.
Third Order 1
Second (Inner) Order 10
Outer Order 1000
Neophytes 10000 (ten thousand)
Of course, maybe this rate of failure is still too harsh. Maybe the Portal failure rate is just part of the overall Inner Order failure rate. It would look something like this...
Third Order 1
Second Order 10
Outer Order 100
...still the numbers look off, simply because of how few Adepts there are, compared to Third Order members. (Seriously, given the number of Adepts out there, we should be awash in Third Order members if a ninety percent failure rate was happening at this projected rate.)
So I am thinking that the first breakdown should be re-examined from the bottom up. Using a ten thousand figure for the number of Neophytes entering the system in our generation, and a full ninety percent dropout rate for each of the Adept Grades (but not Portal), we should have...
Ten thousand Neophytes initially, a thousand people who get somewhere between Zelator and Philosophus (1=10 to 4=7), a hundred people who only get to Portal or Adept Minor, ten Adept Majors, and a single person who gets to Adept Exempt. And absolutely no Third Order members.
Feel free to argue the numbers in the comment section--heaven knows that I am bored today to even think about such ideas.