Harvard College saw a 1.9 percent drop in applications this year, the Harvard Crimson reported Thursday.
All told, 34,285 students applied for admission to the College, down 665 applications from last year. This is the first time in five years that Harvard has seen a drop in total application numbers.
Harvard College Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons told the Crimson that the reinstitution of early action programs by Harvard, Princeton and the University of Virginia this year may have led high school seniors to apply to fewer colleges. Harvard also received fewer applicants from the Northeast, Fitzsimmons said..
Applications dropped 1.7 percent at the University of Pennsylvania and 8.9 percent at Columbia University, while Stanford University experienced a 7 percent increase in applications. This year, Yale received 5.8 percent more applications than last year, for a total of 28,870 applications.