Application numbers across the Ivy League surged this year, with almost every school receiving a record number of applications. As a result, every Ivy saw a lower acceptance rate this cycle, with the exception of Yale.
Yale had a record-breaking 32,900 applicants for the class of 2021, a 5 percent uptick from last year. In preparation for the opening of two new residential colleges, Yale accepted 2,272 students from this pool, 300 more students than last year. Yale was the only school in the Ivy League to see its acceptance rate increase, moving from 6.27 percent to 6.9 percent this year.
Harvard University, however, maintained its 5.2 percent acceptance rate, accepting 2,056 students from a pool of 39,506, according to the Harvard Crimson.
Five Ivy League schools posted record-low acceptance rates this year, continuing a trend of falling acceptance rates at selective universities nationwide. Brown posted a record-low acceptance rate of 8.3 percent, according to the Brown Daily Herald. Columbia, whose applicant pool was the largest in its history, set a school record with an acceptance rate of 5.8 percent for Columbia College and Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Cornell also had a record number of applicants and a record-low acceptance rate, with 12.5 percent of applicants accepted out of 47,038.
The University of Pennsylvania admitted 3,699 students from a pool of 40,413 applicants, according to the Daily Pennsylvanian. This 9.15 percent admissions rate is the lowest in the school’s history, and the number of applicants represents a substantial increase over the 38,918 for the class of 2020.
Princeton University received a record-breaking 31,056 applicants for the class of 2021 and admitted 1,890 students, a 6.1 percent acceptance rate, the lowest in school history.
Dartmouth was the only Ivy League college to receive fewer applications than last year, with 20,675 applications to the class of 2020 and 20,034 applications to the class of 2021. Dartmouth accepted 2,092 for an acceptance rate of 10.4 percent, the college’s lowest admissions rate since 2013, The Dartmouth reported.
High school seniors interviewed said they have felt the effects of an increasingly competitive Ivy League admissions process.
Cassandra Hsiao, a high school senior from Los Angeles who was accepted by all eight Ivy League schools, said she thought the country is increasingly valuing higher education. But in Ivy League admissions, she thought these national trends had made the process “cutthroat.”
“Many students feel that getting into an Ivy League nowadays is a lottery game,” Hsiao said. “Thinking of it in that way removes the sting if it’s a denial and humbles students when it’s an acceptance.”
Charlotte Buck, a senior at Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey, said many of her peers viewed the Ivy admissions process as a “crapshoot.” She attributed the increased number of applications to the perceived prestige of the eight Ivies.
“A lot of people apply just to apply on the off chance that they get in,” Buck said.
And Adam Wolnikowski, a Yale-admitted senior at Eastern York High School in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, said he believed the record-high Ivy League admissions rates could be attributed to the increasing ease of applying to multiple schools through standardized applications like the Common App.
Yale released admissions decisions for students applying regular decision to the class of 2021 on Thursday, the same day as the other seven Ivy League colleges.