Harvard, Yale, and Princeton acceptance rate

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Students lay out in their bathing suits on the Quad, on the campus of Harvard University on January 27, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boston, and much of the Northeast, is being hit with heavy snow from Winter Storm Juno.
It’s nearly three times
easier to get into Harvard if you apply early.


Maddie Meyer/Getty
Images



  • Early admissions decisions in the Ivy League are
    announced in December.
  • The acceptance rate is far higher during the early
    admissions round in the winter than the regular decision
    announcements in the spring.
  • College admissions offices say this is due to the
    strength of the applicant pool rather than an ease of
    acceptance.

There’s a stark disconnect between early and regular admission
rates.

The early admission rates at Ivy League schools for the class of
2022 ranged from a 24.9% acceptance rate at Dartmouth College to
a 14.5% acceptance rate at Harvard University. 


class of 2022 early admission rates
Cornell and Columbia have
not reported their early decision admit rates.

Andy Kiersz / Business Insider

By spring standards, that is downright lax.

The most recent regular decision data available is from the
spring of 2017 for the class of 2021. Admit rates ranged from
Cornell University’s 12.5% to Harvard’s 5.2%.

Here’s the ranking of Ivy League schools by their Class
of 2021 selectivity:

8. Cornell University — 12.5%

7. Dartmouth College — 10.4%

6. University of Pennsylvania — 9.2%

5. Brown University — 8.3%

4. Yale University — 6.9%

3. Princeton University — 6.1%

2. Columbia University — 5.8%

1. Harvard University — 5.2%

But those numbers don’t tell the whole story: The spring rates,
when taken alone, are actually more competitive than that. In the
spring, schools release their total admission rates as the
weighted average of the two together — early admission and
regular admission.

So what’s the deal?

Ivy admissions offices emphasize that the reason it appears
easier to get into schools during early admissions is more a
factor of the strength of the applicant pool than an ease of
acceptance.

In other words, students who apply early to Harvard are probably
better qualified compared to the larger applicant pool, and more
confident in their chances of being admitted.

“We have continued to stress to applicants, their families, and
their guidance counselors that there is no advantage in applying
early to Harvard,” William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and
Financial Aid, said in a release from Harvard last December. “The
reason students are admitted – early or during the Regular Action
process – is that their academic, extracurricular, and personal
strengths are extraordinary.”

Harvard releases a survey on incoming freshman every year that
provides details on the makeup of the
class. For
the Class of 2019
— the most recent survey conducted— the
survey indicated that students admitted early had higher SAT
scores than regular admissions students, on average. Early
admissions students scored an average of 2239, compared to 2217
for regular admissions.

Still, schools certainly find early applicants attractive as they
can lock in a higher “yield” — the number of admitted students
who decide to go to the college. Early decision is binding, while
early action means that students are only allowed to apply to one
school early (though they can apply regular decision to other
schools) and then make their final choice in the spring.

Some higher education experts feel that there is an advantage to
applying early, and that its practice is troubling, as it
disproportionately helps wealthier students. The early
admissions process is not possible for students who need to weigh
the different financial aid packages they are offered before
making a decision.

Early admissions “significantly disadvantages students from
low-income and middle-income families, who are already
underrepresented at such
schools,” columnist Frank Bruni wrote
in
The New York Times.

Still, it doesn’t seem that the early admissions process is going
anywhere soon. The Ivy League had a record number of early
applications this year, and, more broadly, about 450 American
colleges accept early applicants.

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