Harvard hits new record-low admitting the Class of 2022 with only a 4.59 percent acceptance rate
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Harvard College notified the Class of 2022 of the admission decisions. This year Harvard will keep it’s crown as the most selective school in the Ivy League. The college beat its own record clocking in a 4.59 percent acceptance rate lower by nearly a half a percentage point from the Class of 2021’s 5.2 percent rate. As the Harvard Crimson noted, “This year marks the first time Harvard’s admission rate has ever dipped below 5 percent.” Harvard admitted only 1,962 students out of their record 42,749 applications. Of those admitted 998 receiving regular cycle offers of admission, which was according to the Harvard Crimson “2.43 percent of the total 36,119 regular decision applicants, plus the 4,882 students deferred in the early action process.”
This past cycle, Harvard saw a record number of applications with 42,742 students applying. The college credits the increase on their financial aid packages and consideration for more low-income students applying. For the Class of 2022, there was as the Harvard Gazette notes, an “increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.”
Harvard College notified students by email on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m. if they were accepted to the Class of 2022, rejected or waitlisted. Harvard admitted just 964 students to early action out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program. Harvard is the most selective Ivy League college, and the elite Stanford University only beats it in the country.
In total for the Class of 2021, Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. In December 2016, Harvard admitted their lowest number of early applicants, accepting just 938 students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021. Their admissions represented just 14.5 percent of the applicant pool down only 0.3 percent from 2015. Harvard admitted nearly the same percentage of early applicants as the Class of 2020 a 14.53 acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 versus a 14.49 percent rate for 2020 an addition of less than a half percentage point.
Although Harvard saw a record number of applicants they accepted less students than last year. For the Class of 2021 a record number accepted the colleges offer of admission leading to an overcrowding in the residences. The college also hopes to admit 40 to 100 students on the waitlist, last year none were.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons commended the incoming freshman class. Fitzsimons expressed to the Crimson, “They are quite an amazing cohort of people because they’re coming from the widest range of economic and ethnic backgrounds in our history.”
The class is one of Harvard’s most diverse ever. Women represent a small majority of the class, with 50.1 percent, up from last year’s 49.2 percent, and for “The first time in 10 years, a majority of accepted students are women.” The diversity extends to all demographic groups, including racial minorities making record strides. African-American students represent 15.5 percent, up from 14.6. This year 12.2 percent of the class are Hispanic students, up from 11.6 percent. Native Americans, however, saw a marginal rise from 1.9 to 2 percent.
Asian-Americans represented the largest minority group accepted. A record 22.7 percent up slightly from 22.2 percent as the university faces a lawsuit on their admission process for the group that has also sparked a United States Department of Justice discrimination investigation. Harvard has steadfastly denied the allegations, blaming other factors for lower rates in admitting Asian-American students in the past.
Harvard has been trying to attract more lower income students with their generous Harvard Financial Aid Initiative, and it has worked with a Class of 2022 that is more economically diverse. The college has made the greatest gains with first generation college students, with 17.3 percent up from 15.1 last year. Over half of Harvard undergrads receive financial aid, 20 percent are from low-income families and do not have to contribute anything to their tuition, while “a record 20.3 percent of the Class of 2022 will be eligible for Federal Pell grants.
This year’s class is diverse geographically as well. They come from “50 states and 90 countries.” International student numbers have rebounded up to 12 percent from last year’s 11.4 percent. Harvard hopes to have a class of 1,665 freshman in the fall. Students have until May 1, to notify the college of their decision.
Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.