By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
Harvard Colleges intends to admit fewer students to the Class of 2022. Harvard College
Every year the admission process becomes more difficult, and the admission rate at the Ivy League and elite top-tier universities shrink. For high school seniors applying for the Class of 2022, this year will even be more difficult to secure an acceptance letter from the school of the dreams. This year Harvard intends to admit fewer students, and the college will extend the deadline for early admissions for students from locations hit by the string of hurricanes and natural disasters in late August and September. The Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons made the twin announcements in a September 2017 interview with college student paper the Harvard Crimson.
Fitzsimmons cites overcrowding in the Class of 2021 freshman as the reason for accepting fewer students this upcoming year. This year much more students accepted admission offers, leading to “twenty-eight freshmen living in DeWolfe, overflow housing typically reserved for upperclassmen.” The Dean of Admissions wants to admit also students off the waitlist this year. Last year they were unable to able to accept any student of the list. Fitzsimmons says his goal is “40 to 50 to maybe 100 people.”
Harvard’s Class of 2021 acceptance rate was 5.2 percent, the second lowest in the country only after Stanford University. Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants. The acceptance rate is almost the same as the Class of 2020 when 5.22 percent or 2,037 students were admitted out a historic high amount of 39,044 applications. For the regular admission cycle, Harvard accepted 1,118 students. In December 2016, as part of their early action program, Harvard accepted 938 applicants out of 6,473 applications for an acceptance rate of 14.5 percent.
The problem was a record number of students accepted their offers of admissions. Close to 84 percent of students accepted their admission offer to the Class of 2021, for the class of 2020, only 80 percent accepted. In May Fitzsimmons commented, “It was the largest number of applications in our history, it was a great yield on admitted students. Everything we could possibly hope for happened in this class.” Changes to the financial aid program led to a more a “socioeconomically diverse” freshman class where “approximately 24 percent were classified as low-income and 17 percent were eligible for Pell Grants.” More financial aid has made Harvard in reach for talented students from economically challenged backgrounds.
Additionally, students in regions hard hit by hurricanes and wildfires in the country, and other natural disasters worldwide will see some leniency in the early admissions applications. Fitzsimmons said, “His office will grant extensions for some early applications and take more time to deliberate on acceptances.” The majority of students will still hear back about early admissions on Dec. 12, but applications will be accepted after the Nov. 1 deadline and considerations will continue through January. The Dean of Admissions told the Crimson, “We could be in for a very different kind of calendar sitting in front of us this year because we want to be fair to these students and give them a complete hearing we can give them.”
Usually, students who applied for early admissions had to submit all documents including “letters of recommendation, transcripts, and secondary school reports” by the Nov. 1 deadline. This year there will be extensions on those documents, additionally, there will be the possibility of application fee waivers and students can take their SAT and ACTs in November and then submit results. The college expects students applying from Texas, Florida and Georgia will be most affected. Texas sends the fourth most applicants and students to Harvard of all states; Hurricane Harvey along with severe flooding in late August hit the state badly. Meanwhile, Florida, which sends the sixth largest amount of students to the college, and Georgia were affected by Hurricane Irma in September.
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.