Ivy League most selective year Princeton, Harvard admit record lows to the Class of 2021

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

It is Ivy League acceptance day. Thursday afternoon, March 30, 2017, at 5 p.m. the Ivy League universities sent out acceptances as thousands of anxious high school seniors found out if they would join the scholarly elite. Late Thursday afternoon Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University released their acceptance data for the Class of 2021 continuing the trend towards lower acceptance rates for nearly all schools.

This year there were record number of increases in applications, the CommonApp is making easier for high school seniors to apply to more schools and they are taking advantage of the opportunity to try for the Ivy League. Almost across the board, the Ivy League is becoming even more selective as to whom they allow in the hallowed halls. Students have until May 1, to notify the universities if they plan to attend in the fall.

The following is the Ivy League Class of 2021 acceptance data:

Brown University: Brown University set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. This year Brown had a “record-low” 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. This year Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. Brown also waited listed 1,000 high school seniors.

Last year, Brown had a 9% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,919 students accepted out of 32,390 applicants. Brown’s previous record low acceptance rate was in 2015 for the Class of 2019 when they admitted 8.5 percent of their applicant pool. In December as part of early decision admission, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

The students accepted came from all 50 states and 77 nations. The Class of 2021 will also be one of the most diverse, 14 percent are first-generation college students, 47 percent are “students of color,” 62 percent are coming from public schools and 64 percent applied for financial aid. Brown is the exception having a higher acceptance than other Ivies.

Dean of Admission Logan Powell commented on the incoming class. Powell said, “Overall we’re absolutely thrilled with the talent and wide range of perspectives represented in this admitted student group. They continue to be enormously talented (and) they continue to be increasingly diverse… Academically, by all objective measures, is as strong as any in Brown history.” Brown’s targeted goal is 1,665 freshmen entering in the fall.

Columbia University: Columbia College also had a lower acceptance rate, representing just 5.8 percent of their applicant pool. Columbia admitted just 2,185 from a record 37,389 applicants. Last year, Columbia had a 6.04% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,193 students accepted out of 36,292 applicants. Columbia is notorious for divulging the least information of all the Ivies about their incoming freshmen class only releasing more data for the upcoming application year.

Cornell University: Cornell University had one of the largest acceptance rates of all the Ivies with 12.5 percent. Cornell admitted 5,889 students from a record number of 47,038 applicants. An additional 5,713 students were placed on a wait list. Last year, Cornell had a 13.96% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 6,277 students accepted out of 44,966 applicants. In December, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

The incoming freshmen class is one of the most diverse in the school’s history. Of those accepted 1,777, or 30.2 percent are “underrepresented minorities” among them include students of color, w ho represented 52.5 percent of the Class of 2021, up from last year’s 49 percent. Students were accepted from all the states and territories in the US, with the most coming from “California, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas.”

This year, however, there were less international students accepted 9 percent down from last year’s ten percent. The students are from 96 countries, more than last year’s 85 countries. The most are coming from “Canada, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.” Additionally, 700 of the accepted were first-generation college students, while 200 are “recruited athletes.”

Shawn Felton, director of undergraduate admissions, expressed, “This year’s admitted class continues to raise the bar on what it means to be outstanding. I am pleased that we are, once again, well on our way toward our goals to broaden and diversify the incoming class.”

Jason Locke, the associate vice provost for enrollment, commented, “We have admitted an extraordinarily gifted and accomplished class of scholars. We look forward to showcasing Cornell’s exceptional academic offerings and vibrant student experience during our many admitted student events in April.”

Dartmouth College: Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Dartmouth is calling this year’s class “the most academically accomplished and globally diverse class the College has ever accepted.” Last year, Dartmouth had a 10.52% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,176 students accepted out of 20,675 applicants. In December as part of the early decision program, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

The high school seniors accepted have stellar academic records, the best Dartmouth ever admitted. Of those accepted from school that ranks their classes 96 percent are in the top 10 percent, with 527 serving as their class valedictorian or salutatorian. Nearly half, 46 percent of those valedictorians or salutatorians are students of color, with 13 percent “foreign citizens.” The Class of 2021 also has the highest SAT scores ever admitted with an average of 1495.

Lee Coffin, the dean of admissions and financial aid, commented on the academically extraordinary Class of 2021. Coffin noted, “This is a really dynamic group of students. They are intellectually engaged, curious, adventuresome, kind, and imaginative, and they will be a tremendous addition to the Dartmouth community.”

The class is also the most diverse coming from all over the US, the 50 states, and territories. California continues to be the top state where student are admitted, but also New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida, with 47 students coming Dartmouth’s home state of New Hampshire. Internationally, the incoming class hails has 225 students from 63 countries predominantly from the United Kingdom, Canada, and South Korea.

Demographically the Class of 2021 is also very diverse, with 51 percent being students of color, 15 percent first generation college students, 10 percent are recruited athletes, and 9 percent are legacies. There is also 59 percent coming from public schools, 21 percent from independent schools and ten from religious schools. Additionally, 63 percent of the incoming class will need financial aid. The most popular major include, “Engineering, economics, biology, government / international relations, and English.”

Harvard University: Among the Ivies, no university has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard College. Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. The acceptance rate is almost the same as last year 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 as part of their early action program, Harvard accepted 938 applicants out of 6,473 applications for an acceptance rate of 14.5 percent.

Despite other universities touting the diverse freshmen class ever, Harvard’s number are smaller for some minority groups. There were less Latino and Native American students accepted, 11.6 and 1.9 percent respectively down from 12.7 and 2.2 percent. There was, however, and increase the number of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Women admitted this year. Harvard admitted a record number of African American students at 14.6. There was a slight increase in Asian American students accepted at 22.2 percent. This year 49.2 percent of the Class of 2021 will be women. The university is maintaining its international flavor with 11.4 percent of the class coming from outside the US and its territories.

In the incoming class is continuing the movement away from concentrating in the Humanities, with 15.5 percent planning to major in the subject area. Meanwhile, 25.6 percent intend to study the social sciences. The STEM subjects are gaining popularity with 19.3 indicating they want to focus on computer science and engineering.

Princeton University: Princeton University acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was “the lowest in school history.” The University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. Princeton has a “target class size” of 1,308 freshmen. In December, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program. Last year, Princeton had a 6.46% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,894 students accepted out of 29,303 applicants. Additionally, Princeton placed 1,168 students on their waitlist.

The class is also very diverse, with 50.5 percent being female, while 53.4 percent are “racial or ethnic minorities.” The Demographic are also diverse, with 63.8 percent of students coming from public schools, 18.9 first-generation college students and only 10.7 percent being legacies. Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said, “This shows our commitment to social mobility and socioeconomic diversity.” Princeton accepted students from 49 states and the territories, the most coming from New Jersey, California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, and Georgia. No students were admitted from Louisiana. Outside of the US students were accepted from 76 countries representing 12.1 percent of the class.

The University of Pennsylvania: UPenn is again hailing their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history. This year the University accepted 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants
for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” Last year, UPenn had a 9.4% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 3,661students accepted out of 38,918 applicants. In December, UPenn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a 24 percent acceptance rate. The University believes they will have a targeted 2,445 students enrolling in the fall.

As with all, the Ivies UPenn is calling the Class of 2021 the most diverse. The incoming freshman includes students from all 50 states and the territories, with the most popular states including Pennsylvania, New York, California, New Jersey, Florida and Texas, while 172 students come to the school’s home city Philadelphia. Demographically, 46 percent of those accepted are students of color, 54 percent are female. One out of eight, 13 percent are first-generation college students, while 14 percent are legacies.

The University saw a 10 percent increase in international students coming from 96 countries up from 88. Dean of Admissions Eric Furda remarked on the Class of 2021, “Penn offers of admission are truly going across the country and all around the world. That’s not just tallying states and countries, but thinking about it at the high school level.”

Yale University: Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that are opening this fall. Yale offered admission this regular cycle to 1550 students, up 15 percent from last year. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate.

Last year, Yale had a 6.27% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,972 students accepted out of a record 31,455 applicants. In December, as part of early admission Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent. Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the wait list.

Yale is the only Ivy League university to increase their acceptance rate this year. The increase in acceptance rate and number of students is because Yale is opening new residential colleges. In the fall, the school’s Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges will open, and increase each incoming class by approximately 800 students. Despite accepting about 2000 students Yale hopes their final Class of 2021will be 1550 students.

Yale wants the public to know despite accepting more high school seniors this year than ever before, they are still accepting highly qualified students, they are just giving more them the opportunity to study at Yale. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan indicated, “Although we were thrilled to send out more offers of admissions this year, I remain humbled by the selectivity of our admissions process. Virtually all of the students we denied will be successful students at other great colleges and universities.”

Yale is hailing the Class of 2021 as the most diverse ever, the same tagline all universities are touting these days. The incoming class comes from all 50 states and 63 countries, and 1,500 high schools. There is also an increase in the minority population accepted promising an incoming class of diversity.

With now 14 residential colleges in four years, Yale’s undergraduate class will go from 5,400 to 6,200 students. Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway pointed out, “This expansion touches on every aspect of learning, including teaching, facilities, and financial aid. It also provides a historic opportunity to engage the community in asking what it means to receive an education from Yale.”

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.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University) is a Professional Librarian (CBPQ) & historian. Former editor @ History News Network & reporter @ Examiner.com.

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