Princeton accepts record-low for the Class of 2022, 5.5 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. Princeton University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. Princeton has the second lowest acceptance of the Ivies, only behind Harvard College. The rate of 5.5 percent is a record-low and more than half percentage point less than for the Class of 2021.

Princeton admitted a total of 1,941 students, 1,142 just this regular admission cycle out of the a record 35,370 applications, 14 percent higher than applied for the Class of 2021. Additionally, 1,125 students were wait listed, normally the university accepts between 18 to 101 students from that list.

Of all the Ivies, Princeton saw the greatest increase in applications and the only one above 10 percent. There were 35,386 high school seniors vying a place in Princeton’s Class of 2022, an increase of 14 percent than from the previous year. To demonstrate just how many more applications Princeton received this cycle the Daily Princetonian noted that in 2008, when students applied for the Class of 2012 there were only 13,695 applications, making a 158 percent increase in applications in the past 10 years.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was at that point “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. In December 2016, 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.

Princeton first offered early action admission seven years ago. Students can only apply to Princeton in the early admission cycle, but they can notify the college of their decision by May 1. As Princeton points out the landscape now is radically different from 2011 when the college accepted 21.1 percent of early action applicants.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye commended the incoming class and all the applicants. Rapelye told the Daily Princetonian, “The Admissions Committee was extremely impressed with the academic quality of all the candidates [for admission], especially those who were admitted.”

Princeton was the only Ivy to indicate the academic profile of the students that applied. As the Princetonian explained, “The applicant pool included 14,273 students had high school GPAs of 4.0, and 17,692 — 50 percent of the total applicant pool — had combined SAT scores of 1400 or higher out of a possible 1600.” Most of the applicants took either the ACT or new SAT, including the writing component, which is still required for applying.

The class is diverse both geographically and socio-economically. Those accepted, however, come from only 48 states, but also the territories, the majority of those accepted come from “New Jersey, California and New York.” The number of international students also increased, with 77 countries represented.

Princeton, like the Ivy League schools, are increasing their financial aid initiatives to appeal to low-income students. Rapelye contributes it to the reason behind the large recording breaking number of applications. Rapelye told the Daily Princetonian, “[That growth] exceeded our expectations. Our outreach to low income backgrounds, students who may be working with community-based organizations, and to schools we haven’t had applicants from before may have contributed. Our financial aid process is generous, and, we believe, second to none.”

There were more first generation college students, representing 17 percent of the incoming class, and 64.5 percent came from public schools. Additionally, Princeton accepted 11.2 percent of students who are “legacy” the children of Princeton graduates, and recruited athletes compromise 11.6 percent of those accepted. Princeton hopes to enroll 1,296 freshmen in the fall semester. Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

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 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 @

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