Middle of December spells relief for some college students for others the panic only increase as they receive their acceptance, deferment or refusal to their university of choice’s early decision or early action program. From December 10 to 16, 2015, universities throughout the United States sent out some lucky members of the Class of 2020 offers of admission. As has been the trend, Ivy League and elite universities are becoming more selective and their early action admission rates are falling even though some might actually be accepting more students after receiving even more applications. Of the elite and Ivy League universities that have already sent out admissions Harvard, Princeton and Stanford have become more selective, while Yale increased their admission offers.
Nothing is more coveted than being admitted early to one of the Ivy League universities early admission, action programs. For the public a point of interest is the admission rates from these top universities, determining their selectivity for this year and how it compares to other years. In general, the Ivy League and top ranked universities are becoming even more selective, with some record lows this year, still for others they decided to accept more early applicants to the Class of 2020 than to the Class of 2019.
Early decision is binding, meaning a student who applies and then is accepted is required to attend the university or college, while early action is non-binding, a student can be accepted and then decide against going to that particular school and can turn down their admission offer. Applying early is not without its risks either, some schools have policies where if a student is rejected in the early admission cycle, cannot reapply for regular admission however, some universities who do not accept students that applied for early admission, automatically consider them for regular admission.
Harvard University: Harvard admitted on Dec. 11 just 918 students out of 6,173 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2020. The admissions represented just 14.8 percent of the applicant pool. Harvard admitted fewer students than last year to the Class of 2019, 1.7 percent less than the 977 students and 16.5 percent acceptance rate, in the regular admission cycle Harvard admitted only 2.8 of applicants. There was also an increase in number of applicants this year, 4.3 percent, not as much as last year when there was a 26 percent increase and 5919 applications. A majority “4,673 students were deferred to the regular admissions cycle, 464 were denied admission, 12 withdrew, and 106 submitted incomplete applications.”
Harvard’s Class of 2020 is as bit less diverse than last year. Continuing the trend fewer women were admitted, 47.4 percent down from the 49.7 percent last year. Fewer minorities were admitted as well, 9.4 percent of African American applicants were admitted this year and last year 10.3 percent. The same for Hispanics this year 9.6 percent were admitted and last year 11.4 percent. Only 1.8 percent of Native American and Native Hawaiian were admitted. The largest minority group admitted was Asian-Americans at 24.2 percent; they were the only group that saw their numbers rise, last year 22.7 percent were admitted through early action.
Harvard also released data on the majors called concentrations early-admitted students are taking. There is an increased interest in the humanities with 16.7 students taking concentration in that area compared to 14.8 last year in part to Harvard’s new Theater, Dance & Media Concentration. There is an increase of students intending to study engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 11.1 percent compared to 9.4 percent last year, 5.9 percent plan to study computer science. Social sciences however, are seeing a decline in interest.
Dean of admissions and financial aid William R. Fitzsimmons commented, “As always, a significant nucleus of the next year’s class has been admitted early, and we recognize this is an important option for a wide range of students. But we are committed to preserving the principle that those who apply under regular action are afforded the same opportunity for admission as those who apply early.” Harvard restarted early admissions in 2011 after a hiatus.
Princeton University: This year Princeton admitted 18.6 percent of early applicants on Dec. 16 from a record number of applications. Princeton admitted 785 students from 4,229 applicants. Princeton admitted 767 students to their Class of 2019, and 714 students to their Class of 2018 early action program. The majority of the students were deferred to the regular admissions cycle.
There is also a lot of regional and demographic diversity. The admitted students are from 33 countries representing 11 percent and from 46 of the states. So far, the majority of the Class of 2020 is female with 51 percent admitted to 49 percent of men. Minorities represent 42 percent of those admitted. The majority of those admitted came from public schools representing 56 percent, and 13 percent will be the first to attend college from their families. Legacy students, whose parents are alumni represents 16 percent of those admitted. Like Harvard, there is gravitation this year to major in engineering with 21 percent saying they wanted to do so.
Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye remarked, “The admitted early candidates are outstanding and we would be delighted to welcome them to Princeton. The pool was especially strong and deep this year and we had to make some difficult decisions…. The committee worked very hard in putting together this class. It is always a challenge for us because even with taking more students, we couldn’t include all of the qualified applicants.” This is the fifth year Princeton has offered early admission. In 2014 the early admissions was 19.9 percent, in 2013, the rate was 18.5 percent, in 2012, it was 18.3 percent, and the first year in 2011, it was 21.1 percent.
Yale University: Yale admitted on Dec. 15, 795 lucky students to the Class of 2020 as part of their early action program, which equals to 17 percent of the 4.662 applicants this year. Of the remaining applications 53 percent were deferred to the regular admissions cycle, 29 percent were refused admission, and one percent of the applications were incomplete or withdrawn.
Unlike most of the Ivy League universities that have released their early admissions data Yale admitted more students than last year. Yale admitted 16 percent to the Class of 2019 and 15.5 percent to the Class of 2018, even though this year the university received 0.6 percent less application that last year.
The Class of 2020 will be the university’s most diverse geographically and demographically with more international and minority students. The university admitted 12 percent international students, and 15 percent minorities. Yale received applications from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 88 other countries.
Yale also admitted 51 students as part of the QuestBridge National College Match Program, the highest number since they started in 2007. The program increases diversity, by matching “high-achieving, low-income students” to Ivy League and top tier universities who provide them financial aid. Last year Yale admitted 40 students from this program.
The dean of undergraduate admissions Jeremiah Quinlan commended those admitted, “The Admissions Committee was impressed with the strength and diversity of this year’s early applicant pool across every dimension, and we are thrilled to offer early admission to this remarkable first group of students in the Class of 2020.” Yale intends to admit a total of 1360 students for the Class of 2020, and will admit 15 percent more next year, because of “the opening of two new residential colleges in 2017.”
Stanford University: Stanford sent admission offers on Dec. 11 to 745 students to join the Class of 2020 as part of their Restrictive Early Action admission program. Stanford accepted just 9.5 percent of the 7,822 applications they received. The university deferred 701 applications to the regular admissions. The first part of the Class of 2020 comes from 48 states and 34 countries. The overwhelming majority 80 percent have GPA’s of 4.0 or above. Stanford received the most applications of the elite and Ivy League universities.
Richard H. Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid told the Stanford News Service about the new admissions, “One of the most significant pleasures experienced by our admission and financial aid officers is identifying the next generation of students…. These students represent the best and brightest young people from around the world, selected from an extraordinary array of candidates from every conceivable background.”
Colleen Lim, associate dean and director of undergraduate admission told the Stanford Daily, “Today we invited 745 remarkable young people to join the Stanford family. It is such an honor and joy for our staff to play a role in transforming the lives of these admitted students, and we can’t wait to see the impact they will make on the Stanford community.”
This year Stanford was more selective than last year, when they accepted 743 students from 7,297 applications to the Class of 2019. Those accepted represented 47 states and 31 countries, showing a strong international contingent. Stanford admitted 10.2 percent to the Class of 2019, 10.8 percent, 748 out of 6,948 applicants to the Class of 2018.