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College acceptance rates down

Jenna Johnson

Everyone saw this coming: Prestigious colleges and universities received record numbers of applications for the Class of 2014. So, logically, acceptance rates were expected to drop.

Congrats, you were right.

April 1 is the deadline for most admissions departments to let students know if they got in or not. That also means a flood of admissions data. Sigh. Here's the scorecard so far:

Harvard College, Down to 6.9%
Don't worry if Harvard didn't pick you -- this was the most selective year in the storied school's history. Harvard received more than 30,000 applications this year, a 5 percent increase from last year. From that pool, they accepted 2,110 students. So, that puts their overall rate of admission at 6.9 percent, a slight drop from last year's 7 percent. Although that's a record low, the college sent out 64 more acceptance packages this year. (Crimson article)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Down to 9.7%
For the first time ever, MIT dipped to a single-digit acceptance rate. MIT got 16,632 applications (up 6.2 percent from last year) and accepted 1,611 students. That's an acceptance rate of 9.7 percent, down a full percentage point from last year's rate of 10.7 percent (and a steep decline from 16.4 percent in 2003). The university also saw a 13 percent increase in early admissions applications. (Tech article -- please, please appreciate the nerdy reference to "pi day" in the lead)

University of Chicago, Down to 18%
The university had an ""eye-popping" increase in the number of applications this year -- 19,370, which is a 42 percent increase from last year. The university offered 3,560 students a spot, putting their admit rate at 18 percent -- way, way down from last year's 26.8 percent. (Chicago Maroon article)

George Washington University, Down to 31.5%
GWU received 21,135 applications for the Class of 2014, a 6 percent increase from last yearm and 6,655 students were accepted. The acceptance rate dropped 5 percent from last year's rate of 36.5 percent to 31.5 percent. That's the largest drop in recent history and the acceptance rate is at an all-time low. (Hatchet article)

University of Virginia, In-state down to 42.4%, Out-of-state up to 24%
The university received 22,516 applications this year, 677 more than last year, and accepted 6,907 students. The acceptance rate for in-state students is now 42.4 percent, slightly down from last year's 42.7 percent. The rate for out-of-state students is 24 percent, up from 22 percent last year. (Cavalier Daily article)

Johns Hopkins University, Down to 20.4%
Hopkins had a record applicant pool with 18,455, a 14 percent increase from last year. This is the eighth year in a row that there has been a record pool. The admit rate for the Class of 2014 is 20.4 percent, down from 26.7 percent last year and a record low for JHU. The previous low was 24.3 percent in 2007. The frosh class represents 58 countries and 49 states -- but, sadly, no one from South Dakota. (Hopkins Insider admissions blog)

Washington and Lee University, Same at 17%
Washington and Lee received a record 6,631 applications and admitted 1,145. The admit rate of 17 percent is the same as a year ago. The goal is to enroll a class of between 455 and 475 first-year students.

Stanford University, Down to 7.2%
Stanford reviewed 32,022 applications, the largest number in history, and accepted 2,300 students (that includes 753 students accepted through early action in December). That puts the university at a 7.2 percent acceptance rate, its lowest ever. (Stanford Daily article)

Dartmouth College, Down to 11.5%
Dartmouth received 18,778 applications and accepted 2,165. Their rate of admission is now 11.5 percent, down from 12.5 percent last year. This is the most applications the college has ever received -- and 3.5 percent more than last year. (Press release)

University of Pennsylvania, Down to 14.2%
Penn received 26,938 applications and accepted 3,830. This year's acceptance rate is 14.2 percent, a drop from last year's 17.1 percent. That makes this the university's most selective year yet. (Daily Penn article)

Cornell University, Down to 18%
Cornell received 36,337 applications, a record number, and accepted about 18 percent of students. That's down from last year's 19 percent. (Daily Sun article)

Duke University, Down to 14.8%
Duke received 26,770 applications, up 11 percent from last year, and accepted 3,372 students. The acceptance rate is now 14.8 percent, down from about 18 percent last year. (Chronicle article)

Tufts University, Down to 24.5%
Tufts received 15,437 this year, making it the third‚ąílargest applicant pool in history. The university accepted 24.5 percent of students, the lowest rate since 2001 but not the lowest in history. Of those accepted, 91 percent are in the top 10 percent of their high school class, up from 90 percent last year. (Tufts Daily article)

Brown University, Down to 9.3 percent
Brown received 30,136 applications -- the largest number ever -- and accepted 2,804 students. The overall acceptance rate was 9.3 percent, the most selective rate yet. (Press release)

Washington University, Same at about 20%
The director of admissions says this was the most challenging year in the university's history. They received nearly 25,000 applications. The rate of admission remained the same at about 20 percent. The plan is to keep actual enroll at about 1,500 freshmen. (Student Life article)

Vanderbilt University, Down to 16.3 percent
This year, 21,817 students applied, a 13 percent increase from last year's 19,353 applicants (since 2007, apps are up 69 percent). The overall admit rate decreased from 18.9 percent in 2009 to 16.3 percent. Notable stats: A 27 percent more applications from underrepresented minorities. And a 35 percent increase in international student applications. (Inside Vandy article)

Princeton University, Down to 8.18%
Princeton received a record of 26,247 applications (19.5 percent more than last year) and accepted 2,148 students. That's a rate of 8.18 percent, down from 9.79 percent last year and 9.25 percent the year before that.

Columbia College, Down to 8.3%
Columbia College received 21,747 applications total, up from 21,274 last year and 19,117 the year before. They accepted 1,805 students. That's an admit rate of 8.30 percent, down from 8.92 percent last year and 8.71 percent the year before. The School of Engineering and Applied Science admitted 592 of 4,431 total applicants, 277 more than last year. That's a rate of 13.36 percent, down from 14.42 percent last year and 17.6 percent the year before. (Spectator article)

Pomona College, Down to 14.7%
Pomona College in California received 6,765 applications and accepted 14.7 percent of students, down from 15.7 percent last year. About 139 students were admitted through early decision. Of those admitted, 20.7 percent of students are the first in their family to attend college.

Swarthmore College, Down to 16%
Swarthmore received 6,040 applications (the most ever) and sent out 967 acceptance letters. Their admission rate is at about 16 percent. Engineering is the most popular intended major among the admitted students. Next, in order, are biology, political science, "undecided," economics, English, history, physics, peace studies and mathematics. (Press release)

Amherst College, Down to 15.2%
Amherst received 8088 applications, up 5 percent from 2009. They accepted 1,226 students and waitlisted another 1,098. Their admit rate is 15.2 percent, down from 16 percent last year. The average combined SAT score of the accepted students is 2180. (Amherst Student article)

Northwestern University, Down to 23%
A record 27,615 students applied to Northwestern, up from 2,246 applications from 2009. They accepted 23 percent of students, a record low and down from last year's rate of 27 percent. (Daily Northwestern article)

UPDATED on April 2 to include George Washington University, University of Virginia, Tufts and Brown. And on April 3 to include Washington University, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and Princeton. And on April 5 to include Columbia, Pomona, Swarthmore, University of Chicago, and Washington and Lee. And on April 9 at 2:27 p.m. to include Amherst and Northwestern.

I will continue to update this list as more information is released. Do you know a school I forgot? Want to show off your high acceptance rate? Help me out by shooting me an e-mail.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  April 1, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  Admissions  | Tags: Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, George Washington, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Penn, Stanford, Tufts, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Washington University  
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what about George Mason :D

Posted by: kevin969813 | April 1, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I got accepted to F U

Posted by: bendan2000 | April 1, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Those 18-20 are also adults. Those universities have got to be the selective in the United States because they have acceptance rates below 20% of applicants. It's justified that these universities have these acceptance rates because more prospective students are applying so the acceptance rate will decrease to get the brightest young women and young men.

Posted by: LibertyForAll | April 1, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

This just reflects a winner-takes-all society, where median wages are falling, but incomes for the top 1% are rising. In a society and economy in long-run decline, it is more important than ever to scramble to the top of the sinking pyramid.

Posted by: AnonymousBE1 | April 2, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

what about Georgetown?

Posted by: ats8 | April 2, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

When UMBC became US News #1 up and coming national university, applications for early admission doubled. Overall admission applications went up significantly; the percentage acceptance rate is probably dropping more than the Ivy League schools.

Posted by: rick18 | April 2, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The online application process has made it easier for students to apply to multiple colleges and universities. Before we conclude that some schools are becoming "more exclusive", it is important to know what the average number of "schools applied to" is and how much that number has increased over past years.

Posted by: jshay | April 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I fail to see the point of your post detailing the acceptance rates of colleges very few students can hope to attend. A better service to your readers would be to focus on colleges most high school students in this area apply: UMD, UMBC, Georgetown, UVA, Mason, VT, VCU. Giving us stats for Dartmouth equates to giving us stats on University of Missouri-Rolla School of Science and Technology. It's interesting, just not very useful.

Posted by: blbower | April 2, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

What about UVa?

If you took the top 20% of the people with the highest IQ in China, it would be greater than the population of the US.

If we're going to remain the top economic power in the world we have to make sure our children get educated at these highly regarded universities. Maybe they should increase the number of students they can accept.

Posted by: cjride | April 2, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

As soon as the local schools release their new acceptance rates, I will include them -- but last time that I checked, they were not out.

Posted by: jennajohnson | April 2, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Capsheaf | April 2, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

The phrase "it's lowest ever" should be "its lowest ever" (in the Stanford section). I know it's a blog, but it's about education, so a little editing help please?

Posted by: TrinaQ | April 2, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

This is quite interesting to me. Acceptance is one thing, while graduation is another. What I'd like to see are the stats on graduation rates. What percent of students have degrees in 4 years? In 5 years? In 6 years? But I know it's that time of year where acceptance letters are going out, so it's timely. However, in May, could you gather stats on graduation rates or tell us where we can easily find this.

Posted by: CeeJay2 | April 5, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

One thing the raw numbers do not reflect is the variable nature of the applicant pools. This may even mean that certain other schools are actually harder to get into than Harvard since Harvard's fame is such that every high-school valedictorian in Nebraska, Alabama and Idaho (for example) applies. Not so at Amherst, Williams or even Princeton and Yale. For this reason, it's possible that when all factors are included those (or other) schools are actually tougher to get into.

Posted by: yetanotherpassword | April 14, 2010 5:16 AM | Report abuse

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