Early acceptance rates decline across Ivies
In the first admissions cycle without early admissions at Princeton and Harvard, application numbers soared and acceptance rates dropped across the rest of the Ivy League and at other selective institutions that continue to offer early admissions.
Seeking early acceptance at a top school, some applicants who might have applied early to Princeton or Harvard in past years seem to have applied early elsewhere, especially to Yale, which saw a record 4,888 applicants for the class of 2012, a 36 percent jump from the class of 2011.
Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said in October 2007 that she thought some students had applied early to Princeton for strategic reasons. "My concern about Early Decision over the past few years has been that students were not using it for their first choice," she said. "They were using it as a strategy."
With a record number of applicants, Yale accepted 885 students — or 18.1 percent — compared to last year, when it admitted 709 students, or 19.7 percent of its 3,594 early applicants.
Other peer institutions also saw dramatic increases in the number of early applications received. Columbia and Brown reported a 6 percent increase, Dartmouth an 8.7 percent increase, Duke a 5 percent increase, MIT a 13 percent increase, Georgetown a 31 percent increase and the University of Chicago a 42 percent increase.
Penn and Stanford were the only peer institutions that bucked the trend, as both reported a 1.8 percent decrease in early applications received.
Early admissions data for Penn was unavailable, though Penn's Interim Dean of Admissions Eric Kaplan predicted a 30 percent early acceptance rate, about the same as last year.
Before dropping its early admissions program, the University had drawn heavily on applicants from the Early Decision round in crafting each class of students. It received 2,275 early applications for the current freshman class, 2,236 early applications for the sophomore class, 2,039 for the junior class and 1,815 for the senior class.
Since Princeton and Harvard are the only Ivy League schools to have dropped their early admissions programs, it's possible that these most recent statistics indicate that high school seniors are focusing on other schools now, angling for the security of early acceptance. But Rapelye said she is willing to accept this risk.
"We literally had 10,000 students in our pool last year of almost 19,000 students who were qualified to be here, at the highest level," she said. "So what if some of them decide to go early somewhere else? We will still have thousands more from which to choose."
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