There are interesting perspectives on the factors that have contributed to the upsurge in applications to elite institutions. But which theory best explains this phenomenon is less important than the bare fact that there’s been a significant spike in applications in recent years. 2017 results extend this trend line.
Naturally, an increase in the number of applications submitted to a school tends to cause a proportional decline in its admissions rate. A school’s admissions rate remains the primary criterion by which colleges and universities are ranked by US News, Money Magazine, Princeton Review, and other third-party sources. This is unfortunate. Often, students and families rely too heavily on these rankings in selecting which schools to target for applications. As a result, a school’s admissions rate, although an imperfect measure, has become a proxy for the relative academic quality of all colleges and universities. So each year, it becomes even more difficult to gain admittance to top-tier schools than the last.
As admission becomes more and more competitive, the case for using IvySelect as your college admissions consulting firm becomes stronger. You need to be sure that you’re leaving no stone unturned in your campaign to be accepted by the type of top-tier schools that you aspire to attend. IvySelect specialty, based on years of successful experience, is to assist you in meeting your educational goals by being accepted by such elite colleges and universities.
A review of 2017 results confirms the increasingly competitive nature of admissions.
Collectively, the eight schools of the Ivy League admitted 22,805 students from 281,060 applicants, or 8.11%, compared to 23,129 admitted from 273,040 applicants, or 8.47%, in 2016. Stanford retains the lowest admissions rate among the most highly competitive tier of institutions with 4.65%, down slightly from 4.69% last year. Harvard again holds second place at 5.20%, the same rate as last year. The other Ivies range from a low admissions rate of 6% at Columbia, Yale, and Princeton to a high of 13% at Cornell.
Williams College in Massachusetts reported an extraordinary 25% increase in applications this year. Barnard College in New York City announced that its applications rose 19% and that they admitted 15%. Wesleyan University in Connecticut posted an impressive 16% surge in applications. Another school to note for its rise in applications in recent years is USC, with 56,000 apps in 2017.
Among schools with admissions rates that declined significantly were Swarthmore at 10% down from 12%, a 20% decrease. Bowdoin accepted 8%, down from 14%, an astonishing 75% decline. And Emory’s rate dropped by 14%, from 25% to 22%. Wellesley’s admissions rate fell by a quarter from 28% to 21% and Wesleyan’s by a fifth from 18% to 15%. Boston University’s app volume rose to 60,815 from 57,204, resulting in a decline in the admission rate from 29% to 25%, a 16% drop. However, the admissions rate did rise slightly at a few top-tier schools, including Boston College, Middlebury, and William & Mary.
Key admissions statistics for elite and popular colleges and universities are listed in the Table below. Some schools have not yet released 2017 admissions data, so the Table will be updated with additional results in a future post.
Table: Admissions Results for 2017 and 2016
Ivy League and Other Elite Institutions
|Admitted in 2017||2017 %
|Admitted in 2016||2016 %
|Washington (St. Louis)||30,400||4,864||16||29,197||4,729||16|
|William & Mary||14,915||5,220||35||15,380||4,906||32|
To rely too heavily on admissions rates, a single facet of a school’s complex profile, is a mistake that you would be wise to avoid. An IvySelect admissions counselor will work with you to select 12 or 13 institutions that fit your unique set of needs, preferences, talents, and objectives. These may include a number of the most exclusive schools in the country, but, if so, they won’t be targeted solely for their exclusivity. They’ll be chosen for the extent to which they satisfy your personal requirements. There’ll also be other schools that are chosen to optimize your chance of acceptance by an elite institution. These schools will also fit you well and will advance your educational strategy.