Monday, February 13, 2017

Harvard Received 39,494 Applications for Class of 2021

Harvard College received 39,494 applications to its Class of 2021, setting a new record for the third year in a row and surpassing last year’s total by 450 applications.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 attributed the 1.2 percent rise in applications to the popularity of the College’s new Theater, Dance, and Media concentration, its financial aid program, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

This year’s applicant pool saw a 12.3 percent increase in students interested in studying computer science, building off a 22.1 percent increase in interest in the field last year.

The pool also saw a 3 percent increase in prospective humanities concentrators. In a press release, Deborah Foster, director of Undergraduate Studies in Theater, Dance and Media, said she was “astounded” by the number of high school students who had contacted her about the new concentration, which kicked off in 2015.

The racial and ethnic composition of the pool was similar to that of last year, but saw small increases across several groups: 21.8 percent of applicants identified as Asian American, 12.6 percent as Latino, 10.5 percent as African American, and 2.3 percent as Native Americans and Native Hawaiians. In an interview, Fitzsimmons said the admissions office would continue to ramp up its recruitment of students from minority backgrounds in the coming years.

“The reality is if you don’t recruit a very diverse student body, your university will be less relevant to the country as time goes by, and it’s not a mystery to see what the country’s going to look like,” Fitzsimmons said.

The number of women applying to the College increased by 2.5 percent, and women comprising 49.9 percent of the total applicant pool.

“When I attended Harvard it was 4 to 1 male to female. Women could not use the undergraduate library. Women could not go into the front door of the Harvard Club of New York until 1973,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s been changing pretty rapidly.”

The Class of 2021 will be the first class subject to the College’s penalties on members of final clubs and Greek organizations.

While the geographic composition of the applicant pool was also similar to previous years, Fitzsimmons said a nationwide plateau in the number of graduating high school seniors—particularly in the Northeast and Midwestern United States—could decrease applications from those regions in the coming years. Conversely, the Southwest and the South, as well as certain Western states such as California, will experience an increase in high school seniors.

Fitzsimmons said that President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders regarding immigration and travel to the United States did not impact this application cycle because the application deadline was January 1, nearly three weeks before Trump’s inauguration.

Going forward, though, Fitzsimmons said he plans to continue the admissions office’s pursuit of top students from around the world, and to direct various Harvard services to assist them in the process of obtaining a visa and arriving in Cambridge.

“We will just continue to take the best students, wherever they’re from, whatever their citizenship is,” Fitzsimmons said.

Harvard has already offered admission to 938 early applicants from a pool of 6,473, representing a 14.5 percent acceptance rate—the lowest since the College reinstated its early action program in 2011. Last year, the College accepted a record-low 5.2 percent of applicants to its Class of 2020.

The College will release admissions decisions on March 30, and admitted students will have until May 1 to accept or decline their offers.

—Staff writer William S. Flanagan can be reached at

—Staff writer Michael E. Xie can be reached at

Friday, January 27, 2017

Yale Received 32,891 Applications for Class of 2021

This year, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions received the largest number of applications ever submitted to Yale College, with 32,891 applying to the class of 2021 as of Jan. 26.
The record-breaking figure represents a 5 percent jump from last year, the first time that the number of applications had ever topped the 31,000 mark. This year’s increase is larger than the 4 percent jump in applications, from 30,227 to 31,439, between the classes of 2019 and 2020. The number of students to be admitted this year will increase by between 300 and 400 with the opening of the two new residential colleges in the fall.
In light of this year’s record, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan emphasized that long-term trends in application numbers were more important than year-to-year fluctuations.
“The increased global mobility of top secondary school students seeking higher education, and technological changes to the college admissions process — such as the dramatic increase in the use of online applications, especially the Common Application — have all resulted in substantially larger applicant pools at Yale and many of our peer institutions,” Quinlan said in an email.
This year’s application numbers represent a 70 percent increase from the 19,323 applications Yale College received a decade ago for the class of 2011, Quinlan added.
He said the admissions committee would meet from the middle of February through March to review applications and release its decisions on March 30 along with those of the other Ivy League schools.
Director of Outreach and Communications Mark Dunn ’07 said the number of applications is less important than the quality and diversity of the applicant pool.
While noting that the “true strength” of the pool could not be assessed until the admissions committee reviewed all applications in full, Dunn outlined several notable trends in applicant demographics in recent years.
According to Dunn, over the past five admissions cycles, the number of applications from high school students in the United States has grown by about 10 percent. During the same time period, the number of applications from students who identify as a member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group has increased more than 27 percent.
In particular, Dunn said the number of applications from black students has increased by 43 percent, and those from Hispanic or Latino students have grown by 36 percent over the last five years.
The number of applications from students who will be the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree has increased by 20 percent and the number of applications coming from students in the southeast or southwest of the United States has increased by 22 percent over the same period, according to Dunn.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Duke Received 34,300 Applications for Class of 2021

Duke University received a record 34,300 applications this year, an increase of nearly seven percent from a year ago.

Nearly 31,000 applied by Duke’s Regular Decision deadline of Jan. 3; the rest had previously applied under Duke’s binding Early Decision process -- in which applicants who apply by a November deadline promise to attend if accepted.

Almost 55 percent of all applicants were students of color – an increase of nearly 3 percent over last year and a reflection of the work Duke is doing to pursue students of all backgrounds and socioeconomic situations, said Christoph Guttentag, Duke’s dean of undergraduate admissions.

“In two of the last three years, students of color have made up 50 percent of the incoming first-year class,” Guttentag said. “This is a place with a significant representation of people of color, and a welcoming place for the wide range of backgrounds and experiences we find among talented students.”

Of particular note, Duke saw a 22 percent increase in Latino applicants this year.

Guttentag said some of that increase is due to Duke’s partnership with QuestBridge, a nonprofit organization that connects high-ability, low-income students with selective universities. He also credits the fledgling Washington Duke Scholars program, which in its first year provided financial, cultural and academic support for 30 first-generation students and those from under-resourced high schools.

“We’ve been increasing the visibility of our programs for low-income and first-generation students, and people are paying attention,” Guttentag said, adding that 68 percent of applicants indicated an intention to apply for financial aid, the most in 20 years.

There was also a 12 percent increase in applications from international students this year, he said.

Duke's admissions policy is "need blind" for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, meaning that applicants are accepted regardless of their ability to pay for college. Duke also meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students.

Admissions decisions will go out in late March or early April. The first-year class is expected to be slightly more than 1,700 students.

UVA Received 20,446 Applications in EA for Class of 2021

The Class of 2021 began to take shape Wednesday when the University of Virginia released its early action decisions.

The number of early applications rose by 24 percent compared to last year, with 20,446 students applying for the non-binding early action program out of more than 36,700 total applications. Regular application decisions will be released by the end of March and all students offered admission will have until May 1 to accept their offers.

Consistent with previous years, the University had an early action offer rate of near 30 percent, sending acceptance letters to 5,910 students. Of those offers, 4,495 were for the College of Arts & Sciences, 96 for the School of Architecture, 66 for the Curry School of Education, 1,178 for the School of Engineering and Applied Science and 75 for the School of Nursing.

The diverse cohort of UVA’s Class of 2021 includes students from more than 65 countries. Though their distance from Charlottesville varies, many will begin their journey on Grounds today by visiting a "UVA 21" site to explore the opportunities that await them at the University.

Even before they set foot on the Lawn, these new students began joining the worldwide Wahoo network by taking to social media to share their exciting admissions news. Moments after the electronic admissions notifications went live online, new students were flooding UVA’s social channels with their own admissions stories using the tag #UVA21.

Penn Received 40,394 Applications for Class of 2021

Penn’s applicant pool has surpassed the 40,000 mark for the first time in its history.

Penn received a record 40,394 applications to the Class of 2021, including 6,147 applicants who applied through Early Decision. The Class of 2021 applicant pool increased four percent from last year, continuing the trend of two to four percent increases every year.

“It’s a different group of students,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said. “So we shouldn’t just assume that applications are going to be at certain level let alone they’re going to increase.”

About half of the growth in applications can be attributed to a rise in the number of international candidates.

Furda said about 45 percent of the increase in applicants came from outside the U.S. “That’s a larger increase outside the U.S. than we’ve seen before.”

For the first time, students applying to the Class of 2021 had the option of taking the new SAT Reasoning Test in addition to the old SAT and ACT familiar to previous applicants.

The new SAT differs from the old SAT in content and structure, reverting back to the 1600-scale and eliminating the penalty for guessing, among other changes.

1986 Wharton graduate Laurie Weingarten, co-founder and director of One-Stop College Counseling, noted some of the concerns surrounding the new SAT since its inception last March.

“The College Board administered one SAT last March, the new SAT, and then immediately put out a concordance table,” Weingarten said. “ACT organization is not in agreement with the concordance table that was put out, but the colleges are using it because the ACT will not agree to develop a concordance table until the new SAT has been around a little bit longer.”

Class of 2021 early decision admit Uday Tripathi said the uncertainty surrounding the new SAT led him to take the more established ACT instead.

“There simply weren’t that many materials available, because there weren’t all these years and years of tests available,” Tripathi said. “Nobody really knew what was going on with the new SAT because there just simply wasn’t any empirical way to see that.”

Furda stressed that the new SAT will not affect how the Admissions Office evaluates applications based on all of the information available.

“For all of us, we’re going to use all of the information that we always have, and this is what we would always talk about even when tests don’t change, about a student’s high school courses, what about the grades that they received,” Furda said. “We’re always going to take a look at all of these factors.”

Furda cautioned that it’s still too early to determine how the new SAT compares to the old SAT and ACT in its ability to predict freshman year academic performance.

“We need to wait and see what the first year performance of the Class of 2021 is after they enroll at Penn,” Furda said. “What we want to do as an interim step is pull on the grades [that freshmen in the Class of 2021] received in their first semester ... and then we can really take a look at the grades in the first semester in the freshman year and into the sophomore year. I think that’s when we’re going to know the most.”

Regardless of any future actions, the Admissions Office has the immediate task of assembling the Class of 2021.

“We’re reviewing applications six days a week right now,” Furda said. “The group of people here are committing themselves to make sure that we’re carefully evaluating the applications we receive — including the incremental four percent increase that we had.”

Admissions decisions for the Class of 2021 regular decision round will be released March 30.

Correction: A previous version of this article said that 45 percent of applications for the class of 2021 came from outside the U.S., when in reality 45 percent of the increase in applications were from outside the U.S. The DP regrets the error.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tufts Received 21,057 Applications for Class of 2021

A record 21,057 high schoolers have applied for admission to this fall’s entering class in the schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering at Tufts, a 4 percent increase over last year’s record pool of 20,223. There are expected to be an estimated 1,350 spots in the undergraduate Class of 2021.

The numbers continue an upward trajectory of students who want to come to Tufts—applications have risen 28 percent over the past five years, said Karen Richardson, dean of undergraduate admissions and enrollment management.

“The Common Application definitely makes it easier for students to apply to more schools,” she said. “But we’ve also continued to do the outreach that we’ve always done. We continue to have packed campus tours, good turnout for our on-campus open houses, and we try to have a finger on the pulse of what prospective students think and how they want information. We replaced our view book with the Jumbo magazine, for example—it’s more dynamic and current—and we are increasingly using social media to full advantage.”

This year a record 2,310 students applied early decision, up 11.5 percent over last year’s record high of 2,070. Early decision applications are reviewed in two rounds. The number of applications for the first deadline in early November was 16 percent higher than the previous year, suggesting that more students want to be here and nowhere else, Richardson said.

The second round of early decision applications, which were due Jan. 1, grew by 6 percent. Richardson expects that half of the Class of 2021 will come from the early decision pools.

The number of international students who seek a place at Tufts continues to rise sharply, up nearly 14 percent over last year. The most are from China; applications from that country jumped 25 percent this year. Students from 133 countries have applied for admission, up from 127 last year. New countries represented in this applicant pool include Cameroon, Somalia, Laos, Malawi, Nicaragua and Uruguay.

All 50 states are represented, with the most applications coming from Massachusetts, California and New York.

Both the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences set new records. There were 4,046 applications to the School of Engineering, up from 3,905 last year. The School of Arts and Sciences received 16,810 applications, up from 16,255. Another 201 students have applied to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program, offered through the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) at Tufts. Tufts also received close to 100 additional applications for the five-year Tufts/SMFA combined degree program.

This admissions cycle is Richardson’s first since being appointed dean of undergraduate admissions last June, but she is well-versed in undergraduate admissions. She joined Tufts in 2008 as director of diversity recruitment, helping expand the Voices of Tufts Diversity Experiences recruitment program, designed to expose high school seniors to Tufts. In 2014 she was appointed founding director of graduate admissions.

Now as dean of undergraduate admissions, she’s had opportunities to meet hundreds of teenagers going through the college application process. The students who gravitate toward Tufts, she said, tend to be “interested in getting to know other people and in learning outside the classroom as much as in the classroom.” And for that reason, she said, Tufts seems a good fit.

“We’re not cutthroat about grades—they’re important, but students don’t compare or compete. When I say that to a room full of high schoolers, you can see the relief on their faces,” she said. “That’s what attracted me to Tufts when I came to work here nine years ago, and I think it’s attractive to a lot of students who want to learn and grow in an open, friendly community.”

Acceptance decisions for students who applied during the second round of early decision will be emailed in mid-February. Students who applied regular decision to the Class of 2021 will learn how they fared by April 1.

Laura Ferguson can be reached at

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NYU Received 67,232 Applications for Class of 2021

NYU today announced that a record-breaking 67,232 students applied for first-year admission to its Class of 2021, a six percent increase from last year marking the 10th year in a row of record application volume.  NYU received more applications than any other independent research university in America using the Common Application.
More students than ever before – over 9,000 - designated NYU as their first choice by filing an Early Decision application. All but a handful of countries in the world are represented in NYU’s applicant pool. A record-tying 27% of NYU’s applicants are from international students.
NYU now receives nearly 32,000 more applications than it did a decade ago.
The popularity of NYU's campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai continues to grow, with a four percent increase in students requesting to be considered for admission to NYU Abu Dhabi and a two percent increase in students requesting to be considered for admission to NYU Shanghai.
“It’s an astonishing number of students to apply to any university; at NYU, our sense is that the combination of a world-class education in a world-class city fuels a draw to NYU like no other,” said Shawn Abbott, Dean of Admissions. “It’s a testament to the vision of our founders that the new sort of university they sought to create in 1831 – in and of the city, more accessible, focused using learning to engage the world – is still so appealing.   Clearly today’s students understand more than ever how NYU’s combination of a demanding education in a diverse, urban setting with unrivaled global opportunities will enable them to succeed in the 21st century and be involved in shaping the world in a successful, positive way.”