Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Applications to Selective Colleges Rise as Admission Rates Fall

With many of the nation’s most selective colleges and universities scheduled to inform applicants of their decisions on Thursday, The Choice has been reaching out to those institutions in pursuit of some statistical context.

Though the figures I have in hand so far are the equivalent of early returns on election night, one trend already appears to be emerging: applications to elite private colleges rose again this academic year, despite the economic constraints on many families, and admission rates often fell to record lows.

Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Cornell, Stanford, M.I.T. and Duke are each reporting sharp increases in applications this year in comparison to last year. Undergraduate applications to Harvard, for example, rose nearly 5 percent to 30,489, according to an e-mail from William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. Only 6.9 percent of those applicants, or 2,110, were admitted, Mr. Fitzsimmons said, down from 7.5 percent in 2009.

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