Applications for undergraduate admissions to Harvard University and Columbia University rose to all-time highs, making it harder than ever before to get into the colleges.
Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, received almost 35,000 applications for the next academic year, a 15 percent increase from 30,489 for the current year, William Fitzsimmons, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid, said today in a statement. Applications to Columbia, in New York, rose 32 percent to a 34,587, from 26,179 a year earlier, according to a statement today.
Harvard admitted 6.9 percent of applicants last year, and Columbia 9 percent. The most-selective colleges are setting application records because students are seeking a chance at “the luxury brands of higher education,” said David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling in Arlington, Virginia.“If you want to be seen in a Mercedes, you have to go buy one,” Hawkins said in an interview. “If you want to be seen as a Harvard student, you pay the application fee and take your chance. As more students are performing better academically in high school, they are taking their shots.”
Harvard is the richest university in the U.S., with an endowment of $27.4 billion last June 30. It is a member of the Ivy League, a group of eight universities in the northeast U.S.