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The admissions process, while time-consuming and complex, is also fun and fascinating. Below, we’ve included some important college admissions statistics, facts, and figures that will help you understand the trends in admission over the past decade.
2021 college admission rates dropped as low as 3.4%, making it another competitive year for students applying to the most selective colleges and universities in the US. College acceptance rates over time have been dropping dramatically, making for an extremely competitive admissions process at some of the country’s top colleges and universities. Here’s a look at US college admission rates over the years.
* n/a = not applicable since an Early Action policy was in place
The graph below of the 2021 Ivy League admissions statistics shows a comparison between the Early Decision / Early Action acceptance rates and the Regular Decision acceptance rates:
Brown University leads off our Class of 2021 Ivy League admissions statistics. In the Early Decision round, 695 students were offered admission to the university. It marked the most applicants admitted in the school’s history in the Early Decision round and these admitted students were drawn from the largest Early Decision pool in the school’s history too — out of a record 3,170 applicants. So there were a whole lot of historical admissions benchmarks set by Brown for the Class of 2021. And of the students who weren’t admitted in the Early Decision round, 60% were deferred to the Regular Decision pool, while 18% were denied outright. And if you’re wondering about the admit rate for Brown’s PLME program for the Early Decision pool of the Class of 2021, the figure stood at 6.7%.
The university admitted 8.3% of overall applicants for its incoming class — a record low for the Providence, Rhode Island-based school. The previous record-low admit rate stood at 8.5% and that figure was for the Brown Class of 2019. This 8.3% admit rate for the Brown Class of 2021 reflects data for both the Early Decision round in which the university had a 22% admit rate and the Regular Decision round in which the university boasted a 6.5% admit rate. So you don’t need to be a statistician to know that there is a tremendous advantage in applying to Brown University in the Early Decision round as compared to the Regular Decision round.
In the Regular Decision round, 2,027 students earned admission to Brown. If you’re wondering what percentage of the 60% of Early Decision applicants who were deferred admission in the Early Decision round earned admission in Regular Decision, the figure stood at 5.4% (that’s notably low as at most highly selective schools, this same figure tends to hover around 10% — come on Brown, show some more love for those Early Decision applicants who make a binding commitment to you!).
Highlights of Brown University’s Class of 2021
In the Early Decision pool, in which admitted students hail from 41 states and 39 nations around the world, 411 of the 695 applicants who earned admission indicated they were female on their applications, while 284 indicated they were male. This is a notable disparity, one we’ve pointed out before for previous incoming classes of Brown University. Highly selective colleges — with the obvious exception of, say, all women’s colleges — tend to want to admit men and women in equal numbers. So while Brown University’s admissions office would never suggest that it helps to be male when applying, logic tells you that it sure does. Does this mean the university will admit unqualified males? No. They still need to be extremely impressive candidates of course…since, after all, Brown is one of America’s most selective colleges.
In the Early Decision pool, which filled about 40% of the Brown Class of 2021 (another strong indication that it sure does help to apply ED!), 36% of admits self-identified as underrepresented minorities (URMs) — a climb from last year’s same figure for the Class of 2020 which stood at 31%. But the bigger surge was with highly coveted first-generation college students. 13% of admitted students in the Early Decision round at Brown for the Class of 2021 will be the first in their families to attend college, essentially doubling the same figure from the last Early Decision cycle at the university.
In Brown’s Regular Decision pool, the university admitted students from each of the fifty nifty United States from thirteen original colonies. And the university admitted students from 77 nations, too. That’s quite a lot of countries. Indeed 12% of admitted students in Brown’s Regular Decision pool hail from outside of the United States. 47% of admitted students self-identified as underrepresented minorities, 62% hail from public high schools as opposed to private high schools, and 14% will be the first in their families to attend college. 95 students earned admission to Brown’s PLME program (Program in Liberal Medical Education), while 21 students got into the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program.
For further reading, check out the complete articles on Brown University’s Early Decision admissions statistics and Brown’s Regular Decision stats.
It was a record Early Decision pool for Columbia University’s Class of 2021 — with 4,086 students making binding commitments to attend the Morningside Heights-based campus if they had the good fortune to earn admission. This includes applicants to both Columbia College as well as the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Last year, for the Class of 2020, 3,520 students applied to Columbia in the Early Decision round. Based on our calculus (ok, it’s not calculus!), that marks a 16% rise in Early Decision applications in one year alone. Quite a jump, Columbia!
The admit rate for Cliff Montgomery’s alma mater stood at 6% for the Columbia Class of 2020. That same figure for Columbia’s Class of 2021 stands at 5.8%. Indeed that’s the direction Columbia University’s admissions office, the admissions office that is notoriously the most tight-lipped each year about its incoming classes, wants their statistics to go in.
Highlights of Columbia University’s Class of 2021
We always offer insight into the profile of the incoming class at Columbia several months later since the tight-lipped admissions office publishes data well after every other Ivy League school publishes their respective admissions statistics. So check back soon for more insight and analysis on the Columbia Class of 2021. It’ll be here.
While you’re here, read about the Columbia University Class of 2021.
Applications to Cornell were up over 10% (10.3% to be precise) year-to-year this Early Decision admissions cycle. The Ithaca, New York-based university received 5,384 Early Decision applications for the Class of 2021. This broke the benchmark set just last year. That’s like setting the American record in the 100-meter backstroke only to shatter that record just twelve months later. Pretty cool. In fact, in just the last ten years alone, Cornell’s Early Decision pool has increased by…wait for it…78%. 78%! There must be something in that Cayuga water.
In the Early Decision pool, 25.6% of the 5,384 students were offered admission to the Cornell Class of 2021 — down from 27.4% for the Early Decision pool of the Class of 2020. In the Regular Decision pool for Cornell’s Class of 2021, 47,038 students applied for admission. And 12.5% of them got in. “The Cornell Daily Sun” reports this figure to be 5,889 students but last we checked, 12.5% of 47,038 was closer to 5,879 students than 5,889 students. But close enough — you get the idea! And we know waitlisted students are always wondering how many other applicants were placed in limbo. The Regular Decision waitlist figure for Cornell’s Class of 2021 stood at 5,713 this year. That’s a whole lot of students placed in waitlist limbo! Too many if you ask us.
Highlights of Cornell University’s Class of 2021
In the Early Decision round, there was genuine gender parity among admitted students with 50.1% of admitted students identifying as female. By our calculations, that means that 49.9% identified as male. Good thing we still remember our BC Calculus! Of these admitted students, 35% were students of color and, yes, this figure does include Asian American applicants, too. 14.4% of admits hail from outside of the United States and legacies accounted for 23.3% of admitted ED applicants. If you’re wondering what percentage of admitted Early Decision applicants to Cornell for the Class of 2021 were recruited athletes, the figure stood at 13.4%.
30.2% of overall students (Early Decision + Regular Decision) for the Cornell University Class of 2021 self-identify as underrepresented minorities, a figure that does not include Asian American applicants. And that figure is a new record for the school — one broken each of the last three admissions cycles. As Asian American (and Asian) applicants are not underrepresented minorities, the percentage of students who identify as students of color for the Cornell Class of 2021 stood at 52.5% (up from 49% for the Class of 2020). So you can gauge from the data that, yes, Cornell gets quite a few Asian American and Asian applicants indeed.
9% of overall admitted students to Cornell’s Class of 2021 hail from outside of the 50 U.S. states (the school did admit students from each state — always a coup!). International admits to Cornell’s Class of 2021 hail from 96 countries in fact (with the greatest percentage of international admits coming from Canada, India, China, the UK, Singapore, and South Korea). The number of first-generation college students is a figure that is vitally important to all highly selective colleges — and Cornell is no exception. The university admitted 700 first-generation college students. The school also admitted 200 recruited athletes.
Read more about Cornell University’s admissions stats for the Cornell Class of 2021.
Out of a record high 1,999 Early Decision applicants to the College on the Hill, 555 students were offered admission as members of the Dartmouth Class of 2021. This marked an Early Decision admit rate of 27.8%, a climb from last year’s ED admit rate which stood at 25.6%. The target for the Dartmouth admissions office was to fill about 47% of the incoming class with Early Decision admits.
In the Regular Decision round, Dartmouth offered admission to 2,092 students out of 20,034 applicants — marking an admit rate of 10.4%. 10.4% marked the lowest admit rate for the alma mater of Shonda Rhimes since the year 2013. So it was indeed a good year for Dartmouth’s admissions office.
Highlights of Dartmouth College’s Class of 2021
Of Dartmouth’s Early Decision pool, 31% of admitted students were students of color. 10% will be the first in their families to attend college. 16% of admitted students qualify as legacies. 8.3% hail from outside the borders of the United States — from 22 countries in fact. ED admits were from 45 of the 50 states (in addition to DC and Puerto Rico) with California marking the most-represented state. Way to go, California!
Of Dartmouth’s Regular Decision pool, 96% of students who came from high schools that ranked their students were in the top 10% of their graduating classes — with 547 students named valedictorians or salutatorians. International admits were up big time at the College on the Hill. As cited on the pages of “The Dartmouth,” America’s oldest college newspaper, “Bev Taylor, founder of college admissions consulting firm Ivy Coach, said that Dartmouth has been working to have more international applicants and has seen an increase in its application numbers over the past two years. She said that the increase in applications and their quality, as well as the diversity in the pool, was cause for praise.” Indeed 255 admits hailed from 63 nations outside of the United States, an all-time Dartmouth record and a remarkable 38% increase from just last year. The most well-represented foreign countries for Dartmouth admits include Canada, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. No surprise really there.
For some more data on the Dartmouth Class of 2021, 15% were first generation college students, 9% were legacies (note how more legacies apply — and are offered admission — in the Early Decision round), 51% were students of color (including Asian American and Asian students), and 63% of students admitted to Dartmouth applied for financial aid.
Read more about Dartmouth’s incoming Class of 2021.
Harvard’s Early Action applications for its Class of 2021 were up 5% over last year. In all, 6,473 students applied Early Action to the university — as compared to 6,167 for the Class of 2020. This year, 938 of these young people earned admission, marking an admit rate of 14.5% (or 0.3% lower than last year’s EA admit rate of 14.8%). As Harvard’s longtime Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William Fitzsimmons dubs the annually rising Early pool, it’s “the new normal.” In the Regular Decision round, 1,118 students were also offered admission. So if you combine the Early Action admits with the Regular Decision admits, you have a Harvard Class of 2021 that is comprised of 2,056 students. How’s our math? Overall, of the nearly 40,000 (wow!) applicants, Harvard College offered admission to 2,056 students. This marked an admit rate of 5.2%, the lowest admission rate among the eight Ivy League schools for the Class of 2021. It also happened to be the admit rate for last year’s Harvard class — so things stayed steady.
Highlights of Harvard College’s Class of 2021
Admitted students from Harvard’s Early Action pool consisted of 48% women as compared to 47.4% for last year’s Early Action pool. The percentage of African American students admitted in the Early round also rose this year — up to 12.6% from 9.5%. Asian American admitted students accounted for 21.7% of admitted EA applicants, a number that stood at 24.1% last year. The percentage of admitted Latino admits was slightly down, with the figure standing at 8.8% as compared to 9.5% for the Class of 2020. The percentage of Native American admits was also slightly down from 1.6% last year to 1.1% this year. With respect to geography, more students were admitted from the Midwest and Mountain states and fewer from the West and South as compared to this time last year — though the geographic numbers are quite similar year over year.
The percentage of students identifying as minorities was down slightly from recent years, notably among Latino and Native American admits. African American admits were up for the Class of 2021. In all (including Early Action and Regular Decision data), 49.2% of admitted students identified as female — so that’s a figure that’s also up from last year. Students hailing from outside of the United States accounted for 11.4% of admits while over a quarter of admits indicated an interest in studying a social science.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania has a track record of loving its Early Decision applicants. Last year, 55% of Penn’s incoming class was comprised of Early Decision admits. For the Class of 2021, 22% of Early Decision applicants to Ben Franklin’s school earned admission — down slightly from last year when 23.2% of Penn ED applicants got in. In all, 6,147 students applied Early Decision to Penn for the Class of 2021, a new benchmark for the university. Of these 6,147 students, 1,354 received offers of admission. Early Decision applications were up this year to Penn — by a margin of 7% over last year (and 28% over the last four years — marking a steep spike!).
In all, 40,413 students applied to the University of Pennsylvania and 3,699 were offered admission, marking the lowest admission rate in the school’s long and storied history (9.15%). Applications were up from 38,918 just last year and the admit rate for the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based school fell from last year’s 9.4%, which is indeed statistically significant.
Highlights of University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 2021
Penn is quite proud — and rightly so — that among its Early Decision admits for the Class of 2021 to the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, half are female. That’s very impressive indeed since our nation needs more female engineers desperately! Among the Early Decision admits to the Class of 2021 at Penn, they hail from 46 states and 44 countries outside of the United States.
Overall, 54% of the UPenn Class of 2021 self-identified as female, while 46% self-identified as male. The percentage of women in the incoming class is higher than the percentage of female undergraduates currently studying at the university. International applications rose by a margin of 10% with students hailing from 94 countries. Penn was able to secure the missing four states in the Regular Decision round to be able to claim at least one admitted student from each of the fifty states in our strong union — with the most represented states being New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Texas, and Florida. 172 of those admitted claimed Philadelphia as home. Do you know what’s also in Philadelphia? The University of Pennsylvania. Duh. Penn loves to support its community…it always has.
One out of every eight admitted students will be the first in their families to attend college in the Penn Class of 2021. 46% of admitted students self-identified as students of color (this includes Asian American and Asian applicants). Admitted students hail from 2,145 high schools and 14% qualify as legacies. 90% of the applicant pool were offered interviews — so to those folks who still get excited about getting an interview, try not to get too excited since it doesn’t mean anything other than that the university had an alum available in your area to conduct an interview. Sorry to burst that bubble but it needed bursting!
While you’re here, check out some further reading on the University of Pennsylvania‘s admissions statistics for the Class of 2021.
Out of a pool of 5,003 students who applied for Early Action admission to Princeton University for its Class of 2021, 770 were offered the chance to be Tigers. And this pool of over 5,000 applicants marked the largest applicant pool for the university in six years — indeed it was 18.3% larger than last year’s SCEA pool at Princeton. By our calculations, this marks a 15.4% Early Action admit rate for the Class of 2021 at the Princeton, New Jersey-based school.
Overall, Princeton’s admit rate for the Class of 2021 — including both Early Action and Regular Decision figures — stood at 6.1%, marking the lowest admit rate in the university’s storied history. In all, 31,056 students applied to Princeton, while 1,890 were offered admission (including the 770 students from the Early Action round).
Highlights of Princeton University’s Class of 2021
In Princeton’s Single Choice Early Action round, admitted students hailed from 42 of the 50 states (plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico) and from 45 nations around our globe. They were split evenly among men and women and 57% hailed from public high schools. 14% of admitted students in the EA round will be the first in their families to attend college, while 16% were legacies — two very different groups indeed.
Overall, admitted students to Princeton University can claim 49 of the 50 states home (you bet Princeton would have loved to admit a student from each of the 50 states — they fell one short…ouch!). They also can count 76 countries as home — adding 31 nations from the Early Action round based on our mathematics. 12.1% of admits were in fact international students.
More women were admitted than men in the Regular Decision round, accounting for 50.5% of admitted applicants self-identifying as women, 49.5% as men. New York, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Florida were the most well-represented states among admitted students. 11% of overall admits counted as legacies (remember, that statistic was 16% for the EA round — which tells you that if you want your legacy card to count, do absolutely apply Early!). And almost 20% of admits will be the first in their families to attend college, which is so very cool. Way to go, Princeton!
With Yale opening two new residential colleges in the fall of 2017, the university had announced prior to the admissions cycle that they’d be expanding the size of their incoming class. And that they sure did. More students were admitted in the Early Action round for the Class of 2021 at Yale than in any recent year — though not in Yale’s history — with 871 students earning slots. These 871 students came from an applicant pool of 5,086 Single Choice Early Action applicants, which was 9% larger than last year’s EA pool. That marks an Early Action admit rate of 17.1%. As for the rest of the Early Action pool, 53% of applicants were deferred admission to the Regular Decision cycle, while 28% were denied. 2% either withdrew or didn’t complete their applications. Who does that? Hey, we’ve got to offer some color commentary…Ivy League admissions statistics would otherwise be a bit dry.
Overall, 32,900 students applied for admission to Yale to be members of the Class of 2021, with a mere 6.9% of students being offered admission (2,272 students) — a statistic that includes both the Early Action and Regular Decision pools. But the overall admit rate wasn’t as strong as last year’s admit rate for Yale, which stood at 6.27%. So when you hear that admit rates go down each and every admissions cycle, that’s generally true but it’s not always the case. It wasn’t the case for Yale for the Class of 2021 — though the school did have to fill a larger class because of the opening of those two new residential colleges. And as for the number of students who were placed on the waitlist after Regular Decision at Yale, that figure stood at 1,181.
So Yale University was the only Ivy League institution this year to have a higher acceptance rate — likely on account of the increased size of the freshman class (so nothing to be alarmed about for Yale’s admissions office one bit!). At Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, and Princeton, the overall admission rate dropped, while it stayed the same at Harvard.
Highlights of Yale University’s Class of 2021
Admitted students to Yale University’s Class of 2021 come from all 50 nifty United States from 13 original colonies as well as from 68 countries — which marks considerably fewer countries than are represented in, say, the University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 2021 which claims admitted students from 94 of our world’s nations. That’s 26 more countries in Penn’s class than Yale’s by our advanced mathematics. But who is counting. Ok, we at Ivy Coach are!
These admitted students hail from over 1,500 high schools around the world. And the percentage of admitted students who self-identify as underrepresented minorities is up slightly this year.