It’s fairly standard in highly selective college admissions to read that applications at a given university reached an all-time high and that it’s “more competitive than ever.” As regular readers of our college admissions blog, you know well by now that more applications does not necessarily mean that the pool of applicants is “more competitive than ever.” That, in highly selective college admissions, is a big fat myth. But this year, two Ivy League colleges experienced a decrease in applications. Applications to Harvard as well as to Dartmouth are down this year, with Dartmouth’s applications significantly down.
In all, Harvard received 34,295 applications this year, down from 35,023 last year. This marked a 2.1% decrease in total applications to the university. Of the candidates, fewer students applied from New England, the Midwest, and abroad. Harvard is generally attributing the decline to demographic shifts. As stated in an article on applications to Harvard in “Bloomberg,” “The contraction in the number of U.S. high-school graduates began with the class of 2012 and future increases will be minor and temporary, according to a 2013 report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Harvard had ‘geographic shifts’ in areas where the report projected decreases, such as a 5.8 percent decline from the Midwest and a 5.1 percent drop from New England, Marlyn McGrath, director of admissions, said in the statement. Harvard also had 3.4 percent fewer international students apply.”
Dartmouth also attributed their more significant decline in applications to demographic shifts. We’ll be writing more about the decline in applications to Dartmouth in the coming days. In the meantime, have a question about applications to Harvard? Let us know your questions by posting them below!