Applications Up Across Ivies

Meagan Steiner

February 6, 2006

All five schools giving figures beat 2005 marks; some say students are applying to more colleges

Penn turned in an average performance in terms of drawing applicants this year, at least relative to its peers.

The four other Ivy League schools that have released application statistics saw increases similar to or greater than Penn’s 8-percent jump in total applications received.

Dartmouth College witnessed an estimated 18-percent overall rise in applications, more than any other Ivy thus far. Still, it received the lowest number of applications overall — about 15,000.

Penn received about 20,300 applications. Columbia’s 19,730 total applications marks a 9-percent increase. Yale’s total applications rose 7.5 percent, to 20,903. An 8-percent boost at Brown yielded 18,250 total applicants.

Independent college counselor Bev Taylor said that in recent years her students have begun applying to more institutions, specifically to more Ivy League schools. She said most of her students apply to six or seven schools, but some apply to as many as 16.

Hearing stories of Ivy League schools that reject valedictorians with 1600 SAT scores scares students into submitting more applications, she said.

Alana Chill, a senior at Harrison High School in New York who applied to Penn, Cornell, Brown and eight other schools, said students commonly apply to multiple Ivies at her school, where Penn is very popular.

“People know the statistics are fairly low of getting into one, that by applying to more than one they increase their chances,” she said. “Some of the kids take the name of the school very seriously, and the reputation [as well]. They know what they want and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it.”

Last year, Penn admitted just over a fifth of all applicants. Some of its peers, however, routinely admit around 10 percent.

Taylor also cited rising use of online applications and the Common Application as contributors to an increase in Ivy League applications. Five of the Ivies now accept the Common Application, but Penn is not among them.

Taylor said that what she terms “the Ivy dream” is a major reason to apply to top schools.

She added that parents and students think, “Graduate from an Ivy League school and everything is going to be easier for you later on,” she said. “I’m not saying that’s true, because you could get a wonderful education at a school that’s not an Ivy. … We live in a society [where] Ivy equals success.”