A Ridiculous Assertion on Next Year’s Admit Rates

We were left scratching our heads when we came across a quote from a private college counselor in a CNBC piece on next year’s admit rates at our nation’s elite schools (photo credit: Andrew Chen).

At many of our nation’s highly selective colleges this year, applications were down and admission rates were up. And then came the pandemic, which led many colleges to reach deep down their waitlists. Some of our nation’s elite universities even extended offers of admission off the waitlist weeks in advance of May 1st (or National College Commitment Day). Heck, we had more than one student this year submit Letters of Enthusiasm only to learn of their admission within a few hours. For one student, we counted 43 minutes. And beyond the students who have already earned admission off waitlists, we anticipate that many of these schools will be continuing to admit students out of limbo through late August.

More Students Taking Gap Years, But Not As Many As Some Think

With all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we’ve written extensively about how many students contemplated taking gap years next year. We also wrote about how many international students are uncertain if they’ll be able to come to the United States next year to begin their college educations. But as our loyal readers know, we also wrote that we believe the percentage of students who will actually take gap years is overblown. In spite of the fact that learning might be remote in the fall, what are students to do if not begin their college coursework…even if it’s from their childhood bedrooms? Are they supposed to finish Netflix? But while we’ve asserted that the figures are overblown, we do not dispute the fact that more students will be taking gap years next year — and that more international students will not be able to attend next year — than in any year in history.

A Confounding Assertion on Class of 2025 Admit Rates at Elite Colleges

And that all leads us to one confounding assertion we came across in a CNBC article by Jessica Dickler entitled “Colleges acceptance rates may go higher as schools start aggressively courting applicants.” In this piece, Dickler quotes a private college counselor: “And yet, even among the most elite colleges and universities, acceptance rates have risen from record lows. This spring, 6 of the 8 Ivy Leagues, including Harvard and Yale, reported an uptick in acceptance rates for the Class of 2024. ‘For the current class, acceptance rates were slightly higher than last year,’ [Hafeez] Lakhani said. ‘The coming year, you are going to see another big jump.'”

More Students Deferring Likely Means Fewer Slots for Class of 2025

Oh? Look, it’s a projection. People get projections right and wrong all the time. Even Nate Silver. We don’t doubt the trend that fewer students are applying to our nation’s highly selective colleges. But how can this private college counselor suggest — with such conviction we might add — that another jump is coming for the Class of 2025? You see, the students who choose to defer their admission are likely going to be eating away slots from the Class of 2025. And those international students who can’t come? Well, they aren’t going to forego attending an elite university. They’re just going to defer their admission by a year as well, likely eating up further slots from the Class of 2025.

Why That Confident Assertion on Class of 2025 Admit Rates at Elite Colleges Is Ridiculous

So how exactly can Mr. Lakhani suggest — with such confidence — that admission rates are going to make a big jump next fall? Please. He doesn’t know. No one knows at this point. We can only forecast. It’s one thing to make a forecast. We at Ivy Coach often make forecasts with our famously accurate crystal ball. But we don’t say with certainty that admission rates are going to be higher next year and we certainly don’t say as much when the evidence suggests otherwise — as it does. Mr. Lakhani, care to address our concern with your assertion? We look forward to hearing from you!


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