The Ivy Coach Daily

November 11, 2020

Elite Universities Are Often Exceptions to the Rule

Our sources indicate Early applications to many of our nation’s top universities are up this fall (photo credit: Ad Meskens).

One reason why we post about college admissions every day of the week is because there are tons of misconceptions floating out there in the universe about the process — misconceptions perpetuated by high school counselors, admissions officers, journalists, and even your local handyman. On some occasions, it’s not that a journalist gets its wrong in a story. It’s more that what they are saying is true of America’s colleges in general…it’s just not true of our nation’s top universities. You see, many of America’s universities are not selective at all. Many of America’s universities accept way more applicants than they deny. Yet when the parents of college applicants — or the college applicants themselves — read an article on college admissions, they often make the leap that what they’re reading applies to America’s most highly selective universities, including the Ivy League schools.

What’s the Case at Most Universities Is Often Not the Case at Elite Universities

A case in point is a recent article in The Wall Street Journal by Maya Goldman and Melissa Korn entitled “College-Admissions Season Was Already Stressful. Pandemic Made It Chaotic.” In the piece, Goldman and Korn write, “With early-admission deadlines this month, fewer students have applied to colleges or filled out federal financial-aid forms compared with a year ago, and universities say they are struggling to predict who might eventually enroll…Through Nov. 2, the Common Application had nearly 8% fewer first-year applications than in the same period last year—and 10% fewer applicants. The application is used by more than 900 colleges and universities.”

Early Applications to Universities Are Down, But Early Applications to Elite Universities Are Likely Up

Everything Goldman and Korn write is — of course — true. Fewer students submitted Early applications on the Common App. this fall. And since the vast majority of college applicants apply using the Common App., it’s fair to say that fewer students applied by November 2nd this year as compared to last year. But there are not 900 highly selective universities in America. There are more like 20, 25 tops. So that which is true at the 900th ranked university in America is not necessarily true at, say, Harvard. And, in fact, if our sources are correct, Early applications are up this year — and they’re up rather significantly — at many of our nation’s elite universities. We’ll be reporting on these figures in the weeks to come. So stay tuned!

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