The Ivy Coach Daily

April 26, 2020

Getting Into Ivy League Schools Next Year

A headline in a Fox Business article suggests it will be harder to get into Ivy League schools due to the pandemic.

One of the core objectives of our college admissions blog is to debunk misconceptions about the highly selective college admissions process. In our experience, these misconceptions are so often perpetuated by school counselors, college admissions officers, private college counselors, the press, and the local handyman. And so when we came across a Fox Business article by Ann Schmidt in which she writes in the header, “Getting into an Ivy League school could be much harder with the coronavirus pandemic,” we found ourselves wondering what evidence she would rely upon to arrive at this conclusion.

Spring Test Cancelations Don’t Make It Harder to Get Into Ivy League Schools

The fact that spring SAT and ACT testing has been canceled does not — in any way — make it harder to get into Ivy League schools next year. That’s preposterous. Is it annoying for those students who were all prepared to test in May or June but are now going to have to test in the fall, possibly online? Yes. But does that make it harder to get into these school? No, it’s an issue that impacts all students across the board — except, of course, many students who chose to start testing earlier on in high school and have since completed their testing.

But, in general, issues that impact everyone across the board don’t make admission more difficult. The same goes with schools reporting pass/fail grades this spring. If your school switched to pass/fail grading this spring, admissions officers at our nation’s elite schools will understand. These are extenuating circumstances. How a school chooses to grade is not in a student’s control. They get that.

Will It Be Harder to Get Into Ivy League Schools for Class of 2025?

The Fox Business journalist concluded that it will be harder to get into Ivy League schools next year. We don’t totally disagree with that conclusion. We do, however, disagree with how she arrived at this conclusion. In short, basing that conclusion on test cancelations is a leap of logic. If she had instead argued that it might be harder for the Class of 2025 to earn admission to Ivy League schools because so many students from the Class of 2024 are going to choose to defer this year — especially international applicants — then we’d understand her logic. These students will take away seats from next year’s applicants. And, yes, we expect that there will be more students who choose to defer this year than any prior year in history.

Not many students typically choose to defer their admission. That will not be the case this year. But we’ve also found that the projected number of students taking gap years this coming year — as suggested by journalists, private college counselors, school counselors, and that local handyman — is likely overblown. Even if college campuses aren’t open this fall, we anticipate that most students will not choose to take gap years. What else are they going to do? Sit home and play video games? No, they’re going to take online courses. They’re going to stay engaged and remain as intellectually curious as ever. The number of gap year students will go up. No question. But the majority of students will not be taking gap years.

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