The Ivy Coach Daily

July 12, 2022

Harvard vs. Stanford

Cross-admits to both Harvard and Stanford still tend to choose Harvard — but Harvard’s advantage is no longer so one-sided (photo credit: King of Hearts).

While Harvard University and Yale University enjoy the biggest rivalry in the Ivy League (heck, their annual football match is called “The Game,”), it’s not Yale that is Harvard’s biggest rival in the world of admissions these days. No, it’s Stanford University. Yes, when a student is admitted to Harvard in addition to another school and opts to attend that other school, chances are that school is Stanford. That being said, do most students choose Stanford over Harvard if they’re lucky enough to have earned admission to both? No, let’s not get carried away! While lots of folks like to suggest that most students choose Stanford over Harvard when admitted to both, the data does not back up this assertion.

As Parchment spotlights, 55% of students admitted to both Harvard and Stanford choose Harvard. We didn’t happen to major in mathematics but by our arithmetic, this means that 45% of students admitted to both Harvard and Stanford choose Stanford. And while our own sampling pool is admittedly skewed, many more of our students admitted to both Harvard and Stanford over the years have chosen Harvard. In fact, we hadn’t had a student choose Stanford over Harvard until this year. In all years prior, our students always chose Harvard. But, hey, we’re Ivy Coach and Stanford is not an Ivy League school (although, over the last three decades, we’ve enjoyed even more success helping students earn admission to Stanford than some Ivy League schools…because Stanford, unlike the Ivies, doesn’t have an Academic Index so they’ll often accept one of our compelling students in spite of certain grades or scores).

Now, don’t get us wrong. Harvard has some intense competition on its hands. A couple of decades ago, a greater percentage of students admitted to both Harvard and Stanford chose Harvard. But with the tech boon and with Stanford being situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford has come on very strong over the last several years. It is no longer a foregone conclusion that a student admitted to both institutions will choose Harvard. Yet will the tide soon turn? Will more students in the decades to come choose Stanford over Harvard when admitted to both institutions? Only time will tell. Stay tuned!

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