The Ivy Coach Daily

July 12, 2023

Which College Has the Lowest Acceptance Rate?

Harvard Yard is featured covered in snow on a winter's day.
Harvard University currently has the lowest overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 among the schools that have released their data (photo credit: Chensiyuan)

Are you curious which of America’s universities boasts the lowest acceptance rate? If so, you likely have some schools in mind that could take the cake.

But, among America’s most selective universities as ranked by US News & World Report, is it Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or MIT? Is it Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, UPenn, or Cornell? Is it Duke, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, UChicago, Vanderbilt, WashU, or Caltech? Want a Spoiler Alert?

Harvard Boasts Lowest Acceptance Rate for Class of 2027, But Caltech Could Ultimately Take the Prize

Harvard boasts the lowest overall acceptance rate among all U.S. universities for the Class of 2027. But the much smaller Caltech could take the grand prize once the school releases its Common Data Set, including its overall admission rate for the Caltech Class of 2027.

Ivy Coach Projects Caltech Will Eclipse Harvard for the Lowest Admission Rate for the Class of 2027

Ivy Coach’s famously accurate crystal ball indeed projects that Caltech’s overall admission rate will eclipse Harvard’s for the Class of 2027. Thus, in our estimation, the Pasadena, California-based school that historically twice ranked #1 in the US News & World Report rankings among best national universities will claim the lowest overall admission rate.

So – Which College Had the Lowest Acceptance Rate of 2022-2023?

Answer: It’s Harvard and Everyone Else, Except Maybe Caltech.

Below are the overall admission rates for the Class of 2027 among America’s most selective national universities. If the school has yet to publish its admission rate, we’ll include it once the figures are released through The Common Data Set.

Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rates of 2023

College/UniversityUS News 2023 RankClass of 2027 Overall Admission Rate
Harvard University#33.41%
Columbia University#183.93%
Yale University#34.35%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#24.68%
University of Chicago#65%
Brown University#135.08%
Vanderbilt University#135.61%
Duke University#106%
Dartmouth College#126.07%
Northwestern University#107%
Rice University#157.7%
Princeton University#1Not Yet Published
Stanford University#3Not Yet Published
Johns Hopkins University#7Not Yet Published
University of Pennsylvania#7Not Yet Published
California Institute of Technology#9Not Yet Published
Washington University in St. Louis#15Not Yet Published
Cornell University#17Not Yet Published

Harvard’s Class of 2027 Admission Bests Its Ivy League Peers

For the Class of 2027, the most recent batch of applicants to America’s elite universities, five of the eight Ivy League institutions have reported their overall admission rates. Of these five institutions, Dartmouth’s overall admission rate stood at 6.07%, Brown’s at 5.08%, Yale’s at 4.35%, Columbia’s at 3.93%, and Harvard’s at 3.41% (the third-lowest admission rate in the university’s history).

Of the three Ivy League schools that have yet to release their overall acceptance rates for the Class of 2027 — Princeton, UPenn, and Cornell — it is improbable that any of the three eclipsed Harvard’s 3.41% overall admission rate. For the Class of 2026, Princeton’s overall admission rate stood at 5.7%, UPenn’s at 6.5%, and Cornell’s at 7.26%.

So, among the Ivy League institutions, it’s Harvard and everyone else. But what about Harvard’s peer institutions outside of the Ivies?

Harvard’s Class of 2027 Admission Rate Bests:

Stanford University

Stanford’s overall admission rate fell to a record-low 3.68% for the Class of 2026, though the school has yet to release its overall admission rate for the Class of 2027. So while Stanford could boast a lower overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 than Harvard when the figure is ultimately released, it would require a significant new benchmark. We don’t expect Stanford’s admission rate for the Class of 2027 to be lower than Harvard’s.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 stood at 4.68%. It dropped from the previous year due to a 20% application decline. For the Class of 2026, 3.96% of applicants to The Institute earned admission. But even for the Class of 2026, MIT’s record-low 3.96% overall admission rate did not match Harvard’s 3.19%.

Duke University

Duke’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 stood at 6%, down from 6.2% for the Class of 2026. Yet while the Durham, North Carolina-based institution boasts a very low overall admission rate, it’s not in the category of Harvard.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins has yet to release its Class of 2027 overall admission rate, but the school’s admission rate stood at 7.24% for the Class of 2026 — not in the ballpark of Harvard.

Northwestern University

Northwestern’s overall acceptance stood at 7% for the Class of 2027 — the same as for the Class of 2026. So Northwestern is also not in the conversation for the lowest overall admission rate among America’s top schools.

University of Chicago

UChicago’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 stood at 5%, eclipsing the school’s 5.44% admission rate for the Class of 2026. So it’s not in the range of Harvard.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 landed at 5.61%, besting its 6.1% overall admission rate for the Class of 2026. It’s a super low admission rate, without question, but it’s not in the ballpark of Harvard.

Washington University in St. Louis

WashU has yet to release its overall admission rate for the Class of 2027, but 10% of applicants earned admission to WashU in 2026 — so it’s not in the conversation with Harvard.

Rice University

Rice’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 landed at 7.7% compared to 8.56% for the Rice Class of 2026. So it’s apples and oranges when we’re talking about Harvard’s overall acceptance rate.

Caltech’s Class of 2027 Admission Rate Could Turn Out to Be Lower than Harvard’s

Caltech has yet to release its overall admission rate for the Class of 2027, reporting only that 412 students earned admission. However, Caltech’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2026 stood at 2.69%. No university in America boasted a lower overall admission rate than Caltech for the Class of 2026.

Thus it would not be surprising if Caltech’s overall admission rate for the Class of 2027 bests Harvard’s current low for the year among U.S. universities. But we’ll only know once Caltech’s Common Data Set for the Class of 2027 is published. So, hurry up, Caltech!

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