The Ivy Coach Daily

May 16, 2022

Surging Applications to Elite Universities

Applications have surged by 66% over the last two years at MIT (photo credit: John Phelan).

If you watch a news segment on college admissions, you might scratch your head when you hear that applications to our nation’s colleges are down. But, remember, there are hundreds of colleges across America. Only a small percentage of these colleges are selective or highly selective. At most colleges across America, the vast majority of applicants get in. Of course, that is not the case at the Ivy League schools or their peer institutions where admission rates regularly fall below 10%. So as you hear news reports about declining application numbers at America’s colleges, we thought we’d counter this storyline with some data at our nation’s top schools over the past two years.

At Brown University, applications have spiked 37% over the last two years. And it’s not as though Brown is alone in receiving an influx of applications over the past two years. During this same time span, applications have spiked 40% at Amherst College, 28% at Barnard College, 38% at Boston College, 49% at Columbia University, 38% at Cornell University, 32% at Dartmouth College, 19% at Emory University, 26% at Georgetown University, 52% at Harvard University, 33% at Johns Hopkins University, 66% at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 42% at Middlebury College, 31% at Northwestern University, 34% at Rice University, 26% at Swarthmore College, 51% at Tufts University, 46% at University of California, Berkeley, 38% at the University of California, Los Angeles, 30% at the University of Pennsylvania, 16% at the University of Southern California, 27% at Vanderbilt University, 29% at Washington University in St. Louis, 32% at Wellesley College, 15% at Wesleyan University, 75% at Williams College, and 42% at Yale University.

Yes, you read these application spikes correctly. In just two years, applications have surged by a margin of 66% at MIT and 75% at Williams. 75%! What a couple of years it’s been for America’s elite universities! So, indeed, it’s been a tale of two different kinds of colleges: colleges across America that struggle to attract applicants (most colleges) and America’s elite colleges with unprecedented interest which, in many cases, deny over 90% of applicants.

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