A little over a week ago, we reported that we anticipated Duke soon releasing information on an enormous haul of Early Decision applications to its Class of 2025. In fact, we wrote that the school received over 5,000 binding Early Decision commitments this fall — up by a margin of around 20% from last year. Duke’s admissions office has now published some specific data and the data is indeed in line with our prior reporting: 5,040 students submitted binding Early Decision applications to Duke this fall. This figure compares to 4,280 for the Early Decision pool of the Class of 2024, 4,852 for the Class of 2023, 4,090 for the Class of 2022, and 3,516 for the Class of 2021. While we forecasted ED applications would be up around 20% this year, applications ultimately surged by a margin of 17.76%. This, of course, is consistent with the trend at America’s elite colleges this fall: applications are up and they are up big time. Those headlines you’ve been reading about declining applications at America’s universities this fall relate to the 900+ universities in America — not the 25 or so highly selective universities in America. These schools are the exceptions, not the rule.
Duke’s Early Decision Acceptance Rate Will Be Between 16-17% for Class of 2025
As Mona Tong reports for The Duke Chronicle in a piece entitled “Duke sees record Early Decision applications, expects lower admit rate,” “In a letter to colleagues, Guttentag wrote that Duke expects an Early Decision acceptance rate of 16% to 17% this year. This translates to ‘between 800 and 850’ admitted students — ‘somewhat fewer than normal because of the number of students taking a gap year this year,’ Guttentag wrote. For the Class of 2024, 21% of applicants—887 students—were admitted. For the Class of 2023, 18%, or 882 students, were admitted. Guttentag added that the total size of the entering class, including students returning from a gap year, will remain the same as in previous years: between 1720 and 1730 students. Guttentag told The Chronicle that this surge in the number of Early Decision applications has been “unprecedented and certainly unexpected.” He wrote that the conventional wisdom was that with all the challenges this year, more students would ‘wait to apply, with fewer feeling like they were in a position to make the Early Decision commitment.'”
Elite Universities Are Not Expanding Incoming Class Sizes to Accommodate Gap Year Students
And what is the most interesting takeaway from Duke’s release? The school will be admitting “fewer than normal” Early Decision applicants. Additionally, “the total size of the entering class, including students returning from a gap year, will remain the same as in previous years.” This is, of course, what Ivy Coach’s famously accurate crystal ball has been forecasting for months: fewer admits and fewer seats. The fact is, elite colleges weren’t able to — and didn’t — build dorm rooms to accommodate increased incoming class sizes. So because of the huge number of students admitted to the Class of 2024 who opted to take gap years, of course they’re going to have to admit fewer students this year since incoming class sizes will remain relatively stable. Which leads us to Rebecca, who recently posted a Comment on our blog, “But Ivy Coach, remember that many schools will open the same amount of freshman spots as usual, despite gap year students, because they want to normalize their total enrollment. So they may have a smaller sophomore class, but allow for a bigger freshman class to offset it.” No, that’s simply not the case. Gap year students from the Class of 2024 are filling seats of the Class of 2025. Our nation’s elite universities simply won’t be significantly expanding their incoming class sizes to accommodate gap year students. They’re just going to admit fewer applicants to the Class of 2025. It’s that simple.
Early Decision notifications for Duke’s Class of 2025 have yet to go out. But stay tuned for updates!
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