The Ivy Coach Daily

January 6, 2021

Gap Year Students Fill Seats

About 19% of admits to Harvard’s Class of 2024 chose to defer their admission.

Wondering how all the students admitted to the Class of 2024 who opted to take gap years are impacting the admissions process for the Class of 2025? Well, if you take the word of some admissions leaders as the gospel, you might be left curious to see how it all shakes out. But — of course — one should not take the word of admissions leaders as gospel because, well, admissions officers often don’t tell it like it is. Are there exceptions? You bet. The former University of Pennsylvania Dean of Admissions Eric Furda so often told it like it was when he was tasked with leading UPenn’s admissions process. So too does Duke University’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag — he has a long history of speaking truth. But these admissions leaders are exceptions, not the rule.

Harvard’s Admissions Czar Suggests Impact of Gap Year Students is Essentially Wait and See

Case in point? Let’s take a look at the words of Harvard University’s longtime Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons. As Melissa Korn reports for The Wall Street Journal in a piece entitled “Ivy League Colleges Report Dramatic Growth In Early-Admission Applicant Pools,” “Harvard accepted 747 of its 10,086 applicants this cycle, compared with 895 admits from 6,424 applicants last year. It had 349 students from the fall 2020 entering class defer their enrollment. The school said it is still too early to determine how the deferrals will affect this year’s admissions. ’Given the high number of remarkable applicants to date, Harvard has taken a conservative approach” to early admissions, said William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid for Harvard College. That will “ensure proper review is given to applicants in the regular admissions cycle.’”

That’s Nonsense as Gap Year Students Are Filling Seats in Harvard’s Class of 2025

Really, Dean Fitzsimmons? It’s “still too early to determine how the deferrals will affect this year’s admissions”? Really? You offered admission to 895 students in the Early Action round last year. You offered admission to 747 students in the Early Action round this year. By our math, you admitted 148 fewer students so far to Harvard’s latest incoming class. How is this a wait and see scenario? The numbers tell the story. Maybe you’re actually being more forthright when you suggest that “Harvard has taken a conservative approach to early admissions” in that you conservatively admitted fewer students so as to accommodate the 19% of admits to Harvard’s Class of 2024 who chose to defer their admission by a year (a number that happened to be a lot lower than forecasted by many pundits). Yes, it’s a conservative approach. It’s more conservative than building dormitories during a pandemic to accommodate an increased incoming class size because, no, we do not expect Harvard to significantly expand the size of their incoming class. That’s why the school admitted 148 fewer students this Early cycle! Come on now, Dean Fitzsimmons. We weren’t born yesterday.

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