The Ivy Coach Daily

February 15, 2021

International Applications Are Going to Surge at Elite Universities

We anticipate international applications to America’s elite universities will skyrocket during the Biden administration.

In late 2020, a number of our nation’s most reputable news publications ran articles focusing on how applications to America’s universities were down significantly. Many of these same pieces did not point out that while applications were down at the vast majority of America’s universities, applications to our nation’s elite universities, a small subset of this group, were up — and they were up big. You see, historically, that which is true at America’s universities is often not true at America’s highly selective universities. Put simply, that which is true at DeVry University likely isn’t true at Harvard University. Sorry, DeVry! In any case, on the eve of the election of former President Trump back in 2016, many forecasted that international applications to America’s universities would sink due to his America first, xenophobic policies. And we agreed with this assessment but were quick to point out in this same breath that international applications would remain strong to America’s elite universities. And why? Because young people from all over the world are always going to clamor to attend the very best universities in the world irrespective of the occupant of the Oval Office.

We Forecast International Applications to Top Universities Will Surge During Biden Administration

Like so many of our past forecasts, Ivy Coach’s crystal ball forecast on international applications back in 2016 proved true. International applications to the vast majority of America’s universities would sink during the Trump years, but they would hold steady at our nation’s elite universities. Young people from all over the world still clamored to attend our nation’s elite universities, including the Ivy League institutions. And now that President Biden has taken office, we figured we’d share with our readers a new crystal ball reading: we anticipate international applications to America’s elite universities will surge over the next four years and we believe the uptick will be immediate. Yes, in spite of COVID-19 travel restrictions, in spite of the whiplash international students endured during the Trump administration (like when they were told they needed to leave the country if their university switched to full-time remote instruction), young people from around the world maintain their faith in our nation’s most prestigious universities.

International Applications Are Up Big at UPenn This Year

In fact, the University of Pennsylvania serves as an excellent case in point that international students are still clamoring to attend our nation’s top schools. As Saskia Wright reports for The Daily Pennsylvanian in a piece entitled “Penn gets 50% more intl. applicants than in 2020 while foreign enrollment sinks nationwide,” “Penn received over 11,000 international applications for the Class of 2025 — a record 50% increase from last year — even as international student enrollment in United States colleges saw a drastic decrease this year. The University saw an increase in international applicants in both its early and regular decision rounds, Interim Dean of Admissions John McLaughlin said. 13% of admitted ED students for the class of 2025 are international, and they hail from 56 countries…The University’s record-breaking increase in international applications, however, stands in stark contrast to recent trends regarding international students studying in U.S. universities. According to a survey of more than 700 colleges, the total number of international students studying at U.S. universities, whether from within the country or from abroad, decreased by 16% in fall 2020. There was also a 43% drop in enrollment for new international students.”

Look for similar international applicant numbers to be released by our nation’s highly selective universities in the days and weeks to come. We believe UPenn’s numbers will be part of a larger trend.

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