Curious to read about trends in Ivy League acceptance rates? There’s an article that cites our Ivy League Statistics up on “Business Insider” today by Abby Jackson entitled “The drop in Ivy League acceptance rates in the past decade is shocking” that we thought we’d share with our readers. We’d like to start off by mentioning that many would not find these drops to be shocking as there is a common mantra out there that goes something like this: “It gets harder and harder to get into the Ivies every year.” And if you just look at the Ivy League acceptance rates, the data would seemingly confirm this position. But as Mark Twain once said, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The man had a way with words.
Just because Ivy League acceptance rates drop just about every year across the board (with a couple of exceptions, depending on the year for each school), that does not mean it is getting more and more difficult to get into these highly selective universities. Think about it like this: when a ‘C’ student applies with a 24 ACT score, does that make the applicant pool more competitive? The answer, in short, is no. Not one bit. Just because more students are applying, just because Ivy League colleges — and other highly selective colleges — are getting better and better at successfully getting students to apply to these schools does not mean it’s getting more difficult to get in. Inflated applications does not equate with competitiveness.
So, yes, as the article by Abby Jackson in “Business Insider” correctly points out, “The steepest decline has occurred at Cornell, where the acceptance rate has fallen 17 percentage points, from the class of 2007 that accepted nearly 31% of students, to the class of 2018 that accepted a comparatively meager 14% of students. The University of Pennsylvania had about an 11 percentage point decline in admission, and Brown University and Dartmouth University both had 6 percentage point declines. Although Harvard only had a 4 percentage point decline in acceptance, that drop brought the admission rate to an incredibly low 5.9%. This declining acceptance rate is largely a function of rapidly increasing applications received by each school. For example, Cornell University received 20,442 applications for the class of 2007 while it received 43,041 applications for the class of 2018.” This is all true. But when you read about these Ivy League acceptance rates through the lens of our inflated applications argument, it all looks a whole lot different. Wouldn’t you say? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.