Ivy League applications have bucked the college admissions trend of the last several years by falling this admissions cycle. Among Ivy League colleges this year, only Dartmouth, Yale, and Cornell actually experienced a growth in their respective applicant pools. That means that Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, and Penn didn’t have quite the numbers that they had last year. This is one of those years when the PR spinsters can’t even claim it’s the “most competitive class ever.” If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that line isn’t true anyway.
According to “The Dartmouth” article on Ivy League applications, “The decline in application growth has a variety of causes, including the shrinking population of college-age students and continued economic uncertainty, as well as the reintroduction of early action programs at Harvard and Princeton that reduce the need for students to apply to a large number of schools, according to Parish.”
We happen to agree that Harvard and Princeton’s reinstatement of their Early policies did impact applications to other Ivy League schools this admissions cycle. But is the bad economy really to blame for the fall in applicants to Ivy League colleges this year? We doubt it. For students who are going to be paying for college (or paying off loans for college), the application fee to Ivy League colleges isn’t exactly consequential in comparison. As for the “shrinking population of college-aged students,” we have checked out census data and can confirm that this population is indeed shrinking. And it will continue to do so over the next few years.
While you’re here, check out our comprehensive Ivy League Admissions Statistics.