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‘Ivy Day’ 2023 results are in: Ivy League acceptance rates set record low

By Perri Ormont Blumberg | March 31, 2023 11:46am

Tri-state gasps could be heard all around the five boroughs yesterday as students rejoiced or reprimanded college admissions’ verdicts from the Ivy League.

Welcome to ‘Ivy Day’ mayhem, or March 30, when many Ivy League institutions reveal admission rates for the class of 2027.

“This year marks yet another year of historic lows in Ivy League acceptance rates — especially with top Ivy League colleges at a record 3% to 4% admit rate,” Christopher Rim, founder and CEO of Command Education, based in the West Village in New York City, told the Post.

With no further ado, here’s how the day shook out across Ivies that released their acceptance rates:

Ivy League School
Class of 2027 Admission Rate
Class of 2026 Admission Rate
Class of 2025 Admission Rate
Brown
5.08%
5.00%
5.50%
Columbia
3.90%
3.73%
3.90%
Cornell
TBA
7.26%
8.70%
Dartmouth
6.23%
6.20%
6.17%
Harvard
3.41%
3.19%
3.43%
Princeton
TBA
5.70%
3.98%
U. Pennsylvania
TBA
Withheld data
5.68%
Yale
4.35%
4.40%
4.62%
So what do insiders think of the numbers?

“While these numbers may be shocking and discouraging to younger students with Ivy League aspirations, it’s important to note that these declining admissions rates do not necessarily indicate that it is becoming steadily harder to earn admission,” Rim continued, noting that these numbers could simply show that more and more students are applying as top schools loosen their application requirements and adopt test-optional policies.

“In this case, the numbers could indicate a larger and less qualified applicant pool rather than a more challenging admissions landscape.”

As Rim put it, the low percentages underscore that perfect grades and test scores are not enough to earn acceptance at top schools. “Most students have a friend or sibling who, despite their 4.0 and 1600 SAT score, received a rejection letter,” he said. “Top grades and scores are only the foundation. Students need to show Ivy League and prestigious universities that they have clear and distinct passions and the desire to use those passions to effect positive change in their community.”

Laurie Kopp Weingarten, president and co-founder of One-Stop College Counseling, based in Marlboro, NJ, can’t help but be moved by the deluge of videos on social media today of students sharing they were accepted to their dream Ivy.

“It’s thrilling and oh so emotional to see all those students dressed in their Ivy college-of-choice gear, screaming with excitement,” she said. “But I always wonder about the videos we don’t see — the 95-plus percent of students receiving disappointing news. The tears, the angry words, the disappointed parents who struggle to find the best words/action to comfort their children. I’m glad I don’t see those denial videos.” she continued.

Calling this year’s acceptance rates truly “sobering,” Kopp Weingarten further reflected on some trends. “Brown discussed the number of students in rural areas and small towns, and the number of veterans accepted,” she said. “These are numbers that are priorities to the Ivy League (and other colleges), and students who fall into these categories are reviewed carefully as the Ivies try to increase their numbers.”

Most Ivies also mentioned the numbers admitted via QuestBridge, a college matching service for low-income students, added Kopp Weingarten.

Geographic diversity matters, too. “Many of the Ivies mentioned how they have students from all 50 states and also mentioned the number of countries,” she said.

Kopp Weingarten also noted Harvard went into detail on demographics, highlighting the percent admitted by race, “which is certainly on their mind as the Supreme Court is expected to rule on affirmative action in the next several months.”

What’s not shared by colleges is telling, too. “None of the releases mentioned what percent of legacies or recruited athletes were admitted,” said Kopp Weingarten.

Now that the entire Ivy League remained ACT/SAT test-optional this year, even though most students are now able to test (as opposed to 2020-2021 when testing was severely limited due to COVID), applications have soared, commented Kopp Weingarten.

“Many students who would never have applied to the Ivy League, due to low test scores, are now applying. They figure that if they don’t have to show their test scores, and if they have strong grades or rigor, why not throw their hat in the ring?”

On Ivy Day, none of the schools shared what percent applied test-optional, and what percent were admitted test optional. Kopp Weingarten believes we can assume the numbers are somewhat similar to last year when highly selective universities filled 35-50% of their class with applicants who chose not to submit test scores. “These increased numbers of applicants make it more difficult for everyone to get accepted.”

The college admissions pro is also seeing lots of colleges continuing to waitlist more students than their entire freshmen year class, “turning the waiting list into more of an ‘honorable mention’ award,” said Kopp Weingarten. “It’s going to be very difficult, percentage-wise, to get off of the waiting list.”

She added that Yale University was the only Ivy she saw that released their waiting list numbers in today’s announcements: “They admitted 1,433 students today, and they only placed 1, 145 students on their waiting list. It sounds like a lot, but I’ve seen colleges waiting thousands upon thousands of students,” said Kopp Weingarten.

If you or anyone in your inner circle is hoping to gain admission to one of these storied institutions, Rim stressed that while the numbers may be declining, what top schools want remains the same: “A well-rounded class made up of students with singular focus, demonstrable passions, and the drive to make a meaningful impact in their communities,” he said.

Of course, becoming such a student requires time, dedication, and strategy, said Rim, so it is imperative that students start preparing sooner for the college application process once they start freshman year in high school.

And, sometimes, you’ve gotta laugh. Princeton’s newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, had no numbers to release, so they wrote a satire about admitting nobody. “They had a fictitious dean of admissions, Nowuns Gudenuf, and an admission officer, Saul Ek Tivity,” said Kopp Weingarten. “Funny, but poignant — their spoof stating a 0% Regular Decision admission rate is probably only about 3% from reality.”

New York Post

Originally published on the New York Post on March 31, 2023

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