Harvard Acceptance Rates Rise As Most Ivy League Schools Become Less Selective

Ivy League schools, known for being the most selective colleges in the nation, became a little less selective this year.

Names like Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn have all posted increased acceptance rates for classes that will begin this fall, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal

Harvard admitted 4.9% of the 40,248 people who applied last year compared to its 4.6% acceptance rate the year prior. Dartmouth this year accepted 8.8% of applicants, up from 7.9% last year. Columbia admitted 6.1% of applicants this year, which was up from 5.3% the year prior, as applications dropped by almost 2,500 and the school simultaneously accepted 220 more students.

Yale also saw its acceptance rate move higher, to 6.5% from 6.2%. And Penn's acceptance rate went from 7.7% to 8.1%.

Colleges, including Ivy League names, have hit an unprecedentedly challenging landscape with the ongoing pandemic shaking up enrollment projections for each university. It is still unknown what the state of the nation will be by the time fall courses are set to begin: will students be allowed on campus? Will residence halls be open? Will foreign students even be allowed to travel to the U.S.?

Some schools pulled extra candidates from their waitlist or "deny" groups in order to make sure they could enroll a full class. Reed College in Oregon saw its acceptance rate surge by 3% and Franklin & Marshall accepted 32% of applicants, which is up 2%.

Cornell said it wasn't even going to issue public statements about its admission figures any longer. Jonathan Burdick, vice president for enrollment at Cornell said: “While metrics such as application numbers and admissions rates are an area of focus for many as they review annual activity in higher education, Cornell’s thorough and holistic review processes mean that no one applicant’s chances can be guided by ‘averages’.” 

Brown and Princeton both bucked the trend with Brown dropping its admission rate to 6.9% from 7.1% and Princeton dropping its admission rate to 5.6% from 5.8%. 

But at least for now, it looks as though the once exclusive Ivy League isn't so "exclusive" anymore...