3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Will college acceptance rates continue to decrease over the next few years?

I noticed that many colleges' acceptance rates significantly decreased for the class of 2025. For example, Harvard's acceptance rate went from 4.6% to 3.43%, and MIT's acceptance rate went from 6.7% to 4%. Will their acceptance rates decrease again for the class of 2026, or will they stay the same/increase?


Earn karma by helping others:

1 karma for each ⬆️ upvote on your answer, and 20 karma if your answer is marked accepted.

4 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

All Ivys and Elite colleges will continue to have record applications over the next few cycles. This directly lowers the admissions rates since they are not increasing class size. So we can easily see the hardest schools like Harvard and Columbia hover around 3%, the next group of Yale, MIT, Princeton around 4%, and your Browns and Dukes around 5%, Dartmouth, JHU, and Northwestern around 6%, Pomona and Swarthmore 7% and a whole cluster of LACS like Williams, Bowdoin, Amherst, Colby, Claremont, + Cornell at 8% and I even see Barnard dipping below 10% next cycle. Your USCs, UCLAs, UMICH, UC Berkeley, will be in the 11%+ range because there are just too many people that want a good value proposition.

Even large universities with historically high admit rates will be more competitive. Case in point Syracuse University. Why is a #58 rank school getting double-digit application growth? The schools that will suffer the most are smaller private liberal arts colleges like Lehigh. While they got more applications they need to accept twice the normal rate because their yield rate is so low. 45% versus 22% just three cycles back.

The main reasons are the following:

-Most colleges will be test-optional again prompting a surge in applications.

-Since class size won't change, all the top schools still have to accommodate deferred admissions from this cycle. Not all admits will matriculate this fall.

-There will more an influx of International Students in the future cycles since Student VISAs will be easier to come by versus the 2020-21 cycle under Trump.

-There is pent up pressure from all the Top schools to take it upon themselves to implement more diversity, first-gen, BIPOC representation on campuses so more Community Action Groups/non-profits/Foundations like Posse, Questbridge, and Gates will be partnering up with Top 40-50 schools to get their best applicants in there. I read this week that Columbia currently has a $1.4 billion fundraising effort going on for financial aid. https://www.columbiaspectator.com/news/2021/04/09/new-14-billion-funding-campaign-announced-to-support-students-with-financial-need/

This would essentially be the same kind of fundraising JHU did when Michael Bloomberg donated over $1.8 Billion for JHU's Finaid coffers 3 years ago.

-As seats become more scarce because of demand, there will be big money from Development Candidates whose families are ready to pony up $10-$50 million per child to get in through the legal back door. These donors essentially can fund a few hundred Low-income kids on full-tuition scholarship if the school chooses to do so.

Hindsight is 20/20 so learn from the mistakes made from the Class of 2025 to top schools.

-Most successful admits submitted either the SAT or ACT. Actual % submissions will not be available for a while but I would seriously err on the side of caution and prepare for either of these tests. If you got into a Top school without a test score, it meant that you had plenty of things in your file that set you apart from the fray where AOs were deliberating on who to admit.

-Most successful admits didn't rely on the traditional ECs to get them in and focused on ones they could be successful at in a remote environment. What do I mean by this? Well if school clubs and leadership and sports are shut down in your HS, then you have to park those and find other passions and spikes in this COVID-19 environment.

-Most successful admits had the very best essays. And just my opinion on this, they were primarily not about coping with COVID-19. Although the common app and other supplemental essays allowed for a COVID-19 essay, there are so many sob stories that I almost think it was more advantageous not to dwell on it.

-Most successful admits had impressive course rigor. If there weren't a lot of APs or IBs to choose from at their school, they found a way to impress their application readers either by taking dual enrollment at their local colleges, taking online college courses, enrolling in MOOCs like eDx.org, or doing their own self-studying and research.

I guessed most of the Ivy rates within 0.50% this cycle so I'm confident my assumption will stick.

3 years ago

So nationally I expect at the top-level admission rate to decrease as schools are growing capacity sower than population. I do expect most ore less selective schools to maintain their rates especially the public ones. But there's a significant caveat that pandemic caused admission rate to drop due to flood of applications so it will be as if the 2020 cycle was skipped so 2019 data may be a better comparison.

3 years ago

Hi! Well yes, they will continue to decrease, as more students are going to apply but one thing to note is that acceptance rates also depend on which major you are trying for, which state/country you are in, etc. My advice is that you should not worry about decreasing acceptance rates as it is natural, if anything they are proof that good universities continue to be selective because they want to maintain quality. Focus on structuring your college list if you are feeling stressed.

3 years ago

I think they will continue to decrease, but I think it will be because of more applications so they would have to deny more applications even if they accept the same number of applications they usually do.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works