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Bradshaw: Acceptance time tough on high school seniors

Gerald Bradshaw

Gerald Bradshaw

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Updated: May 7, 2012 8:09AM



It is again the time of year when high school seniors eagerly await letters notifying them of acceptance or rejection from the colleges of their choice.

It is seldom more nerve-wracking than when the college of choice is among the eight schools in the Ivy League. A record number of students applied to Ivy schools this year, and the odds of getting in are staggeringly low. Here is my 2012 admission-rate report.

Harvard: The acceptance rate was the lowest in the Ivy League, despite a slight decline in applications.

Harvard admitted 2,032 of the 34,302 students who applied — an acceptance rate of 5.9 percent. That is an all-time low, and down from last year’s rate of 6.2 percent.

William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, told the Harvard Crimson: “We have always been conservative about the number of acceptances sent out at this time of year, in order to avoid the possibility of overcrowding. Harvard’s high graduation rate — typically 97 to 98 percent — leaves little margin for error.”

Fitzsimmons said more than 14,000 applicants had scores of 700 or higher (out of 800) on the SAT critical reading test; 17,000 had scores of 700 or higher on the SAT math test, and 15,000 scored 700 or higher on the SAT writing test. He added that 3,800 applicants were ranked first in their respective high school classes.

Yale: It admitted only 1,975 of the record-high 28,974 students who applied this year, a 6.8 percent rate that was down from 7.4 percent last year.

CNNMoney reported that Jeffrey Brenzel, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, said: “We had another extraordinary applicant pool, and another challenging selection process. We could not make offers to a large number of immensely talented young men and women.”

Cornell: It admitted only 16.2 percent of the record 37,812 applicants this year — its lowest rate ever.

Dartmouth: It had a record-low 9.4 percent acceptance rate.

Princeton: It accepted only 2,095 students of the 26,664 who applied, bringing its acceptance rate to a historic low of 7.9 percent.

University of Pennsylvania: It accepted 12.3 percent, also a record low.

Brown: Its admittance rate rose to 9.6 percent, compared to 8.6 percent last year.

Columbia: It admitted 2,363 students, or 7.4 percent of the 31,851 applicants — up from last year’s rate of 6.9 percent

Brown and Columbia were the only Ivy schools to accept a higher percentage of applicants this year.

Students admitted to Ivy League schools normally have until May 1 to accept their offers.

My next column will deal with how to get off of the waiting list.



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