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Harvard's applications are down

Started by Langue_doc, March 29, 2024, 06:07:57 AM

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QuoteAfter a Year of Turmoil, Harvard's Applications Drop
With the exception of Brown University, some other highly selective schools saw a record rise in the number of students who applied for admission.

See below for the article:

QuoteApplications to Harvard College were down this year, even as many other highly selective schools hit record highs.

The drop suggests that a year of turmoil — which went into overdrive with a student letter that said Israel was "entirely responsible" for the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks — may have dented Harvard's reputation and deterred some students from applying.

Harvard's announcement on Thursday evening came as all eight Ivy League schools sent out their notices of admission or rejection, known as Ivy Day.

While Brown University also saw a drop in applications, applications rose at many other elite colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Columbia, M.I.T., Bowdoin, Amherst and the University of Virginia.

Harvard focused on the positive.

"Beyond another strong applicant pool, we are delighted by the stunning array of talents and lived experiences the class of 2028 will bring with them from throughout the United States and around the world," William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, said in a statement.

College counselors and admissions experts said that it was difficult to pin down the factors behind the decline in Harvard's numbers, but that the scrutiny has been intense and, by some accounts, the reputational damage severe. It began with a historic Supreme Court decision on June 29, striking down decades of affirmative action policy at Harvard that had become a model for higher education across the country. It culminated in the resignation on Jan. 2 of Claudine Gay, who was not just Harvard's president, but its first Black president. At that point, she faced accusations of plagiarism in her scholarly work, which she stood by, on top of complaints about her evasive testimony on antisemitism in December before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The effect on Harvard was so striking that a cartoon in The New York Daily News by Bill Bramhall showed a girl telling her parents, "Darn. I got into Harvard."

A private college admissions coach, Hafeez Lakhani, said that the anxiety over campus climate was particularly acute in the fall. "Students were terrified about the doxxing trucks, the C.E.O.s calling for protester names, students losing job offers for speaking up about Israel-Palestine," he said. "I think that drove some applicants to less-spotlight schools."

Another coach, Deb Felix, said she had referred her concerned clients to a Facebook group Mothers Against College Antisemitism, which has gained 55,700 members since it was formed in late October, as a resource on campus climate.

But some families, even Orthodox Jewish families, were not deterred by the bad publicity.

"Getting accepted to Harvard is still getting accepted to Harvard," said Rivka Scheinfeld, whose daughter, Tamar, a student at YULA High School, a Jewish day school in Los Angeles, was accepted early. Tamar said she applied after Oct. 7, and thought she could be a voice against antisemitism. "I want to go, I want to advocate for something that I know is right," she said.

Many schools have been shaken by protests over the war in Gaza, as well as by complaints of antisemitism and Islamophobia over the last few months. Brown saw its share of campus conflict over the war, with dozens of students arrested for trespassing following two sit-ins on campus.

But the University of Pennsylvania saw record applications — 65,230 — a nearly 10 percent rise from the year before, despite criticism of its then-president, M. Elizabeth Magill, for her legalistic testimony on antisemitism in the House hearing.

One significant difference between Harvard and Penn: Ms. Magill resigned swiftly — on Dec. 9, four days after her testimony. Dr. Gay, who testified the same day, lingered on until Jan. 2, as accusations of plagiarism against her mounted on top of the complaints that she had not taken a strong enough stance against antisemitism.

Overall, Harvard received 54,008 undergraduate applications in this admissions cycle, compared with 56,937 last year, a drop of about 5 percent. That continues a trend that began with early applications, which were down 17 percent this cycle. Regular applications were down by almost 3 percent, to 46,087 from 47,384.

The college offered admission to 1,937 students for the class of 2028. Harvard said that despite the year-to-year decline in numbers, this was the fourth year in a row that the college had received more than 50,000 applications.

Application numbers have been high since the start of the pandemic, after Harvard and other schools dropped their requirements for standardized test scores. Mr. Lakhani, the college consultant, said that the boost was fading as more students realized that they still needed to submit test scores to stay competitive.

But at M.I.T., which reinstated testing requirements, applications were up by almost 5 percent. Its president, Sally Kornbluth, survived the congressional grilling that helped topple Dr. Gay and Ms. Magill.

Among the Ivies, applications to Brown were down by almost 5 percent from last year, still the third-largest applicant pool it has ever had. Brian Clark, a Brown spokesman, said that some students were put off by a longer application with more essay questions.

Yale and Dartmouth said they had received a record number of applications, both up by 10 percent from last year. At Columbia, which also was in the news because of student protests, applications rose by about 5 percent. Cornell and Princeton said they had made a policy decision not to release the number of applicants or the admission rates.

Applications also rose at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which was a defendant in the landmark Supreme Court decision on affirmative action.

Because of the Supreme Court decision banning race-conscious admissions, colleges have said they will not be releasing the racial or ethnic breakdown of their applicants or admitted students until the summer or fall, after the waiting lists have been exhausted.

But it appeared that colleges were using other methods to enhance the diversity of their incoming classes, such as the recruitment of poor and rural students and students who would be the first generation in their families to go to college.

Harvard said that first-generation students made up about 20 percent of the class and that students eligible for federal Pell grants, a measure of poverty, made up almost 21 percent. Other colleges declined to release the poverty figures, saying the numbers were uncertain because of problems with the federal student aid application.


"54,008 undergraduate applications in this admissions cycle, compared with 56,937 last year".

I think they are still doing just fine.

Wahoo Redux

Harvard acceptance rate is something insane, 3.59% for 2028 according to The Crimson today.

I imagine that some kids are, like, "Why even try?" 
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.


Right, so their admission rate might go up to a whole 4% or something. Somehow I don't think anyone need lose any sleep over this. The news media really ought to discover that institutions other than Harvard and a few other super elites exist.
"Never get separated from your lunch. Never get separated from your friends. Never climb up anything you can't climb down."
–Best Colorado Peak Hikes


This will not affect Harvard's endowment. Who cares?
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.


The ones who would have applied but didn't this time are probably part of the "It doesn't hurt to ask" crowd. They were not getting in anyway.

Also some with SATs only in the 80%ile realized that the admitted students would have been in the 95+%ile had they taken the test. This test-free business doesn't really increase opportunity for "low" performers at this level of competition.

"Low" in this case being "high" for most schools, and sufficient for an excellent undergraduate experience.