Class of 2024 college admissions statistics have been released and once again, we’re providing our Top Tier family with these timely, definitive stats along with our expert thoughts on the overall admissions environment. Visit our Ivy League Admit Stats, Selective Schools Admit Stats, our Ivy League Profiles and College Profiles to dive deep into our Ivy League and College Admissions Statistics for the Class of 2024.
The overall admissions rates for the Class of 2024 are somewhat of a natural bounce back from last year’s record lows achieved by many top schools. Columbia, for instance, had a 6.1 percent acceptance rate vs last year’s 5.1 percent. Harvard had a 4.9 percent acceptance rate this year vs their record low of 4.5 percent last year. Princeton was slightly more competitive this year with a 5.5 percent acceptance rate, down from 5.78 percent for the Class of 2023.
WAITLIST + COVID-19 = BIG STORY OF THE YEAR
The big story this year in selective college admissions, however, will be the use of the wait list. Admissions staff were putting the finishing touches on their admitted classes while the coronavirus was sweeping the globe and we, as a nation and world, were coming to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound impact on all facets of our lives. Traditional yield modeling was not built to predict the impact of a global pandemic on the percent of students who would accept a school’s offer of admission. From international students who may struggle to get visas to travel to the U.S. (assuming travel restrictions are lifted) to families where parents have lost jobs or whose resources to pay for school suffered a significant hit, to concerns about the virus returning in the fall or more students asking for gap years to wait out the virus, this year’s yield is anything but predictable.
LEVERAGING THE EARLY ROUND PAYS OFF… AGAIN
As always, the students who leveraged the early round of admissions (including our Top Tier Admissions students) had better odds. Brown had a 17.54 percent acceptance rate in the binding early decision round and a 5.3 percent acceptance rate in the regular round. U Penn had a 19 percent early acceptance rate vs 5.9 percent in regular.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY
- We already know that application volume was at best plateauing and more likely dropping this cycle. Even with higher admit rates, it’s likely that admissions offices were still conservative in the numbers of students to admit because of the uncertainty of yield numbers.
- Factors compounding uncertainty include significant and worldwide economic downturn, travel restrictions, and the specter of future pandemic waves.
- Will more students want gap years to try to “wait out” the pandemic and enroll in 2021 instead? The challenge will be finding something meaningful to do during the gap year: whether scholarly and intellectually deepening or volunteer work that helps their communities heal from the impacts of the pandemic. Perhaps the family needs the student’s help as caregiver or breadwinner?
- Will the effects of this pandemic on college admissions make next year’s admission cycle even tougher? If many students are granted gap years, that then decreases the available seats in the Class of 2025.
- Some colleges and universities are already planning to only offer e-learning for the fall semester. Will college students and their parents pay full tuition for an e-learning experience? College and universities, whose finances have already taken a huge hit because of lost room and board revenues, shrinking endowment, and decreases in philanthropy, may be pressured to reducing tuition charges. How will colleges afford to operate while losing millions on tuition, room, board from students? Will we see college shutdowns? We don’t think students will find the online college classroom a satisfactory experience — or worth the private college tuition dollars.
Our world is experiencing disruption the likes of which we’ve never seen before on such a global scale. We continue to believe that a rigorous education will provide students with the tools they need to develop into leaders and citizens who will make this world a better place.
All too often, the college admissions process gets boiled down to numbers. We want to give a shout-out to our Top Tier Class of 2024. We know that so much of what you looked forward to this spring—celebrations, traditions, and capstone experiences in and out of the classroom—will not unfold as planned. But, we’re enormously proud of what you’ve accomplished and know that you are ready to make your mark on the world.