As Ivy League Colleges Grow In Popularity, Acceptance Rates Drop

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Acceptance rates in all the Ivy League colleges have been on the decline during the last five years, making it harder than ever to get in.

Margaret Keymakh

Margaret Keymakh

Of the Ivies, Cornell University accepts the greatest percentage of students, letting in 14.9 pecent of applicants, but even this amount has gone down from 18 percent for the class of 2015, Ivy Coach reports. The change is less drastic for the other schools, but they also maintain a similar trend of lower acceptance.

Harvard University accepted 6.2 percent of applicants in 2010, but took 5.3 percent last year. Similarly, Columbia accepted 6.9 percent of students 5 years ago, but in 2015, it received 6.1 percent of the people who applied and Yale’s acceptance rate dropped from 7.4 percent to 6.5 percent, Ivy Coach reports.

Fidelity Ballmer of Ventura, California, got into Brown University in December by applying under its early decision program. She said the representation of the Ivy League in the media may be contributing to the difficulty in getting accepted.

“The media portrays the Ivy League universities as the best schools out there. People think that they are the only good colleges to apply to,” said Ballmer, who will be a freshman at Brown this fall. “In recent years, more and more people are applying to them, lowering the acceptance rate.

The rivalry for the limited spots at the coveted universities is becoming more intense.

“Being accepted into the Ivy Leagues is getting harder with each passing year,” Sonia Kim, a soon-to-be Harvard University freshman from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, said. “As application numbers increase and acceptance rates decrease, the competition amongst students is rising while the number of spots that a school offers stays very limited.”

The decreasing acceptance rates may be helping the universities maintain their reputation and bring in more revenue, Frank Bruni, a writer for the New York Times, wrote in March.

“Stanford administrators noticed that as the school rejected more and more comers, it received bigger and bigger donations, its endowment rising in tandem with its exclusivity,” he said.

Jason Zagorsky from Oceanside, New York, another student who was accepted into Brown under its early decision program, said that people who would have been accepted to an Ivy League university years ago, did not get in this year.

“I think it is getting increasingly harder to get into Ivy Leagues.” he said. “People [that I know] would have likely gotten into Ivies 10 to 15 years ago, but nowadays, a lot of people are simply trying to make their resumes look appealing to colleges without necessarily enjoying the activities that they do.”

The University of Pennsylvania’s acceptance rate decreased from 8.4 percent to 7 percent, Dartmouth College’s acceptance decrease from 11.5 percent to 10.3 percent of applicants and Brown’s acceptance went down from 8.7 percent to 8.5 percent, according to Ivy Coach.

Although the college that a person goes to has a significant impact on their future, Ballmer said that there are universities other than Ivy Leagues that may be better for different people.

“There are so many other universities out there and picking a college is all about finding the best fit for you,” she said.

Margaret Keymakh is a student at The Beacon School, New York.

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