The eight colleges that make up the Ivy League are among the most prominent and selective universities in the United States and the globe. As a result, tens of thousands of candidates have flooded the websites of Ivy colleges with applications.
But what are the Ivy League acceptance rates, and how have they changed over time?
This analysis will focus on Ivy League admissions, from the number of applications through the number of students who ultimately enroll.
Ivy League acceptance rates are of tremendous interest since the eight universities—Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale—consistently rank among the best in the world.
Hundreds of thousands of students apply each year, hoping to be admitted into one or more of these top colleges with flawless or near-perfect grades and test scores.
The admittance figures are bleak. The number of Ivy League candidates for the Class of 2023 reached a new high of 311,948. Unfortunately, the acceptance rate across all eight universities was 6.78 percent, which was a record low at the time.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 breakdown, acceptance rates for the Class of 2024 climbed marginally at most Ivy League universities, although getting into Ivy League colleges remained exceedingly difficult.
Now that the admissions results for the Class of 2025 are in, it’s evident that applications to Ivy League schools climbed considerably in the most recent application round, with almost 100,000 more students applying than the previous year. Acceptance rates for the Class of 2025 are historically low, which is unsurprising.
For years, Ivy League admissions data has made the front pages of major newspapers, supporting the Ivy League institutions’ exclusivity and selectivity.
Rather of accepting defeat before your child applies to the Ivy League, it’s vital to educate yourself about each school’s statistics.
In the sections below, we’ll go over the most recent admissions numbers and look at the key results. Then we’ll go over strategies your child might employ in future application rounds to boost their chances of getting into an Ivy League school.
What is Ivy League Admission Battle like from 2018-2021
Let’s see what admission has been lately with the different Ivy League schools.
Admissions to the Ivy League for the 2018-2020 academic year
According to a new trend, admission rates for the 2019/2020 admission cycle were somewhat higher than for the 2018/2019 admission cycle.
This was a modest difference due to schools receiving thousands less applications in 2019/2020 than in 2018/2019. This is good news for those who were concerned that the Ivy Leagues would become more competitive every year.
Because there looked to be an unusually high number of persons applying to schools in 2018/2019. It was only logical that this year would be the most competitive in any Ivy League school’s history. Schools received fewer applications in 2019/2020 because there were fewer high school pupils, making it easier to enroll into schools.
Because the difference is so small, whether Harvard admits 4.7 percent of students or 5% of students in any given year is unlikely to affect your prospects.
So don’t overestimate the number of high school students who will be in attendance the year you apply.
When you look at the raw numbers of applicants and admitted students, as well as the acceptance rates of Ivy League colleges throughout time, it’s evident that the number of students Ivy League schools accept each year doesn’t vary much.
Because of the increasing number of applicants, Ivy-league universities are becoming more selective. However, there is one more factor to consider: the yield of each school, which is the percentage of accepted students who enroll in college.
Admissions to Ivy League Universities: 2020-2022
The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone, including college admissions. Many students who would have begun college in the fall of 2020 have decided to take a gap year.
A desire to be closer to home during a pandemic, a view that remote learning was not a good investment, and a desire to save money were all motivations for this.
As a result, in the spring of 2020, several universities, including the Ivy Leagues, were forced to sort through their waitlists, and acceptance rates increased marginally.
The most significant change in college acceptance rates to date occurred during the admissions cycle 2021-2022.
A record number of applications were received by many colleges, including Ivy League and other top-tier schools. These colleges were receiving tens of thousands more applications than they had ever received previously.
For the 2019-2020 school year, Harvard, for example, received 40,248 applications. In 2020-2021, they received 57,786.
That’s a huge increase!
This tendency was seen at all of the Ivy League schools. The abolition of SAT/ACT requirements at virtually every institution, which may have persuaded candidates that they could have a chance at a school that would otherwise be out of reach, are two possible causes for the increase.
Despite the increase in applications, the number of students accepted at each school remained roughly consistent. In actuality, a few institutions experienced a little drop because they were holding spots for children who had been postponed the previous year.
What was the result of this? Acceptance rates at many top-tier universities have reached historic lows.
For example, between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, Harvard’s admission rate fell from 5.0 percent to 4.0 percent, Yale’s from 6.5 percent to 4.6 percent, and Columbia’s from 6.3 percent to 3.9 percent.
Acceptance rates at Ivy League schools have declined from 7.3 percent to 5.7 percent on average. These are substantially bigger swings than the usual 0.2 percent or so that we see year to year.
Regrettably, this meant that getting into an Ivy League or similar top-tier college in 2020-2021 would be the most challenging year ever.
Ivy League Acceptance Rates: Class of 2025
(Note: This table will be updated as new data are released. Princeton canceled early action for the Class of 2025.)
|Overall Acceptance Rates||Early Action/Early Decision Acceptance Rates||Regular Decision Acceptance Rates|
|Accepted||Applied||Acceptance Rate||Accepted||Applied||Acceptance Rate||Accepted||Applied||Acceptance Rate|
*Early decision schools | ^Single-choice early action schools
Who Finally Gets In? Ivy League and Other Top Universities Admissions
The good news is that elite universities are still looking for the kinds of students they’ve always wanted. They place a premium on academic excellence. Students who take initiative, contribute in their communities, do well on the SAT or ACT, and enjoy studying are valued.
In many ways, the Ivy League admissions process is the same as it has always been. The bad news is that getting lost in the torrent of applications is all too simple.
Even if you are exactly what they are looking for, you should be aware of how colleges have changed the college admissions process to deal with the thousands of applications they receive.
To begin with, you’re probably aware that some really talented high school athletes follow a different path to prestigious institutions than others.
Coaches have some say in the college admissions process (known as “recruiting”), therefore some student-athletes are admitted based on a coach’s recommendation, even if their profile as a regular applicant might not have gotten them recognized.
Recruited athletes must meet minimal GPA and SAT/ACT score standards, which are often lower than those required of kids in the main pool.
Recruited athletes are also more likely to commit to a school during the summer, making them early applicants to take into account when looking at the early numbers.
Second, you’ve probably heard of the Dean’s Interest List, a part of Harvard’s admissions process that was exposed during the current legal battle. And it’s now been shown that it’s a factor in college admissions at other prestigious institutions as well.
These top-secret lists refer to applicants who have been marked by the Admissions Office as “of interest to the school” for one reason or another.
Candidates include athletes, legacies, children of notable contributors, and individuals with a connection to the university’s staff or administration.
Students who are able to get a spot on these coveted lists have a substantially higher acceptance rate than early or normal decision applicants.
Finally, there is a common misunderstanding that top universities admit a large proportion of students from minority racial origins and lower socioeconomic position “instead of” those with better grades and test scores.
While it is true that most elite schools consider applications from poor high school students holistically—as they do all applicants—this is not the case for all disadvantaged high school students.
Overall data suggest that universities like Yale and Harvard continue to admit a disproportionate percentage of white students from affluent families, compared to the national demographic average, in order to understand how sociological barriers may have influenced students’ academic profiles.
What Will Happen Next?
Now that you’ve seen the acceptance percentages, you might be wondering what kind of exam scores you’ll need to get into these top universities. Ivy League colleges, as well as MIT, Stanford, and UChicago, all had exceptional performance.
You already know how these universities compare in terms of acceptance and yield, but how about student happiness and graduation rates? You’ll learn about our current Ivy League rankings and what they mean in this post.
If you’re a student-athlete, your path to top-tier schools may change slightly from what we’ve explained here. This article will tell you more about athletic recruiting in the Ivy League.
Are you looking for a step-by-step guide to being one of the ten percent of students accepted to Ivy League Plus universities? Allen Cheng, co-founder of PrepScholar, talks about his college application and gives tips on how to get into Harvard and other Ivy League schools.
Why not apply to a small liberal arts college instead? We’ve written about the best liberal arts institutions in the United States, as well as how to figure out what you want to study in college (hint: if you’re unsure, a liberal arts school is a good option).
5 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting into an Ivy League School
So far, we’ve examined historical data on Ivy League acceptance rates and yields, appraised patterns, and discussed why these admissions metrics are essential to colleges.
We’ll give you five tips on how to boost your chances of being accepted into one of the great national institutions we mentioned previously in this essay, moving from the abstract to the concrete.
Tip 1: In your application, demonstrate your enthusiasm.
Your college application should ideally tell a story about the kind of student you were in high school (and suggest what kind of student you will be).
As PrepScholar co-founder Allen Cheng points out in his post on how to get into Harvard and the Ivy League, highly elite national universities worry more about displaying your interest for one subject than your ability to be well-rounded.
Ivy League institutions prioritize student diversity over student diversity within each student. In reality, this means that instead of demonstrating to elite institutions that you can do anything and everything well enough, you should show them that you can do a few things exceptionally well and with zeal.
Tip 2: Aim for high test scores and outstanding performance. GPA in high school
Standardized test scores (mainly SAT/ACT) and GPA are used as filters by universities that receive a large number of applications to evaluate which applications are worth examining.
Going through tens of thousands of applications is simply not possible when most applicants submit their applications in early January and expect to hear back by mid-to-late March.
Even Caltech, with its 8,200 candidates, would have to look through approximately 110 applications per day between the day applications are due and the day students are notified.
Given the availability of non-workdays and the fact that admissions officers “require sleep because they’re not undead,” it’s logical that schools utilize test scores and GPAs as filters.
Yes, it hurts to believe that your value is reduced to a few digits. This does, however, imply that there are a few clear indicators of success that you might aim for.
Highly selective colleges care almost as much about your classes as they do about your GPA.
This does not mean you must take every difficult course offered at your school; rather, you should choose the most challenging classes that fit your application’s narrative.
Schools will be suspicious if you’re taking your school’s easiest math and physics courses, even if you’re taking difficult English or History classes, if you’re applying to colleges with the narrative that you’re a math genius who spends her leisure time working on p vs np problems.
M, a high school buddy of mine who excelled in all subjects throughout high school, including AP Calculus BC in junior year, is a real-life example of this.
M may take AP Statistics (her only other math class) or Film and Media Studies, a non-honors level English class that included film analysis, in her final year.
M chose a non-honors English class over a math class her senior year because she was so passionate about movies (she’d started a film club at our school).
M did not take a math class her senior year, despite the fact that she was still taking AP Spanish, AP Bio, AP Macroeconomics, and AP English Lit, so she was still pursuing advanced coursework in the subjects that she was interested in (and ended up taking the equivalent of two English classes).
Despite this, he was accepted early decision at UPenn.
Tip #4: In your extracurricular activities, aim for quality rather than quantity
You should focus your academic rigor on the areas that interest you the most, and you should spend your extracurricular time on activities that compliment your passions.
You should value quality over quantity and dedication over breadth when it comes to extracurricular activities like music, athletics, and community service. Even if you don’t plan on continuing to pursue your high school hobbies in college, exhibiting your ability to focus and dedicate yourself to greatness in one area will help your college application.
Consider the following scenario involving two students. Candidate A competed in the Math Olympiad at your school for one year and then joined the math club for another. Even if the student has previously succeeded in math classes, universities are unlikely to find this inspiring.
Consider Candidate B, who led her high school fencing team for two years as captain (after two years on the team). Even if this kid does not fence in college, she is a better candidate than candidate A since she was willing to put in the time and effort to keep doing the same thing for four years (and took on a leadership role as captain for two of those years).
Tip 5: Double-check that all aspects of your application are up to par.
Although test scores, GPA, course rigor, and extracurricular activities are typically the most important factors in Ivy League or other top-tier national university applications, you can still improve your chances by writing excellent letters of recommendation, personal statements, and application supplements or portfolios.
A strong letter of recommendation from a teacher who has seen you grow as a student, a well-written personal statement that reveals something not revealed elsewhere in your application, or an impressive portfolio of work (whether oil paintings or web apps) provide schools with more information to consider when deciding whether or not to accept you.
Thanks for Your Wonderful TimeSharing means caring