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MAY 18, 2021
It’s safe to say that this year’s college admissions cycle will go down in history as the most competitive to date. After hundreds of US colleges made SAT and ACT scores optional to provide more leniency amid COVID-19 restrictions, many leading universities reported record-high application numbers, resulting in record-low acceptance rates. In a series of blogs over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing information about the makeup of the Classes of 2025 admitted to top US universities to shed light on the demographics of the lucky few students who got accepted.
Like many of its Ivy League counterparts, Princeton’s acceptance rate has been steadily declining over the past decade — and with a 14.5% increase in applications received in the most recent admissions cycle, it’s no wonder that the university’s acceptance rate took a steep dive from 5.55% for the Class of 2024 to 3.98% for the Class of 2025. This trend reflects the record-high application numbers and record-low acceptance rates seen across the Ivy League in the 2020/21 application year. In the words of Dean of Admission Karen Richardson,
We had to make extremely difficult decisions in the process of admitting a class that will come to Princeton, form a community and use what they learn to make an impact.
International students made up 14% of the admitted student body (up from 12% last year), hailing from 74 countries across the world — a drastic increase from the 48 countries represented in the Class of 2024! US students came from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, D.C., Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The historically large applicant pool contained students from 164 countries.
Notably, Princeton temporarily eliminated its Early Action application option for this admissions cycle (which will be reinstated beginning with next year’s admission cycle), meaning that all applicants except for Questbridge students applied in the Regular Decision round. From Questbridge — a nonprofit that connects exceptional students from low-income backgrounds with opportunities in higher education — there were approximately 100 accepted students through the College Match program, which was Princeton’s only binding admissions agreement.
This year’s group of Princeton admits is one of the most ethnically diverse classes in the school’s history, with approximately 68% of domestic admitted students identifying as people of color, including biracial and multiracial students.
Similarly, the percentage of first-generation college students has increased from 17% to 22%, further endorsing the university’s commitment to a holistic admissions process. 10% of admitted students were Legacy students, with their parents or another family member having attended Princeton, down from 11.3% for the Class of 2024.
Alongside the rest of the Ivy League, Princeton extended its test-optional policy for the upcoming 2021-22 admissions cycle, which could in turn reflect similar patterns in next year’s application numbers and admissions results.
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