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This Week in Admissions News | Week 12

APR 08, 2021

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students planning to apply to universities, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. We’ve rounded up the latest news and given our take on what it means for future and current college students. Check back each week to see what’s new!

1. Elite US universities saw their most competitive year yet with record-high application numbers and record-low acceptance rates

With Ivy League admissions decisions out yesterday and Stanford decisions released today, the admission trend we’ve been expecting to see has been confirmed: the skyrocketing application numbers reported by top US universities in recent weeks have resulted in the lowest acceptance rate most have ever seen. Last month MIT’s acceptance rate was nearly cut in half this year thanks to a 66% increase in applications, and three Ivy League schools had acceptance rates below 4% — an all-time low for any university. Stanford’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2025 is yet to be released, but given the ultra-competitive university pushed its notification day back by a week to accommodate “a notable increase” in application numbers, we expect the number will drop even lower than last year’s 4.8% acceptance rate.

Crimson’s Take: The US is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, and with the enormous increase in application numbers reported by top schools in 2020, we knew this admission cycle would be historically competitive. With acceptance rates dropping well below 5% for many of the US top 20, the importance of submitting your best possible application comes into even greater focus. Our students had a highly successful year despite record-low odds of admission to elite universities, which shows just how much hard work, long-term preparation and dedication pays off.

2. Cornell and Brown become first Ivy League schools to require COVID-19 vaccine for students starting this fall

Last week, Rutgers University was the first US college to announce a COVID-19 vaccine requirement — and this week, Cornell, Brown and three others have followed suit. Only six US universities have announced they will require students to be vaccinated before returning to campus this fall, and Cornell and Brown are the first among the Ivies to do so. In a statement, Cornell said given widely expanded vaccine eligibility in some US states alongside increasing vaccine production, “it is likely that all members of our community will be able to obtain vaccination sometime this spring or summer.” Brown noted with the instatement of a vaccine requirement it expects to provide “normal residential, co-curricular and athletic experiences” for students.

Crimson’s Take: We’ve seen many promising signs of late indicating that when the fall semester comes around, campus life at US universities will have made a significant improvement compared to the past year of COVID-19 rules and restrictions. On the road to a pre-coronavirus state of normalcy, we hope the six universities that have already announced a vaccine requirement will prove to be the first of many colleges driving an agenda for widespread vaccination so that students may return to their campuses safely and enjoy their university experience properly.

3. To accommodate for a surge in application numbers, Georgia Tech increases its incoming class size by 5%

With top US universities receiving massive amounts of applications for the Class of 2025, it makes sense that acceptance rates have dropped as most universities have the same number of available places regardless of how many students apply. Georgia Tech (ranked 35th in the country and 4th for engineering) is a notable outlier — despite receiving nearly 5,000 more applications this year compared to last, its acceptance rate only dropped from 20% to 18% as the institute increased its incoming class size by 5% to reflect its belief that “expanding access and amplifying impact” are top priorities.

Crimson’s Take: How encouraging that Georgia Tech has extended its incoming class to allow more students to receive that ever-anticipated acceptance letter! We know that not every university has the resources to accommodate for this year’s unexpected application increases in the same way, but applaud Georgia Tech for doing so nonetheless. At Crimson, we believe top-quality higher education should be available to every qualified student in the world, so we’re happy to hear of Georgia Tech’s efforts in the same direction.

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