College Admissions: Ivy League Remains Elusive for Class of 2018

Monday, March 31, 2014
Cristiana Quinn, GoLocalProv College Admissions Expert

With a 5.9% acceptance rate, Harvard University is the most selective Ive League school.
On Thursday, the Ivy League released regular decision notifications for the Class of 2018, providing some students with the thrill of a lifetime and dashing the hopes of others. While most acceptance rates declined slightly, the numbers did not differ substantially from last year. The University of Pennsylvania posted the biggest change in acceptance rates, moving from 12.1% last year to just 9.9% this year. Only Dartmouth posted a notable drop in applications, down almost 14% this year, following a sharp decline last year.

Ivy League Selectivity

Here are the statistics for the Ivy League class of 2018, in order of selectivity:

• Harvard University — 5.9% of 34,295 applicants were accepted
• Yale University — 6.26% of 30,922 applicants were accepted
• Columbia University — 6.945% of 32,952 applicants were accepted
• Princeton University — 7.28% of 26,607 applicants were accepted
• Brown University — 8.6% of 30,291 applicants were accepted
• University of Pennsylvania — 9.9% of 35,788 applicants were accepted
• Dartmouth College — 11.5% of 19,235 applicants were accepted
• Cornell University — 14% of 43,041 applicants were accepted

While there were not a lot of big surprises on the surface, the story is different when you pull back the covers on admissions and dive into the profile of the entering classes. Then, you begin to see what elite colleges look for as they strive to diversify their campuses. At Harvard this year 11.9% of accepted students are African American, 13% are Hispanic, 19.7% Asian-American, 1.9% Native American or Native Hawaiian and 10.5% are international. At Brown, admitted students hailed from all 50 states and 88 countries around the globe; 18% will be the first in their family to attend college and 46% are students of color. More than 50% of students at Ivy League colleges will apply for financial aid, and at wealthier universities like Harvard and Yale, families earning $65,000 and $80,000 respectively will get a full ride with no loans to pay back. While 9.4% of Princeton acceptances went to the children of alumni, the Ivy League is working hard to shed its image as a bastion of privilege and white America.

Outside the Ivy League

Looking at acceptance rates below 20% across the country: Stanford edged out Harvard with an acceptance rate of just 5.1%, and MIT remained highly selective with just 7.7% of applicants offered a spot in the class of 2018. Amherst College took just 12.8% of applicants, Bowdoin 14.9%, Duke 10.7%, Johns Hopkins 15%, Harvey Mudd 13.2%, Middlebury 17.4%, Northwestern 12.9%, Olin 10.2%, Pomona 12.2%, USC 17.8% and Vanderbilt 11%.
The good news is that while we tend to focus on the most competitive colleges in the media at this time of year, there are more than 3,200 colleges in the U.S. and most remain highly accessible to students. The real key is finding the right fit for each student from an academic, social and extra-curricular perspective.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students.

  • National Universities

    9. Brown University

    Providence, RI 
    Students: 6,435
    2013-14 Tuition: $45,612
    Admissions: 9.6% Acceptance Rate
  • National Universities

    5. Yale University 

    New Haven, CT
    Students: 5,405
    2013-14 Tuition: $44,000
    Admissions: 7.0% Acceptance Rate
  • National Universities

    1. Dartmouth College

    Hanover, NH
    Students: 4,193
    2013-14 Tuition: $46,752
    Admissions: 9.8% Acceptance Rate
  • Liberal Arts Colleges

    18. Mount Holyoke College

    South Hadley, MA 
    Students: 2,322
    2013-14 Tuition: $41,456
    Admissions: 42.1% Acceptance Rate
  • Liberal Arts Colleges

    9. Amherst College

    Amherst, MA
    Students: 1,817 
    2013-14 Tuition: $46,574
    Admissions: 13.0% Acceptance Rate
  • Liberal Arts Colleges

    5. Williams College

    Williamstown, MA
    Students: 2,052
    2013-14 Tuition: $46,600
    Admissions: 17.0% Acceptance Rate
  • Regional Univ. - North

    4. Fairfield University

    Fairfield, CT
    Students: 3,879
    2013-14 Tuition: $42,920
    Admissions: 71.2% Acceptance Rate
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