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Surprising Low for Ivy-League Early Action Acceptance


@Caddell Prep

As January of the new year comes to an end, almost all restrictive Early Action results have come out, and the data is not too promising for ambitious students who wish to enter any high-ranking school. Many eager high school seniors poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their early action college applications this year, only to be met with utter disappointment and despair. Unfortunately, it seems that each year college admission rates skyrocket downwards as the academic scene gets more competitive. Furthermore, the SAT will go digital and reformat 2023 for international students and 2024 for students of the US. This means that those studying the SAT will need to learn new methods and tricks in order to get a competitive score. Indeed, SAT scores for most universities are quite ridiculous with most prestigious institutions wanting over 1520-1550.


What is Early Action?

Most well-known private universities have a system of “early application.” Some may call it “restrictive early action” or “binding early decision,” but they all mean the same thing. Early applications, (unless specifically stated), usually entail that the individual putting in the application promises to go to the school if they are accepted. This means that if someone puts in an early restrictive application for NYU and a regular application for Harvard, they must attend NYU even if they get accepted into both. Early applications show the university that they are determined to get into the school, and they would rather get into their school than anywhere else. The university also gets a guaranteed number of students each year, as the restrictive early decision contract is legally binding and can theoretically press charges if you refuse to attend.

In exchange, the main drawing point for students is that acceptance rates for early decisions are supposedly much higher. For example, Harvard’s normal acceptance rate for the class of 2018 was 6%, however, for early applications was 21%. A 21% chance of getting into Harvard seems like a dream, and understandably enticed many students. Early applications are generally due from November to early December, and results generally come out around late December to January.

For quite a while, it seemed like common sense for seniors to put their early application to the university they most wanted to go to, as it was their best chance to get in. Nowadays, it seems almost impossible to get into a prestigious university, whether it be through early or regular admissions, as the data below will demonstrate.


2023 Early Action Data

As academics get more competitive it seems inevitable that more and more students will apply for early admission to their favorite universities. However, Harvard shocked many applicants when it announced in December that of the 9,553 early applications, only 733 students were accepted. Marking an early acceptance rate of just 7.6%. Harvard’s regular acceptance rate for the class of 2010 was around 10%, meaning that a regular application for the class of 2010 was around 2.4% more likely to be accepted compared to a modern restrictive early application.

Harvard is obviously not the only one with record low early acceptance rates, Yale accepted 10% of early action students (the lowest in 20 years with only 776 students accepted), Stanford has an almost ridiculous 4.73% early acceptance rate (Yale has a higher regular acceptance rate of 5.3%), MIT has a 5.74% early acceptance rate (685 accepted out of 11,924 early action applications). Princeton and UPenn, however, refused to show admission rates for this year in particular, which may raise some eyebrows.

This trend is not confined to early action admission rates, regular admission rates have spiraled downwards in recent years as well. It has gone to a point where one must have a perfect gradebook, athletic standing, and compelling life story to even be considered as an applicant. The most ludicrous example may be shown in the admission rates of Stanford and Harvard over the years as shown below:

@Business Insider

As both schools now reject 95% of their applicants (who are presumably students from the top of their schools), the future for college admissions looks grim.


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