Across the board, the number of total applicants is the highest it's ever been in history. Almost every elite college has reported the skyrocketed application numbers. Yale University saw an increase of 38% in applications since January 2020, Emory University saw a 19% increase in this year's applicant pool, and Harvard University saw a whopping 57% increase in applications.
A larger pool of applicants equals more competition for the same number of spots available from year to year. We see this being reflected in early action acceptances rates like Harvard's that sunk to 7.4% this year in comparison to last year's 13.9%. To make matters worse, roughly 350 admitted Harvard students of the Class of 2024 have deferred enrollment to the Class of 2025, which means there are even less spots available than usual. And it's not only Harvard, other highly selective schools like University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College and Brown University.
Penn's acceptance rate for early applicants declined from 20% in 2019 to 15% this recent round. Penn usually sees about 50 deferrals each year, however 200 spots of the Class of 2025 have gone to accepted students of the Class of 2024.
Dartmouth experienced a 29% increase in applications this year, but only accepted 21%, with 172 of the Class of 2025 spots going to accepted students from the Class of 2024.
Brown accepted a record-low of 15.9% of early applicants, even though nearly 1000 more students applied in 2020 than in 2019.