While top Ivy universities Columbia and Harvard saw a 4% and a 5% rise in applications (respectively) this past year, other universities in this category saw a higher than 15% jump in the number of applicants applying to their undergraduate programs. University of Pennsylvania experienced a 17% increase, Brown came in at 20%, and Princeton University at 19%. University of Chicago (a top university outside the Ivy League) saw a whopping 42% increase. Yale University, in contrast, experienced a 1% decrease.
According to The Daily Pennsylvanian there are a few possible explanations for these significant application increases across the board (almost) at these top universities. Here are few suggestions:
- Certain schools (like Penn) have broadened their advertisements, including a feature in a New York Times blog by Eric Furda, Penn Dean of Admissions.
- Applicants are applying to more places in order to keep their options open when it comes to receiving and then comparing financial aid offers.
- For Harvard, the elimination of the early decision option and the opening of the new School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have led to an increase in the applicant pool. Harvard has also implemented other financial aid initiatives, says Jeff Neal, Harvard spokesman.
- University of Chicago’s huge application increases are attributed to the school’s switch to allow the Common Application.
Yale Universities 1% decrease, according to Sally Rubenstone, a Senior Advisor at College Confidential, may be due to the murder of Ph.D. student Annie Le or to Yale’s “hyper-selective and seemingly unpredictable admission decisions.”
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