Top U.S. Universities experienced an influx in applicants for Fall 2021 admission, marking record-high application numbers and record-low acceptance rates. MIT, for example, experienced a 66 percent increase in applicants, with 33,240 students submitting an application. As a result, MIT acceptance rates fell from seven to four percent. Similarly, Brown University saw a record-number of early decision applications, with 3,170 students applying, and their acceptance rate hit a record-low of 8.3 percent. These numbers are mostly consistent for the Ivy League and other top schools.
The increase in Ivy League applicants, as well as applicants to other top schools, is largely due to nearly every university making the submission of SAT/ACT scores optional to accommodate testing complications caused by Covid-19 shutdowns. The non-essential submission of test scores led to an increase in applications from low-income, minority and first-generation students who would not typically apply. Additionally, some universities such as Cornell, Duke, and UMichigan extended their early application deadlines to further assist students.
Due to the increase in applicants to more selective colleges, acceptance rates have overall decreased. However, despite a competitive admissions cycle, our students at Elite Star Admissions were accepted at some of the top universities including Brown, Cornell, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Carnegie Melon, University of Michigan, NYU, Georgia Tech, and Boston University. This year, we have students planning to attend Brown, Cornell, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Boston University, Georgia Tech, UCSD, and Pepperdine.
We also have several students on the waitlist at Columbia, Brown, Cornell, and University of Pennsylvania. Because of the high volume of applicants to the Ivy League and other top colleges, the waitlists have grown as well. Cornell, for example, saw a slight increase in the number of students on their waitlist, with 5,713 students this year as compared to 4,572 last year. Students on the waitlist this year should be proud of their accomplishments in such a tough admission cycle. Some colleges offer the opportunity for waitlisted students to send in additional information about why they want to attend and any achievements or improved grades they received since applying.
2020-2021 was a competitive year for students applying to selective colleges, and the 2021-2022 cycle will likely be just as competitive. The Ivy League and most other top universities have extended their optional SAT/ACT submission policy to include next year as well. Students should continue to differentiate themselves through their Common App Essay, personal statements, and extracurricular activities.