Call The Ivy Dean Today at (845) 826-5310


Ivy League Witnesses Unprecedented Rise in Early Applications

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s early admissions cycle has set new records for the country’s most prestigious post-secondary schools. As anyone hoping to begin college in fall 2021 is likely aware, all schools with an early application program released their early acceptance decisions within the past few weeks. Any student who applied early action or early decision has now been accepted, rejected, or deferred to the regular admissions cycle. (This earlier blog post explains the early action and early decision application options, if you need more information).

Interestingly, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, schools in the Ivy League received a record number of early admission applications this year. As a result, their acceptance rates are historically low. Here are the early acceptance rates for colleges in the Ivy League for the Class of 2025, in alphabetical order:

  1. Brown University
    • Early acceptance rate: 15.9%
    • Number of early acceptances: 885
    • Number of early applications: 5,540
    • Increase in early applications over previous year: 22%
  2. Columbia University
    • Early acceptance rate: 9.9%
    • Number of early acceptances: 650
    • Number of early applications: 6,435
    • Increase in early applications over previous year: 49%
  3. Cornell University
    • Cornell no longer releases detailed early or regular cycle application or admission statistics publicly.
  4. Dartmouth College
    • Early acceptance rate: 21.2%
    • Number of early acceptances: 566
    • Number of early applications: 2,664
    • Increase in early applications over previous year: 29%
  5. Harvard University
    • Early acceptance rate: 7.4%
    • Number of early acceptances: 747
    • Number of early applications: 10,086
    • Increase in early applications over previous year: 57%
  6. Princeton University
    • Princeton suspended its early admission option this year, allegedly to reduce pressure on applicants whose senior years were already made more difficult by the pandemic
  7. University of Pennsylvania
    • Early acceptance rate: 15%
    • Number of early acceptances: 1,194
    • Number of early applications: 7,962
    • Increase in early applications over previous year: 23%
  8. Yale University
    • Early acceptance rate: 10.5%
    • Number of early acceptances: 837
    • Number of early applications: 7,939
    • Increase in early applications over previous year: 38%

There are several theories for this historic and unprecedented spike in early applications. We believe that at least some students decided to apply to more colleges early in an effort to compensate for the lack of certainty during this tumultuous time. After all, receiving admissions decisions and committing to a school early allows students to have a clear path forward, with more time to make decisions regarding finances and any time away from school. Students may have also had more time to devote to crafting their college applications, due to the fact that so many extracurricular activities, like sports events, were cancelled.

As the Wall Street Journal explains, another possible cause is that many schools – including all of those in the Ivy League – are not requiring that SAT or ACT scores be included in application packages this year. As a result, some students may have felt that they had a better chance of getting accepted into a selective college, so they applied when they would have ordinarily not. Some colleges have further theorized that their virtual outreach events were more accessible to a wider audience, compared to in-person campus visits.

Whatever the cause, there are two considerations worth noting alongside this year’s early acceptance data.

First, it does not appear to be representative of other, less selective schools. The number of people who submitted a Common Application early this year actually dropped by 2%, even though the number of applications submitted was 6% higher than last year. This means that compared to the Class of 2024, slightly fewer students applied early but they applied to more colleges on average.

Second, we do not yet know the ultimate impact of this year’s large early applicant pools. Fewer students applying early to more schools makes it very difficult for admissions offices to predict who will accept an early admissions offer and, consequently, how many students they will need to admit during the regular admissions cycle. This, coupled with the fact that a large number of students deferred their 2020 enrolments due to COVID-19, means that overall admissions statistics for the Class of 2025 might be very different from other years.

It is clear that COVID-19 is impacting the college admissions process significantly and that the Ivies remain incredibly competitive. At The Ivy Dean, our mission is to help students achieve their dreams of getting into a selective college. We continue to offer premium, individualized counseling services to students and their families through Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, phone, and email. Please fill out our online contact form to learn more, or call (845) 826-5310 to book a free consultation with our expert team.


On paper, I am by no means a perfect student. However, thanks to my Application Positioning, I was able to maximize the strengths that I bring to a college to compensate for other factors. Thanks to The Ivy Dean Team, I will be attending Princeton University, my dream school, in the fall.

Douglas R. – Princeton University

Dee provided excellent advice and guidance throughout the application process. Her overall expertise in admissions, professionalism and warmth made the experience a great one. I was thrilled that I was accepted to several of the most selective colleges in the country and will be attending Stanford in the fall.”

Laurel P. – Stanford University
It's my pleasure to inform you that I've been admitted to my first choice college: the University of Southern California. My dream is becoming reality! I am thrilled to get the chance to belong to the USC and to start a new adventure there. It is also thanks to your great help that I've been accepted, I'm very grateful! Thank you so much for everything.
Sonia G. – From Switzerland
Our son and daughter wanted to go to colleges in the same city but they had different interests and different strengths. She matched them each with their ideal college, one Columbia University and the other NYU, and worked to get them admitted. We couldn't have been more pleased.
Niki and Roger S.
I was a serious student but also wanted a university where I could continue competitive cycling. There weren't many schools that met my needs and fit my personality. From her experience, she was able to hone right in on what became my first choice school. I graduated last year and the entire college experience was awesome.
Colin J.
My parents and I didn't know how helpful it could be to have someone who understood things from the inside working with us. Ms. Blackman was able to identify just what would make me the most attractive candidate to colleges.
Bob M. – Harvard University