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Lowest Ever Acceptance Rates Show Ivy League is Growing More Competitive

Having now made their offers of admission, schools in the Ivy League have publicly reported their application and acceptance statistics for the class of 2026. The data reveals that the Ivy League is becoming more competitive than ever. It appears that the increase in test-optional policies – from colleges that have suspended or ended the use of standardized tests like the SAT and ACT in their admissions process – and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic are prompting more students to apply to more top colleges, driving down acceptance rates to be the lowest in admissions history.

For example, Harvard University, the most competitive of Ivy League schools, accepted just 3.19% of applicants. It is the lowest rate in Harvard’s history, surpassing the previous low of 3.43% in 2021. Brown saw its largest-ever applicant pool, with a 9% increase in applicants from last year, and subsequently reported a 5% acceptance rate for the class of 2026. This too is the university’s lowest-ever acceptance rate. Some schools, such as Cornell and Princeton, have opted to not report specific data this year, with Princeton citing a desire to not discourage prospective applicants as the reason.

While the data may be daunting to anyone with aspirations of going to a top college, what it really demonstrates is the value of an experienced college counselor. Working with someone who has insider knowledge of the admissions process at a highly competitive school can be an enormous help. They can help you to make sure your application highlights what top colleges are looking for, setting you apart from the tens of thousands of other applicants you will be competing with.

This is in fact what makes our company unique: not only has our President, Dee Blackman, studied at two Ivy League colleges, but she has also been the Dean of Admissions for both Columbia University and Harvard University. Dee was directly responsible for accepting students and is intimately familiar with what selective colleges are looking for. Our team can help students and their families bring what may seem impossible to within reach.

We invite you to contact us at any time to schedule a free consultation, and review our other blog posts for more tips and insights regarding the admission process.


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