Harvard Applications Surge as Students Flock to Top Names

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Applications to Harvard University’s undergraduate college for regular decision surged more than 42% for the 2021-22 academic year.

Harvard fielded a record of more than 57,000 applications from high school students seeking admission for the fall semester, the Ivy League School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said Monday in an emailed statement.

The pandemic has altered the way students are applying to colleges. They no longer need to submit test scores at Harvard and dozens of other selective schools, which dropped the requirement as test centers were shuttered to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Separately on Monday, Ivy League member Cornell University said current high school juniors will not be required to submit standardized test scores with their applications for the 2022-23 academic year.

The health crisis has also curtailed traditional campus visits, which help students decide where to apply, so they’re flocking to the biggest names, said David Rion, director of college guidance at the private Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut.

“You have a lot of students doing online research and word of mouth,” Rion said. “It’s easy for the rich to get richer in that environment.”

Because of the deluge of applications, the eight Ivy League members, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton universities, agreed to postpone their joint decision release date until April 6.

Princeton’s applications rose 15% to more than 37,000, said spokesman Michael Hotchkiss. The school eliminated the early round this year to give students and schools more time to complete the application, he said.

Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, received a record 7,939 applications for its early-action round -- a 38% increase from a year earlier. Jeremiah Quinlan, the dean of undergraduate admissions, said the school expects to release more complete application data in April.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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