College acceptance rates are tiny at these 9 selective schools

High school seniors did, in fact, keep busy during the pandemic. If you’re not in the class of 2025, you should thank your lucky stars.

College acceptance rates are tiny at these 9 selective schools
[Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash]

Want to know how high school seniors kept themselves occupied in late 2020? They were binging on college applications. College acceptance rates for the class of 2025 are clocking in this week from selective colleges, and acceptance rates are low. Really low. So low that you should thank your lucky stars if you’re not in the class of 2025.


What the heck happened?

Many schools received far more applicants than usual. For example, New York University, Johns Hopkins University, Wellesley College, and Washington University in St. Louis all saw applicant jumps around 20%; the University of Georgia was up 36%, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology was up 66%, and Colgate University’s applicant pool somehow more than doubled.

Is the Common App part of this?

Yes. Common App submissions increased 11% this year. It makes it easier for students to apply to over 900 schools with one application, unlike times of yore when now-middle-aged folk had to fill out different applications for each school. With pen and paper. I know.

Why did applicant pools mushroom?

It’s that little global pandemic thing. Because booking spots for standardized testing became more difficult, more schools made some standardized tests optional, which opened up the flood gates. For example, 60% of applicants to Wellesley College and 40% of accepted applicants to the University of Georgia did not submit any test scores.


“Good students without competitive standardized test scores would have been deterred from applying if testing were required,” says Christine Chu, an admissions counselor at IvyWise, and former assistant director of admissions at Yale University. “Also, given all of the pandemic-related uncertainties, some students may have applied to more schools.” Which, given the numbers I’m showing you, was a very smart plan.

What are acceptance rates for the Class of 2025?

  • Colby College: 8%
  • Emory University: 20%
  • MIT: 4%
  • Notre Dame: 14%
  • Swarthmore: 7%
  • University of Georgia: 39%
  • University of Virginia: 21%
  • Washington University (St. Louis): 13%
  • Wellesley College: 16%

What about Harvard?

The Ivies and Stanford are on their own schedules (because they can be). They’ll announce next week.