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College acceptance season is officially upon us which, of course, means that college rejection season has also sadly arrived. As inboxes ding with fateful news, hopeful college applicants across the country are opening their admissions decisions with the knowledge that now more than ever, top colleges are have become more and more selective.

 

The stats are in and it’s no surprise to learn that the 2017-2018 season has seen acceptance rates continue to stoop to record lows. Some students might wonder, are top colleges getting smaller? Nope, but the number of applications received at these top schools is skyrocketing and as class sizes remain more or less constant, the percent of students accepted has fallen well below 10% at the most competitive colleges across the country.

 

In this post, we’ll take a peak at the acceptance rates at many of the most popular schools across the college.

 

 

Record Breaking Number of Applicants

The Class of 2022 is already breaking records. This year, NYU received the most applications of any private college in the US, tipping the scales at more than 75,000 applications for their nearly 15,000 spaces in the class of 2022.

 

Brown University, Cornell University, and Yale University all reported record breaking numbers of applicants, with Brown and Yale each attracting more than 35,000 hopeful students.

 

 

Record Breaking Admissions Stats

Any time there are record high numbers of applicants, there are also record low acceptance rates at many schools. This year was no different.

 

At Columbia University, admissions rates stooped to an all-time low of 5.5%. At Georgetown, acceptance rates were below 15% for the first time. Pomona College accepted less than 7% of regular decision applicants for the first time in school history.

 

For more admissions statistics, check out the table below.

 

 

2017-2018 College Acceptance Rates At Some of the Top Schools Across the Country

 

College Name Class of 2022 Acceptance Rate
Barnard College 13.7%
Boston College 27%
Boston University 22%
Brown University 7.2%
Bowdoin College 10.3%
Colby College 13%
Columbia University 5.5%
Dartmouth College 8.7%
Duke University 6.4%
Emory 18.5%
Georgetown University 14.5%
Harvard University 4.59%
Johns Hopkins University 9.9%
Middlebury College 18.4%
MIT 6.7%
New York University 19%
Northwestern University 8.4%
Rice University 11%
Pomona College 6.9%
Princeton University 5.49%
Stanford University 4.29%
Swarthmore College 9.1%
Tufts University 14.6%
Tulane University 17%
University of Pennsylvania 8.4%
University of Southern California 13%
University of Virginia 26.5%
Vanderbilt University 7.3%
Washington University in St. Louis 15%
Wellesley College 19%
Williams College 12.1%
Yale University 6.3%

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What If I Got Waitlisted?

We will be honest with you—acceptance rates off the waitlist are even more competitive than regular decision acceptance rates. We don’t say this to dash your dreams, but we do want to set realistic expectations. This being said, it’s not impossible to get in off the waitlist.

 

If you’ve been waitlisted at one of your top choices, we recommend that you submit a letter of continued interest should you genuinely wish to attend. This letter serves a few purposes. First, it updates the admissions committee on any additional significant honors or accomplishments. Second, it assures the admissions committee that you are indeed still interested and will take a place in the incoming class if you’re offered one. Finally, it adds a human element to your name on the list, infusing your application with some more personality.

 

For our top tips on what to do if you’ve been waitlisted, check out these posts:

 

Deferred or Waitlisted: Tips for Writing A Letter of Continued Interest

Why Did I Get Put on the Waitlist?

I Was Waitlisted — What Do I Do Now?

What Are My Chances of Getting in Off the Waitlist?

 

 

What If I Got Rejected From My Top Choice?

Unfortunately, if you got rejected from your top choice you are somewhat out of options. There is no formal way to appeal an admissions decision at most colleges. Instead, there are two routes you might take.

 

We highly recommend refocusing your energy on another college. Ideally, you only applied to colleges that you actually wanted to attend, so while it’s a huge bummer to not get into your top choice, you should still have some great options to choose from. Get excited about them by networking with other accepted students. Join social media platforms for the incoming classes, visit campus again if possible, and reach out to anyone you know who is attending or has attended those schools. Reframe your thinking in a positive way and embrace the opportunity. Remember, ultimately it is not where you go to college, but what you do during your time there that will have the greatest impact on your experience.

 

Alternatively, you might consider reapplying as a transfer student later in your college career. We don’t generally recommend this approach since it involves focusing on one school while attending another, with no guarantee that you’ll end up being able to transfer successfully. Instead, think of this as your last resort. If you try your hardest to enjoy your experience at college, make new friends, take engaging classes, and become involved in campus life, yet you’re still unhappy, you can always consider a transfer later on.

 

For more advice about what to do if you’ve been rejected from a top choice, check out these CollegeVine posts:

 

How to Move Past College Rejection

5 Ways Parents Can Help Students Cope With College Rejection or Waitlist

Dealing With Rejection From Your Top College Choice

Can I Apply to Transfer to a School I Was Rejected From as a Senior?

Why are Students Getting Rejected From Every College?

 

For more about what to do after you receive college admissions decisions, see our posts Important Next Steps After Receiving a College Acceptance Letter and 10 Things You Still Need To Do Even After You’ve Chosen Your College.

 

College admissions are becoming increasingly competitive. If you’re reviewing these statistics and feeling overwhelmed as you consider your own impending college applications, don’t despair. We’re here to help. Consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Applications Guidance service. Here, students are paired with a personal admissions specialist who can provide step-by-step guidance through the entire application process, including how to choose the college that’s best for you.

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Kate Sundquist

Kate Sundquist

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.
Kate Sundquist