Bloomberg News

Harvard Choosier Than Yale for Incoming Class

March 30, 2012

A Princeton University student on campus in New Jersey. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

A Princeton University student on campus in New Jersey. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

March 30 (Bloomberg) --Harvard College accepted 5.9 percent of applicants for its freshman class, a record low and a smaller percentage than its Ivy League rivals Yale University and Princeton University.

Harvard offered seats to 2,032 students out of the 34,302 who applied for the 2012-2013 academic year, the school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said yesterday in a statement. Yale accepted 6.8 percent of applicants and Princeton 7.9 percent, both also record lows, according to the schools. Students have until May 1 to decide where to attend.

Princeton and Harvard reinstated non-binding early acceptance programs this year -- where those who applied in November found out in December whether they had been accepted. The low admittance rates, a measure of the schools’ selectivity, may deter some students from applying, said Darby McHugh, college adviser at the Bronx High School of Science in New York.

“It means we have to look beyond the Ivy League,” McHugh said in an interview. “Kids apply to Ivy League schools just because they’re Ivy Leagues and it’s not necessarily the right place for them.”

Princeton’s acceptance rate was based on a total applicant pool of 26,664, the Princeton, New Jersey-based college said on its website. Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, received 28,974 applications, the undergraduate admissions office said in an e- mailed statement.

Columbia, Penn

Columbia University in New York admitted 7.4 percent of the 31,851 students who applied, Jessica Marinaccio, dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, offered spots to 16.2 percent of its freshman applicants, according to an e- mailed statement yesterday. The University of Pennsylvania admitted 12.3 percent, the Philadelphia-based school said March 28.

Columbia, Penn and Cornell also belong to the Ivy League, which groups eight colleges in the northeastern U.S.

Harvard offered spots to about 125 fewer students than last year, because the return of its early action program makes predicting how many students will accept more difficult, said William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid. The school offered places to 772 students in December.

“One thing we cannot have is to be overcrowded in the Harvard Yard,” Fitzsimmons said in a telephone interview.

Harvard expects to use its waiting list, Fitzsimmons said. In some recent years as many as 200 students have been admitted in May and June, he said in a statement.

$54,496 Price Tag

Harvard, the wealthiest school in higher education, had an endowment of $32 billion as of June 30. Alumni of Harvard College, the undergraduate division of Harvard University, include John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook Inc.

Tuition, fees and room and board at Harvard for 2012-2013 will cost $54,496, up from $52,652 for the current academic year.

Yale is the second richest school with an endowment of $19.4 billion. Alumni include former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Princeton counts first lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito Jr., Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan among its alumni.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janet Lorin in New York jlorin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lisa Wolfson at lwolfson@bloomberg.net.


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