Applications for Class of 2025 spike 33% from last year
For high school seniors, the 2020-21 college application season has proven to be yet another challenge to navigate during the pandemic. This year, the College saw an all-time high of 28,338 combined early decision and regular decision applicants — a 32.5% increase in applications since the last admissions cycle.
Other Ivy League institutions also saw upticks, including Harvard University, which saw a yearly application increase of 42%. Due to the high volume of applications, Dartmouth and all other Ivy League schools have pushed their admission decision release date by roughly a week to April 6. Last year, Dartmouth announced acceptances for regular decision applicants of the Class of 2024 on March 26.
The Ivy League deans set the release date collectively, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions Lee Coffin wrote in an email to The Dartmouth. He added that pushing the date “reflects the significant volume many institutions are processing as well as the desire to avoid a release date that coincided with the Easter holiday weekend.”
In an announcement on June 3, Dartmouth announced that it would follow a number of other Ivy League schools and make standardized test scores optional for applicants to the Class of 2025 due to coronavirus-related challenges. Dartmouth has also extended the policy to applicants to the Class of 2026.
Josue Ramos Carpio, a regular decision applicant to the Class of 2025 from the Bronx, New York, posited that the test optional policy may be partially responsible for increases in applications.
“Many students who are … low-income are taking this advantage,” he said, noting that standardized tests are usually a barrier to those who cannot afford to take them.
Andrew Zeng, a regular decision applicant from British Columbia, Canada, said that the pandemic has created difficulties pertaining to standardized testing for international students.
“I know one student who flew to the other side of the country to take the test,” he said. “If testing [were] mandatory, it would disadvantage students who don't have test centers available.”
Both Ramos Carpio and Zeng also expressed feeling nervous over this year’s historically large applicant pool. The significant increase in applications, paired with the fact that 172 members of the Class of 2024 deferred enrollment, means that this year’s acceptance rate could be the lowest in the College’s history, following an especially selective early decision admissions cycle.
“I think I was a bit nervous at first,” Ramos Carpio said. “I was like, ‘Are they going to have time to fully read my application?’”
He said that despite initial nerves, he found comfort in the fact that Dartmouth’s application decisions will be released a week later than usual this year, which he hopes will ensure that each applicant is given adequate consideration.
Ramos Carpio and Zeng do not feel the delay in decisions will affect their enrollment plans.
“It won't affect where I go,” Zeng said. “I don't have any pending earlier commitments that I have to be done. If decisions are released a week later, it's just a minor inconvenience.”