Of the record 7,620 students who applied Early Action,
Harvard accepted just 1,150 for an admissions rate of just
15.1 percent. Last fall, the College accepted almost 20
percent of 6,126 applications.
As a result of the high number of applications, a record
number of top-caliber students seeking admission received
This fall marked the first year that national guidelines
allowed students to apply to Early Action schools such as
Harvard at the same time as binding Early Decision schools
like the University of Pennsylvania. That policy change, which
led many to predict Harvard would have access to top students
whose Early Decision applications would previously have
prevented them from applying to the College, may have factored
into the spike in applications.
Harvard has always told its alum interviewers not to ask
students where else they are applying, but this year the
admissions office sent out special correspondence reiterating
how "awkward" this question could be for students who had
filed an Early Decision application at another college.
The demographics of students accepted early to the class of
2007 changed little from the last year. There were slight
increases in the percentages of Latinos, international
students and students from New England and the Pacific states
who were accepted.
The College announced on April 3rd that the Class of 2007
faced a record-low admissions rate of 9.8 percent?and that a
record-high percent of the 2,056 applicants admitted to the
Class of 2007 are black.
10.2 percent of admitted students are black, up from 8.9
percent last year. The news came a mere day after the Supreme
Court heard a landmark case that could rule admissions systems
like Harvard's - which takes race into account as one factor
in decisions - unconstitutional.
It also comes after a year in which some worried that a
high-profile standoff between University President Lawrence H.
Summers and Fletcher University Professor Cornel West would
taint Harvard's image among prospective black students.
A total of 20,918 students applied this year, an increase
of 6.7 percent from last year's 19,609.
Asian-Americans comprised 16.2 percent of admitted
students. Mexican-Americans comprised 3.6 percent, Puerto
Ricans comprised 1.5 percent and Hispanic-Americans from other
countries in Latin American and South America comprised 3.7
percent. American Indians comprised 1 percent of the admitted
Women comprised slightly more than 48 percent of admitted
applicants. The Admissions Office received an unprecedented
20,986 applications this year, surpassing last year's record
number of 19,605 and making this the twelfth year out of the
past thirteen that the number of applications to the College
Harvard's revised admissions policy, which allows
consideration of applicants who simultaneously applied to
binding Early Decision programs at other schools, may have
played a role in this year's increase.
Another potential reason for the rise is the increase in
financial aid that Harvard was able to provide to students. It
was the largest single item in Harvard's last capital
campaign, which has made it possible for the Financial Aid
office to have a substantial increase in the generosity of the
financial aid program. The campaign, which concluded in 2001,
made it possible for Harvard to add an average of $4,000 to
all student aid packages.
A "record number" of 247 deferred Early Action applicants
out of approximately 6,000 were offered admission.
The pool of admitted students is slightly more
international than last year, with 15.1 percent being
classified as foreign citizens, U.S. dual citizens or U.S.
permanent residents, up from 14.2 percent last year.
Out of all the applicants, 78 percent of students elected
to receive e-mail notification of admissions decisions, the
second year this service was offered. E-mails were sent out
yesterday between 5 and 9 p.m. The admissions office decided
to send the e-mails later in the day to accommodate complaints
from high schools whose students constantly checked e-mail
during the school day last year, when the e-mails were sent in