Harvard College Early Admissions
The College announced today that 977 applicants from a pool of 5,919 had been granted early-action admission to the class of 2019, entering next August. The number of admissions is consistent with last year's level, but the number of applicants soared. In the years since early-action has been reinstituted, 774 of 4,228 applicants were so favored in 2011; 892 of 4,845 applicants in 2012; and 992 of 4,692 in 2013—about 60 percent of a typical class. Such admissions are not binding on applicants, who can decide next spring whether to enroll, but the "yield" (percentage of those offered admission who accept) is typically very high—meaning that the rate of admissions for the many thousands of regular applicants (who of course may also differ in quality from the early applicants) is now extraordinarily low.
Admissions staff attributed the sharp increase in early applications to Harvard College Connection—a Web, video, and social-media outreach and recruiting program that was announced in October 2013. It will be interesting to see whether other early-action institutions also attracted a larger pool, as the competition for a slot at an elite, selective institution continues to intensify, prompting high-school students to submit ever-more applications and to pursue coveted early-admission slots. One possible effect: the early-action pool may become a bit diluted. Harvard probably does not want to admit still more early applicants, a sort of upper bound on December admissions; but this year, it deferred 4,292 for regular-action consideration (March 31 notification) and rejected 541. Other applications were withdrawn or incomplete.