Breaking News: Selective Colleges Push Back Decision Day Due to Soaring Applications

The high school senior class of 2021 has had their college admissions process upended in so many ways and now, for some, admissions decisions will be delayed. This class has toured colleges virtually, foregone standardized testing in many cases, and many have not sat in a classroom for most of this academic year.

Now, facing a torrent of applications, some top colleges have pushed back the date students’ will receive their college decisions.

Harvard College
Harvard college is one of many selective colleges that have seen an upswing in applications

Harvard college just announced that it had over 57,000 applications for the college class of 2025 which is up 42% from the previous year. Therefore, decisions, which are usually released during the last week in March, will be pushed off to April 6.

“Harvard conducts a wide-ranging review of every application in its whole-person admissions process,” Harvard College spokesperson Rachael Dane wrote. She added that “More time is needed to ensure that all admissions decisions can be conducted in the same careful and comprehensive manner as in the past.”

We asked Jeff Selingo, best-selling author of Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions to help us understand this new phenomenon. He told us that,

Applications have skyrocketed at highly selective schools for one reason: test optional. Many seniors in the past didn’t apply to these schools because they’d take one look at the SAT/ACT ranges and see that their scores didn’t place them in the upper ranges or even in the middle 50 percent. So they didn’t think they had a shot, even though admissions decisions are made on a variety of other factors beyond test scores. What’s more, some students are saying this year, ‘Why not apply to Harvard since I don’t need to submit a score. 

Jeff Selingo Author of Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions

Mr. Selingo added that “Because the students who are applying with scores likely have top scores, we’re probably going to see the average SAT/ACT score at every highly ranked college go up this year.”

Because of the additional time Harvard is taking to make their decisions known, they are also pushing back the traditional National Decision Day (May 1) to May 3. Consequently, students will have an additional three days to explore their college options before making a final choice.

Many other highly selective colleges have also seen tremendous surges in the number of applications they have received this year. Tufts University announced that they had witnessed a 35% increase from last year. Brown University also saw a record high number of applicants, up 26% from last year.

The recently issued Joint Ivy Statement on Admission Policies asserts that,

The joint notification date for the Ivy League this year will be Tuesday, April 6…Our candidate response deadline will be extended to Monday, May 3. The change in date is a result of increased applications across the League and our commitment to thoughtful review of all candidates…

More to Read:

The 13 Best Books for College Admissions and How to Pay for College [2021 Update]

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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