Apr 3, 2013

Stanford Officially Beats Harvard in Selectivity

Stanford University

Twenty-four hours after Harvard officially released astonishing admissions results indicating that a mere 5.8 percent of all applicants were invited to the Class of 2017, Stanford stepped forward with even more amazing numbers and clearly beat Harvard in the selectivity race by posting a 5.69 admit rate—the lowest in university history and the lowest among USNWR powerhouse schools.

According to a press release, Stanford received a total of 38,828 applications this year—a six percent increase over last year’s figure of 36,631.  Stanford accepted 725 students in December through its restrictive early action (REA) program and extended additional offers to 1,485 students last Friday.  An additional 813 students were placed on a waitlist.

“The most exciting part of our review is the opportunity to consider the world’s most exceptional students,” wrote Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw (ironically the former Yale Dean of Admission—Harvard’s traditional 'old school' rival). “The most daunting challenge is to select a relatively small number from among a most competitive and exceptional group of candidates.”

Falling slightly behind Stanford, Harvard received 35,023 applications.  Together with 895 students admitted through restrictive early action, Harvard offered admission to a total of 2,029 students.

Although the competition to see which school can admit the lowest percent of applicants is not particularly attractive, make no mistake—these admissions offices notice and care about what the others are doing.  In fact, it’s a game driven by the desire to be Number One.  And it all supports the USNWR ranking metric these colleges so love to hate while not-so-secretly feeding the machine.

Although Stanford has won the selectivity competition, the true test will come when all the numbers are tallied and “yield” is computed.  This is the percent of students offered admission that actually matriculates.  Harvard has traditionally boasted of a higher yield than Stanford, but even this difference is shrinking as more students elect to go with California’s cool breezes and palm trees over New England’s snow and gray days.  And if relative yields get much closer, there may be some changes at the top of the rankings.

“I wonder how many of those admitted will accept Stanford's offer. After all, who wants to live in a farm with Spanish architecture and a bunch of ducks?  Eww…,” muses one commenter on the Stanford Daily website.

Quite a few, evidently.

No comments:

Post a Comment