Harvard Gets Record 35,000 Applications; BU: 42,000

Published January 20, 2011

Harvard Yard gates

Harvard Yard could get a lot more crowded next year. (j.gresham/Flickr)

Harvard University says it received a record 35,000 undergraduate applications this year, up from 30,000 last year. From the Washington Post:

Even 30,000 applicants is a big number. It means, essentially, that one student in 50 applies to Harvard.

The applicant pool has grown some in that span, but most of the increase is a matter of top applicants applying to more schools. That, of course, is a self-perpetuating cycle: If all of your friends apply to 12 schools, you hurt your chances somewhat by applying to only six.

Or, as Slate puts it: 33,000 kids will be rejected by Harvard this year.

Harvard has expanded its financial aid in recent years to become the most generous in the industry. Families with an income of up to $60,000 can apply for aid and pay nothing. Families with incomes of $120,000–$180,000 pay just 10 percent of tuition. The university says 70 percent of its undergraduates receive aid.

Maybe high-school seniors are inspired by the simplicity of JFK’s Harvard application and applying in droves.

The Harvard admissions office will mail thick and thin envelopes to prospective students March 30 (though most students opt to get the news electronically first).

Here at BU, the university received a staggering 41,734 applications, a 9 percent increase over last year. Brown University received a record 31,000 applications, a 3 percent increase.

Applications are up substantially at Northwestern, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Penn. State, Dartmouth and Duke.