College Admissions Rates for the Class of 2024

The admissions statistics for the Class of 2024 may be the final report of a passing era. Applications for the Regular Decision cycle were due on the last day of January and colleges announced their decisions on March 31 or April 1, as they do every year. Many colleges had ceased operations due to the pandemic in late March and the rest did so in early April. Admissions to the Class of 2024 weren’t a phenomenon of the pandemic. Decisions were made prior to its impact.

Since admissions were announced, the pandemic has hindered the ability of accepted applicants to make final choices among multiple offers. For those who have made their choices, the pandemic has altered the steps that normally precede the fall semester. And exactly what the fall semester will entail at each college is unclear.

One thing that is clear is that the earth has shifted in the admissions process. Colleges will be affected by the loss of revenue that the pandemic has caused. Many will be forced to reduce their budgets, resulting in cuts to faculty, curricula, majors, residential and campus amenities, sports, recreational, and cultural programs, and other facets of the college experience. This is likely to change a college’s historical pattern of applications volume and the percent of applicants admitted.

This brings us back to this year’s admissions results. Although there were a few anomalies, most colleges, especially the highly selective ones, continued their long-term trends towards greater application volume and lower admission rates. Table A, below, shows the admissions rates for a number of highly selective and popular institutions and compares them to their rates for 2019. Following Table A are comments about the results at a few of the schools. 

Table A: Admission Rates for the Class of 2024 (Fall 2020)

Institution Admit Rate 2020 Admit Rate 2019
American University 38              35
Amherst 12              11
Barnard 11              11
Boston College 24             27.1
Boston University 18.5             18
Bowdoin College 8.3              8.9
Brown University 6.9              6.6
CalTech 6              6.4
Carleton 20            19
Colby College 9.4             9.6
Columbia University 6.1             5.3
Cornell University 10.6           10.5
Dartmouth College 8.8            7.9
Duke University 7.7            7.4
Emory University 20.7          26.5
Emory (Oxford) 23          20
Florida 29          34.1
Fordham 46          44
Georgia 46          45
Georgia Tech 20          19
Georgetown University 15          14
George Washington 39          41
Harvard University 4.9            4.5
Johns Hopkins University 8.8            9.2
Macalester 37           31
Middlebury College 24           15.9
MIT 7.2             6.6
New York University 15            16
Northeastern 19            18
Northwestern University 9             8.9
Princeton University 5.6             5.8
Rice University 10             8.7
Swarthmore College 8.8             8.7
Tufts University 15           14.6
University of Chicago 6.2             5.9
University of Notre Dame 16.5           15.8
University of Pennsylvania 8             7.4
USC 16            11
University of Virginia 20.5           24.3
Vanderbilt University 9             7.8
Washington University 13           14
Wellesley 19           20
Wesleyan 20           16
Yale University 6.5            4.5


Middlebury College: The admission rate at Middlebury retreated sharply from 16% in 2019 to 24% in 2020, an increase of 50%. No reason has been provided by the school’s press office.

Emory University: Emory’s admission rate improved from 26.5% in 2019 to 20.7% this year, a decline of 28%.

Brown University: Brown’s results for the Early Decision cycle saw applications up to an all-time record of 4,562. Its Early Decision admission rate was the lowest in the school’s history at 17.5%. However, the Regular Decision acceptance rate rose from last year’s, bringing the overall rate more in line with past results at 6.6%.

University of Southern California: USC’s acceptance rate increased to 16% for the Class of 2024, up from 11% in 2019. The university received 6,000 fewer applicants in 2020 than in 2019. This is the first year that prospective students applied to the university after the Varsity Blues scandal hit the campus last year, and the poor results are viewed as a reflection of that setback.

Wesleyan University: Regular Decision results for the class of 2024 reflected that, of the 12,752 applications, 19.8%, or 2,531 students, were accepted. While the University has seen an upward trend in the number of applicants in recent years, the applicant pool for the class of 2024 was smaller than in recent years and the acceptance rate significantly higher than last year’s 15.8%.

Getting admitted to the colleges that suit you best is difficult in the best of times. That this difficulty coincides with the stress of a pandemic is truly unfortunate. The result can freeze you with indecision unless you have expert guidance. Reliance on the expertise of an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) such as Louis Educational Consulting is essential to your success in 2020.

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