After a Year of Turmoil, Harvard’s Applications Drop

Applications to Harvard College were down this year, even as many other highly selective schools hit record highs.

The drop suggests that a year of turmoil — which went into overdrive with a student letter that said Israel was “entirely responsible” for the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks — may have dented Harvard’s reputation and deterred some students from applying.

Harvard’s announcement on Thursday evening came as all eight Ivy League schools sent out their notices of admission or rejection, known as Ivy Day.

While Brown University also saw a drop in applications, applications rose at many other elite colleges, including the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Columbia, M.I.T., Bowdoin, Amherst and the University of Virginia.

Harvard focused on the positive.

“Beyond another strong applicant pool, we are delighted by the stunning array of talents and lived experiences the class of 2028 will bring with them from throughout the United States and around the world,” William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, said in a statement.

College counselors and admissions experts said that it was difficult to pin down the factors behind the decline in Harvard’s numbers, but that the scrutiny has been intense and, by some accounts, the reputational damage severe. It began with a historic Supreme Court decision on June 29, striking down decades of affirmative action policy at Harvard that had become a model for higher education across the country. It culminated in the resignation on Jan. 2 of Claudine Gay, who was not just Harvard’s president, but its first Black president. At that point, she faced accusations of plagiarism in her scholarly work, which she stood by, on top of complaints about her evasive testimony on antisemitism in December before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Related Articles

Back to top button