Stanford most selective college only admits 4.69% of applicants to Class of 2020
By Bonnie K. Goodman
March 30, 2016 4:22 PM MST
With the Class of 2020 admission statistics, Stanford University just claimed the prize as the United States’ most selective college. On Friday, March 25, 2016, only 1,318 high school seniors received offers of admission from the West Coast’s answer to the Ivy League. In combination with the 745 students accepted this past December, only 2,063 students received the exclusive invite to join the university’s freshmen class of the fall of 2016.
According to the Class of 2020 acceptance data, the number 2,063 represents an acceptance rate of only 4.69 percent of the unprecedented 43,997 applicants that vied for a spot in Stanford. The applicants this year came from all 50 states and 76 countries. The University is boasting of its exclusively even as more high school seniors apply and are crushed at the response.
As the Stanford Daily notes, “This year’s undergraduate admissions rate is the lowest in Stanford’s history.” Stanford out did last year when they also hit a record lowest admissions rate. The lowering rate has become a trend in the past couple years, as a record number of students are applying Stanford, who also received the most applications for the elite schools.
Richard H. Shaw, the dean of admission and financial aid, commented to the Stanford Report on the incoming freshmen class, “We are honored by the interest in Stanford, and overwhelmed by the exceptional accomplishments of the students admitted to the Class of 2020. Our admitted students reflect the deep and profound diversity of the world in which we live. We believe these students will impact that world in immeasurable ways.”
Associate dean and director of admission Colleen Lim M.A. ’80 spoke to the Stanford Daily News in an email about the strict admissions process. Lim explained, “This was an incredibly challenging year for our admissions staff. Throughout our evaluation process, we met amazing young people from around the world.”
Lim described the exceptional qualities of the applicant pool, “They showed highly developed ability for problem-solving and self-expression. Some brought exceptional creativity and talent, others demonstrated entrepreneurship and the vast majority of applicants were deeply engaged in service to others. We were moved by personal stories of courage, resilience and character. It was extremely difficult to choose so few from among so many impressive candidates.”
Last year for the Class of 2019, Stanford’s admission rate was 5.05 percent, admitting “2,144 students from 50 states and 77 countries” from 42,487 applicants. Stanford’s acceptance rate has been shrinking with each passing year. In 2014, it was 5.07 percent and in 2013, it was 5.7 percent.
The numbers have become comical according to New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni. Bruni is the author of a book about the college admissions process, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania” published in 2015. The book downplays the importance of being accepted or rejected by the Ivy League or elite universities and instead focuses on offering students advice about finding the best college that fits their needs, and they will be successful if they want when they graduate regardless of the college.
Bruni took an early April Fool’s jab at Stanford’s Class of 2020 acceptance rate in an editorial published on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, entitled “College Admissions Shocker!” where he claimed that this year Stanford decided not to admit any students to the Class 2020, that is how selective they have become.
Bruni mocked the university, writing with a tongue and cheek style, “With no one admitted to the class of 2020, Stanford is assured that no other school can match its desirability in the near future.” Creatively Bruni quoted an anonymous administrator, who said, “We had exceptional applicants, yes, but not a single student we couldn’t live without.”
Bruni did not admit the article was a joke, meant to mock the “absurdity of the admission process,” but all signs point to an early April Fool’s joke on the university that needs to review that are going beyond selectivity, that none of the Ivy Leagues are achieving.
Stanford was the first of the elite and Ivy League colleges to post their Class of 2020 acceptance rates, but it is significantly lower than any of the Ivy League’s Class of 2019 data from the 2015 admissions rounds. All the Ivy Leagues, however, are continuing a trend of posting record low acceptance rates. Only Harvard, Columbia, Yale and Princeton had acceptance rates in the close vicinity but still were higher than Stanford’s was.
Brown University: An 8.49% acceptance rate with 2,580 students accepted out of 30,397 applicants.
Columbia University: A 6.1% acceptance rate with 2,228 students accepted out of 36,250 applicants.
Cornell University: A 14.9% acceptance rate with 2,228 students accepted out of 36,250 applicants.
Dartmouth College: A 10.3% acceptance rate with 6,234 students accepted out of 41,907 applicants.
Harvard University: A 5.33% acceptance rate with 1,990 students accepted out of 37,307 applicants.
Princeton University: A 6.99% acceptance rate with 1,908 students accepted out of 27,290 applicants.
University of Pennsylvania: A 9.9% acceptance rate with 3,697 students accepted out of 37,267 applicants.
Yale University: A 6.26% acceptance rate with 1,963 students accepted out of 30,237 applicants.