The number of students who applied to Harvard under the university's early action program, which gives them the chance to make an admissions decision in December instead of March, fell about 17 percent, the university said this week.
The deadline for the initial phase of the admissions cycle was November 1, by which time Harvard had faced more than three weeks of turmoil related to the Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Israeli invasion of Gaza. The deadline was also a little more than four months after the Supreme Court, in a case involving Harvard, struck down admissions programs that took race into account.
In an announcement in The Harvard Gazette, the university's official publication, the university said 7,921 people had applied under its early action protocol, which does not require an accepted student to enroll. Last year, there were 9,553 early action applicants.
But initial interest in Harvard was still greater than it was just a few years ago. In 2019, for example, the university received 6,424 early action requests.
The Gazette announcement did not include any speculation by the university about the reason for the rejection, but Harvard officials have privately wondered how the Supreme Court's decision affected the applications.
Applicants began learning about Harvard's early action decisions Thursday night.
Yale reported a modest increase in early action applications, from 7,744 last year to 7,856 this year. Its acceptance rate decreased by a full percentage point, to 9.02 percent, while Harvard's, 8.74 percent, increased by more than a full percentage point. Princeton, the only other Ivy League university to offer a non-binding early admission system, has not released any data for its projected class of 2028.
Unlike last year, Harvard did not release the racial demographics of the students it admitted early. However, it did report that a plurality of those students were from New England (22.3 percent) and that about 17 percent were international students, an increase from about 14 percent last year.
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