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Harvard College Admits 7.9% of Early Applicants to Class of 2026

The Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid sent out Early Action acceptances on Thursday evening.
The Harvard College Office of Admissions and Financial Aid sent out Early Action acceptances on Thursday evening. By Sílvia Casacuberta Puig
By Vivi E. Lu and Dekyi T. Tsotsong, Crimson Staff Writers

UPDATED: December 16, 2021 at 9:59 p.m.

Harvard College admitted 7.9 percent of early applicants to the Class of 2026 Thursday as its early acceptance rate remained markedly lower than pre-pandemic years.

The College invited 740 of 9,406 early applicants to join the Class of 2026 on Thursday at 7 p.m. The 7.9 percent acceptance rate marks a 0.5 percent increase from last year’s record-low of 7.4 percent. This year is the second-most competitive early admissions cycle in Harvard’s history.

The number of early applicants this year decreased by 681, representing a 6.7 percent drop from last year’s applicant pool of 10,087. This marks just the third year in which the total number of early applicants has decreased from the previous cycle since Harvard reinstated its early action admissions program in 2011.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said in a press release that this year’s applicant pool was “outstanding” and “talented.”

“This year’s admitted class brings to Harvard robust talents and life experiences that will shape our community for years to come,” he said.

The Class of 2026 is the second class that was not required to submit standardized testing, a reform instituted in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Applicants to Harvard College will not be required to submit ACT or SAT scores for the next four application cycles — until the Class of 2031. Instead, the College said it will continue assessing applicants on other accomplishments, such as extracurricular activities, work experience, and familial obligations.

Fitzsimmons, who has served as Harvard admissions dean since 1986, said students who do not submit test scores “will not be disadvantaged in their application process.”

The percentage of admitted students who identify as African American was 13.9 percent, a decrease from 16.6 percent of early action admits last year. The percentage of Latinx students admitted early to the College remained steady at 10.5 percent this year, compared to 10.4 percent last year. Asian American applicants constitute 25.9 percent of the early admits, a slight increase from last year’s 23.4 percent. The number of Native American and Native Hawaiian applicants increased from 1.3 percent to 3.7 percent for the Class of 2026.

The number of admitted international students increased slightly, from 12.2 percent to 12.6 percent.

Nearly 12 percent of students admitted to the Class of 2026 hail from first-generation college backgrounds, a decrease from 16.7 percent of early action admits last year.

The College plans to welcome admitted students at an in-person Visitas weekend held on campus on April 24-25. Regular decision applicants have until Jan. 1 to apply.

—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at vivi.lu@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Dekyi T. Tsotsong can be reached at dekyi.tsotsong@thecrimson.com.

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