Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Penn, Chicago and other universities received record numbers of applications for the Class of 2014. Freshman applications to Princeton increased by 19% according to Bloomberg.
Penn’s applications increased 17%, Stanford was up 5%, MIT up 6% and Brown was up 20%. Applications to Harvard increased by 5%, Northwestern by 12%, Dartmouth was up 3% while Yale’s numbers remained flat.
The University of Chicago’s 42% increase in freshman applications has been attributed to its targeted marketing efforts (to prospective students), as well as its increasingly popular Early Action program. Cornell’s applications were up 5% and applications to Duke increased 12%.
Experts stated that the economy is the primary force responsible for driving up interest in top-ranked schools based on the belief that a degree from a leading school can help land a better job following graduation. According to Mike Mills, associate provost for university enrollment at Northwestern University, “‘Flight to quality’ is ‘the best safeguard you have at maximizing your opportunities.”
Some students expressed that the availability of financial aid (generous packages) at many top schools influenced them to apply to a larger number of colleges.
Stuart Schmill, dean of admissions, at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where applications up about about 6%, expressed that a “heightened appreciation in this country for the value of a strong scientific and analytic education” is considered a factor in the increase in applications to MIT.
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