Stanford to stop publicly announcing admission numbers

Aug. 30, 2018, 12:33 p.m.

In an effort to detract from the “outsized emphasis” on elite U.S. colleges’ acceptance rates, Stanford will no longer publicly announce how many undergraduate applications the University receives during the early and regular admission cycles. Stanford News announced the change in policy on Thursday morning.

This new policy will go into effect with the upcoming Restricted Early Action admission cycle this fall. In previous years, Stanford has publicized application numbers and other incoming class data in spring. Until Dec. 2016, the University also released admission data about fall application pools.

In the University statement, Provost Persis Drell said that making Stanford’s application data public results in articles that rank various colleges based on admission rates.

“That is not a race we are interested in being a part of, and it is not something that empowers students in finding a college that is the best match for their interests, which is what the focus of the entire process should be,” Drell said.

Although Stanford will no longer release application numbers during the admissions process nor in spring, the data will still be publicly available. The University will continue to report the numbers, along with other data on enrollment, financial aid and graduation, to the US government at the conclusion of each admission cycle, as required by federal law.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collects the data and enters it into a database, where the statistics will be available for public consumption.

Further, Stanford provides admissions data to the Common Data Set (CDS), an effort by publishers and universities to present such data in a “common” format for the sake of comparison. Stanford releases its annual CDS reports for public viewing on the Stanford University Communications website.

As applications to Stanford continue to increase annually, the admissions rate decreases; the acceptance rate was 4.3 percent for the class of 2022. Drell said that the low acceptance rate’s visibility may deter qualified and talented students from applying.

“That would be a shame,” she said.


Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’


Holden Foreman '21 was the Vol. 258-59 chief technology officer. Holden was president and editor-in-chief in Vol. 257, executive editor (vice president) in Vol. 256, managing editor of news in Vol. 254 and student business director in Vol. 255.

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