Stanford delays release of admissions decisions after ‘notable increase’ in applications

Jan. 26, 2021, 8:43 p.m.

The admissions office announced on Tuesday that it will release admissions decisions roughly a week later than in previous years due to a “notable increase” in applications for the Class of 2025. 

Applicants will receive decisions by April 9 instead of the originally scheduled April 1, and the enrollment deadline has also been extended from May 1 to May 3 to reflect the delayed timeline. The new timeline reflects Stanford’s “commitment to maintaining a thoughtful and thorough review,” according to the University.

The rise in applicants for admission comes after Stanford’s admit rate for the Class of 2024 rose to 5.19% — the first increase in the undergraduate admit rate since 2004 as a result of a decreased number of applicants. The University did not speculate on the reasons behind the decline, which followed the 2018-19 admissions cycle, where it recorded a record-high 47,498 applications.

While the University also did not speculate as to the cause of increased applicants, Stanford made two changes that may have encouraged more students to apply. First, Stanford waived the standardized testing requirement for applicants applying this year as a result of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The University also reduced the number of supplemental essays for the Class of 2025 from 11 to eight, cutting questions like “What five words best describe you?” and reducing the word count of the meaningful extracurricular activity essay.

Last spring, 376 first-year students admitted to Stanford opted to take a gap year, a number similar to that of peer institutions. Yale University saw 341 deferrals of enrollment, and 340 first-year students deferred enrollment at Harvard College.

These deferred enrollments are not expected to change the number of students Stanford plans to admit, according to University spokesperson E.J. Miranda, who confirmed that Stanford plans to have “a regular entering first year class of about 1,700, plus students admitted for 2020 who chose to take a gap year.” 

While the previous admission season was an anomaly in contrast to previous years’ admission rates, colleges and universities across the country are reporting record-low early admit rates. Harvard College’s restrictive early action admit rate plunged to 7.4% from 13.9%, while the University of Pennsylvania’s early decision admit rate fell to 11% from 14% in the previous year. 

Following Stanford’s announcement, Harvard said that it would also release admissions decisions by April 6 after receiving more than 57,000 applications for the Class of 2025.

A University spokesperson declined to provide the number of applicants to the Class of 2025. In the fall of 2018, Stanford announced that it would no longer publicize admissions data for its incoming classes in an effort to reduce the “outsized emphasis placed on the admit rates at U.S. colleges and universities.”

Miranda wrote that the financial aid office and new student programs are prepared for the delayed decision date.

Contact Cameron Ehsan at cehsan ‘at’ and Kathryn Zheng at kszheng ‘at’

Kathryn Zheng ’24 is from New Jersey. She is majoring in Economics and currently writes for Arts and Life as a columnist under the Culture desk.Cameron Ehsan is a junior at Stanford studying neurobiology. He served as a news editor and newsroom development director for Vol. 261 and was the Vol. 260 winter managing editor.

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