Ivy League schools and other highly selective colleges admitted applicants at record-low rates this year as applications soared. Harvard University's acceptance rate dropped to an unprecedented 3.4 percent this year from 4.9 percent in 2020, the school announced this week. Columbia's admit rate dropped to 3.9 percent from 6.1 percent, and Princeton's fell to 4.0 percent from 5.6 percent. New test-optional policies adopted due to the coronavirus pandemic, which disrupted ACT and SAT testing plans, resulted in a surge in applications. Another factor was students already admitted who delayed starting their studies due to the pandemic. "Ten percent of the class entering this fall were admitted a year ago, and decided to take a gap year," said Christoph Guttentag, Duke University dean of undergraduate admissions. "That left fewer places than usual."
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