2022 College Acceptance Rates: The Latest Admissions Trends

Padya Paramita

2022 College Acceptance Rates: The Latest Admissions Trends

It’s that time of the year again. Students who applied to college this admissions cycle have spent the last couple of weeks anxiously checking their email and clicking links in various portals to hopefully find good news awaiting them. All colleges are done sending out their letters and 2022 acceptance rates for the class of 2026 have started to be released! Unsurprisingly, the top schools have continued to be incredibly competitive, while other colleges that have previously been considered target options are more selective than ever.

You may have just applied and gotten your decisions, or you’re preparing to take on the process and want to know how tough the admissions landscape currently looks. In this blog, we have outlined the 2022 college acceptance rates, analyzed this year’s trends in admission compared to the past, and gone over how you can prepare your application for top schools.

2022 College Acceptance Rates

The table below outlines the 2022 college acceptance rates for the top national universities and liberal arts colleges that have been publicized so far, arranged in order of most selective to least selective this year. We will continue updating the table as more schools announce how competitive the pool has been for the class of 2026.

School 2022 Acceptance Rate
Harvard University 3.19%
Columbia University 3.73%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 3.96%
Yale University 4.46%
Brown University 5%
Johns Hopkins University 6%
Duke University 6%
Vanderbilt University 6%
Dartmouth College 6.24%
Amherst College 7%
Colby College 7%
Northwestern University 7%
Swarthmore College 7%
Barnard College 8%
Rice University 8.56%
Tufts University 9%
Bowdoin College 9%
Williams College 9%
Tulane University 10%
Emory University 11%
University of Southern California 12%
Georgetown University 12%
New York University 12.2%
University of Notre Dame 13%
Wellesley College 13%
Boston University 14%
Middlebury College 15%
Georgia Institute of Technology 17%
University of Virginia 19%

Analysis of the 2022 College Acceptance Rates

Many colleges had its most selective admissions season to date, setting record-breaking low numbers for 2022 acceptance rates, including Brown, Harvard, Tufts, and Barnard. At Harvard, 61,220 students applied, resulting in a 7% increase over the 57,435 last year. Harvard accepted 3.19%, the lowest rate in school history, beating the previous low of 3.43%, set last year.

Yale admitted 2,234 students to the class of 2026 from an applicant pool of 50,015, its largest ever. The acceptance rate was 4.46%, lower than any of the three previous years. Brown University offered admission to a total of 2,546 students and it reported its lowest ever acceptance rate from its highest-ever applicant pool of 50,649 students.

Columbia offered admission to 2,253 undergraduate students from a pool of 60,377 applications, a similar application number as last year. Duke continued to be extremely competitive—having received a record-breaking 50,000+ applications, Duke admitted 2,200 students. NYU received 105,000 applications this year (a 5% increase over last year), of which only 12.2% students received offers for their New York campus. Meanwhile,  Rice hit a record-low acceptance rate of 8.56% for its admissions cycle. 

Tufts and Barnard both offered record low numbers of applicants spots at their schools this year. At Tufts, About 40% of admitted students did not submit SAT/ACT scores, as Tufts enters the second year of a three-year test optional pilot. About half of the applicants did not submit SAT/ACT scores.

Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania have joined schools the likes of Stanford and Cornell in withholding their acceptance rates. An official announcement on the Princeton admissions website stated, “We have now made the decision not to release admission data during the early action, regular decision and transfer admission cycles.”

Admissions Trends Compared to Last Year

Now that you’ve gone over the list of the 2022 college acceptance rates, you might be wondering how these numbers compare to last year’s. The following table highlights how some of the most competitive schools fared this year alongside how selective they were in 2021.

School 2022 Acceptance Rate 2021 Acceptance Rate
Harvard 3.19% 3.4%
Columbia 3.73% 3.7%
Princeton Did not publicize 4%
Yale 4.46% 4.6%
Brown 5% 5.4%
UPenn Did not publicize 5.7%
Dartmouth 6.24% 6.2%
MIT 3.96% 4.%
Duke 6% 4.3%
Johns Hopkins 6% 7.4%
Swarthmore 7% 8%
Vanderbilt 6% 6.7%
Colby 6% 8%
Rice 8.56% 9.3%
Barnard 7% 10.4%

What a competitive application season! With the Ivies receiving a record-breaking number of applications, these numbers aren’t surprising. Even if they accepted a similar number of students, because the number of applicants was so high, the rate fell significantly. Colleges that brought big surprises in acceptance rates in the last couple of years, such as Duke University, Barnard College, Boston University, and Colby College maintained similar numbers, demonstrating that admission at these institutions will stay competitive as interest in these schools continues to grow. 

How to Prepare Your Application for a Top School

If you’ve got your eyes on one of the highly selective colleges, you can see by looking at the 2022 college acceptance rates that you’ve got your work cut out for you. The number of applications at most colleges is at a record high. Of course, you need to perform as well as you can in your schoolwork—challenge yourself by taking the most rigorous courses offered, such as AP and IB classes. Plus, you should practice hard to achieve a high SAT score if you’re able to take the test. Students who have submitted the score have an added layer to their application.

That said, if you’re preparing to apply to college this upcoming fall, things aren’t the easiest with COVID-19 lingering. Your classes have moved online, standardized tests are experiencing changes in format, admissions policies are changing, and more. These transitions might play a role in how your grades shape up. Not to mention the fact that SAT and ACT administrations keep getting canceled or postponed, and your activities might not be able to operate as usual! 

First, know that colleges are well aware of these changes—almost every university has gone test optional for the next cycle and some, such as the University of California has gotten rid of the SAT altogether. This definitely takes the pressure off a little bit. However, MIT has reinstated the SAT. Depending on where you have your eyes on, you should prepare accordingly.

The 2022 college acceptance rates are undoubtedly competitive. The top colleges are still extremely selective and hold students to the highest of standards. Admission into universities that you might have considered targets or even safeties is tougher than ever. As you work towards your application, continue working hard in your classes, explore remote extracurricular availabilities, and carefully consider these numbers to prepare your list of reach, target, and safety options. Good luck!

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