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02.24.11

2011 College Admission Rates: The Toughest Season Ever

With applications at record levels to many of America’s best colleges, The Daily Beast crunched the numbers at 28 top schools to find projected admission rates. Kristina Dell on Harvard’s low rate and more.

Selective colleges across the country are receiving an avalanche of applications this year, with records being set from Cambridge to California. Harvard is poised to be the toughest Ivy to get into: Based on the jump in the number of applications it received, the university’s acceptance rate is likely to drop to a record low 6 percent. The University of California-Berkeley, meanwhile, is shaping up as one of the toughest state schools to crack, with just 20 percent of applicants likely to receive welcoming e-mails.

Gallery: 2011 College Admission Rates

To get a handle on how tough it is to get into college this year, The Daily Beast reviewed the number of applications received at key schools across the country—figures that climbed for many institutions. We sampled the eight Ivy League schools, as well as a group of 10 major state universities and 10 selective private liberal arts schools. We calculated the projected admission rate based on information from the schools about the number of offers they expect to make this year, or, in some cases, the number of offers made last year. (The precise admission rates for this year won’t be known until after the letters are sent out and the schools work through their waitlists.) We’ve compared the likely admission rates for this year with the figures from last year and also five years ago The result: one tough admission season.

Kristina Dell is an editor at Newsweek.com and runs the education website. Previously, she wrote for TIME magazine. Her stories have also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Reader's Digest.