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Top Tier Colleges Get Record Applications, Increase Selectivity

As colleges roll out admissions offers this week, reports indicate some of the country's elite colleges are becoming even more selective. Applications are up and the percentage of students being accepted is down in the class of 2016 at some top-tier schools.

Here's a snapshot of the numbers at some of the most sought-after institutions:

Harvard College. For every 100 students that applied to America's most prestigious school, 94 were rejected. This year Harvard had the country's lowest acceptance rate reported so far — just 5.9 percent, offering admission to 2,032 students of the 34,302 who applied. Last year the rate was 6.2 percent. The college ramped up financial aid, offering help to 60 percent of the students admitted to the Class of 2016, meaning the average family pays just $12,000 per year for tuition, room, board, and fees, the campus newspaper reports.

Princeton University. With 26,664 applications and admission offered to 2,095 students, Princeton's acceptance rate was a record low 7.86 percent, compared to 8.5 percent last year, according to its website. Of the students admitted, 726 are students who applied by early action in December.

Yale University. The New Haven, Conn., undergraduate college had a record-high applicant pool of 28,975 and chose just 1,975 for a 6.8 percent acceptance rate. Last year, 27,283 applied and Yale admitted 7.4 percent, according to the school's website.

Cornell University. Cornell is "considerably" more selective this year, with 16.2 percent of applicants getting in compared with 18 percent in 2011, according to Lee H. Melvin, Cornell's associate vice provost for enrollment in an online story on the school's website. Four percent more applications were received this year over last for a total of 37,812, and 6,123 were admitted.

Johns Hopkins University. With 20,496 students seeking admission — a 5 percent increase over last year — a new record of applicants was set at the Baltimore school. Just 17.7 percent or 3,071 students were admitted, down from 18. 3 percent in 2011.

While these number will have students in some circles buzzing, it's worth noting that, nationally, the average acceptance rate is 65.5 percent, according to the National Association for College Counseling.

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