Boarding School Acceptance Rates 2021

Hi everyone, it has been a really long time since I’ve been on CC but I felt like it would be a nice time to pop back into the prep school admissions forum considering the pandemic and the effect it has had on the admissions process. I was wondering if anyone had acceptance rates this year for individual boarding schools considering the increase in applications among essentially all of the top schools. I go to Loomis and I know Loomis had a 20+% increase in applicants (after already hitting a 20% acceptance rate low the year before). However, I was wondering if this trend of increasing selectivity was being seen across the board. Anyways, if we could start compiling a list of acceptance rates and comparing them to last year before the craziness of Covid I think it could be really insightful.

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Exeter: 10.6% (last year - 15%)
Lville: 15% (last year - 19%)
Hotchkiss: 13% (last year - 16%)


Choate: 12% (last year 16%)

I don’t know what the acceptance rates at Kent and Hun School of Princeton ended up being, but they both reported a record year for number of applications.

Groton - 9%, last year 11/12%

By the way, my kid thinks that this is fudged a little. He thinks the acceptance rate is actually lower but that they don’t want to dissuade applications. He calculated it the year he got in - just for day students - and it was lower than the overall admit rate.

It seems that applications were up 20% universally.

Your kid may be partially correct. I think the number they are reporting is real. However, when you take into account - faculty children, waitlisters from last year who reapply, legacies/siblings, etc., the acceptance rate for a first time applicant without any of these factors was probably a much lower rate.


I also think H-kiss and Exeter fudged little bit, with that many applicants they can’t have been 13% and 10% respectively.

Agreed. On one of the admitted students’ calls Hotchkiss said they had over 3,100 applications. It’s a school of about 600 and they apparently overenrolled last year so I would think their actual acceptance rate this year would be in the single digits?

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Per Deerfield zoom, acceptance rate was 13.8% this year

The acceptance rates were reported long before A10, so it must be the rate before considering yield. The ratio of enrolled vs applications should be much lower

I heard that, I think they are overestimating it intentionally.

Acceptance rates include the kids that were accepted and went else where, without knowing the yield it is hard to guess what the actual number was. It is not as simple as new students/applications received. It also varies greatly from group to group. In our area, for example, it is MUCH harder to get in as day student. Admit rates per class also vary wildly.

Trying to read too much into these numbers is pointless. It was competitive before, it was this year, and will continue to be next year.

The advice has not changed - apply broadly; don’t fixate on the school name. The way to increase your chances is to actually look for the right fit, because fit goes both ways.


Which is the definition of “acceptance rate.” So any school that says “We received XX applications for YY spots” is not providing acceptance rate data.

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We know that more kids are accepted to the school than enroll in the school. Those of us reporting numbers and calculating are doing so with the numbers given to us from our schools of applications and accepted kids (not enrolled kids).

The year my son was accepted, he received numbers of applications and accepted kids in his acceptance letter. That calculated rate was LESS than the public published rate of acceptance from the school.

It’s kind of a duh not to try to calculate acceptance rate from enrolled kids.

And yet, every cycle, someone does. :grin:


I thought all schools try to get to a lower acceptance rate. Would schools fudge numbers to get them not to go too low?!

More applicants? Otherwise many would be deterred.

Could those have been grade specific? I can’t remember which (Lawrenceville?) mentioned numbers in the letter that seemed off but it was because those were in reference to a specific cohort.

That’s what I thought at first but if the acceptance rate is too low it may deter future applicants from applying, resulting in less applicants and a higher acceptance rate for later years. I’m not sure if the numbers are actually being falsified, but if they were that might be the rational. Seems more likely that it’s @lindquik’s explanation. Either way, I’ll be curious to calculate it after yield rates are published.

The fact that top colleges’ acceptance rates dropped to 4-6% didn’t seem to deter more people from applying. It will be interesting to see what top colleges’ acceptance rates drop to this year.

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