harvard university gap year fall 2020

More than 20% of Harvard first-year students are deferring the admission. That’s roughly 340 freshman students.

In this article, we will look at

  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University
  • Yale University
  • William College
  • International Students vs. Fall 2020
  • Thinking Ahead

In comparison – about 100 students tend to take gap year under normal circumstances.

In July, Harvard University announced all the classes and instructions would be offered virtually but invited first-year students to take courses from the dorms.

As per ICE (under the Department of Homeland Security), international students are not eligible to come to the USA if the classes are offered virtually (more on that below).

  • Out of 5,231 Harvard Undergraduates who will enroll in in-person at Harvard
    • 3,599 will be attending remote classes.
    • About 1168 freshman is expected to live in residence.
    • 340 freshman student deferred

So, I dig deeper to see how many Undergrad students were enrolled in previous years:

  • 2019/2020 – 6,755
  • 2018/2019 – 6,788

Comparing Recent Enrollment number

  • 6755 – 5,231 = 1524

We know about 340 Freshman deferral.

  • 1524 – 340= 1184

I’m not sure what’s happened to 1,184 students!

Is their application still pending to be reviewed and offered a leave of absence?


What About Cornell University?

For instance, Cornell University (Ivy League) is offering a hybrid class model for freshmen students.

Instructions will be provided online, but discussions will be held in-person.

Freshman students can stay in dorms. But, parents who are dropping off the kids will need to come into NY, self-quarantine for 14 days, if they are from restricted states.

What about Yale University? As per Yale Daily:

  • About 80% of students are expected to enroll for the Fall 2020 semester.
    • More than 50% will live in Yale’s dorm or surrounding area.
    • 25% will enroll remotely.

Students who have opted to enroll in residence can change their kids and enroll remotely if required with any fees.

What About Princeton University?

Princeton University announced on Aug 7th that undergraduate education to be fully remote.

When I last communicated with you, just over a month ago, we anticipated welcoming undergraduates from the Classes of 2022 and 2024 to campus in late August.  We noted at the time, however, that we would continue to monitor the course of the pandemic, and that we might have to change our plans if it worsened.  In the weeks that followed, infection rates soared around much of the country, with nearly 2 million new cases reported over the last month.  This development had two serious adverse consequences for Princeton’s ability to provide undergraduates with a positive and safe on-campus experience in the fall.

What’s happening with International students:

As per International student Visa rules, an F1 Visa holder is allowed to a maximum of one online class per semester.

ICE allowed exceptions to that rule for international students already enrolled and attending school in the USA. But, initial students, coming to the USA for the first time, are required to attend in-person or hybrid classes with a maximum of one online course.

International students are still unable to get the Visas to come to the campus.

Here’s Mandy Feuerbacher from Argo Visa has to say about F1 Visa Rules. 

For an international student (initial) to attend Fall 2020 (Bachelors or Graduate), have to overcome two restrictions.

  1. US Consulates should begin to operate to get the Student F1 Visa.
  2. Colleges should offer hybrid or in-person classes with a maximum of one online course ( be allowed to enter the country).

Looking at the US Consulates reopening, only a handful of students could get the visa to travel to the USA for the Fall 2020 semester.

William College – Fall 2020

William College is #2 Ranked Liberal Arts College in the Country by US Rank.

Here’s the announcement from the William College for Fall 2020 student enrollment.

Willima College Data on students’ plans for Fall 2020 – Coronavirus

On the paper, the numbers look like previous data from Harvard and Yale University.

If you watch my webinar replay –  How to get into Highly Selective Colleges, you will learn about 9 College Admission Factors.

Diversity is a crucial factor – Race, Location, and Ethnicity.

As per the data released by William College – The College released its data on fall enrollment. It reveals disparities by race and financial aid status

  • On-Campus Student
    • 76.2% of White students
    • 66.9% of Black/African American students
    • 68.4% of  Latin students
    • 54.5% of Native American students,
    • 73.9% of Asian/Asian American students
  • Who’s Taking the Gap Year
    • 14.2%  of White students
    • 5.6% of Black/African American students
    • 8.7% of  Latin students
    • 9.1% of Native American students,
    • 6.8% of Asian/Asian American students

Why is this a big deal?

As per Dean of the College, Marlene Sandstrom, “William College will not be as racially and ethnically diverse as the student body as a whole this fall.”

Why is Diversity important?

According to the Century Foundation Research on Diversity on College Campuses and Learning Environment report:

Diversity improved intellectual engagement, self-motivation, citizenship and cultural engagement, and academic skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and writing—for students of all races. In other words, interacting with diverse peers outside a classroom setting directly benefits students, making them better scholars, thinkers, and citizens.

Parents sending their child to college for Fall 2020 have a tough decision on their hands, if the college is offering In-Person classes, hybrid learning models, or giving an option to stay on-campus vs. attend remotely.

Think about this:

Parents spending $75,000 in Ivy League for schools like Yale University or Cornell University is giving an option to stay on-campus vs. attend school remotely.

As a parent, are you worried about the child getting infected with COVI-19 or money you are spending for an Ivy League education, which includes Freshman year college dorm experience, learning environment, and relationships with your classmates?

I have had conversations with parents who opted 100% Remote and also parents who think even one month of freshman experience will be valuable in their kid’s life.

Thinking Ahead

  • Is the trend of 20% gap-year expected to continue with other schools?
  • How will this impact students apply for college next year?
  • Would colleges intake fewer students or increase the capacity to accommodate deferring students?
  •  If schools accept fewer students next year, admission will be competitive in highly selective schools.
  •  If schools accept the same number of students + deferral, do they have resources to accommodate additional first-year students?
  • Is 20% going to increase to 25 or 30%? As per Harvard, there are still evaluating the pending leave of absence or gap year applications.

Irrespective of the uncertainty that will play out, rising seniors have a unique opportunity this year, especially those with high impact (quality vs. quantity) extra-curricular activities with lower test scores.

Rising Seniors have a shot at getting into Dream Schools, who would under normal circumstances not qualify based on Test Scores.

What will you do?

Consider the following scenario. What will you do if you were a Parent 1,  2, or 3?

  • Parent 1: Paying In-State Fees of $25,000/yr – School offers Remote vs. In-Person Classes
  • Parent 2: Pay Private Fee of $75,000/yr – School offers Remote vs. In-Person Classes
  • Parent 3: Family lives in North Carolina, Student will attend University in west Coast paying $55,000/yr – School Offers Remote vs In-Person Classes?

Rising Senior?

If universities like Harvard have 340 freshman students deferring admits, and let’s apply the same 20% number to all colleges.

Admission for Fall 2020 for Rising Seniors will be more competitive than ever before!

You are essentially competing for 20% fewer spots.

While Test-Optional gives an advantage, but available seats are also less!

If you child is a rising Senior and wondering how to navigate the admission for your child, let’s connect for 15 minutes via Zoom call.

  1. Watch College Planning Webinar Replay (How to Get Into To Colleges)
  2. You will be able to schedule a 15 Minutes Call from the same page

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