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Six of the eight Ivies reported higher selectivity this year.

Harvard had the lowest admit rate at 10.9 percent.

Admissions officials at most of the Ivy League schools had predicted record levels of selectivity for their classes of 2004, and it looks like their forecasts were right on target. Six of the eight Ivies reported decreases in their admit rates this year.

Harvard University reclaimed its No. 1 slot in selectivity from Princeton University this year with an acceptance rate of 10.9 percent — a decline from last year's 11.3 percent. Factoring in acceptances from the early action pool, the Cambridge, Mass., school admitted 2,035 of its 18,691 applicants.

Princeton, which last year topped the Ivies for selectivity with an admit rate of 10.8 percent, saw its rate move up to 12.2 percent, causing the school to drop down behind Harvard.

Meanwhile, Penn maintained its spot as the second-least selective Ivy, admitting 4,289 — 22 percent — of its 18,815 applicants. The admissions rate is a continuation of the University's decade-long decline, down from 26.6 percent last year.

Marlyn McGrath Lewis, director of admissions at Harvard, attributed the school's drop in the acceptance rate partly to the rise in applications. "This was not only the largest group, but an extraordinarily strong group of applicants," she said, adding that officials expect this year's yield rate — the percentage of students admitted who choose to attend the school — to be close to last year's 80 percent.

Columbia University had the third-lowest acceptance rate, admitting 14.9 percent, or 2,378 out of its nearly 15,960 applicants.

And Brown University admitted 2,541 out of 16,801 applicants. The Providence, R.I., school's acceptance rate fell to 15.1 percent from last year's 16.8 percent. According to Brown's Director of College Admission Michael Goldberger, the institution had to select fewer students this year because the number of applicants to the Class of 2004 rose by almost 2,000.

Applications to Brown increased drastically this year after the school adopted a new early action policy that allows early action students to also apply early to other schools with the program. Previously, early action applicants could apply to only one school early.

Harvard is the only other Ivy with an early action program. The other seven offer the binding early decision policy. Additionally, Yale University admitted 2,032 — or 15.8 percent — of its 12,887 applicants. The acceptance rate is consistent with last year's, even though the New Haven, Conn., school received 3 percent fewer applications than it did for the Class of 2003.

This is the first time in recent years that Yale has fallen below both Columbia and Brown in selectivity.

Dartmouth College sent acceptance letters to a total of 2,184 students, or 21.4 percent of its 10,188 applicants. Dartmouth's acceptance rate is on par with last year's rate. The Hanover, N.H., school's applicant pool was slightly smaller than last year's group of 10,260 students.

As in past years, Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., ranked last among the Ivies in admissions selectivity, accepting 6,112 out of 20,198 applicants. Cornell reported an acceptance rate of 30.3 percent, down from 32 percent last year and 34 percent the previous year. "We're seeing a stronger pool [of applicants] than we ever had," Cornell Interim Director of Admissions Linda Mallet said.

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