Is Trump Presidency impacting the admission results for International Students?

Over the last month number of parents and students from countries such as India, Middle East, Singapore etc. have reached out to find if trump presidency is impacting the admission results of international students. The reason students, school counselors and parents are asking this question is because many students who got admitted into top colleges with similar scores, grades a few years back are getting declines for the same profile. So what is going on?

The primary reason why number of International students are getting admission rejects or waitlist is increasing competition and not the Trump presidency. The colleges are still admitted same percentage of International students if not more. The graph below shows how the number of international student applications have been increasing over last 10 years or so. The top colleges in the U.S. continue to receive record numbers of applications, especially from international students. With increasing applications, good college have a wider pool to select from and every college wants good students but also diversity at the campus.

Also the results from the class of 2021 show how competitive the college admission process has become for the top universities. At each college the applications are going up and acceptance rate going down. Hence, the probability of each student with the similar achievement records getting lower as the number of college seats remain same from year to year (except for a few colleges). See this article from USA Today.

The acceptance rates are International students tend to be lower than the overall acceptance rates. The average statistics also are higher given the average stats for any admit class includes the statistics of minorities (African Americans, Hispanics) and First-generation or Low income students. The colleges are also seeing applications from more countries and more schools within each country. This is impacting the overall results for International students and getting more competitive. Students with similar records, who could get admitted into a school 5 years ago, would face more competition today just because of sheer increase in number of applications within the school.

Read how colleges use Big Data to drive diversity and student admission strategy

In summary, for any student, other than minority, low income or first-generation family, he or she needs to have a strong academic profile, highest class rank, excellent track record and consistency, rigor in the program or an exceptional extra-curricular record to present a competitive application at any of the Ivy League colleges or top schools such as MIT, Stanford etc.

Ivy League Acceptance Rate for class of 2021

8. Cornell University — 12.5%

7. Dartmouth College — 10.4%

6. University of Pennsylvania — 9.2%

5. Brown University — 8.3%

4. Yale University — 6.9%

3. Princeton University — 6.1%

2. Columbia University — 5.8%

1. Harvard University — 5.2%

Harvard University

With a record number of applications, 39, 506, the admitted class saw increases in the percentages of African-American and Asian-American students (not International, but Asians in USA), as well as first-generation students and students from low- and moderate-income families, though it is statistically similar to the Class of 2020. Women constitute 49.2 percent of newly admitted students. Asian-American students make up 22.2 percent, African-Americans 14.6 percent, Latinos 11.6 percent, Native Americans 1.9 percent, and Native Hawaiians 0.5 percent. First-generation students constitute 15.1 percent of those admitted. Read More…


One of the most competitive universities to get admitted to. Not only this university is at the center of all innovation, but it all attracts the best and brightest among all the fields.  You not only need to have excellent academic record or be at the top of your game, whatever it is, you also need to be show the university your unique abilities through the application.

The acceptance rate at the university keeps decreasing, hence the probability of any student to get into Stanford is going down. The class of 2017 admission results are below.

Total Admitted = 2, 050

Total Applicants = 44, 073

Read More


Princeton extended offers of admission to 1, 890 students March 30, including a higher number of women than men.  University officials said they believed this was the first time more women than men were accepted, but said they had not checked each year’s figures back to 1969, when coeducation came to Princeton. The acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 — 6.1 percent of the record 31, 056 applicants — is the lowest in the University’s history. The target size for the class is 1, 308 students.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said 18 more women than men were admitted, or 50.5 percent of the total. She said the female/male ratio for admitted students has been running close to 50/50 in recent years, and said “there was no intent this year other than to admit the very best class.” “Many of our peers crossed this line a number of years ago, ” Rapelye noted.

Among those admitted, 53.4 percent self-identified as racial or ethnic minorities, 10.7 percent are legacies, 63.8 percent attend public schools, and 770 were admitted from the early-action pool. Rapelye said 18.9 percent will be the first in their families to attend college — a record for Princeton — and said “this shows our commitment to social mobility and socioeconomic diversity.”

International students representing 76 countries make up 12.1 percent of admitted students. Rapelye said the University will be watching for effects of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. “Will they be able to come? I am concerned about a chilling effect, ” she said.

John Hopkins

More about the Class of 2021:

·       Gender: 46 percent male, 54 percent female

·       Geographic diversity: Admitted students come from 48 states plus Washington, D.C., and 52 countries

·       Shortest distance from home to campus: 1.13 miles

·       Farthest distance from home to campus: 10, 204 miles (Australia)

·       Top states admitted students represent: California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland

·       Top countries (other than the U.S.) admitted students represent: Canada, India, South Korea, UK, China

·       Average GPA: 3.93

·       Students in the top 10 percent of their class: 99% (of students who reported)

·       Total applications, both ED and RD: 26, 578

·       Total admits, both ED and RD: 3, 133

Brown University

Highlights from the admitted Class of 2021 include:

The pool: The applicant pool of 32, 724 is the largest in Brown’s history.

Admission rate: The University admitted 8.3 percent of applicants to the Class of 2021.

Academic standing: Ninety-seven percent of admitted students are in the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Diversity: Forty-seven percent identify as students of color.

Financial aid: Sixty-four percent of admitted students intend to apply for financial aid.

United States: Students have been admitted from all 50 states. The top five states are California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Florida.

International: Students from 77 nations are represented in the admitted class. The top five countries are India, China, the United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore.

Academic interests: The top 10 intended concentrations include: engineering, biology, biochemistry, computer science, economics, political science, BEO (business, entrepreneurship and organizations), English, mathematics, neuroscience.

Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program: Of 727 applicants, 21 students were admitted to the Brown-RISD Dual Degree Program, a 2.9-percent admission rate.


The Office of Undergraduate Admissions released regular admissions decisions yesterday for what will be Yale College’s largest freshman class in history with 2, 272 students admitted from a record pool of 32, 900 applicants.

The admitted students represent 6.9 percent of the total applicant pool, which includes both regular decision and early action applicants. This year’s acceptance rate is slightly higher than last year’s rate of 6.27 percent.

The increased size of the newly admitted class comes as a result of the addition of Yale’s two newest residential colleges, Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges, which will open in the fall and increase the size of Yale College by roughly 800 students over four years. In the past, Yale has admitted about 2, 000 students for a freshman class of about 1, 350. The Admissions Office is aiming for a total class of roughly 1, 550 freshmen entering this fall.


MIT admitted 1, 438 students to next year’s first-year class (from about 18, 000+ students who apply). Again this year, a third have won national or international academic distinctions and many are athletes, artists, or makers. Admitted students come from 50 states, 62 countries, and from diverse backgrounds: a quarter identify as members of underrepresented minority groups, and 18 percent will be the first generation in their family to attend college.


Cornell accepted 12.5 percent of applicants to the Class of 2021 out of 47, 038 candidates, setting a record for number of applications and a record-low admissions rate.

The 5, 889 students who were admitted and another 5, 713 students were placed on the wait list.

This year’s admitted class includes 1, 777 students — 30.2 percent of the class — who self-identify as underrepresented minorities. The figure represents a new record for the third year in a row according to the University. Students of color — which include underrepresented minority students and Asian American students — represent 52.5 percent of the class, an increase from last year’s figure of 49 percent.

The prospective class is made up of almost 9 percent international students, representing 96 countries around the world. Canada, China, India, South Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom are among the countries most represented.

Over 700 first-generation students were admitted and 200 admitted students are recruited athletes.

“This year’s admitted class continues to raise the bar on what it means to be outstanding, ” said Director of Undergraduate Admissions Shawn Felton in a press release. “I am pleased that we are, once again, well on our way toward our goals to broaden and diversify the incoming class.” Read more…


Here is a statistical profile of the Regular Decision Class of 2021:

Regular Decision applications:  27, 841

Admitted:  2, 382

Admit Rate:  8.6%

Percent of students in the top ten percent of their graduating class:  96%*

Old SAT**

Middle 50% Critical Reading:  740-800

Middle 50% Math:  770-800

New SAT**

Middle 50% Evidence Based Reading and Writing: 710-770

Middle 50% Math: 720-800

Middle 50% ACT:  33-35

Percent of students who received one or more significant honors or held major leadership positions:  100%

Hope this statistics helps all the students get an idea on how competitive the top college admission is becoming, and a student profile that got an admit a few years back may not get the same results now or in the future.

About Author Ajay Singh

I graduated from I.I.T India and came to U.S. for higher studies in Engineering 20 years back. After working for a few years in Austin, Texas as a design engineer, I went back for a M.B.A at Harvard Business School. I have worked for number of global companies in senior leadership and management positions. Over the years I have advised number of students on college admission.

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