If you've applied or are currently applying to Ivy League schools, you've likely heard the phrase "Ivy Day." Ivy Day, or Ivy Admissions Day, is when all the Ivy League schools announce their admissions decisions for regular decision first-year applicants. This year, Ivy Day is April 6, 2021. This date is slightly later than usual, and we'll explain why later on in the article.
Keep reading to learn more about what to expect on Ivy Day, how to predict future Ivy Day dates, and what to do with your admissions decision(s) once Ivy Day is over.
Feature Image: Robert Barnet/Flickr
What Is Ivy Day?
Ivy Day is the day, usually in late March, when all Ivy League schools release their regular admissions decisions online. The eight Ivies—Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale—typically release their decisions at the same exact time as well. This time varies every year but tends to be either 5 pm or 7 pm ET.
Top schools that are not in the Ivy League typically have different decisions release dates. In 2018, Amherst released its admissions decisions earlier than Ivy Day on March 23, whereas Caltech released its decisions on March 10. Occasionally, a non-Ivy school's decisions release date overlaps with Ivy Day; NYU, for instance, released its decisions on Ivy Day in 2018 (though at an earlier time).
Ivy Day decisions are only for students who applied regular decision to at least one Ivy League school. For example, if you applied regular decision to Brown, Dartmouth, and Harvard, you could expect to get your admissions notification online for each school at the same time on Ivy Day.
Because all Ivies release their admissions notifications at the same time through their respective online portals, and because applicants are (understandably) eager to get their results as soon as possible, Ivy Day often means long loading times and a bigger chance of page crashes due to the immense online traffic.
Therefore, although it's perfectly OK to check your admissions status as soon as the clock strikes Ivy admissions decisions time, just know that you might not be able to access your decision(s) as quickly as you hoped to.
If you hit any major online traffic or are facing constant page crashes, it might be better to get off your computer and wait an hour or two until the traffic dies down a bit and you can check your admissions results without issue.
Applying to an Ivy? Then you might end up here at Yale.
When Is Ivy Day 2021?
You know what Ivy Day is, but what about when?
Ivy Day 2021 is April 6 and has been announced on most Ivy League school websites.
As you can see from past Ivy Day dates and times, Ivy Day 2021 is a little later than it has been in the last few years.
|Year||Ivy Day and Date||Time Decisions Released|
|2021||Tuesday, April 6||7 pm ET|
|2020||Thursday, March 26||7 pm ET|
|2019||Thursday, March 28||5 pm ET|
|2018||Wednesday, March 28||7 pm ET|
|2017||Thursday, March 30||5 pm ET|
|2016||Thursday, March 31||5 pm ET|
|2015||Tuesday, March 31||5 pm ET|
The reason the date is somewhat later this year is because the Ivy League schools have seen a major jump in applications. For example, last year Harvard received 40,248 applicants, but this year it received over 57,000! That's by far its highest number of applications in a single admissions cycle.
Many Ivy League schools have seen similar increases in application numbers. The reason is hard to know right now, but it's possible that when Ivy League schools dropped their ACT/SAT requirements due to the coronavirus pandemic, that convinced more students to apply who normally wouldn't have.
To give Ivy League schools time to review all these applications, Ivy Day was pushed back by about a week and a half. Because students are receiving their admissions decisions later, the Ivy League schools also decided to give admitted students two extra days to make their enrollment decisions. Students now have until 11:59 pm ET on May 3rd to accept or decline their spot in the freshman class of each school they're accepted to. (Typically, this deadline is May 1st.)
What to Do After Ivy Admissions Day
Ivy Day has finally arrived and you've spent minutes battling through the online traffic to access your admissions decisions. Maybe you got into a few Ivies but rejected from your top choice. Or maybe you got rejected from all of them.
The question is still the same, regardless of your admissions decisions: What do you do next? In this section, we go over the steps to take for different Ivy Day admissions decision scenarios.
Ivy Day Scenario 1: You Got Accepted to Your Top Choice!
You got online and caught a glimpse of the word "Congratulations!" before erupting into a fit of joy. You did it! You got accepted to your top-choice school!
Once you've spent time congratulating yourself and showing off your acceptance letter to family and friends, it's time to sit down and ask yourself: what now?
First off, if you're having any doubts that this is the school you really want to go to, it's perfectly OK to wait until you've heard back from all other schools you applied to (Ivies and non-Ivies alike) before you make your final decision.
Don't feel pressured to attend this Ivy simply because you got accepted. Think about what you personally hope to gain from your college experience, and then choose the university—Ivy or not!—that fits this criteria best.
If this top-choice Ivy really is your overall top-choice school and you know you want to go there no matter what, your next step will be to formally agree to attend this school.
Before you do this, though, make sure that you've had the chance to discuss costs for this school with your parents (or whoever is helping you pay for college) and that you clearly understand your financial aid package.
After you've accepted your invitation to attend the school, you can then get started on declining any acceptances you got from other colleges.
Ivy Day Scenario 2: You Got Waitlisted at Your Top Choice
You eagerly checked your admissions decision from your top-choice school only to be met with a pang of confusion: you've been offered a place on the waitlist. You don't feel elated yet you're not devastated either. After all, getting waitlisted means you could still get accepted.
This limbo stage can be tricky to deal with, but if you really want the opportunity to get accepted to your top choice—and you're willing to wait just a little longer—you'll want to immediately accept the invitation to be put on their waitlist. This will officially keep you in the running for a possible spot in that Ivy League school's newest freshman class.
Assuming this school is still your top choice, it might also be a good idea to let the school know that if you're accepted off the waitlist, you'll 100% attend. Write a letter to the school letting them know this. You can include details such as what classes you'd like to take and how you can envision yourself being highly successful there.
Ultimately, anything you can do to stress that this Ivy League school is your top choice will reflect positively on you as the admissions committee works its way through the waitlist.
Unfortunately, you'll more than likely not hear back about your waitlist decision until after the decision deadline has passed. Indeed, many college waitlist decisions aren't made until July or even right before the fall semester/quarter starts!
As a result, you should put down a deposit for your second-choice school, even if you haven't yet heard from your top-choice school. This way, if you don't get off the waitlist, you'll still have a spot confirmed at another school you're happy to attend.
Worst case scenario, you get accepted to your top-choice school and lose your deposit money. But, hey, this means you get to attend your top choice!
Ivy Day Scenario 3: You Got Rejected by Your Top Choice
Maybe Ivy Day wasn't an exciting day for you because you got the dreaded rejection from your top-choice school. It's OK to be upset about this—you just found out that you won't be able to attend your dream school. This is a huge setback, so it's normal to feel sad, angry, and confused.
But it's also important to remember that all Ivy League schools are extremely hard to get into, so much so that the vast majority of applicants get rejected. So you're definitely in good company! And getting rejected says nothing about your intellectual ability or academic promise.
Once you've come to accept your rejection, it's time to weigh your options: the schools (Ivy and non-Ivy) you have been accepted to.
If you got into your second-choice school and know for sure you want to go here, get started on accepting your offer of admission here and on declining any admission offers you received from other schools.
On the other hand, if you don't have a second-choice school or are doubting where you'd like to go since getting rejected from your dream school, take some time to really consider which college you'll be most satisfied at. The rule of thumb is to wait until you've heard back from every school you've applied to and then look at your acceptances.
As you consider your options, here are some key questions to ask yourself to help you figure out which college will be the best fit for you:
- Are there any schools you've been accepted to that you can readily and clearly envision yourself attending?
- Where do you see yourself excelling intellectually while also having fun?
- Which colleges have offered the best financial aid packages to you?
Ivy Day Scenario 4: You Got Rejected by All Ivies You Applied To
Ivy Day isn't a happy day for everyone, especially if you got rejected from all the Ivies you applied to. This is certainly much more of a setback than if you got rejected from one or two Ivies but still got into at least one.
It's important at this time to take care of yourself before you make any college decisions. Allow yourself to be upset, sad, or angry (or all three!).
That said, try to also remind yourself that college admissions are really a mixed bag, especially when it comes to the Ivy League. Many qualified applicants are turned down each year. Indeed, the acceptance rates for Ivy League schools are abysmally low, so you're certainly not in the minority if you get rejected!
Moreover, know that Ivies aren't the be-all and end-all of colleges. There are tons more schools that are just as good as, if not better than, the Ivies, and if you've been accepted to any of those, that's a huge accomplishment!
Once you've had some time to mentally process the rejections, it's time to start looking at your other college options. Take a look at the colleges you have been accepted to. Are there any you want to attend more than others? If so, get rid of the schools you're not as interested in and start doing some research on the schools you are thinking of going to.
If, on the other hand, you're at a total loss as to where to go to college now that you haven't gotten accepted to the Ivies you applied to, it's a good idea to buckle down and start doing research on each school you've been accepted to.
Specifically, you'll want to look closely at the academics/majors offered, campus, extracurricular activities, and overall atmosphere of each school. I suggest going online to each school's official website; you can also check out real student opinions on websites such as College Confidential, Reddit, and Niche.
If possible, try visiting the campus directly to help give you a more direct look at what kind of environment and amenities a particular school offers students.
Finally, be sure to consider the financial aid packages you've received from each school. If one school is offering you a lot more aid than your other schools are—and cost is a huge factor for you—the amount of financial assistance you get might be the main reason you pick a certain college.
Doing all of this should help you narrow down your choices and eventually find the best college for you!
Want to learn more about the Ivy League? Check out our expert guides to learn how to get into Harvard, what kinds of admission rates Ivy League schools have, and what the current rankings of Ivy League schools are.
To get into the Ivy League—and other top schools—you'll need to earn super high SAT/ACT scores. Written by our resident full scorer, our guides on how to get a perfect SAT/ACT score will help you achieve this goal in no time at all!
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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.