01/19/2012 03:13 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2012

Elite Schools Experience Drop-Off In Applications

Applying to MIT this year? You may have a better chance than you did last year.

Some elite schools are experiencing a decline in applications this year, after years of record increases.

Bloomberg has more:

Columbia reported an 8.9 percent decrease in applicants to 31,818 for the 2011-2012 year after surging 33 percent last year when the school joined the Common Application. MIT had 1 percent growth, the smallest increase in seven years, while the number of students applying to the University of Pennsylvania fell 1.7 percent after jumping 40 percent in the past three years combined.

Why the decrease? Factors include reinstated early admission at Harvard and Princeton, and admissions numbers that were inflated over the past two years because of the adoption of the Common Application.

Tuition could also be an issue. Columbia's tuition is $59,208, and some students feel this might be too expensive in the current economic climate.

“I would guess the decline would be due to the economy, and I think that, as it shows that effect, it’s kind of tragic,” Ethan Edwards, a Columbia College student told the Spectator.

Some imagine that the numbers just reached their natural end point, especially since admission at these schools has become so incredibly competitive.

“There is a finite number of teenagers who have the credentials to make themselves competitive for schools like this and, at a certain point, that level is hit,” said Jon Reider, a former admissions officer at Stanford told Business Week. “The supply of kids flattens out.”