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Top universities released decisions. Admissions Instagram followers plunged.

Nassau Hall
Caroline Kirby

With another Ivy Day in the books, some students received admission to their dream schools, while many more opened their decision to find a rejection letter. Whether students no longer require the information posted by these institutions on Instagram or want to forget about the schools that denied them, many university admission Instagram accounts have lost followers in the wake of releasing decisions. 

The Daily Princetonian analyzed the admissions Instagram accounts for 19 of the 20 highest-ranked universities in the United States according to the U.S. News Best National University Rankings, examining their change in followers over the past month and their most liked photos. MIT, which rounded out the top 20, was not included in this analysis as Instagram data was not available. 


Admission accounts for schools often provide updates on the admission process, share student stories, and offer application advice. Such accounts also share welcome posts to newly admitted students.

With the smallest student body of all schools analyzed, at 987 students, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) admissions account (@caltechadmissions) lost the fewest followers, losing 76 followers in one day. UCLA and UC Berkeley, with the highest undergraduate populations at over 32,000 each, lost the fewest followers compared to their student body size. 

With the tenth lowest undergraduate population, Harvard falls into the center of the top 20 colleges in terms of population. After losing the most followers, at 1,947 following the admissions decision, Harvard lost the most followers per undergraduate student.  


Harvard lost the single most followers in one day, and Caltech lost the fewest. Princeton, with the fifth most followers in the Ivy League, lost the sixth most followers.   

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Harvard’s admissions account, @harvard_admissions, remained at over 315,000 followers after admissions decisions were released. Even after losing more followers on a single day than any other top 20 institutions, the percentage drop for @harvard_admissions was third lowest, behind only the University of Chicago and Caltech. The Yale admissions account has the second most followers in the Ivy League, but has 250,000 fewer followers than Harvard admissions. Still, Yale admissions lost over double the percentage of followers lost by Harvard. 

Every school’s most liked post on their social media was posted this year, with most of them being admission announcements. The most liked post was Harvard admission’s video montage of Early Action admits’ reactions to opening their portals. Harvard’s second-most liked post is an announcement raising the annual family income under which tuition would be fully covered by $10,000, to $85,000. This post received 14,689 likes, more likes than the most liked photo of Harvard’s runner-up, Cornell, whose most liked post, welcoming the class of 2027, received 12,956 likes. 


After losing 76 followers when admission decisions were released on March 11, Caltech admissions saw a steady increase in followers over time resulting in only one fewer follower than its peak 12 days after decisions were released. Many admission accounts saw a spike in followers the few days before admission decisions were released. This is best seen in Stanford’s admission account, with 124,861 followers on March 20 and 126,145 followers on March 31, the day when decisions were released. This dropped to 124,942 the following day.

For every college, there is a sharp decline in the number of followers corresponding to when decisions are released. This drop can best be examined over the Ivy League whose decisions were all released on March 30, commonly referred to as Ivy Day.

Brown University does not have the smallest undergraduate student body, but its admissions office has the fewest Instagram followers. Dartmouth has the fewest undergraduate students and Cornell has the most, totalling the third least and third most followers respectively. Princeton, with the second lowest undergraduate student population, has the fourth most admissions account Instagram followers.  


Princeton University’s admissions Instagram account has gained more than 10,000 followers in the past 16 months. When regular decisions for the Class of 2026 were released, @apply.princeton lost 919 followers overnight, 102 followers more than the most recent admission decisions, when 817 followers were lost between March 30 and March 31. 

According to the Class of 2026 profile, last admission cycle, Princeton rejected 35,852 students. The majority of Instagram followers who followed after applications were due on Jan. 1, 2022, did not unfollow the admissions account after regular decisions were released on March 31, 2022.

Admissions Instagram accounts will continue to gain followers, some of whom will unfollow, but the majority will continue seeing updates of admissions timelines for years to come. 

Andrew Bosworth is a Data contributor for the ‘Prince.’ 

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