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Applicants learned Thursday if they got into Harvard College; 5.9 percent accepted

Is it a thick envelope or a thin envelope?

Would-be members of the Harvard College class of 2016 learned Thursday via letter or e-mail whether they have been accepted to the prestigious Cambridge school.

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Of 34,302 applicants, Harvard accepted 2,032, the university said in a statement.

“We have always been conservative about the number of acceptances sent out at this time of year in order to avoid the possibility of overcrowding,’’ said William R. Fitzsimmons, the school’s dean of admissions and financial aid. “Harvard’s high graduation rate, typically 97 to 98 percent, leaves little margin for error. . . . As always, we expect to use the waiting list, and in some recent years as many as 200 students have been admitted in May and June.’’

Of the 34,000 applicants, more than 14,000 scored a 700 or above on the SAT critical reading test; 17,000 scored a 700 or above on the SAT math test; 15,000 scored a 700 or more on the SAT writing test; and 3,800 were ranked first in their high school classes, Harvard said.

Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com.
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