Hundreds of thousands of students apply to the Ivy League every year with the hope that they will be part of the lucky few who get accepted. And while it's common knowledge that the chances of getting into one of the elite schools are low, the decline in the admission rate over past decade is actually quite shocking.

The Ivies are notoriously tough to get into — most currently have acceptance rates less than 10%.

First, take a look at the chart below for the class of 2020, the most recent to have been accepted into college.

BI_Graphics_Ivy league admissions 2016

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The student's accepted are a small fraction of those whom apply. The chances of gaining an acceptance look even starker when comparing them to acceptance rates a decade ago.

Ivy league acceptance rateBusiness Insider

The steepest decline has occurred at Cornell, where the acceptance rate has fallen nearly 11 percentage points, from the class of 2010 that accepted about 25% of students, to the class of 2020 that accepted a comparatively meager 14% of students.

The University of Pennsylvania had about an 8 percentage point decline in admission, and Brown University and Dartmouth University both had about 5 percentage point declines.

Although Harvard only had a 4 percentage point decline in acceptance, that drop brought the admission rate to an incredibly low 5.2%.

This declining acceptance rate is largely a function of rapidly increasing applications received by each school. For example, Cornell University received 28,097 applications for the class of 2010 while it received 44,966 applications for the class of 2020.