Elite schools see increased selectivity, more applications

In a year when Yale received an unprecedented number of applications and recorded its lowest acceptance rate in history, other peer institutions saw more modest increases in selectivity.

In total, Yale received 17,731 applications and accepted 2,015 to the Class of 2007, yielding an overall acceptance rate of 11.4 percent. Harvard University also saw a substantial drop in its admit rate, accepting 2,056 from a field of 20,986 for an admit rate of 9.8 percent. Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford also saw drops in their acceptance rates.

In its first year of allowing early action applicants to apply early decision to other schools, Harvard received 6.7 percent more applications and recorded its lowest acceptance rate yet. Meanwhile, M.I.T. had an 11.5 percent acceptance rate, admitting 1,210 students from a pool of 10,547.

Stanford, which traditionally has had a lower admit rate than Yale, accepted 2,250 of 18,626 total applicants, yielding a rate of 12.1 percent.

Brown, which saw a 2.8 percent increase in applications this year, from 14,600 to 15,020, had a 14.9 percent acceptance rate, 1.7 percent lower than last year’s rate. Last year, Brown received 2,000 fewer applications because of its switch from early action to early decision, resulting in an acceptance rate of 16.6 percent.

Cornell, which historically has one of the higher acceptance rates in the Ivy League because of its large class size, accepted 29.5 percent, or 6,323 out of 21,462 applicants. Last year, Cornell accepted 24.4 percent of its total applicant pool.

Dartmouth accepted 17.7 percent of its 11,853 applicants after seeing a 13 percent increase in applications from last year’s total of 10,143. For the Class of 2006, Dartmouth accepted 20 percent of its applicants.

Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University have not yet released their acceptance rates for regular decision. Last year, Columbia accepted 11.6 percent, or 1,637 out of 14,136, applicants. For the Class of 2006, Penn had a 21.1 percent acceptance rate, while Princeton accepted 10.8 percent of applicants last year.

In the Ivy League, Penn filled the highest percentage of its class early, accepting 47 percent of the Class of 2007 under early decision. Columbia and Yale were second in terms of early acceptances, both filling 43 percent of their classes early. Dartmouth and Cornell filled 37 and 36 percent of their incoming classes, respectively, through early decision. Stanford admitted 37 percent of its class early, while Princeton did not release admissions statistics for early admissions.

Yale announced in November that this would be the last year it would use its binding early decision program. After Yale President Richard Levin sparked a national debate on the merits of early decision in December 2001, the University decided to switch to a non-binding early action program for the Class of 2008.

Yale admissions officers said now that students have been accepted, they will run a variety of orientation programs — including Bulldog Days on April 14 and 15 — in order to attract as many accepted students as possible. Yale Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said he anticipates approximately 65 percent of accepted applicants to enroll this year.

“The next major indicator of how we do is May 1,” Shaw said. “Our yield has [historically] been pretty strong.”