High frosh yield leads to crowded dorms



Though Yale admitted a smaller percentage of its applicants than ever before last year, this year’s freshman class is larger than expected, putting a premium on space on Old Campus and in next year’s freshman class.

The class of 2007, whose members come from all 50 states and 50 foreign countries, consists of 1,354 students — about four percent more than the admissions office’s target size. As a result, next year’s freshman class may be smaller to compensate, Dean of Administrative Affairs John Meeske said. In the meantime, some freshmen are living in doubles or quads that were once singles or triples.

Meeske said it was tough to find housing for all the freshmen, although he has seen larger crunches in the past. He said the large size of last year’s graduating class helped alleviate some of the stress — more annex space was available, some of which was used for freshmen.

“We did have to actually squeeze more people into the same amount of space,” Meeske said. “We’ve had to in this case make some single bedrooms into doubles; there were a few cases where we made triples into quads.”

In Lanman-Wright Hall and Bingham Hall, a few walls were torn down to change the configuration of rooms, and six more rooms in Silliman College house freshmen this year, Meeske said.

“When this class becomes sophomores and juniors and seniors, it’s going to be a bigger bubble to go through the system,” he said. “But we’re able to handle it all.”

Variables such as the number of students who live off-campus mean there is often an element of surprise in allotting freshman housing, Meeske said.

Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said he was surprised by the increase in class size, although yield — the percent of students accepted who matriculate — has crept up in the past couple of years.

“It just shows how really robust the applicant pools have been and how successful schools have been,” he said.

Shaw said this year fewer students were taken off wait lists at schools around the country, resulting in fewer of the last-minute switches that bring down yield.

“It’s been a very successful year,” he said. “We’ve competed against the strongest schools in the country and have been very successful.”

Yale’s switch from binding early decision to non-binding early action for the class of 2008, announced last November, will probably result in a decrease in yield, Shaw said, since students are not locked into attending if accepted. This year, 43 percent of the freshman class was filled during the early decision admissions process.

But yield may be less affected than anticipated because of the increase in the number of schools implementing early admissions policies that allow students to apply to only one school in November, Shaw said.

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