Yale sees decline in applicant numbers

The total number of applications to Yale College for the Class of 2009 slightly decreased this year by about 1.2 percent, Yale Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said.

This year, the admissions office received 19,430 applications, with about 150 waiting to be processed, down from the 19,675 applications processed last year. Out of this year’s total number of applications, 3,926 applications were received early.

While Yale experienced a decrease in applicants, Harvard University received a record number of applications, and Brown University also witnessed an increase. Other universities in the Ivy League have not yet released their admissions numbers.

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said the University’s admissions numbers do not represent a dramatic shift.

“I would characterize [this year’s number] as statistically the same as last year’s,” Salovey said. “If we’re around what we were last year, then we’re very good, because last year was record-setting.”

Last year, Yale saw a 13.4 percent increase in applicants, receiving the highest number of applications in the University’s history.

This year, Harvard experienced a 15 percent increase, receiving an all time high of 22,717 applications, after receiving 19,752 applications last year. Receiving at least 16,800 applications, Brown also saw a 10 percent increase from 15,286 applications last year, according to the Brown Daily Herald.

In a Harvard press release, Harvard Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William Fitzsimmons attributed the increase in applications to recent changes in Harvard’s financial aid policy.

“This unprecedented applicant pool is due in large measure to the new Harvard Financial Aid Initiative announced by President Lawrence H. Summers last February in his keynote address to the American Council on Education,” Fitzsimmons said in the press release. “The new program sends a strong message that Harvard is accessible to all students, regardless of family financial resources.”

Although Yale’s number of applications declined, Shaw said he was pleased with this year’s amount, and that the decrease was too small to be relevant.

“Last year was the highest in history, so this is probably the second highest in history,” Shaw said. “This number reflects, I think, a very strong applicant pool. What I would have anticipated is we’d all be the same this year as we were last year and that’s true. One percent is a blip frankly.”

The demographics of this year’s applicant pool remained stable, Shaw said, although he said there was an increase in the number of applicants from the Midwest and the South, and a small decrease in the number of minority and legacy applicants. There were also more female applicants than male applicants, in line with recent years’ trends, he said.

The applicant pool represents students from all 50 states and 124 countries around the world, Shaw said.

Applications from Pakistan also increased to 114, up 37 percent from last year’s 83 applicants, after the admissions office’s first international recruitment effort in Pakistan this year, Shaw said.

“That would be your hope that you have some impact on interest, and the human touch always makes a difference, so that’s an impressive increase,” Shaw said.

Shaw said he expected the regular admission round to be “incredibly competitive,” with the overall admit rate remaining close to last year’s 10 percent.

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