Prospective Elis are in a class of their own

With hundreds of prospective Elis strolling the Yale campus today for Bulldog Days, future members of the Class of 2009 will meet some of their classmates-to-be — but exactly what kind of students made it through the ultra-competitive admissions process?

Yale accepted a record-low 9.7 percent of applicants this year, offering admission to 1,880 students from an overall pool of 19,448 applicants. Admitted students are academic achievers, hail from all 50 states and 52 countries around the world and make up a diverse student body, both racially and socioeconomically.

“These are incredible students,” Yale Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said. “This class was powerful and we know we’re going to be competing for a lot of these students, [so] to the best of our ability we’re going to convince them to come to Yale.”

All of the admitted students performed well in their high schools, with some 95 percent of them placing in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes, Shaw said.

About 8 percent of the admitted students scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT, Shaw said, while about 22 percent scored a perfect 800 on the SAT verbal section and about 23 percent scored a perfect 800 on the SAT math section. The middle 50 percentile of the admitted class scored between 710 and 790 on the verbal section and between 700 and 790 on the math section, Shaw said. On the ACT test, 14 scored a perfect 36, while the middle 50 percentile of those submitting ACT scores achieved between 30 and 34 on the test, he said.

Geographically, students admitted to the class of 2009 come from literally all corners of the country and the world. The northeastern and western regions of the United States are most heavily represented, with 33 percent of admitted students hailing from the Northeast and 21 percent from the West, Shaw said. Additionally, 13 percent of admitted students are from the Midwest, 10 percent of students are from the South, 7 percent are from the Southwest and 6 percent are from the Mid-Atlantic, he said.

This year, 9 percent of the students admitted are from outside the United States, with a 9 percent increase in international applications , Shaw said.

“I think it has everything to do with the international initiatives that Yale is engaged in and our clear commitment to the world at large,” Shaw said. “We’re seeing the fruits of that message.”

The admitted Class of 2009 is diverse racially, with about 42 percent of the admitted students coming from minority backgrounds. Shaw said he did not know the percentages of students from each minority group. About 42 percent of admitted students are white and 15 percent either declined to state their racial backgrounds or identified themselves in the “other” category.

The class is diverse socioeconomically as well. Some 65 percent of admitted students applied for financial aid, Shaw said, noting that the Class of 2009 is the first to benefit from Yale’s new financial aid policy, under which students whose families earn under $45,000 do not pay a parent contribution, while students from families earning between $45,000 and $60,000 pay a reduced parent contribution.

“We have an incredibly diverse applicant pool and admitted student body, and we’ve been quite effective in attracting strong candidates from all socioeconomic levels,” Shaw said. “We’re going to continue to work on that with these new initiatives.”

The gender breakdown of the class slightly favors men, with 973 men and 907 women having gained admission, Shaw said.

Academically, many applicants said they were undecided on a major. But of those applicants marking a first-choice concentration, the top majors were molecular, cellular and developmental biology; political science; engineering; economics; English; history; ethics, politics and economics; international studies; and chemistry.

Shaw said the University is aiming for a class of 1,310 students, which assumes about a 70 percent overall yield rate — 2 percent higher than the overall yield rate for the Class of 2008.

This year, the acceptance rate stood at 18 percent for early action candidates and 7.5 percent for regular decision candidates. While Yale admitted 710 of the 3,926 students who applied through its single-choice early action policy, 1,170 students were admitted in the regular round of admissions from a group of 15,522 applicants.

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