Admission rate rises

Yale College’s total acceptance rate rose 0.7 percent to 9.6 percent this year for the class of 2011, while many other Ivies saw record-low acceptance rates.

Yale accepted 1,860 students out of the 19,323 total early and regular decision applicants for the class of 2011, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said Thursday. The University is aiming to matriculate a class of 1,340 incoming freshmen, he said, up from 1,310 last year. Harvard, Columbia and Brown universities — the only other Ivy League schools for which statistics have been released — each admitted their lowest percentages of students on record.

Yale accepted 1,151 applicants out of the 17,937 who applied regular decision in January, for an admit rate of 6.4 percent. An additional 859 students were offered positions on the waitlist. Out of the 3,594 students who applied early action to Yale in November, 709 were accepted and 2,208 were deferred in December for a 19.7 percent admit rate.

Brenzel said he is pleased with the strength of this year’s admitted class.

“Once again, we felt privileged to have such an extraordinary applicant pool, very sorry that we cannot take more of the outstanding applicants who want to come here, and excited about the incredible students we have been able to accept,” he said.

The number of applications Yale College received decreased 9.7 percent from last year, when it admitted 1,878 total students out of 21,101 applications for an Ivy League record-low acceptance rate of 8.9 percent. Brenzel and admissions consultants attributed the decline in applications to a combination of normal fluctuations in the admissions cycle and the discouraging effects of the previous year’s low acceptance rate.

The other Ivies for which statistics are available all admitted record-low percentages of their pools, which had record-high numbers of applicants. Out of the 22,955 students who applied to Harvard this year, 9 percent were accepted, compared with 9.3 percent last year. Brown’s acceptance rate was 13.5 percent, an 0.5 percent dip from last year. Columbia College admitted 8.9 percent of its applicants — down from last year’s 9.6 percent acceptance rate — while the university’s undergraduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences had an 18.1 percent acceptance rate. Overall, Columbia accepted 10.4 percent of its 21,343 applicants.

Stanford and Dartmouth universities will be releasing their statistics today, and admissions numbers for Princeton, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania are not yet available.

Admissions advisors and high school counselors cautioned against drawing too many conclusions from the data, but instead focused on the overall increase in the number of students applying to extremely selective Ivy League and peer institutions.

Peggy Hock, an educational consultant in San Francisco, said the modest increase in Yale’s acceptance rate will probably only influence the “more sophisticated” high school students in the admissions process, who may be more likely to apply next year because of the rise. But overall, it is the larger patterns that merit consideration, she said.

“There are always people who are going to try to make great meaning out of numbers, but one year does not make a trend,” Hock said. “The trend is that more people are applying to the Ivy League, and the admit rate is dropping.”

Ayodeji Perrin, a college advisor at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, said the number of high school seniors in the national population has been rising steadily in the past decade and is currently reaching unprecedented highs. This demographic swell, combined with the increased accessibility of a college education to students whose parents may not have gone to college, has resulted in a significant rise in college applications overall.

He said the record-high number of applications that Yale received last year, along with the similar experiences of other Ivies this year, is indicative of this trend. The Ivies will continue to see great volumes of applications despite the extremely low acceptance rates, he said.

“The pull of the Ivy League will remain, but students have been expanding the range of schools that they’re applying to for some time,” Perrin said. “The effects of that are largely positive because there are great schools out there that don’t get the attention they deserve.”

But Bruce Bailey, director of college counseling at Lakeside School in Seattle, said that while the “mystique” of the Ivy League will likely always remain, the decreased chance of acceptance has been compelling him to discourage more of the “wishers and hopers” — or those students who are less qualified, but still want to apply — from sending in applications.

Bailey dismissed the 0.7 percent difference in Yale’s acceptance rate between this year and last year as a “statistical non-factor.”

Brenzel said the Admissions Office is relieved to have finally released admissions decisions.

“Decision day in many ways is as exciting for admissions officers as for the admitted students, because the officers have invested so much time and energy and effort reading about those students and learning their files, and now they turn into real people,” he said.

Brenzel said the admissions office expects over 1,000 prefrosh to visit campus for Bulldog Days, which will take place from April 16 to 18.

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