Yale received a record 22,528 applications for the class of 2012 this year, the admissions office announced Wednesday.
The number of applicants increased by 16.6 percent since last year, when they dipped 8.4 percent from the year before, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeff Brenzel said. Of the total pool of applicants, 4,888 applied through Yale’s early-action program and 17,640 applied regular decision. The other Ivy League schools that have released total application numbers so far — Harvard, Princeton and Cornell universities and Dartmouth College — have also reported record totals this year.
Since applications for the class of 2011 decreased last year by 8.4 percent, the increase this year from the total two years ago is only 6.8 percent. Yale received a then-record-high 21,101 applications for the class of 2010, compared to 19,323 for the class of 2011.
Brenzel said the fluctuations over the past few years are most likely the result of normal variations rather than any one specific factor.
“I know it’s an unsatisfying answer, but I’ve looked at these numbers until my eyes are bleary, and there is a great degree of variation from year to year and school to school,” he said.
But over the past decade, he said, the overall trend has been an unmistakable upward swing in applications. Applications this year are up 74 percent compared to those for Yale’s class of 2000, for example, which had 12,952 applicants.
Yale released its application numbers later than expected this year because of a technical glitch that prevented data from the Common Application from moving into Yale’s internal computer system, Brenzel said.
Once Yale recognized the problem, the office was able to fix it and all data have been retrieved, he said, but the error caused a four- or five-day delay in obtaining an accurate application count.
Both Harvard and Princeton also reported record-breaking numbers of applications for the class of 2012, which will be the first class at both schools admitted without an early-admissions program.
Harvard received 27,278 applications, a 19-percent increase over last year’s total of 22,955 applications, while Princeton announced that its number of applicants increased by 6 percent from last year, to 20,118 applicants.
Applications also reached record highs at Cornell and Dartmouth. The Cornell admissions office received 32,655 total applications from its early- and regular-decision programs, representing a 7.5-percent increase over last year’s total. Dartmouth’s applications increased by 11 percent from last year, to 15,700 applications.
The other Ivy League schools — Brown and Columbia universities and the University of Pennsylvania — have not yet released admissions statistics for regular decision.
Bruce Bailey, director of college counseling at Lakeside School in Seattle, said the rise in applications to the most selective schools year after year has ceased to faze him.
“We’ve been dealing with these increases for almost 20 years with the demographic boom,” Bailey said. “There are a lot more kids who are in the loop, and they all want to go to the same schools … I think that’s just the reality now.”
Bailey said he tries to calm high-school students — and their parents — by reminding them that the larger pool of qualified candidates means that many excellent students are attending schools outside the Ivy League, which in turn makes those schools better places to spend four years.
This fall, Yale’s 4,888 early applications represented a 38-percent increase from the 3,541 early applications received for the class of 2011.