Admit rate falls to 8.3 percent

Yale College posted an all-time-low acceptance rate this year, as the total admit rate dropped 1.3 percentage points from last year’s initial rate to 8.3 percent for the class of 2012. But Harvard University stayed a step ahead with an Ivy League record-low acceptance rate of 7.1 percent.

Yale accepted 1,892 students out of the 22,813 early and regular applicants for the class of 2012, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel told the News on Monday. The acceptance rate will increase slightly if students are accepted from the waitlist, Brenzel added.

Harvard accepted 1,948 of its record-high 27,462 applicants, a decrease of 110 students and a drop in the acceptance rate of 1.9 percentage points, according to a Harvard Crimson article posted early Tuesday morning.

None of the remaining six Ivy League schools had released their admissions statistics for this year as of press time, although all were also scheduled to release their admissions decisions yesterday. Stanford announced Monday that it accepted 2,400 of roughly 25,500 applicants, for an acceptance rate of 9.5 percent — the lowest in the school’s history. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also had a record-low acceptance rate of 11.6 percent, admitting 1,554 of 13,396 applicants.

Yale accepted 1,007 of the 17,925 applicants who applied regular decision in January, making for a regular-decision admit rate of 5.6 percent. An additional 1,052 students were offered positions on the waitlist, up 22.5 percent from last year’s list of 859. Out of the 4,888 students who applied early action to Yale in November, 885 were accepted for an 18.1 percent acceptance rate.

Like last year, the University is aiming to matriculate a class of 1,320, Brenzel said. While the admissions office does expect to take students off the waitlist, Brenzel said he cannot predict how many will ultimately be offered places at Yale.

Yale’s acceptance rate rose last year to 9.6 percent ­— ultimately 9.9 percent after students were accepted from the waitlist — from a previous Ivy League record-low acceptance rate of 8.9 percent for the class of 2010. This figure was initially reported as 8.6 percent immediately after acceptance letters were mailed but eventually increased to 8.9 percent after students were taken off the waitlist, Brenzel said.

Yale, along with many of its Ivy League peers, received a record number of applications this year.

The total number of applications for Yale’s class of 2012 increased 18 percent over last year’s total of 19,323 applications. Early applications this year rose a whopping 36 percent over last year’s total.

This year’s admissions process has been marked by higher-than-usual speculation and uncertainty, given that the decisions of Harvard and Princeton universities to drop their early-admissions programs went into effect for this admissions cycle. Many high-school guidance counselors and admissions experts have suggested that this altered playing field was in large part responsible for the surge of early applications at Yale.

Brenzel said he expects Yale’s yield — the percentage of accepted students who matriculate — to decrease somewhat this year in response to the new status quo.

“We feel that yield at Yale and some of our peer schools will fall a bit, given that many top students applied to more schools given the absence of early admissions at Harvard and Princeton,” Brenzel wrote in an e-mail.

“However, we do not know how great a factor this will be, or to what degree it will be offset by our massive financial-aid improvements.”

The admissions process this year has also been marked by a financial-aid arms race, as Ivy League schools and others unveiled new aid initiatives one after the other, beginning with Harvard in December.

Harvard and Yale have what are considered by many as the most expansive new policies.

Both schools have dramatically reduced the expected parental contributions from middle- and upper-middle-income families and eliminated the need for student loans.

While the news of the College’s record-low acceptance rate may upset some hopeful applicants, college guidance counselors were not taken aback by the news.

“That number doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Bruce Bailey, college-counseling director at Seattle’s Lakeside School, on Monday afternoon.

But given that Yale would be posting admissions decisions online in less than an hour, he added, “there’s a lot of angst in the hallways right now.”

In this admissions cycle, Bailey said, both schools and students are playing it safe — the schools by putting more students than usual on their waitlists and the students by applying to a wider range of schools.

The absence of Harvard and Princeton in the early admissions pools could start a “ripple effect” across the whole admissions system, Bailey posited, as students admitted early to schools like Yale or Stanford University might choose to attend Harvard or Princeton instead.

Yale, Stanford and others will then have to go back to their waitlists, causing other schools to lose admits who would otherwise have attended.

“This is a whole new world, having Yale’s major competitors in a different ball game,” Bailey said. “You don’t know what the effects will be, so you hedge your bets.”

Yale’s 1,892 accepted students will have a chance to experience life as an Eli during Bulldog Days, which will take place from April 21 to 23.


  • Patricia's coffee drinker

    Thirty years ago drinking coffee in Patricia's restaurant with football coach Carm Cozza and a group of timekeepers for the track team, Cozza told us it was difficult to entice football recruits to Yale when "every member of this year's freshman class was validictorian of his [her] high school class." What possible anxiety is an 1.3 drop in admissions causing an institution with such banquet on its table?

  • Larry

    I don't understand why Yale is so stuck on what Harvard is doing. It is like you, Yale, are always looking out the window seeing what Harvard is doing. I would be more interested in making Yale greater than them folk rather than watching what Harvard is doing with itself.

  • Anonymous

    Looking at kids who were accepted and rejected, it appears that Yale has continued to sponsor welfare education by accepting unqualified minorities, at least relative to non-minority "rejected" applicants. Blacks will never be regarded as equals as long as their access to opportunity is based solely on skin color and not on ability. It makes one wonder if the regional admissions reps are minorities themselves with a bias against white, highly accomplished applicants.

  • anon
  • Townie

    Once again, Yale has proven itself to be pre-Copernican. Does getting into Yale give one a leg up at St. Peter's Gate? It's what one does with the opportunities one has that matters in the long run.

  • NumbersGame

    If we build the new dorms we'll never catch up to Harvard. What say we skip a year and admit no one? Take that Crimson! 0.0 percent admittance, we win!

  • Anonymous

    #3: Your comment has absolutely nothing to do with Yale specifically and everything to do with American higher education generally.

  • Anonymous

    What's the distribution for those that were deferred EA… # admitted, waitlisted, & declined?

  • Anonymous

    The admissions office should hope that it didn't underestimate yield, lest we see an incoming class of 1500.

  • Anonymous

    #2: it's just a means for comparison. what good is an article if it doesn't place it in the context of relevant events and facts.

  • Anonymous

    Why does the YDN seem to have such a hard time prying a demographic breakdown out of the admissions office? What percentage of admits are African-American, Asian, Latino, from the West, South, etc. Other schools report this type of information, and it's interesting to know.

  • Yale Parent of Minority Student

    #3, how dare you generalize about the alleged effect of Yale's admittance of minority students. I didn't read anywhere what the breakdown race-wise was of the newly admitted students. You must really be one of those bottom-of-the-barrel students to have launched so vicious an attack on the many deserving minority students who either have been admitted to Yale or who are presently attending. I can assure you my Yale student is inferior to no one and you can be well assured that she most certainly isn't inferior to you.

    It's unfortunate that you didn't make the cut; oh, and it gets worse when you try to get into grad school and/or professional school. The competition is even fiercer.

  • Anonymous

    re: #3
    Can I ask how you know the quality of candidates who were accepted and rejected? I haven't heard anything to support your claims other than similar personal opinions, since I don't think those stats are even published. Just wondering.

  • Anonymous

    From Princeton web site: 44.8% of all admitted applicants are students of color. What's the definition of "students of color"?
    African American?

  • Anonymous

    #14- "students of color" is generally non-white, ie yellow, brown, black, red (Asian-Am, Latino/a or Spanish-speaking Amer, African-Amer, Native Amer). Internationally born are a separate category.

  • Y '06

    #3 has a point, but is going too far. Minorities still have to be qualified, the difference is that they just have to be qualified (although probably almost all applicants are "qualified" meaning they would do fine here), that they are a minority then somehow makes them among the best and gets them admission. "Best" is a fungible term, and society, not just Yale (your claim is also pertinent to grad school admissions and even employment) decides that being a minority is relevant in determining who is "best" for something. (look at Obama, if he was a white first-year senator with only 2 years experience and little participation…) It is just unfortunate that everything is a zero-sum game, and that someone has to pay for this, and as a member of the white middle-class ( and male), you are responsible for bearing all the costs for society's past wrongs. Get used to it and quit whining.

  • Harvard 2012

    I'm a white guy and I gained admission to Harvard and Williams, among others. I was wait-listed at Dartmouth and rejected at Yale and Stanford. #3 has a most definitely valid point. Some minorities at my school who got into Dartmouth, especially, were not qualified to do so; they were certainly not nearly as qualified as I, or as other white kids in my class who were rejected. Racial discrimination in the admissions process does exist. While many students of color would get in to elite institutions of their own merit, many get in with a helping hand from the color of their skin. I do not object whatsoever to affirmative action, but sometimes it's taken too far at the expense of deserving white candidates.