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.

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