Defying predictions, yield holds strong at 69 percent

The number of students who have accepted their offers of admission to Yale for fall 2008 has remained at a level consistent with past years, despite dire predictions reflecting the uncertainty in the Ivy League admissions playing field this year.

So far, the University’s yield — the percentage of accepted students matriculating — stands at 68.9 percent, compared to 69.4 percent at a similar point in the admissions cycle last year, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said Thursday. Out of the 1,892 offers of admission made in the early action and regular admissions rounds, 1,286 students have committed to attending Yale in the fall, while an additional 25 students have postponed matriculation to fall 2009.

The admissions office will begin making waitlist offers this week, Brenzel said. In the first round, the office plans to make about 45 offers, with further rounds contingent on how many waitlisted students accept the offer, and on how other schools’ wait list offers affect students who have already committed to attending Yale.

All waitlist activity should be complete by mid-June, Brenzel said.

Last year, the final yield was 70.6 percent after Yale made an additional 50 offers to waitlisted students. Yields for the past four years have hovered around 70 percent.

Yield is calculated by dividing the number of students who accept offers of admission for the coming academic year by the total number of offers, less the students who ask to postpone matriculation.

Earlier this year, high school guidance counselors and college admissions officers alike speculated that the elimination of early admissions programs at Harvard and Princeton universities, effective this admissions cycle, might encourage more students than usual to file applications at all three schools. The three schools might subsequently cross-admit more of the same students, they hypothesized, thereby depressing yield at some or all of the schools.

Additionally, sweeping reforms in the financial-aid programs at every Ivy League school except Princeton, as well as at Stanford University, have left experts in the dark about how applicants might react.

Yale’s applications did skyrocket to a total of 22,813, an 18 percent increase over last year’s total. Early applications this year rose a staggering 36 percent from last year.

But so far, yield has not fallen demonstrably. And the admissions and financial changes may not actually be responsible for any change in the yield, Brenzel suggested.

“I think the small decrease in this year’s yield could be as much due to our increased competition for minority, low-income and science-oriented students as it is to early admissions and financial changes,” he wrote in an e-mail.

This year, Yale posted an all-time-low acceptance rate of 8.3 percent, a figure that does not take into account any waitlist offers. Harvard accepted an Ivy League record 7.1 percent of its 27,462 applicants.

Brenzel said the admissions office will not release any detailed breakdowns on matriculating students — such as ethnicity, geographical distribution or income — until the full class is enrolled in the fall.


  • observer

    In addition to other "fuzzy numbers" in this story, I suggest that the author do a little serious reporting and find out how many actual, complete applications there were after apps which were incomplete or withdrawn are netted out. Yale numbers are chronicly suspect on this score. Stanford recently admitted that its total reported "applications" (and thus its claimed "admit rate") have been substantially overstated and understated respectively by failing to exclude phantom applications from the total.

  • Anonymous

    The yield rate was 69.1% last year, NOT "70.6%" - according to Yale's own official CDS form. Where did you get that 70.6% number?

  • Anonymous

    To #3: The yield rate last year was 70.6%, according to the Admissions Office and the Office of Institutional Research. Your figure -- 69.1% -- would be obtained by dividing 1320 (total number of matriculants) into 1911 (the total number of admits). But 1320 does not include the 40 admits who accepted admission and postponed one year, while 1911 does. Yield is calculated by removing postponing applicants from the denominator as applicants; their figures are carried forward into next year's class. Last year's yield rate was therefore 1320/(1911-40) = 70.6%

  • Anonymous

    Apparently Andrew buys into the ideosyncratic way that Yale likes to calculate its yield in order to puff up the number.

    In order to compare "apples to apples" yield rates must be based on total admits and total matriculants.

    Yale (and Andrew) conveniently fail, when playing this shell game, to acknowledge that the number of "admits" should similarly be adjusted upwards to include those admitted LAST year, who deferred, and whose presence THIS year reduced the number of admits necessary to fill the class.

  • really?

    Who cares, people. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying in Myanmar, and you're getting indignant about yield calculations.

  • Recent Alum

    #4 is clearly either a Harvard student or a Harvard alum.

  • Anonymous

    Yale certainly HOPED to gain cross admits by hanging onto SCEA

    The Yale Herald - Jan 19, 2007 - "The politics and policies behind early admission"


    "In 2003, after announcing Yale’s decision to abandon its binding Early Decision program in favor of non-binding early action, Yale President Richard Levin, GRD ’74, baldly stated at the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Schools that early admissions programs “do not serve the interests of high school students.” Three years later, explaining Yale’s decision to retain its early action program in the wake of Harvard and Princeton’s elimination of their own, Levin seemed to reverse his earlier comments. Describing non-binding, single-choice early action as “popular with high school students and their counselors,” Levin said the program “solves the major problems inherent in the system we had before.” This disconnect between the University’s views only four years ago and Yale’s policy for tomorrow has prompted questions both from within and outside the Yale community regarding the right direction for college admissions in the twenty-first century."


    "Richard Ludlow, SM ’07, offered another interpretation. Since freshman year, Ludlow, an Economics major, has been developing an online database of student profiles at universities across the country designed to help prospective applicants find students similar to themselves in terms of grades, test scores, and demographics. Ludlow hopes the database will allow students to inform themselves of their chances for admission at school nationwide. “Keeping early action gives Yale a competitive advantage over Harvard and Princeton because basically, once a school says yes to you, you start to fall in love with it.” Ludlow said. With an early option no longer available at Harvard and Princeton, he said, some students for whom those schools are a top choice will now apply early to Yale, be admitted early, and enroll contrary to their initial preferences."


    "Yale, of course, has its money on Ludlow. Should the new policies at Harvard and Princeton encourage the strongest students from across the nation to send their first application to Yale, the University may very well return to the coveted spot atop the US News and World Report college rankings, an honor it hasn’t held since 1996."

  • Anonymous

    #1 and #4 seem to think that Yale is playing some sort of devious game to cover up the "true" admissions numbers. Honestly, if you do the calculations out, it only changes the numbers by a tiny percentage. And at the end of the day, these yield / acceptance numbers don't really convey the strength of the applicant pool or the actual competitiveness of admissions. Remarkably, people like #s 1 and 4 clearly still enjoy obsessing over them.

  • Yalie

    The poster in #1 and #4 and #7 goes by the handle NYCFan and spams for Harvard all over the web. He is a 1962 grad of Harvard, and is well known to be the most malignant of trolls on the web. The Harvard Crimson last year called him a freak:
    He is a retired lawyer in Hingham Mass and trolls message boards all night looking to disparage Yale and Princeton.

  • DoodleLover

    Are you serious?! NYCFan is still ALIVE? I am Yale College '01, and he was spamming for Harvard when I was in high school. Wow. He needs to get a life! But then again, we told him that about 14 years ago.

  • Anonymous

    If the differences are small, then Yale is good enough to play the game straight, isn't it? After all, the USNews standing aren't the be-all and end-all.

  • Recent Yale Alum

    NYCFan is a cool dude. He is just very proud of his alma matter and sometimes lacks objectivity when Yale is being discussed.

  • Commentator

    NYCFan. the poster in (#1, #4, #7, etc.) spins the truth as well, in addition to lacking objectivity with his obsession as a troll for his alma mater.

  • Anonymous

    Very objectively, yield rate numbers reported by Yale are misleading. They are not determined by dividing the number of matriculants by the number of admits, as they are virtually everywhere else.

  • huh?

    1892+45 from waitlist=1937 total admits

    assuming 100% yield on wailist

    1320/1937 is a 68.1% yield.

  • To #15

    Yes, that will be approximately the case if there are no more than 45 waitlist admits.

    I thought, however, that this was the "round one" plan, with at least some additional waitlist admits contemplated following "summer melt" - as a few strays currently counted as matriculants are taken off waitlists elsewhere, requiring backfilling.

    With most schools using waitlists this year, the musical chairs game may continue into well into July.

  • Anonymous

    What NYCFan won't tell you is that it has been reported by the Crimson that Harvard will be taking more than 200 students from the waitlist this year, so their original yield of 76% will in fact be reduced to 74%.

  • Anonymous

    If Harvard admits an additional 200 from the WL beyond the 1,948 admitted initially in order to obtain the targetted 1,660 class size, its yield rate will be 77.3%.

    If Harvard admits 250 from the WL to achieve the target class size, the yield rate will be 75.5%

    Likewise, if Princeton admits no more than 100 from the WL, its yield rate (for a class of 1,240) will be 59.7%, and if Yale admits no more than 60 from the WL for a target class of 1,320, its yield rate will be 67.6%.

  • Anonymous

    Lucky waitlist admits will be able to drive hard financial aid bargains, as one or more schools try to lure them away and the "original" admitting school strives to keep them from defecting.

  • Yale 2000

    Who cares?? This is such meaningless crap completely unrelated to the quality of Yale or its student body…do we feel superior to other people because of it? Sheesh. It seems as if Yale is being measured against other institutions by these meaningless data…sheesh. Get a life people…worry about things that matter.

  • Anonymous

    #20: Huhh?? Of course admissions statistics matter. What makes Yale (and Harvard, Princeton, etc.) great is in large part the quality of the matriculating students. Higher yield is an indication that more of the nation's truly elite students are matriculating.

    I don't agree with how NYCFan interprets Harvard and Yale's respective yield statistics, but there is no doubt that these statistics matter a great deal.

  • Yale 2000

    The fact that you think that naked admission and yield rates are good measure of the quality of a student body is evidence that they are not. (Assuming that you are a Yale student…)

  • Anonymous

    Yield statistics shouldn't require "interpreting" if every school plays it straight.

    You simply divide the number matriculating in September by the number admitted in December, April and any time up until the start of school from the waitlist.