Record number of applications for class of 2013

Yale received a record 25,925 applications to the class of 2013, the admissions office announced Tuesday.

The number of applicants increased by 13.6 percent since last year, when they increased 16.6 percent from the year before, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeff Brenzel said. Of the applicants, 5,557 applied under Yale’s early action single decision program, while 20,368 applied regular decision. A gap persists in the proportion of male and female applicants; 55 percent of applicants to the class of 2013 are female, Brenzel said.

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Yale will accept between 1,900 and 2,000 applicants overall, Brenzel said, which would produce an acceptance rate between 7.3 and 7.7 percent — a new record for selectivity.

Yale’s early applicants — of whom 742 were admitted in December — already faced a record-low acceptance rate of 13.4 percent. Yale rejected 38.3 percent of early applicants while deferring 47.6 percent to the regular pool.

Brenzel said this year’s application rise is not important in and of itself but rather is worth considering in the context of the overall increase in college applications over the past several years. For example, applications to Yale have doubled over the past decade, he said.

“The rapid rise over that period in applications for all of the most selective schools seems consistent to me with their improvement of financial aid offerings and a general tendency for the strongest students to focus on these schools,” Brenzel said in an e-mail.

Yale’s new financial aid policy – announced last January – is likely a major driver of this year’s increase in applications, said Jon Reider, director of college counseling at the private San Francisco University High School.

“Why would people apply for these very expensive schools when the economy is going to hell?” Reider said. “Because Yale and these other top schools have announced that they are not going to change their financial aid policies.”

Another factor behind the increase in applications may be Yale’s improved ability to market itself and to reach out to a broader array of high school students, Reider said.

Still, part of the rise may be due to the constant problem of anxiety surrounding the college admissions process, said Michael Hallman, director of college counseling at the Meadows School in Las Vegas.

“A lot of students just become very anxious about the process and getting in somewhere,” Hallman said. “Oddly enough, you see more kids aspiring to the more elite institutions, even though they know their chances aren’t as great as they’ve been in past years.”

Yale joins four other Ivy League universities that have announced application totals so far — including Harvard, Princeton and Brown universities, as well as Dartmouth College — in setting a new application record.

The 55-45 split between female and male applicants mirrors last year’s gender gap. But despite the higher number of female applicants, more men than women were offered a place in the class of 2012. The increasing divergence in acceptance rates for Yale’s male and female applicants is under ongoing examination by the Yale College Committee on Admissions.

The continued gap in male and female applicants may cause women to brush up against a tough acceptance rate, Reider noted, but he said it will not come at the expense of the quality of Yale’s incoming class.

“Even if the applicant pool is skewed, there are enough strong boys so that you don’t weaken the class,” he said. “Yale can take 50 percent boys, and you’re not taking people who don’t deserve to be there.”

Harvard announced that 50.7 percent of its applicants were men, while Princeton said it had received an even balance between male and female applicants, which is consistent with past trends for both schools.

The 23,012 applicants still waiting on a verdict from Yale will be notified of their admissions decisions by early April.


  • Y09

    Hmm… It might also be because 2009 is statistically the largest class to graduate from high school in a generation, if not ever.

  • Elizabeth '10

    “Even if the applicant pool is skewed, there are enough strong boys so that you don’t weaken the class,” he said. “Yale can take 50 percent boys, and you’re not taking people who don’t deserve to be there.”

    But you WILL be pushing away girls who DO deserve to be there.

  • @Elizabeth '10

    And your point is? That's the nature of "selective college admissions" - there are always more "deserving" applicants than space available at a school. Based on population demographics, if Yale didn't have about 50-50 gender ratios, they would probably be accused of reverse gender discrimination or something.

  • Old Blue

    It seems Stanford, Princeton and Harvard get about 50-50 male and female applications, while Brown and Yale are increasingly "girly schools" - with 55-60% female applicants. MIT, of course is the opposite of Brown and Yale, with a predominantly male applicant group. Schools attracting more male applicants seem to have stronger reputations in the sciences, while those attracting predominantly females tend more to the "artsy-fartsy."

  • RJ

    I'm so glad to be one of the 700 already admitted!

  • Huh?

    And this is news because??? As the father of a high school senior, I've observed that it's all too easy to point and click online to apply. How many of those 25k applicants really have a snowball's chance in hell of getting in to Yale? Looks like an ego trip for the admissions office to me.

  • JC

    I'm one of those 23,012. And this doesn't make me feel any better about my chances. Still, it's nice to have my fears confirmed by those who know best.