Yale admits record-low 7.5 percent

Yale College admitted a record-low 7.5 percent of applicants this year, a 0.8 percentage point drop from last year’s initial acceptance rate of 8.3 percent.

Yale accepted 1,951 students from its total regular and early applicant pool of exactly 26,000 applicants for the class of 2013, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel told the News on Tuesday. The overall admit rate will rise slightly if Yale admits students from its waitlist, he added.

The graph reflects overall acceptance rates announced in April and does not account for students admitted off the waitlist.  Usually, the acceptance rate climbs by a few tenths of a percentage point after students are admitted from the waitlist.
The graph reflects overall acceptance rates announced in April and does not account for students admitted off the waitlist. Usually, the acceptance rate climbs by a few tenths of a percentage point after students are admitted from the waitlist.

Compared to last year, a greater proportion of students were admitted in regular decision than were admitted in early action. On Tuesday, Yale admitted 1,209 of the 23,088 applicants in its regular decision pool, an initial regular admission rate of 5.4 percent. That pool included the 2,644 applicants deferred from the early action round.

Yale placed 27 percent fewer applicants on its waitlist this year compared to last; the number of students on the waitlist fell to 769 applicants, down from 1,052 for the class of 2012.

Last year, Yale’s final admit rate was 8.6 percent after students were admitted from the waitlist, Brenzel said. He added that he expects to accept students on the waitlist this year as well, but Brenzel said that he could not predict how many students on the waitlist ultimately would be accepted.

This year, the Admissions Office aims to matriculate a class of about 1,310, Brenzel said, down from 1,320 last year.

But the overall number of students admitted to Yale rose compared to the same time last year, when only 1,892 students had been offered a position in the class of 2012.

Yale admitted a greater number of students overall partly because a smaller proportion of the class was admitted early, Brenzel said. Past admissions statistics show that early applicants are more likely to enroll than those admitted during regular decision. While 80 percent of students admitted early last year chose to attend Yale, the overall yield — the rate at which accepted students matriculate — was 68.7 percent.

Yale received a record number of early action applications this year — up 13.7 percent from last year’s total —, but the University admitted fewer students early than it did for the class of 2012. Of the 5,556 students who applied early action to Yale, 742 were accepted, an acceptance rate of 13.4 percent.

Brenzel said Yale’s decision to admit fewer students early will likely exert “downward pressure” on Yale’s yield. He added that Yale’s yield could also fall this year because some students will choose not to attend Yale if they do not receive financial aid, opting instead for institutions that offer merit-based scholarships.

Frank Sachs, director of college counseling at the private Blake School in Minneapolis, said that Brenzel’s predictions are justified. Many strong Blake students considering schools like Yale have been courted by less-selective schools offering what Sachs called “astronomical” merit-based scholarships this year, he said.

Four other college counselors interviewed Tuesday agreed with Brenzel that the University’s yield is likely to decrease. But while the economy may raise concerns for some students, any drop in Yale’s yield will likely be small, said Bruce Bailey, director of college counseling at the private Lakeside School in Seattle.

Bailey said that Yale’s revamped financial aid program and its commitment to meeting all demonstrated student need will be attractive to many admitted students.

Several of Yale’s peer institutions also posted record-low acceptance rates this year. Harvard University announced Tuesday that it admitted 7 percent of applicants, making it the most selective school in the Ivy League. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted a record-low 10.2 percent of applicants, MIT Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill said. Brown and Columbia universities also announced their lowest-ever acceptance rates, admitting 10.8 and 9.8 percent of applicants, respectively, spokesmen for both universities said. Dartmouth College announced Tuesday that its acceptance rate dropped to a record-low 12 percent this year.

Princeton University announced Tuesday that its admissions rate rose slightly, up to 9.8 percent from 9.3 percent at this time last year.

The University of Pennsylvania also saw a small increase in its acceptance rate, which rose to 17.1 percent from 16.4 percent at this time last year, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported Tuesday. Cornell University had not announced its acceptance rate as of Tuesday evening.

Yale will host many hundreds of admitted students during its annual Bulldog Days, to be held on campus from April 20 to 22.


  • yalie


    Congrats Class of 2013!!!

  • Y11

    Princeton's numbers are in, and their admit rate went up .5%. The Princetonian's commenters are going apeshit. It's comical. I recommend you tune in.


  • Thanks Y11!

    The Princetonian comments are HILARIOUS!!!

  • Funny

    I just checked that out…believe me, it is just hilarious.

  • Sportsfan

    Win more football/basketball games and maybe we will get more applicants. There is a correlation between the number of applicants and the popularity of the football/basketball teams.

  • Observer

    If it had been Yale, rather than Princeton, that had followed Harvard's lead by refusing to artificially boost the yield rate (and lower the admit rate) through reliance on an early admissions program,then it would be the Yale commenters "going apeshit" and the Princeton commenters patting themselves on the back.

  • alum

    How is that "artificial", Observer? Students no longer choose Harvard over Yale, unless they are in the small minority that dreams of attending classes at MIT on the side. Yale now gets the "cream of the crop" of students in arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences. The shift over the past 5-10 years has been dramatic.

  • Anonymous

    I love it when lesser schools show their true colors. May their fall from the number one spot be swift.

  • @Observer

    Probably. But it didn't. So we shall pat away.

    (Oh, and the issue is about admit rate, not yield rate, which Harvard managed to push down too. Sorry!)

  • Guest

    The article forgot to mention Stanford's numbers: 2300/30000 = 7.7%. Congrats to all the new admits!

  • Yale '08

    OMG! Thanks for the link Yale '11! Everyone, PLEASE check out the comments board on the Princetonian. I have never seen so many students publicly bash their own school this bad. Its growing by the minute, literally. Hilarious! But I feel a bit bad for them too.

  • Lulu

    Wow. I didn't apply to Princeton because I've only gotten bad vibes from all the Princeton grads that I know…that just reinforced everything I've ever thought haha

  • Details

    Also, this article doesn't mention that Princeton has been intentionally increasing the undergraduate body for the past couple of years.
    But yes, the commenting on the Princetonian page is excessive, and not a good way to persuade students to accept.

  • Proud Elo

    @ Observer

    Absolutely false. We Yalies love our school, through and through…regardless of the numbers. 0.5% doesn't make a bit of difference to us and our incredible experience here.

  • Y 05

    I second #14. It's sometimes difficult for non-Yalies to understand the affection we feel for Yale, even as we keep a careful eye on ways in which it could improve.

  • Another Eli

    Jesus, folks. Stop tormenting the Princetonians. A Yalie's time should be spent on things that matter.

  • Y'09

    I find that hilarious as well and probably bad publicity for P if a pre-frosh choosing between P and Y were to come across that, but it's probably also counter-productive for Yalies to be commenting on there.

    Elite college admissions is such an interesting beast…

  • Recent Alum

    #6: Yale has early action, not early decision. Anyone who gets into Yale early could still choose to attend another school, so the policy certainly does not artificially increase the yield.

  • Poor asian kid

    So what does it take to get into Yale these days?

  • Observer to #18

    I beg to differ … if retaining an exclusive early action program (exclusive in that you are barred from applying early elsewhere) didn't goose the yield rate artificially, than President Levin wouldn't have chosen to retain it.

    The purpose is to gain a recruiting edge over "the competition" by snagging a 3-month exclusive negotiating period with the early admits.

    As the thinking goes: if you are the one to "give them the first kiss" and send them mash notes and trinkets during the exclusive negotiating period, you may nail them down before they can consider other options. A fringe benefit is to reduce the size of the overlap pool with Stanford and Harvard. Traditionally, most in this overlap pool opt to go someplace else other than New Haven. (Note: Last year, 85% or more of the "early action" admits matriculate, while only 59% of the "regular decision" admits matriculated - about the same as Princeton's regular decision yield rate.

  • Observer to #18 again

    If, as in recent years, 85-88% of the early action pool matriculates, then more than half the class will come from this pool of 5,557 who have pre-signalled their willingness to enroll, while less than half the class will come from the 20,368 who applied to other schools at the same time they applied to Yale.

    THIS is how you artificially boost the yield rate.

  • yaylie

    Bravo, Brenzel. It was a natural decision to stay with EA, and I'm glad there were no numbskulls like at H and P to do away with it. The expression …Princeton boys, Yale men comes to mind - it seems to me all of us are reeling from the recession with no jobs and hence more competition for grad school spots. But while we at Yale see the economic difficulties for what they are and take them in stride, our unfortunate little siblings in New Jersey place the blame squarely on the drawbacks associated with their institution of learning.

  • cindykutcher

    I’ve heard that Yale was one of the eight schools in the Ivy league who have admits that they have recorded a low rates of admission this year. More people than ever are applying to the nation’s eight Ivy League schools. Consequently, more and more students are being turned down and the acceptance rates at these colleges are plummeting. Over half of the eight schools posted historic lows. Consequently, would-be students looking for an Ivy League education may find getting accepted a yet-more rigorous challenge. Article resource: [Ivy League acceptance rates at record lows][1].

    [1]: http://personalmoneynetwork.com/moneyblog/2012/03/30/ivy-league-acceptance/