Yield rate beats expectations

The percentage of admitted students who have chosen to attend Yale in the fall was higher than anticipated this year, leaving the class of 2013 slightly oversubscribed, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said Friday.

Of the 1,951 students admitted to Yale’s incoming freshman class, 1,327 have chosen to matriculate in the fall, Brenzel said, even though the Admissions Office aimed to enroll 1,310. The yield rate held steady at 68.7 percent, compared to 68.9 percent at this time last year, Brenzel said.

The yield rate was “significantly stronger” than expected, even though the Admissions Office accepted about 150 fewer students through its early action program, Brenzel said. Yale also expected a lower yield because some students ineligible for Yale’s need-based financial aid may have instead opted to attend universities offering merit scholarships.

In turn, Brenzel said the University has no immediate plans to admit students from the wait list.

“We will not make any wait list offers until or unless we see sufficient attrition to our matriculant numbers as our peer schools go to their wait lists,” Brenzel said in an e-mail message. “We will monitor this situation for the rest of this month and the month of June, and we hope to give final answers to all of the 468 students on the wait list by the end of June.”

An additional 20 admitted students chose to postpone admission for a year, and they were not counted in Yale’s yield rate, Brenzel said.

Harvard and Princeton universities have both announced little change in their yield rates compared to last year, although both institutions intend to accept applicants currently on their wait lists, according to reports in The Harvard Crimson and The Daily Princetonian.

Yale received exactly 26,000 applications this year, the highest number in the University’s history. The Admissions Office extended offers to a record-low 7.5 percent of applicants, compared to 8.3 percent around this time last year.


  • Anonymous

    I'm a little surprised that the weather on BDog Days and the decision to admit less early didn't seem to hurt us. Good stuff!

  • anon

    Do you think Yale will be bold enough to cast aside the yield-boosting early admissions crutch next year, as Princeton and Harvard have done?

  • yalie

    unless you were waitlisted…

    welcome class of 2013 and best wishes to everyone everywhere!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, congrats to all you admits. Admission was more selective for you than any other class, ever, and I'm excited to see what you do with your Yale experience.

  • Anonymous

    yale would never do anything to hurt its image, and god knows it's in need of anything it can get to dissipate the unpleasantry that is its location in new haven and its constant THIRD to harvard and princeton.

    so no, they will not cast aside the yield-boosting early admissions process.

  • anon

    Princeton's yield dropped about 10 percentage points after dropping early admission, so, based on the same metrics, Yale's adjusted yield is about the same as Princeton's about 60%.
    Harvard's yield,at about 78%, wasnt affected at all by dropping early admission.

  • Anonymous

    Except there's a huge difference (in terms of yield) between having an early decision program (like Princeton and Harvard had) and an early action program (what Yale has).

  • @anon

    fat chance. The only reason Princeton dropped by 10 points is because they had early decision, not early action. They would admit half of their class by early decision, which has 100% yield. Harvard had early action. If anything, Yale wouldn't be that affected by dropping early admission… not saying I'm for it.

  • also @anon

    Yup. There's a large difference between early action and early decision.

  • Anon

    If Yale dropped "single choice early action" I'd expect its yield rate to drop about 4-5 points.

    The distinction - yield-rate-wise - between binding early decision and "single-choice-early action" is not as great as you might suppose. Whereas Yale (or any other school) gets about 99% yield from Early Decision, Yale and Stanford have gotten about 88% yield from "single-choice-early-action", and Harvard had about 91% yield its only year with this device.

    The difference between the admit rate for early applicants and the admit rate for the poor "regular" applicants is so great at the competitor schools that you lose very few of the people you manage to lure to your early pool. "Single-choice-early-action" therefore, has proven itself to be a phony "reform."

    When Yale, Stanford and Princeton first went to Early Decision to fill closer and closer to half the class, they each "enjoyed" an immediate yield rate jump of 6-7%. The idea was to restrict - as much as possible the size of the overlap pool with Harvard and with each other.

  • @5

    Go back to hiding beneath your bridge, troll. None of your arguments apply.

  • Terry Hughes

    There are plenty of seriously attractive places besides Yale and Harvard, but it can be fun for a minute of two to compare some binary stats. According to the Harvard Crimson, the yield at that school this year is about 76%, actually down a bit from 78% last year. Harvard is presenting that slight decline as "holding steady" because the rate could be affected by deferred admissions and admissions off the waiting list (which Yale not have this year). Harvard generally seems to be making unusual efforts spinning dubious developments recently. Anyway, last year Harvard admitted an extraordinary number of students off its waiting list, so maybe the spin is warranted. Here's the article: http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=528168

    While Harvard's yield rate seems to have been steady or slightly declined over the medium term past, there seems to have been a trend during that same period for the Yale yield to rise gradually. In 2000, for example, the Yale yield was 66.3%, and that year was the sixth straight year that Yale's yield had increased. Here's an article:[http://www.yale.edu/opa/arc-ybc/v29.n1/story2.html]. The Yale yield has reached about 69%. Yale and Harvard now split cross admits pretty evenly (something like 55%/45% or 60%/40% in Harvard's favor), down from a one-time ratio of over 80% in Harvard's favor.

    I don't mention any of this to show that Yale is somehow "gaining" on Harvard, or for that matter needs to “gain” on Harvard, in some global sense. Obviously, both yield and cross admits choices are seriously affected by who the school admits in the first place. Moreover, a large portion of Yale’s permanent faculty and administrators probably have had a nightmare about waking up one day to find that Yale has become “another Harvard” (and vice-versa). Yes, one is struck pretty quickly that Yale undergraduates seem less anxious and generally happier than their Harvard counterparts, although I’m sure there are a fair number who would rather be in Cambridge. Go figure.

    Yale v Harvard v Princeton v Stanford v … Choices so difficult because so little is at stake?

  • @anon

    You have a problem, NYCFan. Why is a Harvard alum from the 70's STILL trolling YDN's website? http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=510335

  • anon

    anon is really Alexander Hamilton, Harvard class of something or the other, pretty unexceptional dude past his prime, trolls around all the boards and college websites trying to put down all non-H schools with dubious logic.

  • Anonymous

    I bet the admissions office didn't factor in the Gossip Girl effect. Being a Yalie hasn't been so trendy since Gilmore Girls.

  • not early

    Yale should drop early admission. It just has the well-documented effect of making the class wealthier and less diverse.

  • another anon

    Harvard has never had an early decision program or a hybrid program like Yale and Stanford have adopted. When Yale, Stanford and Princeton switched to Early Decision a few year's back, their respective yield rates jumped 6-7% overnight. The reason? A vastly smaller overlap group with Harvard and among themselves.

    Admits from an ED pool typically matriculate at about a 98.5-99% rate, boosting the overall admit rate substantially.

    Yale and Stanford adopted a phony reform - "single-choice-early-action" - where people are barred from applying early anywhere else to obtain the benefit of the much higher admit rate for early applicants. The result? An early pool yield rate of about 88% - not much of a sacrifice, really.

    Yale took a hit of only about 2% to the yield rate - benefitting from a drastic reduction in the size of the overlap pool with Harvard/Stanford/Princeton.

    If Yale moved to "open" early admission, where people could simultaneously apply early to MIT, Chicago, Georgetown and elsewhere, its yield rate would probably drop another couple of points.

    If Yale dropped the early admissions crutch altogether - as Princeton, Harvard and UVa have done, its yield rate would probably drop an additional 2-3 points.

    Stanford's yield rate has inched above Yale's in part because it had the benefit of athletic scholarships, which tie up 100 or more in each class, and because they have gone heavily into the "likely letter" business - going after more than 100 top students and more than 100 "diversity" applicants annually via this device.

    To compare schools accurately on this score, you have to look at their "open market" yield - when they are competing head-to-head - without filling half the class from an early pool to which they retain exclusive negotiating rights for 3 months.

  • ???

    I don't understand. If 1,327 students are coming out of 1,951 offered admission, then the yield rate is 68.0%, not 68.7%. If it was 68.9% at this time last year, that would be a drop of about 1%.

  • Townie

    Who cares? Really…

  • Nerd Patrol

    To Anon:

    It's shocking to think that this is what you're passionate about. I would stuff you in a locker if Yale had them.

    -Nerd Patrol

  • Metatroll

    Harvard Sucks!

  • To: #18

    Last year, for the Class of 2012, Yale admitted 1,952 (including 59 waitlist admits) and matriculated 1,320, for an overall yield rate of 67.6%.

    This year, if no further admits are made from the waitlist, there will have been 1,951 admits. 1,327 have sent in deposits, and assuming that "summer melt" and defections via waitlist admission elsewhere reduce this number by no more than 10 or so, then the eventual yield rate for the Class of 2013.

    It sounds as though no waitlist admits will be made this year unless fewer than 1,310 agree to matriculate. If there are only the 1,951 admits, and the matriculant group is 1,310, then the final yield rate will be 67.1%.

  • alum


    20 is the number of accepted students who will matriculate in fall 2010.

  • anon

    in response to #22, the accounting gets tricky because 20 deferred admission until next year. Adding that 20 to the group enrolling this year (or adding in last year's acceptees who deferred till 9/09) brings the yield to 69%.

    Interesting how Harvard for the second year in a row low balled its acceptances, permitting it to announce a "record shattering" 7% admit rate, which of course after it takes 150 off the wait list will rise to the same 7.5% as Yale.

    One thing clear is that both Y and H have separated from P with a distressingly high 10+% admit rate.

  • dcalum

    Actually, droping early admission is more likely to reduce the yield rates at Harvard and Princeton than at Yale and might even incrrease the yield rate at Yale. If (i) Yale would admit in April all that it admits early, (ii) the same percentage of them would enroll at Yale and (iii) some of them who now apply nowhere else would apply elsewhere because they would not have been admitted early at Yale -- then, the primary effect of ending Yale's early admisstions would be to have more admits at Harvard and Princeton turn them down for Yale. And, expecting a higher yield from its April admits, Yale might admit fewer then who choose not to enroll; thre is no reason to think that it would admit more of them. Early admission increases Yale's yield rate only if Yale accepts then students it would not accept in April.

  • To #12

    What seems to be most interesting is that, despite there being so little at stake (i.e., I agree with your point), it seems that students who apply to more than just one of these colleges really do have strong, reproducible preferences:


  • Recent Alum

    Nerd Patrol, you are the most annoying regular commenter on here. It's unfortunate that you are still stuck in your high school popularity contest mentality at your age. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about higher education issues. I am sure this is more interesting than whatever drivel you are passionate about.

  • yaylie

    Yale gains more from SCEA than it loses. The rankings don't factor in yield anymore so they're not the concern. The concern is getting first dibs on the specific kinds of athletes, musicians, etc that Yale needs year-to-year. Applicants for whom Yale is a first choice deserve a chance at securing admission early and relaxing for half of senior year. The financial aid argument does not apply for SCEA because you still have choice until April to compare aid offers. The only people it hurts are those who are completely clueless, uninformed, or lazy to ask around, read the admissions literature, etc to find out how the early process works. But we don't want those people at Yale anyway.

    So Princeton and Harvard trolls - I'm sorry that your admissions offices made a dumbass decision to get rid of early admissions. But I think it's time for you guys to get over the fact that you went to inferior colleges and move on with your lives.

  • @#23 & @#24

    These calculations don’t make sense, just saying. Why would you subtract the 20 students who have deferred from the denominator? They are still part of the group of 1,951 that was admitted. Presumably those 20 are still being counted among the 1,327 who accepted the offer of admission. If they are subtracted from the denominator then they should also be subtracted from the numerator or the yield will look higher than it really is. If they are subtracted from both numerator and denominator, then the formula would be 1,307/1931 = 67.7%. Does the 1,327 number also include the kids who deferred admission last year and will start with the Class of 2013? If that’s true then we’re really inflating the yield, first removing these kids from the denominator one year to increase the % yield and then adding them to the numerator next year, increasing the yield even more. I really don’t understand. It looks to me like the calculations in post #22 are more believable. Somebody should get Brenzel to explain this.

  • Y '09

    Seriously everyone, who cares about a few percentage points one way or the other? There are plenty of kids who are accepted to HYP/other Ivy-equivalents, but each student can only matriculate at one place. There's also something to be said for the skyrocketing number of applications per student - I would never have applied to 10+ colleges, which seems to be the norm nowawdays.

    What we should be more concerned about is if those kids are choosing the place that is the best fit for them, rather than succumbing to peer/parental/societal pressure to always choose the "brand name" school. The type of student who would choose Harvard over Yale "just because I can't turn down the Harvard name" wouldn't be wanted at Yale anyway.

  • Anonymous

    #23 is correct (1327/(1951-20)=68.7%).
    The number 1327 does not include the 20 accepted students who will matriculate in fall 2010.

  • To #29:

    You put your finger on a reporting error that initial yield data for Yale has frequently included in past years - albeit not this - namely, failing to include deferrees as admits who do not initially matriculate.

    I have frequently noted this error in the past, and am glad to see it was corrected this year.

    The bottom line is that the "yield rate" is the number of matriculants (ie, the number actually showing up in the fall) divided by the number actually admitted.

    Then too, YDN reports have sometimes failed to understand that people taken off the waitlist count as additional admits in that year!

    Reportedly there will be no waitlist admits this year if fewer than 17 "melt" from the 1,327 who initially accepted Yale's offer. (Last year, 59 were taken off the WL.)

    The only accurate report (assuming the veracity of the numbers reported) is in the Common Data Set for the year in question.


    The reporting change that Yale must STILL make to permit the comparing of "apples and apples" is to stop counting as "applicants" those whose applications are incomplete or withdrawn. The CDC clearly states that this is not appropriate, although many colleges still misreport the numbers. Schools and Scholarship Committee members are given this information, but it is never put in press releases. The famous example of this dubious practice, of course, is Washington University of St. Louis, which has counted as "applicants" anybody who sends in a return postcard asking for information about the school!

  • alum

    To #29:

    You subtract 20 from 1951 because the 20 are not included in the 1327 and thus should not be included in the 1951; the 1327 are those who applied for fall 2009 and are going to matriculate in fall 2009. The 1327 does not include those who applied for fall 2008 and now are matriculating in fall 2009.

  • Anonymous

    A lot of rationalizing there, Y '09.

  • To: #33

    I believe that is incorrect.

    Those who applied, were admitted, yet chose not to show up initially, were indeed "applicants" and must be counted as such. They may or may not ever matriculate, albeit the great majority will. The number of matriculants in any one year does include those who deferred in previous years but did not immediately enroll. (This number may be similar to - but not identical to - the number of "new" deferees from the following class.) If you count them as matriculants, you have to realize they did not appear out of thin air. Yet it would not be accurate to simply add the number of deferrees actually enrolling in and single year as both (1) applicants, and (2) matriculants, since the number is seldom the same. The approved technique (so that data from all schools can be compared) is to accurately report all those admitted in any single year - including those admitted from the waitlist - but NOT to include as matriculants those admitted who, for whatever reason, do not show up for the start of school.

  • Observer

    I never knew that so many Harvard alums read the YDN (and with enough interest to participate in the comments).

  • yawn


  • Huh

    Why on earth are people still talking about this?

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, the technical number isn't that big of an issue 68.7% vs 68.9%, what is more pressing is why are colleges priding themselves on rejecting 25,000+ capable applicants, so you got a great yield….wooohoooo

  • Saybrook Alum '85

    This discussion is distressingly reflective of the vapid and puerile emphasis on "credentialism" that currently pervades our society. Instead of squabbling over which school has a higher 'yield rate' this year, perhaps we need to discuss something a bit more pertinent, such as what it means to have a liberal arts education in the 21st century and how do we expect our best and brightest to compete and achieve happy and productive lives in an increasingly globally connected and competitive world.

  • To #39

    Its simply that if you want a capable yet diverse class, you need a large pool to chose from, and you can't just pick from whoever walks in the door, you have to recruit like crazy. Filling out the football team is no more difficult than attracting YDN writers, classics majors and oboe players.

  • Anon

    As post number 24 points out, the really misleading press release was the one put out by harvard in april claiming a 7.0% admit rate, when it had every expectation that, as was the case last year, it would have to take hundreds off the wait list, thereby raising its admit rate to at least the 7.5% rate of Yale and possibly a tad higher.

  • waitlisted

    anyone know if there's any hope for those waitlistees?

  • Anon

    My guess is that Yale will end up taking about 20-25 off the waitlist this year, vs. 59 last year, and that Harvard will take about 90, vs. 200 last year.

    In consequence, the eventual Harvard admit rate will be about 7.3%, while the eventual Yale admit rate will be about 7.6%.

    The only stat that is fuzzy in making this calculation is the claimed total number of admits. I am not sure about Harvard, but the claimed total for Yale dubiously includes applications which were incomplete or withdrawn. I believe these "applications" should be netted out.

    As for the projected yield rates:

    (1) if Harvard's class is the same size as last year (1,658) then the yield rate will be roughly 77.5%.

    (2) if Yale's targeted class size is 1,310 (slightly smaller than last year's 1,230 for whatever reason) then the final yield rate will be roughly 66.3%.

    This will be about a 1% increase for Harvard, and a 1% decrease for Yale - due primarily to the fact that Yale took roughly 140 fewer from the high-yield early pool this year than it did last year (742 vs. 885).

  • YalieAl

    Alum is right: 1327/(1951-20)=68.7%

    If you read the article carefully, 20 are additional ones to 1327 but already included in 1951. In other words, 20 is the number of accepted students who will matriculate in fall 2010 in addition to 1327 who will matriculate in fall 2009. Based on Brenzel, these 20 admitted students were not counted in Yale's yield rate.

    An additional 20 admitted students chose to postpone admission for a year, and they were not counted in Yale's yield rate, Brenzel said.

  • an6n

    If "Alum is right" then Brenzel is wrong, and the claimed Yale yield rate is as phony as ever compared to the reported numbers elsewhere.

    If they are admitted they are admitted, regardless of the reasons they fail to matriculate in the fall.

    The "20" should not be included in the 1,327, but SHOULD be included in the 1,951.

  • YalieAl

    If these 20 SHOULD be included in the 1,951 as you argued, do you know if these 20 will come in 2010? We actually don't know but I believe it's highly likely they will. If we do not count the ones who will matriculate in 2009 after a gap year, then we SHOULD NOT count these 20 to 2010 matriculation even though they may chose to come. Where are you going to put these 20 to for the math? The only solution: DO NOT count these 20 into neither 2009 nor 2010. That means "The "20" should not be included in the 1,327" as you argued, which I agree. Then why SHOULD be included in the 1,951? You are contradictory to your self. Alum and Brenzel are NOT contradictory.

    Let’s take a step back, we do not really know if these 20 will come in 2010 actually, so they are technically (statistically) missing data and SHOULD NOT count into neither 1,951 nor 1,327. This is exactly how Alum and Brenzel got the yield rate. Also, Brenzel clearly stated how they calculate the yield rate and Alum expressed mathematically.

    In other word, you argument of counting these 20 into 1,327 but not into 1,951 just does not make sense mathematically. You need to sit in some statistics/epidemiology classes.

  • To #47

    1. People who apply and are admitted count as admits for this year, whether or not they matriculate.

    2. The number of matriculants does not include those who defer this year - since they did not matriculate. The number of matriculants reported should, however, include those who actually were admitted earlier (last year or the year before) but who actually matriculate for the first time in the fall of 2009.

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