Early admit rate stays steady

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No caption. Photo by Carmen Lu.

Yale College accepted 13.9 percent of its early action applicants for the class of 2014, up sightly from last year’s record low of 13.4 percent. The figure is likely to hold steady in future admissions cycles, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeff Brenzel said Thursday.

Of the 5,621 early applications this year, the Admissions Office sent 730 offers of admission and deferred just over half of this year’s applicants to the regular decision pool, representing slightly fewer denials and more referrals. While two college counselors interviewed said they welcome this trend as a sign that the level of competition for early admission may have peaked, the majority said they believed this year’s numbers will offer little relief for anxious applicants.

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“I see no reason currently why Yale’s early admission rate would undergo a significant change from the last two cycles,” Brenzel said in an e-mail Thursday. If early application numbers remain stable, he said in November, approximately 700 to 750 students will be admitted early in the coming admissions cycles.

With a 5 percent drop in the number of early applications this year and no significant changes in the caliber of this year’s applicants, Brenzel said his office made the decision to keep early admissions numbers close to last year’s figures.

Darby McHugh, a college counselor at the Bronx High School of Science in New York City, said even the marginal rise in this year’s early admissions rate is welcome news. McHugh said it was difficult for her to encourage over a dozen of her students to apply early this year given last year’s record-low admissions rate.

“At the least this [year’s numbers] gives you some hope to try,” she said.

Sari Rauscher, director of college counseling at the Waterford School, a high school in Sandy, Utah, also welcomed the news, saying the plateau in the early admissions rate following a decade of steady falls may mean that the level of competition among college applicants has reached its limit. Like McHugh, Rauscher said she struggled over her choice to keep encouraging her students to apply early to Yale in face of ever tightening competition. This year’s stable early admit rate is a positive sign for students, she said.

Other college counselors interviewed responded less enthusiastically to this year’s numbers. Leonard King, director of college counseling at the Maret School in Washington, said the change in the admit rate is negligible and competition remains fierce. More students from his school applied early to Yale this year compared to last, he said, in spite of last year’s record low admit rate.

Likewise, Alice Kleeman, college counselor at the Menlo-Atherton High School outside San Francisco said she does not believe this year’s 0.5 percent increase in early admissions numbers will set any upward trend for future admissions cycles.

“The numbers don’t appear to be statistically significant and don’t seem to speak to anything in particular,” she said.

Among Yale’s peer institutions, competition for early admissions continued to rise this year. Stanford University, which offers a non-binding single choice early action program, saw its rate of early admission fall from 14 percent last year to 13.5 percent, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which offers non-binding early action, saw its rate fall from 10.8 percent to 10.4 percent.

Brown University, Columbia University and Cornell University, which all offer binding early decision programs, admitted a lower percentage of students this year compared to last year. Brown admitted 19.9 percent of its applicants while Columbia and Cornell respectively accepted 21.1 percent and 32.6 percent of their early applicants.

Only Dartmouth saw a rise in last year’s the early admit rate from last year: 28.8 percent of applicants were accepted under its binding program, a change explained by the college’s plans to add an additional 50 spots in its entering freshman class. The University of Pennsylvania has not yet released numbers of students accepted early. Harvard College and Princeton University ended their non-binding early action programs in late 2006.

Students accepted early to Yale will have until May 1 to decide if they are to join the Class of 2014. Deferred and regular decision applicants will hear of their application decision in early April.

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