Admit rate stays flat, waitlist swells

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No caption. Photo by Carmen Lu.

Yale College tied its record for the lowest admit rate on the books, accepting 7.5 percent of applicants to the class of 2014, the same percentage admitted at this point last year.

But Yale is the only school in the Ivy League that did not see its acceptance rate drop this year. A total of 1,940 students have been offered admission from an applicant pool of 25,869 students, said Jeff Brenzel, the dean of undergraduate admissions, on Thursday. A total of 932 students have been placed on the waitlist, compared to 769 last year, Brenzel said.

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No caption.

This year’s admissions cycle closely resembles that of last year, with similar numbers of students admitted in the early and regular decision rounds. Yale accepted 1,210 students in the regular decision round this year, holding steady compared to the 1,209 students admitted at the same time last year. Factoring in the 2,639 who were deferred for early admission, the regular admit rate stands at 5.2 percent.

This year Yale saw a slight decline in application numbers to 25,869 from 26,000 last year, and the number of admitted students has also fallen from 1,951 to 1,940 this year. Because both numbers fell proportionally, the admit rate stayed about the same.

But the number of students placed on Yale’s waitlist rose 21 percent compared to last year, though the figure is still smaller than the waitlist for the class of 2012. Last year, Yale admitted only seven students off the waitlist because more students matriculated than expected. While Brenzel said he intends to admit students from the waitlist, he said he cannot predict how many will ultimately be accepted in May.

“Each year, we waitlist the number of students we think we might want to reconsider later,” Brenzel said.

Although this year’s matriculation rate will be difficult to predict, Brenzel said he does not expect yield to increase or decrease by more than one or two percentage points. Last year’s matriculation rate was 67.9 percent.

Yale’s peer institutions have continued to set record low admissions rates. Harvard posted a 6.9 percent admit rate, a drop of 0.1 percent from last year. Stanford’s admissions rate stood at 7.2 percent, down from 7.6 percent last year, marking the first year in recent memory that Stanford’s admit rate has been lower than Yale’s at this point in the process. Princeton’s admit rate fell to 8.2 percent from 9.4 percent last year, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology saw its admissions rate drop to 9.7 percent from 10. All other Ivy League colleges have admitted fewer students this year.

“Once again, the applicant pool was truly extraordinary, making the selection task tremendously difficult,” Brenzel said in e-mail to the News. “The consolation for turning away so many immensely talented students is knowing that virtually all Yale applicants will be attending great colleges and universities.”

The seven guidance counselors interviewed Thursday said they were not surprised that admissions rates for highly selective colleges tightened even further after this year. Judging from college decisions that have already been released, all guidance counselors said they have noticed stiffening competition with more qualified students being unexpectedly rejected and waitlisted.

Leonard King, college counselor at the private Maret School in Washington, said the increasingly tight admit rates at top colleges are making it very difficult to predict whether a student will be admitted.

“This obviously doesn’t make me happy because our students will have less chances of getting into Yale,” he said.

Similarly, Nancy Beane, college counselor at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Ga., said Ivy League admissions officers she met at a conference recommended that she encourage students to apply to more schools this year to account for increasingly unpredictable admissions decisions.

The result, Beane said, is that her students are now submitting an average of seven college applications, almost double the number submitted six or seven years ago.

But while many of Yale’s peer schools saw a jump in applications this year, Martha Lyman, director of college advising at Deerfield Academy, a private boarding school in Deerfield, Mass., said the rapid growth in applicant pools does not provide information about the quality of the applicant pool.

“Many kids are applying to more colleges because they are less and less certain about the outcome,” she said.

Other college counselors have lamented the race to the bottom in admissions rates. Skip Zickmund, director of college counseling at Mullen High School in Denver, Colo., said the falling admit rates reflect an effort by top-tier colleges to keep up with each other in terms of selectivity.

“It’s like keeping up with the Joneses,” Zickmund. “It doesn’t make sense for Yale to keep such a large waitlist.”

Students accepted to the class of 2014 will have until May 1 to decided whether to matriculate this fall. Bulldog Days, Yale’s three-day admitted students’ event, will be held from April 19 to 21.

Correction: April 4, 2010

An earlier version of this article misreported last year’s overall matriculation rate. The final yield for the class of 2013 was 67.9 percent, not 68.7 percent. In addition, the graph accompanying the article was originally mislabeled. The admissions rates represented are for the classes of 2010 to 2014, not the years 2008 to 2012.


  • LoveYale

    The x-axis?

  • Downward Spiral

    If people keep telling students that admissions are increasingly competitive and they need to apply to more colleges and everyone sends out more applications then every college is going to receive more applications and lower their admit rate. Then it continues.

    This doesn’t necessarily reflect on increasingly competitive students

  • Wily

    Harvard, for one, aggressively solicits applications from studants who have no prayer of being admitted. Presumably this strategy has something to do with US News.

  • The x-axis

    … is pretty clearly labeled.

  • um

    wtf is that chart? the dates are like really not right

  • John

    This article mentions that all Ivy League institutes had a lower acceptance rate this year in comparison to the previous year except for Yale, but only a subset of Ivies are on the graph. Why not show all of them? Also, since this article is making comparisons between the Ivies, why is MIT shown? MIT is not part of the Ivy League.

  • At John

    haha…neither is Stanford.

  • John (again)

    The number of errors in this article are so numerous that one posting isn’t enough to cover them all. I have no journalism experience, but I could probably write a better article than this one.

  • Puzzled alum

    Would Carmen Lu or someone else PLEASE explain the difference between “admission” and “acceptance”? In the sub-headline and in the text, the story reports that “Yale is the only school in the Ivy League that did not see its acceptance rate drop this year.”

    I’ve always understood “acceptance rate” to denote how many of whose who’ve been admitted have then ACCEPTED their admission by indicating that they will take up Yale’s offer and matriculate in September. But the story also reports that those who’ve just been admitted have until May 1 to accept Yale’s offer. So the sub-headline and claim just quoted above cannot yet possibly be true. Tell me if I have missed something, and change the wording of the story to prevent future misunderstandings.

  • @alum

    Acceptance rate = Admit rate

    Yield Rate is what you are describing. (How many of the accepted students decide to matriculate at Yale)

    Also, the x axis is definitely off by two years…

  • ’98

    There are numerous factual and statistical errors in this story, but reference to the “acceptance rate” is the same as referring to the “admission rate” or the admit rate.

    The people who take Yale up on there offer of admission – and actually show up for classes – are known a “matriculants:, and the fraction of “admits” who become “matriculants” is known as the “yield rate.”

    YDN stories frequently confuse the number of initial admits with the ACTUAL total of admits – which must include those accepted later from the waitlist. (Last year, 1,951 initial admits were later augmented by 7 taken from the waitlist.)

    Similarly, the YDN frequently misreports the actual number of “matriculants” by failing to exclude those who INITIALLY signal their intention to enroll but who later decide not to, perhaps because they enroll elsewhere.)

    Finally, the YDN chronically misstates the so-called “yield rate” by failing to divide the ACTUAL number of matriclants by the ACTUAL number of admits.

    In fact, the “yield rate” last year was not 68.7% as the story claims, but 66.7%/ (1,307 matriculants / 1958 admits.)

  • @ Puzzled Alum

    Acceptance rate has always, at least to my knowledge, referred to those who Yale College accepts, not to those who have accepted Yale’s offer. The percentage of students who choose to matriculate is known as a “yield rate,” not an “acceptance rate.” I don’t think many other people would be confused by the wording.

  • @ Puzzled alum

    Acceptance rate and admissions rate are synonyms.

    You’re thinking of matriculation “yield rate.”

  • ’11

    she’s using “acceptance rate” as synonymous with “admission rate.” What you’re referring to is the matriculation rate, aka the yield.

  • Not apples to apples

    Yale’s admit rate is higher than Harvard’s because we also counted the squirrels….

  • to #15

    You are right. It should also be acknowledged that some of the squirrels are on waitlists at Stanford and Harvard and may ultimately choose Cambridge or Palo Alto over New Haven if admitted.

  • 70’s graduate of an ivy

    What is most demoralizing for applicants is if they had incredible grades in tough schools and get rejected by many ivies. These applicants then realize that they could have worked much less and gotten the same admission results.At least in our time if you had the grades and SAT scores
    (much lower at the time) you basically knew if you could get into Penn, Columbia,Cornell, Brown and Dartmouth and had a good idea if you could get into Harvard, Yale or Princeton. Of course Yale or Princeton were barely
    coed, so they weren’t ideal choices for many guys.

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