Admit rate hits all-time low

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Photo by Andrew Giambrone.

Yale posted a 6.8 percent admissions rate for the class of 2016 — the most competitive in University history — on Thursday afternoon.

After receiving a record 28,974 applicants, the University extended offers of admission to 1,975 candidates, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said in an email Thursday. Yale’s admissions rate declined for the third consecutive year, and the University was among six Ivy League schools to admit an all-time-low percentage of applicants, putting its figure in line with those released by its peers.

“We had another extraordinary applicant pool, and another challenging selection process,” Brenzel said. “Of the students we could offer admission, we know that the ones choosing Yale will bring us astonishing talents and aspirations.”

An additional 1,001 applicants have been placed on Yale’s waitlist, which Brenzel said will help the Office of Admissions enroll a target number of 1,350 to 1,360 students — roughly the same size as last year’s freshman class.

Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell also released their most selective admissions rates ever on Thursday.

Harvard admitted 5.9 percent of applicants — the only Ivy League figure more competitive than Yale’s — while Columbia and Princeton closely followed, at 7.4 and 7.9 percent, respectively. Dartmouth’s admissions rate dropped to 9.4 percent, UPenn’s to 12.3 percent and Cornell’s to 16.2 percent. Brown’s figure rose slightly, to 9.6 percent, the only Ivy other than Columbia to see an increase. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also posted a record-low admissions rate, at 8.9 percent, earlier this month. Stanford has yet to release its results.

Six admissions experts and college guidance counselors interviewed said they were not surprised to see Yale’s admissions rate decline, as it has fallen each year since spring 2010.

James Onwuachi, a college guidance counselor at the Westminster Schools, a private Christian day school in Atlanta, Ga., said the nation’s elite schools have received the greatest number of applications over the past few years, which has contributed to their highly competitive admissions rates.

“You couple the size of the high school age population that are seniors, along with the proliferation of online applications, and you expect that kind of selectivity,” Onwuachi said. “It’s like an arms race.”

Onwuachi added that he worries decreasing admissions rates may deter top-notch students from applying to the most selective schools, since their chances of gaining admissions are slim.

Sarah Beyreis ’85 GRD ’94, director of college counseling at the private Cincinnati Country Day School, said she does not know whether declining admissions rates will be sustainable in the long term. But she said the low rates are partly beneficial because “not every kid can get in,” which encourages students to consider schools outside of the Ivy League and other traditional elite institutions such as Stanford and MIT.

“It isn’t like these are the only places anymore since they’re turning down so many kids,” Beyreis said. “There are more great colleges out there.”

Last year, Yale admitted a preliminary 7.35 percent — 2,006 of 27,283 applicants — to the class of 2015, and then accepted 103 students from the waitlist. The final admissions rate Yale posted that year, 7.7 percent, was then an all-time low for the University.

Students admitted to Yale in both the early and regular decision rounds have until May 1 to accept or decline their admission offers.

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