Early applications rise

Yale received a total of 4,514 early applications for the class of 2017 — a roughly 4.4 percent increase from last year.

The number is a slight increase from the 4,323 early applications Yale College received in 2011, the first year that Harvard and Princeton reinstated their early action programs. Before the two colleges brought back early action, Yale received 5,257 applications in 2010, 5,265 in 2009 and 5,556 in 2008. Admissions experts interviewed said that though the numbers naturally fluctuate each year, early applications always stay high at elite institutions.

“Once again, we are seeing an extraordinary range and diversity among the most accomplished students in the world seeking to do their undergraduate work at Yale,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said in a Thursday email to the News.

Brenzel said his office expects to admit between 650 and 750 applicants in this year’s early admissions round, making for an admit rate of about 14 to 16 percent in the early round.

The University of Pennsylvania, Brown and Dartmouth received 4,780, 2,957 and 1,526 early applications this year, respectively. Penn and Brown both saw increases in their applicant pools to record-high numbers, while Dartmouth saw a 12.5 percent decrease in applications from the previous year. Columbia, Cornell, Harvard and Princeton have not yet released their early application counts at this time.

Jon Reider, a college counselor at San Francisco University High School, said high numbers and low admit rates are “pretty much business as usual” for elite schools. He added that he has seen many high school students, nervous about their chances, try to “figure out where all the other smart kids are applying” and strategize their applications for the early admissions round.

In the end, Reider said, there is “no real pattern” to where students send their early applications, though he said he sometimes encourages students to apply early to schools where they have a legacy.

David Petersam, president of Virginia-based higher education consulting group AdmissionsConsultants, said some students may be too intimidated by low acceptance rates to send early applications to their top-choice schools.

“There’s more anxiety this year, from what we’ve seen,” he said. “It just seems like more and more qualified applicants — and no one’s ever a sure thing at a Yale or a Harvard or a Stanford. With press and social media out there, I think, it feeds a little bit of the frenzy.”

Petersam said the early admissions process should ideally be a way for students to show their sincere interest in their chosen school. But it has unfortunately become a “bit of a gamble,” he said, as students scramble to submit applications before they are ready to apply to college. He said he thinks too many people use the early action process as a “Hail Mary strategy,” applying to schools where they are not competitive applicants.

Several universities nationwide extended their application deadlines this year to account for power outages and school closings on the East Coast caused by Hurricane Sandy. Yale extended its deadline from Nov. 1 to Nov. 9, and the Admissions Office announced on its website that it will notify students in the event that their applications come in too late to be considered for the early round and must be pushed to the regular decision round in the spring. Brenzel estimated that a “few hundred applications at most” were sent in during the extended deadline period.

Applicants this year were also offered a chance to share their applications with Yale-NUS College, with both Yale and the liberal arts college in Singapore considering applicants separately. The number of applicants who chose this option will not be released until January.

Students applying early to Yale will be notified of their admissions decisions mid-December.

Correction: Nov. 16

A previous version of this article quoted Brenzel as saying “I’d guess a few hundred applications at most” used the option to apply to Yale-NUS. In fact, Brenzel was referring to the number of applications sent between Nov. 1 and Nov. 9 due to Hurricane Sandy.

 

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