For over three months, 30,000 high school seniors have been holding their breaths.
But Thursday, with the evening release of Yale’s admissions decisions, a mere 6.72 percent of those students received offers of admission to the class of 2017 — the lowest acceptance rate in University history. Yale accepted 1,991 students from a record pool of 29,610 this year, compared to 1,973 out of 28,975 last year. In 2009 to 2011, the acceptance rate hovered steadily around 7.5 percent.
With the decisions made and the official acceptance letters sent out, the admissions process for most aspiring members of the class of 2017 is finally over. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said in an email to the News Thursday afternoon that the Admissions Office has seen “another extraordinary applicant pool” and faced “another challenging selection process” this year.
“Of the students we could offer admission, we know that the ones choosing Yale will bring us astonishing talents and aspirations,” Brenzel said, adding that he believes that virtually all of the students rejected this year will be “successful students at other great colleges and universities.”
All Ivy League admissions decisions were announced today under the Common Ivy League Agreement, which stipulates that all eight schools release their decisions on the same date. Harvard — hitting a record 5.8 percent — accepted 2,029 of its 35,023 applicants, and Princeton posted an acceptance rate of 7.3 percent. As of press time, all Ivy League institutions released their admission rates except Dartmouth, and each school reported lower rates from the previous year.
In a time of overflowing application counts and plummeting acceptance rates at most selective universities, various high school college counselors said their students have been more anxious about college applications than students in their shoes were 10 years ago.
Roland Allen, director of college counseling at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in California and a former admissions officer at Stanford and MIT, said he has grown used to the “hyperselective” nature of college admissions at Yale and its peer institutions, adding that small percentage changes do not hold much significance.
“Honestly, a change in selectivity — a percentage point at Yale, Princeton or Stanford — doesn’t upset the apple cart as much as drastic shifts in selectivity at the usually predictable places like Boston University, Carnegie Mellon,” Allen said.
Accepted students took to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to share the news, minutes after reading their decisions. Popular college forum College Confidential experienced server downtime for roughly half an hour, as enthusiastic students began posting their results.
Greg Wang, an accepted student from Phillips Academy Andover, said logging into the online decision portal and finding out he had been accepted felt “absolutely amazing.” Though Yale was his first choice, he waited until after he had read all the decisions at his second-choice schools to go to the Admissions Office’s website, where his decision was waiting.
“The second I saw the word ‘welcome,’ I just left my computer and started screaming,” he said.
Another accepted student, Rebecca Dendy from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, Ariz., said she will wait to hear back from a few other schools before making a final decision, but plans to attend Bulldog Days in April to get a sense of the University’s offerings and is “pretty sure” she will choose Yale.
Yamen Abbas, an international student from Israel, said he “bolted out of his chair” upon seeing his acceptance and woke his parents up, though it was past midnight.
Abbas added that he felt “incredibly fortunate” to have been accepted, but was unsurprised to hear of the low acceptance rate because of Yale’s selectivity in the past. He said he would urge prospective students to “not let this number scare them away from applying.”
In addition to the 1,991 acceptances, Yale placed 1,001 students on the waitlist and expects to enroll roughly 1,350 students in its incoming class — a target number that has stayed consistent over the years. Last year, Brenzel said, Yale ultimately accepted 70 students from its waitlist of 1,001.
Students have until May 1 to respond to their admissions offers.