Steady yield rate for Class of 2017

yield rates
Photo by Yale Daily News.

Out of a pool of nearly 30,000 applicants to Yale, 2,031 were accepted and 1,360 chose to come to campus this fall — making for a yield rate that is almost exactly the same as last year’s.

Although the Admissions Office admitted the lowest percentage of applicants in Yale history to the class of 2017, the final yield rate — the percent of accepted students who choose to enroll immediately — came in at 68.3 percent, compared to the 68.4 percent yield in 2012, when four fewer students chose to accept their offers of admission. In addition to the 1,360 students who arrived as freshmen this year, 39 students chose to postpone their offers of admission until next fall and are not included in yield calculations.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan cautioned against attributing “much significance to annual fluctuations in yield,” as yield rates can be influenced by a number of factors, including manipulation by schools themselves by accepting students they perceive as likely to enroll.

“Our yield rate was just as high this year as it was last year — I was particularly pleased to see this, given the smaller percentage of students we admitted through the early action process, and our continued admission of a larger proportion of high-achieving STEM candidates and a larger proportion of minority students,” Quinlan said in an email.

Yale’s recent yields mark a more consistent trend, as the University had previously been in a five-year decline.

As for Yale’s peer schools, Harvard witnessed a record-breaking yield rate of 82 percent this year and Stanford saw a record-high of 76.7 percent. Dartmouth, the Ivy League school with the lowest yield, posted a 48.5 percent rate.

“Prestige is a big chunk of it — the panache of the name,” said David Petersam, president of Virginia-based higher education consulting group AdmissionsConsultants.

Historically, yield rates for Harvard and Stanford have almost always been higher than those of Yale. For Petersam, this can be attributed to students from within the United States and other countries naturally gravitating towards the “brand-name [school]” on each coast — a trend that is unlikely to change, he added.

Members of the class of 2017 who recently chose Yale over its peer institutions agreed with Petersam’s assessment that more well known schools tend to have higher yields. Salaar Shaikh ’17, an international student from Pakistan, said that outside the United States, the “Harvard name is still much larger than the Yale name.”

“Perhaps it speaks to the power of what some call the ‘H-bomb,’” Sammy Bensinger ’17 said.

Because the Harvard admitted students program was canceled this year, many students could have made their decisions from the school’s reputation, rather than personal encounters with it, she added.

Michaela Johnson ’17 and Rebecca Dendy ’17 both said they chose Yale over similar schools after attending Bulldog Days and seeing the University’s offerings in person. For the majority of cross-admitted students interviewed, Yale’s student atmosphere and community were major factors in their choices.

After application counts and acceptance rates, yield rates are seen as the most significant number in the realm of college admissions because they are often percieved as indicators of a university’s desirability. But college counselors and college admissions experts warned against linking yield rates to prestige, due to the extreme variance in admissions policies at different universities.

Though the most selective universities typically do not intentionally manipulate their yield, Jerome Lucido, director of the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice, said he has seen some schools attempt to optimize their yield by favoring many students who are highly likely to enroll — such as legacies or recruited athletes — over students from the rest of the pool.

“Quite frankly, yield is also a reflection of what policies you have and how widely you cast the net,” Lucido said. “Those who cast the net widely will have somewhat lower yield rates, because they’ve reached out to students who may not be as likely to come.”

Lucido added that a combination of recruitment practices and financial aid policies can also be major factors in enticing students to matriculate.

For the first time this year, applicants to Yale were able to select an option on their applicants to share their information with the Yale-NUS Admissions Office. Although Yale does not collect information on cross-admission to other institutions, Quinlan said he did see a “handful of students” admitted to both Yale and Yale-NUS, with a number of students choosing Yale-NUS over Yale.

In general, Yale’s peer institutions saw rises in their yields this year. Princeton, MIT and Brown reported higher rates of 68.7 percent, 73 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

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