Yale received a total of 4,768 early applications for the class of 2018 — a 5.6 percent increase from last year.
The Admissions Office received 4,514 early applications for its single-choice early action program in 2012, and 4,323 applications in 2011. In the three years prior to 2011 — the year that Harvard and Princeton reinstated their early application programs — Yale’s early applications topped 5,000, with an all-time peak of 5,556 early applications in 2008.
Admissions experts interviewed said that although early applications numbers tend to vary from year to year, Yale’s rising numbers are in line with an ongoing trend of selective universities receiving more and more applications every year.
“Once again, the pool of applicants includes an extraordinary range of talents, interests, and backgrounds,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said in a Tuesday afternoon email to the News.
Quinlan declined to comment as to how many early applications will be accepted this year, though in past years, roughly 650 to 700 applicants have been accepted in the early round. William Morse ’64 GRD ’74 — a former admissions officer at Yale and a private college counselor — said this year’s acceptance numbers will likely not change significantly from last year. In past years, Yale’s early application round has yielded acceptance rates of roughly 13 to 16 percent.
The University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown and Princeton received 5,313, 1,678, 2,990 and 3,831 applications this year, respectively. Penn and Dartmouth saw increases of 6.6 percent and 6.7 percent. Admissions officers at Brown and Princeton told student newspapers at their respective universities that their numbers are still growing, as students who have been affected by technical problems in the Common Application — the online undergraduate college application portal used by Yale and more than 500 other colleges in the United States — may still be sending in applications.
Harvard, Cornell and Columbia have not yet released their early application numbers.
Michael Goran, the director of California-based private education consulting firm IvySelect, said schools such as Yale already attract so many applicants that any annual rise in the number of applications received is impressive, adding that it is easier for less-established and non-Ivy League schools such as Duke or Northwestern to quickly grow their applicant pool. Goran added that although the Common Application glitches may have affected some students’ applications, the number of affected students is probably not statistically significant.
“Often minority students, particularly African American and Hispanic students, will not apply to schools like Yale early because they haven’t heard the message of Yale’s generous financial aid programs,” said Jon Reider, a college counselor at San Francisco University High School, adding that the early applicant pool at a school like Yale is often demographically different from the regular application pool because legacy students and students who come from private schools such as Harvard-Westlake or Exeter are often encouraged to apply early.
At many of these private schools, Reider added, where awareness of the college counseling process is very high, students often perceive early action or early decision programs as a chance “to roll the dice” and apply to a college that they may not have otherwise have the test scores or grades to get in.
David Petersam, president of Virginia-based higher education consulting group AdmissionsConsultants, said low-income students are less likely to apply early to Yale, often because they are intimidated by the University’s selectivity and not aware of Yale’s financial aid programs. Petersam added that the early application pool — which may seem to yield better chances because its acceptance rate is higher than that of the regular pool — is actually often more challenging, because so many recruited athletes and legacy students apply to Yale early. Morse said he often advises students without a special connection to Yale, such as a legacy or athletic recruitment status, to postpone applying until the regular round.
“The five percent increase makes it tougher, but everyone who applied early realizes that the process has always been very tough at Yale,” said Gregory Hosono, a high school senior at Philips Academy Andover, adding that applicants cannot control anything beyond how they present themselves to schools. Hosono said he applied early to Yale as a way of signifying that it was his top choice.
Several universities nationwide extended their early application program deadlines this year to account for numerous technical glitches in the Common Application. Yale pushed its deadline from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4 after students and college counselors nationwide reported difficulties ranging from frozen computer screens to an inability to upload necessary documents and essays. This is the third year in a row that Yale has extended its early action deadline, after a snowstorm in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 affected applicants living in the Northeast.
Yale accepted 649 students last year from its early applicant pool, yielding a 14.4 percent acceptance rate for the class of 2017. Out of the 4,514 early applications, 2,529 students were deferred and 1,302 were rejected.
Applicants to the class of 2018 were given the option to share their applications with Yale-NUS College in Singapore by checking a single box on the online form, and the two schools’ admissions offices will review each individual’s application separately. This is the second year that the option has been offered.
Admissions decisions for early applicants to the class of 2018 will be released mid-December.