For over 30,000 high school students, the wait is finally over.
Yale released admissions decisions for the class of 2018 Thursday afternoon, accepting 1,935 students from an applicant pool of 30,932 — an acceptance rate of 6.26 percent. Last year, the University offered seats to more students, accepting 1,991 from a smaller pool of 29,610 applicants, making for an acceptance rate of 6.72 percent. After hovering around 7.5 percent from 2009 to 2011, Yale’s acceptance rate has now remained in the 6 percent range for three consecutive years.
This was the first year Dean Jeremiah Quinlan’s signature has appeared on Yale’s admissions letters. Quinlan succeeded Dean Jeffrey Brenzel in July 2013.
“In my first year as the admissions dean, I am inspired by Yale’s extraordinary applicant pool but also humbled by the challenging selection process we have just completed,” Quinlan said in an email.
Quinlan said Yale and its peer schools have seen application numbers rise and the applicant pool grow stronger over the past five years. This year’s group of admitted students includes more students from “virtually every underrepresented group in higher education,” he said.
Although the University could not offer seats to a large number of talented applicants, Quinlan said virtually all of these students will thrive at other selective institutions.
“Of the students offered admission, we know that those who select Yale will bring an astonishingly wide variety of talents, backgrounds, experiences and aspirations to campus this coming fall,” Quinlan said.
All Ivy League schools are obligated by the Common Ivy League Agreement to release their decisions on the same day. After seven consecutive years of record-low acceptance rates, Harvard’s acceptance rate rose slightly to 5.9 percent — a marginal change from the 5.8 percent it recorded a year earlier. Princeton’s class of 2018 was the most selective in the institution’s history at 7.28 percent, a slight drop from the 7.29 percent figure it recorded last year. Columbia University also saw a slight rise in the admit rate from a record-low 6.89 percent last year to 6.94 percent this year. But the University of Pennsylvania announced yesterday that it accepted 9.9 percent of its 35,868 applicants, a sharp decline from last year’s figure of 12.1 percent. Brown, Cornell and Dartmouth have yet to release their numbers.
“Although these fluctuations make for interesting score-keeping, they are mathematically negligible,” said Robert Morse, director of data and research at U.S. News and World Report College Rankings.
He added that although acceptance rates are factored in his organization’s well-known college rankings, Yale’s accepting 1 percent more students one year compared to another would not impact the University’s ranking.
Mark Dunn ’07, the admission office’s director of outreach and recruitment, said the office uses a number of outreach tools to recruit students from all backgrounds. Beyond social media, which has become an increasingly popular medium of communication, Dunn said the University mailed pamphlets and other information to target high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds. He added that the latest research in education policy indicates that direct mail is the most effective way of reaching such students.
For the first time, in June 2013, Yale used tailored mailing to a select group of 16,000 rising high school seniors who are members of low-income families. The mailing emphasized that households with less than $65,000 in annual income are not asked to make any parental contributions to their child’s Yale education. According to Dunn, the mailing campaign was supplemented by an email campaign and a new page on the admissions office’s website highlighting the affordability of a Yale education.
Dunn said it is too early for the office to measure the success of the new mailing initiative, adding that the office will conduct a thorough analysis of the feedback submitted by applicants, admits and eventual matriculates in the summer.
Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez, an associate director of the admissions office and co-director of multicultural recruitment, said the University’s success in reaching students from underrepresented backgrounds is attributable to the combined efforts of admissions staff, dedicated alumni and current Yale undergraduates. He also cited the University’s ongoing partnerships with College Horizons and QuestBridge — two organizations that support the educational ambitions of high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds — as examples of ways in which Yale is encouraging a more diverse applicant pool.
Richard Avitabile, a former admissions officer at New York University and a private college counselor, said universities’ acceptance rates are only useful in evaluating the merits of institutions when used selectively and with a long-term approach. Still, he added that he would be interested in seeing Dartmouth’s numbers because the college has seen two consecutive years of fewer applicants — an exception to the broader trend of rising application numbers across selective institutions.
Jim Patterson, associate dean of Harvard-Westlake, a private school in Los Angeles, said his students are increasingly realizing the flaws of choosing a school based on its acceptance rate or place on a college rankings list.
“Students are becoming savvier and they’re realizing that what is a good fit for one student may not be a great fit for another,” Patterson said.
Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School, said these acceptance rates will continue to decline as more students realize the financial accessibility of these colleges and apply.
Patterson echoed Reider’s sentiment, adding that more international students will look to American colleges as budget cuts hurt public universities abroad, especially in Europe.
Accepted students took to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to share the news, posting updates rejoicing or lamenting their admissions outcomes. The popular college forum College Confidential experienced technical failures as enthusiastic students from across the globe logged on to share results and discuss the news.
“I was at home on the computer with my dad and we both jumped up when we saw the Bulldog with the congratulations,” said Thomas Pan, a high school senior from Livingston, New Jersey. Pan added that he never considered being accepted to Yale as a possibility.
Sam Cheng, a high school senior from Connecticut, said he was so excited when he read his acceptance letter that he threw the pen he was holding against the wall. Still, Cheng said he is currently deciding between Princeton and Yale.
Students have until May 1 to respond to their admissions offers.