Yale posts record-high yield rate

Out of a record-high pool of 30,932 applications to Yale this year, 1,935 students were offered acceptance and 1,361 students have chosen to matriculate to the University, making for a 71.7 percent yield — the highest in Yale’s recorded history. The yield rate rose by more than three percent from the 68.3 percent yield recorded for the class of 2017.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said although he expected the yield to increase slightly because the University accepted more students in the Early Action round this year, the magnitude exceeded his office’s expectations.

The University accepted 735 students in the Early Action round in December, a rise from 649 last year. Both Quinlan and college counselors interviewed said students who apply early are more far more likely to attend the University.

Mark Dunn, senior assistant director of Yale’s admissions office, said in an email that the yield and the class size is calculated after discounting the number of students who plan to postpone matriculation. As of Wednesday, 35 students admitted to the class of 2018 have chosen to take a gap year and will join with the class of 2019.

Dunn also said the official yield rate will be updated as Yale extends offers of acceptance to students on the waitlist. Although students on the waitlist typically choose Yale at a slightly higher clip than students who were accepted in the regular or early rounds, Dunn said the number of students taken from the waitlist is so small that the difference tends not to significantly affect the overall yield rate.

For the first year, the Admissions Office also released the yield for the Regular Decision round. Of the 1,041 admitted students who applied in the regular decision round, nearly 600 students chose Yale, making for a yield rate of 57.1 percent.

Quinlan said that number, which for years has been calculated internally, is the highest on record. Because of the strong yield rate, he said, Yale will likely only take 10 to 15 students off its waitlist. In past years, Yale has fluctuated between taking any number of students — from zero to 100 — off of the waitlist.

“I’m hesitant to attribute [the rise in the yield] to anything specific because it’s a multi-year process,” Quinlan said. Still, he added that the last year has been very positive  for the University in the media, citing several professors’ Nobel Prize wins and the record $250-million gift to the University by Charles Johnson ’54 as two examples.

Although Quinlan originally said the yield numbers would not be publicized until the fall, he said he changed his mind and decided to release the numbers in order to highlight the progress Yale has made in attracting a more diverse incoming freshman class.

In a summit at the White House in January, University President Peter Salovey pledged Yale’s commitment to becoming a more accessible institution to high-achieving students from all backgrounds. Salovey pledged to expand or continue a number of initiatives including increasing the number of students who are finalists in the QuestBridge National College Match — a program that seeks to connect high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds to selective universities — by 50 percent to 75 to 80 students each year.

The class of 2018 matched that commitment with 79 finalists in the program. 14 percent of the incoming freshmen are first-generation students, a rise from the average of 12 percent from the three prior classes. About 16 percent of eligible students in the incoming class will be receiving Pell Grants.

Yale’s announcement comes on the heels of similar yield increases at three of the five other Ivy League schools that have publicized their data thus far. Harvard maintained a record-high 82 percent yield rate but also accepted nearly 1,000 students in the early action round. Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania also recorded upticks in their yield rates to 54.5 percent and 66 percent respectively. Princeton and Brown registered slight drops. Neither Cornell nor Columbia have announced this year’s yield rate.

Chuck Hughes, president of college admissions consulting service Road to College and a former admissions officer at Harvard, said it was important to recognize that schools can doctor their yield rates. Although he said very selective schools such as Yale do not typically resort to such techniques, he added that the more important number is often a school’s regular decision yield rate.

“If you take a lot of kids early, you’re taking the kids who have identified your school as their number 1 choice,” he said. He noted that a number of schools which saw increases in their yield rate, such as Harvard and Dartmouth, took more students in the early round than in prior years.

Hughes said he cautions his clients from reading too much into yield, adding that there were important factors to consider such as a school’s relative strength in certain disciplines or the endowment-to-student ratio.

Students had to decide where they would matriculate by May 1st.

Correction: May 14

A former version of this article reported that 1,387 students have chosen to matriculate in the fall. The actual number is 1,361.

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