Out of a record-high pool of 30,932 applicants to Yale this year, 1,950 students were offered acceptance and 1,361 students chose to matriculate to the University as members of the class of 2018, making for the highest yield in Yale’s recorded history.
The final yield rate came in at 71.48 percent this fall, an increase of more than three percent from the 68.3 percent yield recorded for the class of 2017. Mark Dunn, senior assistant director of Yale’s Admissions Office, said in an email that the final yield and class size are calculated after discounting the number of students who postpone matriculation. In addition to the 1,361 students who are freshmen this year, 46 students chose to postpone their offers of admission until next fall and are not included in yield calculations.
“We expected an increase in the yield because we accepted more students in the early action round, but we still saw a stronger increase in the regular decision yield,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan ’03 said.
He added that the regular decision yield rate is a stronger measure of a university’s strength and attractiveness than its early action yield rate. He added this is partially because most students apply to their top choice school during the early action round.
The University accepted 735 students in the early action round in December, a rise from 649 the previous year. Richard Avitabile, a former admissions officer at New York University and a private education consultant for Steinbrecher & Partners, said he would not be surprised if most of these students had seen Yale as their top choice throughout the college process.
Because the yield was higher than expected, the Admissions Office only took 14 students off the waitlist. In prior years, according to Quinlan, the number of students the University has taken from the waitlist has fluctuated between zero and 100.
For the first year, the Admissions Office also publicized 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. Dunn said the office decided to release the regular decision yield rate in order to demonstrate that the increased yield cannot solely be attributed to early admits.
“I’m hesitant to attribute [the rise in the yield] to anything specific because it’s a multiyear process,” Quinlan said.
Still, he added that last year was very positive for the University in the media. He cited several professors’ Nobel Prize wins and the record $250 million gift to the University by Charles Johnson ’54 as two examples.
Dunn said another possible reason for the uptick in this year’s yield is the Admissions Office’s implementation of a number of new outreach tools this spring. In addition to sending emails to accepted students that were tailored to each student’s interests, the Admissions Office introduced a series of Google Hangouts allowing current students employed by the office to talk to prospective students.
He added that the relatively late dates of this year’s Bulldog Days — Yale’s signature three-day program to welcome accepted students, which was held from April 22–25 — meant that his office had more time to facilitate connections between prospective and current students.
Yale was not the only school with an increased yield rate this year. Stanford’s yield for the class of 2018 was recorded at 78.9 percent, a 2.9 percent increase from the year before, while Harvard maintained its record-setting yield rate of 82 percent. Princeton’s also went up, albeit slightly, from 68.7 percent to 69.2 percent.
Dunn said he thinks all these schools may have seen their yields rise in part because a higher number of students were accepted through early action programs.
“If a school is taking more students early, that might mean those students may not even be applying to other schools,” he said.
Quinlan echoed Dunn’s sentiment, adding that Yale noticed a slightly smaller overlap in accepted applicants with some of its peer institutions this year. As admission rates continue to plummet and application numbers soar, Dunn said this trend may continue.
Along with acceptance rates and application numbers, admissions officers tend to view yield rates as highly significant because a yield rate often strongly correlates with a school’s prestige, said Brian Jansen, a consultant for Noel-Levitz, an education consultancy that specializes in advising colleges on enrollment management and student recruitment.
Still, Jerome Lucido, director of the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, said it is important not to weigh the importance of yield rates too highly. He added that some schools boost yield rates artificially by selectively admitting students who are likely to attend, such as recruited athletes or legacy students.
Jansen said while yield rates are a constant source of stress for most colleges in America, schools such as Yale and Harvard are in a league of their own.
“For most schools, if they don’t get above a certain number of full-fee paying students to matriculate, their gates aren’t opening in the fall,” he said.
Dunn echoed Jansen’s sentiment, adding that Yale is not in that position because the school’s financial model is not as tuition-dependent.
Members of the class of 2018 who recently chose Yale over other elite schools agreed with Jansen’s assessment that more well-known schools tend to have higher yields.
Catie Liu ’18 said people outside of Yale still express surprise when she tells them that she chose Yale over Harvard.
“Harvard just sort of has this brand name and is very well marketed,” she said.
Still, Liu said she chose Yale because it seemed like a more collaborative university than its peers.
Dan McQuaid ’18 said he chose Yale over Princeton and Stanford in part because he thought Bulldog Days was a more welcoming and better organized program than those of both Stanford and Princeton.
He added that he was also impressed by Yale’s efforts to reach out to students likely to major in the sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics fields. After attending Yale Engineering and Science Weekend, an invitational program for high-achieving prospective students in the field, McQuaid said he was excited about the STEM opportunities available at Yale.
Likewise, Andrew Saydjari ’18, a likely STEM major from Wisconsin, said he chose Yale over a number of STEM-oriented schools because the University provided a more holistic and intellectually diverse community.
Students had to decide where they would matriculate by May 1.