May 27th, 2010 | News, University

Yield rate sees slight decline

About 67 percent of admitted students have decided to join the class of 2014 in the fall, down slightly from the 68.7 percent matriculation rate recorded at this time last year, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeff Brenzel said Monday.

With more than 60 students offered admission off the waiting list, Yale has made more than 2,000 offers of admission and has received acceptances from about 1,350 students, of which some have decided to postpone entry until the following school year, Brenzel said. The admissions office will make a decision at the end of the month whether to admit more students from the waiting list, he added.

Brenzel declined to give an explanation for the decrease this year in the current yield rate, adding that the admissions office will release the final rate in September, when the full class of 2014 has matriculated. Last year, the final yield was 67.9 percent, with 1,307 students matriculating from a pool of 1,958 admits.

“I am extremely pleased with the results for the year, and we look forward to welcoming another astonishing Yale class in the fall,” Brenzel said.

In comparison, Harvard’s matriculation rate remained steady at about 76 percent this year, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell also saw their yield rates remain largely unchanged from last year at 64 percent, 63 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, a record 72 percent of students accepted Stanford’s offer of admission, and Dartmouth College posted a yield of 55 percent, up seven percentage points from last year.

Over the past five years, Yale’s yield rate at this point in time has declined marginally but steadily from just over 70 percent for the class of 2010. While the six college counselors interviewed noted that Yale retains a strong pull on high school seniors, the slight downward trend may be the result of students applying to more schools, Yale’s decision to retain its early action program and the current economic conditions, they said.

“There are schools giving away some fairly significant merit aid this year, and in financially tough times, that is what some families are looking for,” said Frank Sachs, director of college counseling at The Blake School in Minneapolis. Sachs noted that while the slight decline in Yale’s yield rate does not “cheapen” the Yale brand, there have been instances in the past where students have turned down Yale for schools such as the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis, which both offer generous merit aid packages.

Nancy Beane, college counselor at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Ga., added that students are also applying to more schools than before and consequently have a wider variety of college choices.

Only Harvard appears to have a “special pull” on students, Sachs noted. This year, half of the students at his school accepted to Yale chose to matriculate, while all those admitted to Harvard accepted the offer of admission, he said.

Still, Sandy Bean, coordinator of the college and career center at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, a public high school in Washington, D.C., said none of her students accepted to Harvard this year chose to matriculate. Similarly, of the two students admitted to Harvard last year, one chose Yale while the other matriculated after being reject by Yale – his top-choice college, Bean said.

The slight declines in Yale’s yield may be better explained by the University’s decision to retain its early action program, she said. Yale’s non-binding early acceptance option makes it easier for students to commit to other schools later in the admissions cycle, Bean explained.

“It may be a bit more of a plum to get into Harvard or Princeton, which no longer have non-binding early action programs,” Bean said.

This year, Yale recorded an admit rate of 7.5 percent, equaling the previous year’s rate, and placed 932 applicants on the waiting list, up from 769 the year before.