Less than a year before Yale’s switch to a new early action program, the University received a record number of early decision applications, the admissions office said Tuesday.
This year, 2,600 students applied early decision to Yale, representing a 23 percent increase from last year’s figure of 2,100 applicants. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Assistant Dean of Admissions Bette Johnson said early applications at MIT remained steady, while Dartmouth Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg said the number of applications to Dartmouth College increased by 7 to 8 percent. Admissions officers at other Ivy League universities — including Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania — said early application numbers are not yet available.
Yale Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said he was pleased about the increase and confident that the admissions office could handle the volume of applications.
“This is a number that’s reasonable and manageable and it’s the highest we’ve ever seen,” Shaw said.
He said he expected the numbers for next year to increase under the early action program.
“There’s no question that we’ll see larger numbers next year,” he said. “We hope it will be tempered by the rule that they should only apply to one place.”
Yale President Richard Levin said the rise in applications can be partially attributed to more nationwide interest in early admissions programs.
“It’s just testimony to the increased popularity of Yale, but also the increased popularity of using early programs,” Levin said.
Harvard Director of Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis said her admissions office expects to see a rise in applications, but added that they are still looking through bins of mail.
“We know that our number of applicants will be up,” she said. “We don’t know precisely by how much.”
Lewis said she thought the increase was partially a result of Harvard’s policy, which allows students to apply early to other schools besides Harvard.
“We think it is what one would expect with the new freedom to let candidates to apply more flexibility to early programs,” she said. “I think it’s within the range of what’s expected.”
Furstenberg said he was interested in the diversity and the talent of Dartmouth’s applicants, not the number of applicants.
“At this point, I really don’t know about the demographics of the early pool, and that’s really what’s most important,” Furstenberg said. “My sense is that we have a really good pool early, and what you would hope is that it would be a stronger pool, not necessarily a larger one.”
He said Dartmouth was satisfied with its increase of 7 to 8 percent from last year, when it received 1,102 early applications.
“We don’t particularly promote early decision or push it — we weren’t trying to increase it at all,” Furstenberg said.
Johnson said MIT did not anticipate an increase in early applications this year.
“It’s not an increase, although the numbers don’t finish being done until the end of the week,” she said. “We’re about 100 below where we were [last year].”