In a year when debates about college admissions made national headlines, Yale received a record number of applications for the Class of 2007.

The University received 14,739 regular applications this year, sending the total number of applications to 17,350. The total represents a 12.3 percent increase from last year’s final figure of 15,456 applications.

Last year, Yale admitted a total of 2,008 students, yielding an overall admit rate of 13 percent. If Yale admitted the same number of applicants this year, the overall admit rate would go down to 11.6 percent.

Dartmouth College also saw a major increase this year, receiving 11,700 applications, more than a 13 percent increase from last year’s total of 10,143. Other Ivy League institutions witnessed more modest changes.

At Harvard University, the total number of applications was 20,918, a 6.7 percent increase from the 19,609 applications the school received last year. Columbia University saw a 3.5 percent increase in applications, from 16,162 to 16,744. Brown University received 15,020 applications, a 2.8 percent increase from last year’s total of 14,600. Cornell University’s applications decreased 4.9 percent, from 21,431 to 20,378.

Admissions officials at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Stanford University said they were not yet releasing the number of applicants for the Class of 2007.

Yale Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw said he was pleased about the increase.

“It will be the largest applicant class in history,” he said.

Yale President Richard Levin said more people may be aware of Yale’s strength as an undergraduate institution.

“It’s wonderful that that many people want to come here and it’s painful that so many want to come here, because we can’t take them all,” Levin said. “I’ve long thought we were the best and I think more and more people are thinking that way.”

In December, Yale admitted 557 students from a pool of 2,611 early decision applicants. Although the number of students applying early increased by 23 percent this year, the admissions office admitted less than 1.5 percent more students, filling 43 percent of the Class of 2007 early.

Although demographic statistics are not yet available, Shaw said the increase probably could not be attributed to one particular segment of the applicant pool. Instead, applications likely increased across the board, he said.

Shaw also said that the common application and the online application proved to be popular options for regular decision applicants.

Dartmouth Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg said he was pleased by Dartmouth’s numbers, attributing the increase to expanded recruiting efforts.

“Here at Dartmouth, we’ve done a lot in recent years in just expanding the number of visitors that come to campus,” Furstenberg said. “The two biggest [factors] would be that we’ve shifted a lot of our recruiting over Internet and e-mail. I think that it really does reach a lot of new students and communities and populations.”

Harvard Director of Undergraduate Admissions Marlyn McGrath Lewis said the overall increase in applications was primarily a result of a larger early applicant pool. This year, Harvard allowed its early action applicants to apply early decision to other colleges. Harvard received 7,615 early applications this year, a 24.3 percent increase from last year.

“Most of the increase in the total number came at us early, and I think it was because of the liberalized policy,” she said. “Some of this increase is attributable to demographics — there are somewhat more high school graduates in the country — [and] some of it is really because of the media.”

McGrath Lewis said media attention has made students more aware of the educational opportunities that are available. The scrutiny has made them more ambitious about pursuing those opportunities, she added.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” she said. “That’s the only unbreakable rule in admissions.”