After receiving a record number of applications, the Yale Divinity School accepted less than half its applicants this year, marking the lowest admit rate in recent history.
This year’s 49 percent acceptance rate represents a substantial drop from last year’s rate of 67 percent. Both numbers reflect decreases from the 70 and 80 percent figures the school maintained throughout the 1990s. Divinity School administrators attributed the lower admit rate to changes in the admissions process, campus renovations and the political and economic climate.
The Divinity School received about 500 applications, a record high, Associate Dean of Admissions Anna Ramirez said. Officials admitted 230 applicants, according to Ramirez.
Ramirez said two revised admissions policies contributed to the increase in applications. The process has become more competitive since the elimination of both the rolling admissions policy, which allowed applicants to apply without a single deadline, and the deferral program, which gave admitted students the opportunity to postpone enrollment, Ramirez said.
Ramirez said the five year renovation project completed last year is one significant student draw for the Divinity School.
“The old buildings were crumbling, but have now been rebuilt. Our facilities are fantastic,” she said.
Ramirez said other attempts to boost application numbers, such as rebuilding the faculty and adding the presence of Dean Harold Attridge have also made the Divinity School a more desirable place to attend.
“Dean Attridge represents a whole new era, and he brought an enormous amount of energy with him,” she said. “He represents stability in leadership that wasn’t here before.”
Attridge attributed the rise in applications to the desirability of the campus, and said he thought this factor would only increase in the future.
“This place has a good rep right now — we try to provide the best theological institution we can,” Attridge said. “We are doing it and we are doing it well, and I think numbers will boost actively.”
Ramirez and Attridge also both cited the current political and economic situation in increasing the Divinity School’s number of applicants. Ramirez said the instability has driven a lot of people back to school and many of them are considering alternative careers and social work, getting their master’s degrees along the way.
Ramirez said the Divinity School’s Office of Admissions, though not currently actively recruiting applicants, will still be making road trips next year to attract prospective students. At the moment, the office is busy planning events for the open house on April 7, to which all admitted students are invited.