While many business schools around the country have experienced declines in their applicant pools in recent years, the Yale School of Management has seen a 4 percent jump in M.B.A. applicants for the first two of three rounds in the SOM admissions process this year.

About 1,620 students applied to the SOM for both rounds combined as of late last week and, in its first round, the school admitted 170 applicants to begin the two-year M.B.A. program in the fall of 2005. The second and third round decisions will be made in March and May respectively for the incoming class of business students, SOM Director of Admissions Anne Coyle said.

Officials expect to accept a greater number of applicants in round two than they did in the first round, Coyle said.

“We are looking to put together a diverse class,” Coyle said. “We have rammed up our efforts in terms of minority recruiting in the past few years. We have been increasing our efforts all around and have been seeing some results which is all very positive.”

The SOM’s increase so far in total applications is a promising sign for officials, especially since peer institutions have seen drops in their numbers of applicants, Coyle said.

Yale recruiters have toured many cities around the country this season, as opposed to focusing primarily on New York City as they had in past years. Presentations have included faculty speakers, a strategy employed by the SOM administration to attract applicants.

“One of the value propositions of the SOM is that it is a small school with an amazing faculty, and many of our applicants who chose to matriculate want to be at a place where they can get to know the faculty,” Coyle said.

There also has been a concerted effort in recent years to attract minority and female applicants, a push spearheaded by the appointment of Nicole Lindsay, the SOM’s new associate director of admissions and student affairs. So far this year about 38 percent of students admitted are female, but there has been a slight decrease in minority applicants, Lindsay said.

“The first round was good,” Lindsay said. “I really like the candidates we have in the pipeline, but the first round is the hardest to matriculate.”

The SOM achieved its goals last year by increasing the number of black students, but Lindsay said that she wants to see other groups better represented as well.

“I would like to recruit more Hispanic students,” Lindsay said. “We had the apps, but we did not necessarily get them the seats.”

In November, Yale hosted an “Explore Diversity” weekend designed to increase the number of minority applicants.

“I think a lot of it is just marketing,” Lindsay said of the minority recruitment process.

Harvard Business School, the top-ranked business school in several surveys, is not prepared to announce its admissions statistics for this year, a spokesman said. Although Harvard has seen a decrease in applicants for the past two years, their numbers have remained generally strong and the school maintains an admit rate of about 12 percent each year.

Applicants to Yale may have noticed changes from last year to the SOM application form, which has been streamlined and simplified. Also this year, the SOM eliminated the fourth round of admissions as the deadline was too late in the spring, especially for international students who needed to get plans settled before traveling to the United States.

Besides the necessary GMAT scores, college or graduate school transcripts, personal essays and recommendations, there are few additional requirements set in stone, Coyle said. But the admissions office generally prefers the applicants have some work experience and a focus as to what they want to accomplish in their business career.

“We do look at the whole application package as a portfolio,” Coyle said. “The strong applicant has to think about how to portray their attributes and strengths. It really is a picture of the applicant and has to tell a story. Everything should tie together and show some focus — the two years go by really quickly, so it really helps if the applicants know what they want.”