For decades, early April has brought news — whether it was welcome or not — to the mailboxes of thousands of Yale applicants. This year, the suspense is greater than ever, but a rejection notice may not arrive.
To cut costs and to save paper, the Yale Admissions Office will no longer mail out rejection letters if a student has already checked their admission decision online, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel told the News on Thursday. The decision will save the office the “significant expense” of printing and mailing “more than 20,000” rejection letters first class, he said.
Accepted students will still receive the standard admitted student package, and students given a place on the wait-list will also receive letters, Brenzel said.
Yale will make sure rejected students receive the bad news promptly, Brenzel said. Brenzel said more than 95 percent of Yale applicants check their admissions decisions within 72 hours after they are posted online. If a rejected student does not log onto the decision Web site within 72 hours after decisions are posted, the admissions office will send the applicant an e-mail and also send a letter notifying him or her of their rejection, Brenzel said.
Top University administrators have asked all departments — including undergraduate admissions — to cut costs to make up for a precipitous drop in the value of Yale’s endowment. Ending print mailers for rejected students will help the admissions office save funds.
Yale is not alone in its decision to keep rejection letters online. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also did not send out rejection letters this year, Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill said.
Harvard University will still send out paper rejection letters, a Harvard Admissions Office employee said. A Princeton University spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter, saying the admissions office is still busy making decisions.
The move away from paper mailings is not new to Yale, which stopped sending applications to students beginning in 2006. At the time, the News reported that the move may have contributed to a drop in Yale’s applications that year.
But the decision not to mail out rejection letters should have no impact on Yale’s image, said Risa Nye, associated director of college counseling at the private Head Royce School in Oakland, California.
“As long as [the rejection letter] is worded in a way that is not harsh, it doesn’t matter whether the messenger is paper or electronic,” she said.
Students such as Meg Beimfohr at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass., are used to checking their mailboxes for Yale admissions decisions. Those mailboxes will still be full for admitted students — and for those who choose not to check their decisions online — but Beimfohr said the University’s decision to stop mailing rejections to all students seems sensible, given the University’s budget cuts.
“When you think of the college experience when you’re young, you think of receiving a letter in the mail, but things have obviously changed,” she said.
Admissions decisions will be posted online on the evening of March 31.