As the grim economic situation drives job markets to a standstill, more architects are applying to professional schools but few are receiving acceptance letters.
Applications at the Yale School of Archietcture reached a record high this year, driving acceptance rates to their lowest level in the past few years. Administrators cited the recession as the major reason people are flocking back to school, noting that the amount of financial aid students need will determine the ultimate yield rate.
The School of Architecture, which released its 2009 admissions statistics on Tuesday, accepted 141 of 989 applicants — a 14 percent admission rate. Although there was an upward trend in applications over the past several years, this year witnessed a quantum leap, with a 23 percent increase in the number of applications compared to last year.
“Applications have spiked enormously,” School of Architecture Dean Robert Stern ARC ’65 said. “Students who would have chosen to take a year off to work somewhere have realized that they can’t get a job in an economic climate like this, so they decided to continue their education.”
Stern added that the applicant pool might also reflect a trend for young architects, who lost their jobs or experienced a slow-down in business, to use this as an opportunity to “retool.”
Princeton University School of Architecture, one of the Yale School of Architecture’s rivals, experienced a 15 percent increase in the number of applications from last year; unlike Yale, Princeton had not seen an upward trend in the number of architecture applicants over the past three years.
Princeton’s 68 percent yield — the percent of admitted students who decided to enroll — might be higher than the yield at Yale, Stern said. He explained that this difference is caused by the disparity in the two schools’ ability to offer financial aid, though Princeton and Yale do not release their official financial aid data.
“The School of Architecture can’t compare to Yale College in its ability to offer generous financial aid,” Stern said. “We do our very best, but students still graduate with too much debt. Princeton can offer much more aid to students, and so it creates the most havoc for us.”
Part of that havoc ensues immediately after the deadline for enrollment — which was last Wednesday— when the School of Architecture tried to convince some applicants to reconsider their decision to turn down Yale’s offer. Stern himself called recently admitted students, and the School of Architecture declined to release admissions statistics until their negotiations with potential students were finalized.
School of Architecture registrar and admissions administrator Marilyn Weiss wrote in an e-mail they still do not have final numbers for the school’s yield.