High school students scrambling to complete their early applications by Nov. 1 may have a better chance of getting into some colleges during the recession than they ordinarily would — but not at Yale.
Most private colleges have accepted increasing numbers of students through early programs since the advent of the recession, but Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeff Brenzel ’75 said Yale will accept between 700 and 750 students this December, which is consistent with the 730 students admitted early last year. A report released Oct. 20 by the National Association for College Admission Counseling found that private colleges relied more heavily on early decision and early action programs last year than in the past because the economic recession has increased the number of students planning to attend public rather than private colleges or two-year rather than four-year institutions, the report said Brenzel said that because of Yale’s exceptional financial aid program, the behavior of the University’s applicants has not changed.
“Schools with limited financial aid budgets might have increasing anxiety about attracting enough students who can pay the cost for their educations,” Brenzel said, “As a college with a very large applicant pool and resources to fund extremely generous financial aid, Yale does not face that particular challenge.”
According to the report, the national average yield rate for students admitted early decision was 86 percent, versus 34 percent for all students accepted to colleges that offer early decision, and schools may be accepting more students early decision to protect their yield rates. The report said that early action, which Yale offers, does not significantly alter yield: on average, 30 percent of early action admits matriculated in 2009, versus 28 percent overall.
An acceptance early decision binds a person to matriculating at that school if the cost is not prohibitive after the calculation of financial aid; early action is non-binding. Yale’s traditional rivals, Harvard and Princeton, do not have early application programs.
According to the report, entitled “The State of College Admissions 2010,” a majority of schools accepted more students from early programs last year than they did in 2008. 73 percent of colleges with early action programs upped their acceptances, as did 65 percent of colleges with early decision. 74 percent of schools with early action and 47 percent with early decision said they received more applications to those programs last year than the year before.
Last year, Yale admitted a total of 1,940 students, 730 of whom were admitted in December through the early action program. Both the class of 2013 and the class of 2014 are composed of about 38 percent early admits.
Defying the trend found in the report, the number of early applications Yale received last year decreased by about five percent from the year before, falling from 5,556 to 5,261. Eight college counselors interviewed in Nov. 2009 attributed this decline to the economic recession, saying that students who applied to Yale under the early action program would miss out on the opportunity to apply early to other schools that offered merit scholarships.
Brenzel said he did not know how many early applications Yale would receive this year.
Both Dartmouth and Cornell increased the percentage of their incoming classes accepted early last year. At Dartmouth, 20.98 percent of those admitted to the class of 2014 were accepted early compared to 17.60 percent of the class of 2013, according to Dartmouth’s admissions website. At Cornell, the percentage of freshmen accepted early has increased slowly but steadily since 2005, and reached 39 percent in 2009, according to Cornell’s Fall 2009 Undergraduate Enrollment Report.
The Yale Class of 2015 will begin classes on August 31, 2011.