As the class of 2015 settles into life at Yale, 722 of the students Yale admitted have chosen to go somewhere other than New Haven.
Of the 2,073 students who were accepted to Yale this year and started college this fall, 1,351 chose to become Bulldogs — a 65.2 percent yield for the class of 2015. This year’s numbers are lower than last year’s 67 percent, and part of a five-year slide that has seen Yale’s yield rate drop by five percent since 2007.
“Yield … declined slightly [from last year], at least partly due to increased overlap in admissions offers with our strongest competitors for the world’s top science, math and engineering students,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel. “The good news is that more of these students are both applying to Yale and enrolling at Yale.”
Though the yield rate has declined in the past five years, Brenzel said Yale is drawing an increasingly diverse and competitive applicant pool. The University has focused in particular on attracting international, minority and low-income students, and on vying with other top universities for applicants that are strong in math and science.
Though the eyes of the national media turned to Yale last spring when students brought a Title IX complaint against the University for its sexual culture and handling of sexual violence, the issue does not appear to have significantly affected yield. Fifteen of 17 high school seniors interviewed at Bulldog Days last May said the Title IX allegations would not play any part in their college decisions.
Admissions experts across the country had varying explanations for Yale’s sliding yield, but three directors of college counseling interviewed agreed that the change was not cause for major concern.
Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School, said the fact that Yale’s yield has decreased by 5 percent since 2007 is a direct result of Harvard’s and Princeton’s decision to eliminate their early action and early decision admissions programs. Yale was losing out on students who applied to Yale early but really wanted to go to Harvard or Princeton, he said, causing Yale’s yield to drop. But, he said, the fact that Harvard and Princeton are both bringing back early admissions this year will raise Yale’s yield next year.
“Kids who apply early to Yale will be Yale kids,” he said. “Those who get in will want to come.”
Brenzel also said he expects Harvard’s and Princeton’s change to result in lower numbers of students admitted to two or more of the trio, causing Yale’s yield to rise. But, he said, yield depends on many other variables as well, including the number of students admitted early versus those admitted regular decision, competition for particular sub-groups, changes in the overall mix of admitted students, financial aid changes, and changes in recruitment efforts, and also is subject to “random fluctuations.”
“Yield can go down if a school is attracting and admitting more of the most competitive applicants, while it can go up if a school is admitting a higher proportion of less competitive candidates,” he said. “Though yield is widely reported because it is an easy number to calculate, it does not tell you very much in itself about admissions outcomes.”
Sarah Beyreis ’85 GRD ’94, director of college counseling at the Cincinnati Country Day School, said one reason Yale’s yield decreased over the past five years could have been its outreach efforts. She said it is positive that Yale is reaching out to a wide range of competitive applicants, even if these students do not choose Yale in the end.
Leonard King, who previously served as director of college counseling at the Maret School in Washington, D.C, said it is impressive that Yale has been more or less able to maintain its yield rate given the state of the economy.
“[This] means you’re also meeting the scholarship needs of all the kids, so they can make decisions not based on financial aid,” he said.
Brenzel said 53 percent of the class of 2015 is receiving financial aid, and the average grant is $38,230. The percent of students in the freshman class receiving aid decreased by about 5 percent from last year, according to numbers released by the Financial Aid Office last September, though the average grant rose from last year’s $35,700 for the class of 2014.
Applications for early action at Harvard, Yale and Princeton are due November 1.