The Office of Undergraduate Admissions welcomed the largest group of admitted early action students in several years on Thursday, inviting 871 students to join the class of 2021.

The admitted students represent 17.1 percent of a pool of 5,086 early applicants. Additionally, 53 percent of applicants were deferred to the regular decision process in the spring, 28 percent were denied admission, and 2 percent were withdrawn or incomplete.

The early action application pool this year is 9 percent larger than that of the year prior, an uptick marking the first major increase in early application numbers after a three- year period of relative stagnation.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said that he was very happy with this year’s early action applicants.

“The Admissions Committee was very impressed with this year’s early applicant pool across every dimension. We are very pleased to offer admission to this first group of students in the Class of 2021, but we also look forward to admitting a much larger group of students through our regular decision process this spring,” Quinlan said.

With Yale’s two newest residential colleges set to open next fall, the Admissions Office has also said that it plans to admit around 15 percent more students to the class of 2021 than in past years.

In addition to the over 800 students accepted through early action on Thursday, Yale offered admission to 48 students through the QuestBridge National College Match Program, slightly fewer than the 51 QuestBridge Finalists admitted at the same time last year. The National College Match helps high-achieving, low-income students gain admission to the program’s partner colleges on full-ride scholarships, a process facilitated through a single application.

Newly admitted students celebrated their acceptance with posts across social media and college-admissions blogs, sharing the good news with family, friends and loved-ones who had supported their journey.  

“I automatically began to cry profusely as soon as I saw the congratulations video pop up on my screen,” said Saaya Sugiyama-Spearman, an admitted student from Philadelphia. “I was sitting in bed and I ran to my dad and barely managed to choke out that I got into Yale. I just couldn’t stop crying out of relief and happiness.”

David Hidalgo-Gato, an admitted student from New Jersey, said he expressed a similar reaction, describing the feeling upon learning of his acceptance as “surreal.”

“I hadn’t imagined the feeling I would get when a lifelong dream of mine finally came true,” Hildago-Gato said. “There’s no easy way to describe it. I was relieved, ecstatic, proud, and tremendously humbled at the same time.”

Hidalgo-Gato’s father said he was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude by the knowledge that his son would have “such a fantastic opportunity,” but his mom could not manage to say as much. “There are no words: all I did was cry,” she said.

Another admitted student, Katherine Hu of Texas, said that she did not feel anything at first after learning of her acceptance, hugging her father who had just walked into the room.

Thirty seconds later, however, the realization hit her, and she began to cry, she recalled, repeating “‘I’m going to Yale!’ like a broken record.” Her father joined in on the revelry too.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad jump that high,” Hu said. “He’s an opera singer and today’s one of the only days in his life that he’s lost his voice.”

Gayoung Choi from Orlando, Florida checked her decision with a group of close friends. After the group simultaneously read the word “Congratulations,” they broke into a scream and began to celebrate.

“My friends had bought me a cake that read ‘Congrats on Yale’ before the decisions even came out, so I consider myself very lucky to have friends who have so much faith in me,” Choi said.

Choi also added that she had told her mother, who was working that day, that her decision would come on Friday, rather than Thursday, “so as to not distract her from work until the weekend” had she gotten rejected. When she heard of her acceptance, Choi printed her admission letter, put it in an envelope, and wrapped it in a box along with a few roses. She put the box on her front porch, and when her mom arrived home and opened the package, she found herself face to face with an admissions decision that she thought was not even supposed to be out yet.

Choi, who will be the first in her family to attend college, said that she was extremely grateful for the chance to attend Yale.

“Honestly, it’s still surreal to me, coming from a background like mine, that I now have the choice to be a future Bulldog,” Choi said. “I’m so grateful they decided to give me this chance and I’m very very excited for Bulldog Days. Boola boola!”

Correction, Dec. 16: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that this year’s EA class was the largest group admitted under the program in Yale’s history. It is in fact only the largest group of admitted early action students in several years.