Lauren Quintela

In a survey conducted by the News in response to the recent admissions scandal, students reaffirmed their support of Yale’s holistic review admissions process but said that their view of their own alma mater worsened because of the scandal. 

Shortly after news broke of what CNN called the “largest admissions scandal ever,” the News conducted a survey to gather student opinion on Yale and admissions generally. Earlier this month, former Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith — who pleaded guilty in court Thursday — was implicated in the scheme that led to 50 indictments and one student admitted to Yale under a falsified application. Results from just over 1,650 respondents showed that, despite the scandal, students remain overwhelmingly in favor of the holistic review process — which judges applicants on their whole person, rather than on just grades and test scores. Still, students called for more transparency in the historically opaque admissions process.

“My colleagues and I are dismayed by the allegations against the former Yale coach and are deeply upset that a member of the Yale community would falsify an athletic endorsement,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. “To be clear, there has been no accusation or suggestion that any member of the undergraduate admissions staff participated in any unethical behavior or had any knowledge of this or any similar scheme. I can state unequivocally that any such behavior would not be tolerated or condoned. We highly value the integrity of our admissions process, just as we value integrity in our applicants.” 

Of the students who completed the survey, 64 percent said that the scandal did not change their views of the holistic review process “at all.” About 4 percent of students surveyed said that the scandal had a positive impact on their views of the holistic review process and 32 percent said that the scandal worsened their view of Yale’s process. 

“Whole-person (i.e. holistic) review is the bedrock principle of our admissions process, allowing us to weigh a variety of individualized and contextual factors when considering each candidate,” Quinlan said. “No applicant is admitted according to a formula, and only students whose applications demonstrate their ability to succeed in the academic and residential components of the Yale experience are offered admission.”

Though most students said the scandal did not have an impact on their views of Yale’s “bedrock principle,” 77 percent of students who responded to the survey said that Yale’s admissions practices should be more transparent. Ten percent said that they did not think it should be more transparent and 12 percent had no opinion. Fourteen percent of students surveyed declined to answer the question.

When asked if there “should … be more oversight when coaches recommend recruited athletes to admissions officials,” 92 percentof complete survey respondents  answered either responded “definitely yes” or “probably yes.” 

Quinlan told the News that he looks forward to working with Director of Athletics Victoria Chun to implement “the changes to the athletic recruitment process” recently announced to the Yale community. In an email to the Yale community on March 26, Yale President Peter Salovey said that Yale will now independently verify the legitimacy of its athletics recruits’ applications and review its recruitment process.

“I am confident these changes will further safeguard the admissions process and prevent this type of fraud from happening again,” Quinlan told the News.

But students were split on how the news of the college admissions scheme impacted their perceptions of their prospective alma mater.  Complete survey respondents said, 49 percent of complete survey respondents said that it moved their opinion of Yale in a negative direction. Fifty percent felt that the scandal generated no impact. 

Still, 56 percent of respondents felt that the scandal shifted their opinions of the Yale administration in a negative direction, and 63 percent of students said it influenced their perception of Yale admissions in a negative manner. 

“Everyone regrets the illegal activity,” University spokesman Tom Conroy wrote in an email to the News. “The University, however, has been responding to it appropriately and keeping the community informed in a timely manner.”

Meredith is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20. 

Bill Gallagher | william.gallagher@yale.edu

Skakel McCooey | skakel.mccooey@yale.edu