Yale accepts 10 percent of early applicants, marking lowest early acceptance rate in 20 years
On Dec. 15 at 5:00 p.m., Yale offered 776 early action applicants a seat in the College’s class of 2027, out of almost 7,800 applicants. About 1,626 students were deferred for consideration during the regular decision round, with 5,188 denied admission.
Logan Howard, Senior Photographer
On Thursday evening, over 7,000 students logged into their Yale College applicant portals and clicked on the “Status Update,” hoping to receive a seat in the University’s class of 2027.
Of 7,744 early action applicants, Yale offered admission to 776 — marking the lowest acceptance rate in the two-decade history of Yale’s early action program, as well as its second-largest early applicant pool.
Of the remaining applications, 21 percent were deferred for reconsideration in the spring, 67 percent were denied admission and 2 percent were withdrawn or incomplete. Deferred students will receive their final admissions decision on March 30, alongside students applying for admission on the regular timeline. Regular decision applications to the class of 2027 are due on Jan. 2. All accepted students — whether early action or regular decision — will have until May 2 to accept or decline their offer of admission.
“The curiosity, ingenuity, and leadership these early action applicants revealed in their applications enormously impressed the members of the admissions committee,” said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan in a press release. “These future Yalies are poised to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities and resources the university offers and to make meaningful contributions of their own to the vitality of the Yale community.”
By this year’s early action application deadline of Nov. 1, Yale had received 7,777 applicants. Ultimately, however, the pool totaled 7,744 students, which the admissions office explained is due to students switching their chosen application round from early action to regular decision. Students who initially submitted an application for RD were allowed to switch to EA before Nov. 1; students who had initially submitted an application for EA were allowed to switch to RD before Dec. 10.
The 67 percent of denied applicants is the largest percent of early action rejections since at least the class of 2022. The 776 accepted students reflect a 10 percent acceptance rate, which is the lowest since Yale’s early action program first went into effect for the class of 2008.
The portions of students who were deferred and rejected also reflect longer trends in Yale’s admissions process. For the class of 2024, 56 percent of students were deferred, while 29 percent were denied admission altogether. This cycle saw those numbers inverted, with the University denying more students then they deferred, a continuation of a trend that started last year.
Yale’s financial aid policy stipulates that the University will meet 100 percent of a student’s demonstrated financial need — regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The University allegedly uses its own formulas to calculate need, taking into account a variety of factors about a student’s economic situation as well as their family’s.
In advance of the coming school year, Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes said in the same press release that upcoming adjustments to Yale’s financial aid calculation will lower net costs for many middle-income families starting next school year.
“The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid is to make a Yale College education affordable for everyone,” said Wallace-Juedes. “This fall the Provost’s Financial Aid Working Group took a close look at how we assess financial need relative to families’ savings and home equity. I’m very pleased that the group approved changes that amount to $2.5 million in new annual investments that will directly reduce what many middle-income families are expected to contribute from assets.”
Until this application cycle, the class of 2025 held the record for lowest early acceptance rate: 10.54 percent. Their class still boasts the greatest number of early applicants — just under 8,000.
The 2020-2021 admissions cycle also marked the first year Yale’s adopted a test-optional policy, a change made in response to challenges wrought by COVID-19. The 2022-23 application cycle marks the third year of the University’s decision not to mandate submission of test scores.
Earlier this year, Quinlan told the News that the admissions office intends to determine a long-term testing policy in the coming months.
“If public health conditions improve, Yale will decide on a long-term standardized testing policy in winter 2023,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan wrote in a February email to the News. “This decision will be informed by the data and insights generated from the 2021, 2022, and 2023 admissions cycles.”
All accepted students will be invited to the 2023 Bulldog Days, set to take place from April 24-26. Bulldog Days offers a chance for prospective students to explore campus life before the May 2 commitment deadline. The admissions office will continue to offer virtual events to help admitted students connect with each other and with the Yale community both prior to and over the course of Bulldog Days.
Last spring marked the first return of in-person Bulldog Days since before the pandemic. The program offered travel grants to more than 400 admitted students. In Thursday’s press release, Quinlan cited the return of Bulldog Days as a key factor in increasing the percentage of admitted students who ultimately enroll at Yale to 70 percent.
“There is no substitute for visiting campus,” he said. “I’m proud that we make a special investment to ensure that admitted students from lower-income families can attend Bulldog Days through our Yale Travel Program.”
Earlier this month, Yale also matched with 66 QuestBridge Scholars through the QuestBridge’s National College Match Scholarship, which offers low-income students full scholarships to prestigious universities. Yale’s QuestBridge matches are required to matriculate.
Students accepted through QuestBridge receive a financial aid award that covers the full cost of tuition, housing and meals. The University also provides hospitalization insurance coverage and a $2,000 start-up grant in each student’s first year.
Spread across the 48 QuestBridge partner schools, matches for the class of 2027 were at a record-high 1,755. Yale’s specific QuestBridge matches are down from the past three years; however, it is likely that more QuestBridge students will join the Bulldogs’ ranks in later parts of the Class of 2027 admissions cycle.
Aside from the 66 matches, QuestBridge finalists who did not match with any of the partner institutions but ranked Yale on their list of preferred schools will be automatically entered into the University’s regular decision pool. If accepted, these students will not be required to matriculate.
In 2002, the University announced its switch from an early decision system to an early action one, making the class of 2008 the first to apply under this specific implementation of a non-binding early admissions program. The early decision model that preceded Yale’s current approach was short-lived: it went into effect in 1995, when it replaced another version of early action that had been in place prior.
Under the binding early decision program — which five of the eight Ivies still employ — students seeking early acceptance to Yale were required to matriculate if admitted.
However, former president Richard Levin felt that the ED program did not allow students to explore other options and appropriately reflect on their choice of college, while also not allowing students seeking financial aid to compare aid packages from different schools before committing.
“Early decision programs help colleges more than applicants,” Levin said at the time. “It is our hope to take pressure off students in the early cycle and restore a measure of reasoned choice to college admissions. Our new early action program will allow students who are very confident of their preference to receive early word from Yale while still allowing ample time for further investigation and the thoughtful weighing of options.”
Starting with the class of 2008, Yale moved to its current Single Choice Early Action model. Under SCEA, students may not seek admission from any other private, domestic institution in the early round — though they are free to apply to public American colleges, any rolling admissions programs or to any schools abroad — but can apply to any schools of their choice during the regular decision cycle. Students accepted during SCEA are not required to matriculate and have until May 2 to accept or decline their offer of admission, just like students accepted under the Regular Decision timeframe.
Stanford, Harvard and Princeton Universities also employ similar SCEA models, though Stanford and Harvard call it restrictive early action.
Correction, Feb. 8: A former version of this article stated that Yale switched from binding early decision to non-binding single-choce early action in 2002, making the class of 2008 the first admitted to Yale under a non-binding early admissions model. However, while Yale did employ a binding early decision program from 1995 to 2002, the University offered a non-binding early option prior to that. The article has been updated to reflect this.