YuLin Zhen, Contributing Photographer

Over 7,800 prospective members of the class of 2028 submitted early applications to Yale College, representing the second-largest cohort of early action applicants in Yale’s history. The applicants will be the first to be evaluated since the fall of affirmative action this past summer.

The 7,866 single-choice early action, or SCEA, applications received this year represent an increase of about 1 percent over last year’s 7,744 applicants, according to Mark Dunn ’07, senior associate director for outreach and recruitment at the Office of Undergraduate admissions. Only the class of 2025 submitted more early applications, with a record-high 7,939 applicants. 

“As always, the size of the applicant pool is far less meaningful than its academic strength and diversity along many dimensions,” Dunn wrote in an email to the News. “Our holistic review process is revealing those aspects of the applicant pool over the next four weeks.”

Yale’s early applications, which are part of the SCEA program, are due on Nov. 1. SCEA applications are non-binding, but students may not seek admission to 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.

On Dec. 14, the admissions office will release its early action decisions. Applications may be rejected, accepted or deferred until the regular decision cycle.

Admissions officers are reading this year’s cohort of early applications amid many institutional and national changes to the college admissions landscape. For the first time this year, admissions officers will not have access to students’ self-reported race when evaluating them for admission.

Last year, the admissions office shared that the early applicant pool for the class of 2027 marked a 6 percent increase in students who identify as a member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group. This information will not be available this year, as the admissions office is not doing any aggregate counting of the cohort by applicants’ self-reported race and ethnicity, according to Dunn.

Dunn told the News that the admissions office is able to track and report information about other demographics, like where applicants are from. Continuing on past trends, both international applicants and first-generation college student applicants saw disproportionate growth, according to Dunn.

Dunn shared several metrics about changes in the applicant pool demographics over the past five years. Since the class of 2023 applied five years ago, the total number of EA applicants has increased by 30 percent. Within applicant pools, the number of first-generation applicants has increased by more than 100 percent, and the number of international applicants has increased by more than 150 percent. Compared to last year, the number of international applicants has increased by 6 percent and the number of first-generation applicants has increased by 3 percent.

To comply with the Supreme Court’s decision against race-conscious admissions this summer, the University announced policy changes to its application process.

 “Our priorities today remain unchanged from June: fully complying with the law, continuing to support a diverse and inclusive community, and maintaining a world-class admissions process that considers each applicant as an individual,” Jeremiah Quinlan, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, wrote in a September email. “We are confident we can preserve these priorities going forward.”

One example of such an effort was the hiring of two new full-time admissions officers, who began at the admissions office in October. These two new officers focus exclusively on outreach and are not involved in the application reading process, according to Moira Poe, Senior Associate Director of Strategic Priorities at the admissions office. 

Their employment will allow the office to continue its outreach to organizations and potential students, even during the height of application reading season, and given that they will not be reading applications, they may have access to racial demographic data, unlike other admissions officers.

“These roles will ensure that we are not only connecting to students and families, but also providing information and assistance to those supporting a student through their educational trajectory,” Poe wrote in an email to the News. “We want to ensure that talented students from all backgrounds will continue to consider Yale as a college option.”

The admissions office detailed that it would implement “extensive” new training for admissions officers on how to evaluate applications without access to a student’s self-identified race.

In addition to being the first cohort to be evaluated race-blind, this year’s pool of early applicants may also be the last to apply under a test-optional policy. The University first implemented a test-optional admissions model in 2020 for students seeking admission to the class of 2025. Each year since, the admissions office has renewed the test-optional model for 1-year terms. 

The University hopes to announce its long-term testing policy in early 2024, Dunn told the News, which will first affect next year’s applicants — most of whom will be from the high school class of 2025, seeking admission to the Yale College class of 2029. 

Last year, Yale College offered admission to 776 early action applicants.

Correction, Dec. 14: A previous version of this article stated that early-action applicants would receive an update on their application status by Dec. 15; they will, however, receive updates by Dec. 14. This article has been updated accordingly.

Molly Reinmann covers Admissions, Financial Aid & Alumni for the News. Originally from Westchester, New York, she is a sophomore in Berkeley College majoring in American Studies.