Lisa Qian

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has accepted 1,972 students to the class of 2020 from a pool of 31,455 applicants, Yale’s largest-ever pool by more than 500 applications.

This year’s acceptance rate is slightly lower than last year’s rate of 6.49 percent, and is almost identical to the 6.26 percent rate for the class of 2018, which was Yale’s lowest acceptance rate ever. This is the fifth year in a row that Yale’s acceptance rate has remained in the 6 percent range, after hovering around 7.5 percent from 2009 to 2011. The class of 2020 will be the last class of roughly 1,360 students, as subsequent classes are set to expand by 15 percent for the four years after Yale opens its two new residential colleges in fall 2017.

“As we emerge from this incredibly challenging selection process, my colleagues and I are inspired by Yale’s extraordinary applicant pool,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said. “Students admitted to the class of 2020 represent all 50 states and 63 countries. They expressed interest in majoring in more than 70 Yale academic programs. They will graduate from more than 1,350 secondary schools around the world.”

Quinlan also spoke to the increasing diversity of Yale’s applicants, admitted students and freshman classes over the past several years. Since 2013, the number of applications from African-American students has increased by 36 percent. In the same period, the number of applicants who identify as members of a minority racial or ethnic group has increased 18 percent. Yale also admitted 51 students through the QuestBridge National College Match program in December.

Yale released its decisions at the same time as every other Ivy League school. Acceptance rates in the Ivy League remained relatively stable this year, with no school’s rate changing by more than 1 percentage point. Cornell reported the greatest change, falling from 14.9 percent to 13.96 percent. The acceptance rates at Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton dropped slightly as well. Harvard saw its admissions rate drop from 5.3 percent to 5.2 percent.

In addition to the 1,177 students admitted to Yale on Thursday, 1,095 were offered a place on the waitlist. Quinlan said that since students on the waitlist are not ranked, the Admissions Office prefers to keep a large pool to draw on to make its final decisions over the summer. Only about half of the students offered a spot on the waitlist will choose to remain on it, Quinlan said. Fourteen students were admitted from the waitlist for the class of 2018.

After an application-reading process in January and February, two admissions committees met per day for about five weeks. Director of Undergraduate Admissions Margit Dahl ’75 said that while the Admissions Office’s staff has expanded with the size of the applicant pool, very little has changed in Yale’s process since the late 1970s.

“In the ‘old’ days we could get through the applicant pool with only one committee over a somewhat shorter period of time, but the committee process itself has changed very little,” she said.

Dahl added that the committee also relies heavily on input from faculty and staff from the Yale College Dean’s Office. This year, 28 faculty members and 27 Dean’s Office staff participated in admissions deliberations for one to three days each, she said.

Quinlan acknowledged that this could be the most selective admissions year for some time due to Yale College’s coming expansion, but noted that it is hard to speculate on how the acceptance rate will be impacted in the future.

For admitted students interviewed, there was a common reaction to Thursday’s news.

“I’m speechless,” said Mohamed Anwer Akkari, an admitted student from Tunisia. “I can’t believe it.”

Akkari said he burst into tears after seeing that he had been accepted, adding that Yale was his first choice.

Jack Tubio, an admitted student from Davie, Florida, also expressed disbelief at having been accepted.

“I was in complete shock,” Tubio said. “I wasn’t really expecting a lot.”

Tubio, who was also accepted at the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt, said Yale is his first choice. As he has never visited campus before, Tubio said he is excited for Bulldog Days, when admitted students are invited to campus for three days of programming that showcase Yale’s academic, extracurricular and social offerings. Bulldog Days will be held this year from April 25 to 27.

Director of Outreach and Recruitment Mark Dunn ’07 said the Admissions Office also has other recruitment programs in place, all of which center around connecting admitted students with current Yale students.

Dunn said more than 300 current students have signed up to participate in the Admissions Office’s Prefrosh Advisors program, in which they will call admitted students with whom they share similar backgrounds or interests. Student employees will be hosting Virtual Student Forums for admitted students to ask questions about Yale, and other current students have put together a series of videos to showcase various aspects of campus life.

The yield rate for the class of 2019 was 69.5 percent.

Yale News

Jon Victor |

This article was originally published on Mar. 31, 2016.