Yale received 5.8 percent more applications for admission this year and will likely see a drop in the percentage of students it accepts in the spring, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said in a Thursday email to the News.
The number of applications to the Class of 2016 increased to 28,870, up from 27,283 for the Class of 2015. The Office of Admissions expects the number of admitted students to remain about the same as last year’s total of 2,109, Brenzel said, which would result in Yale’s lowest admit rate ever — below 7 percent.
While the other Ivy League schools that have reported application numbers thus far — Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania — have experienced drops in their number of applicants this year, applications to both the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University jumped by 1 percent and 7 percent respectively. Harvard and Princeton have yet to release their application numbers.
Brenzel said because universities use different recruitment strategies, disparities in the number of total applications do not provide much insight by themselves.
“Year-to-year fluctuations in total application counts have little meaning in themselves,” Brenzel said in the email.
This admissions cycle represents the first time in four years that Yale, Harvard and Princeton have all offered early admissions policies. Last month, Yale posted the lowest early admissions acceptance rate in the Ivy League, 15.7 percent, even though the number of early applicants decreased 18 percent from last year.
With the high overlap of applicants to Yale, Harvard and Princeton, Brenzel has said he anticipated the drop in the number of early applicants, but he said administrators did not know what to expect for Yale’s total application count.
“There are simply too many possible causes for application count changes to say what effect the change in the early admissions landscape had on total applications,” he said.
Three college admissions experts and guidance counselors interviewed said they expected the number of Yale’s applications to rise in line with a national rise in college applicants, despite Harvard and Princeton’s early admissions policies this year, and said the trend will likely continue in the future.
Jon Reider, a college guidance counselor at San Francisco University High School and a former admissions officer at Stanford, said Yale’s growth in applicants is “perfectly normal.” He added that he thinks a lower admit rate in the spring will entice more admitted student to accept Yale’s offers of admission.
“What continues to strike me is the ability of students and families to say, ‘Oh, I know how many students Yale usually takes, but I’m going to try to get in anyway,’” Reider said. “The power of the dream is so strong that the numbers don’t convince them to not apply. And that’s the human story behind these numbers.”
Reider added that the combined influence of “the dream” of attending a top-tier university, the amount of marketing conducted by elite schools and the “self-reinforcing frenzy” of the admissions process all make continued application growth at prestigious universities “sustainable.”
Regular applicants to Yale College will be notified of their decisions in early April.