Following a year in which 45 percent of incoming freshmen were female, the gender ratio of incoming students will return to near even figures for the Class of 2019. About 81 percent of students admitted to the College's Class of 2019 plan to matriculate to Harvard, roughly even with the yield rates of the past two years.
The Office of Admissions and Financial Aid also expects to admit about 60 to 70 applicants from the waitlist in the coming weeks, marking a slight uptick from the 20 students they intended to accept from the waitlist at this time last year.
“It’s actually almost ideal,” Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said in an interview. “It would be really nice to admit somewhere between 50 and 100 people off the waitlist because there are so many people at the edge who are terrific."
According to Fitzsimmons, the yield rate for female students also rose this year, from about 81 percent last year to 82 percent. The relative increase in women enrolling at the College follows efforts by the Office of Admissions to revamp the publications sent out to prospective students, making them more gender-inclusive.
Although he said his office found the return to near gender parity for the incoming freshman class was “very encouraging,” Fitzsimmons cautioned against making any judgments based on only a couple years.
“It’s not anything that we’re sitting back and congratulating ourselves on. In our business, you need three to five years of solid results before you can say anything with even a bit of certainty,” he said.
The Class of 2019 will reflect similar ethnic and racial breakdowns as the class of 2018, with a slight increase in the proportion of Asian-American, Latino, African-American, and Native American students, who comprise more than 21 percent, about 12, 11, and 1.6 percent of the class, respectively. Last May, about 21 percent of the incoming class was Asian-American and 10.5 percent were African-American.
The number of incoming students who applied for financial aid increased about 2 percent this year, from 62 percent to more than 64 percent, reflecting what Fitzsimmons predicted will be a larger trend in the coming years, given national economic trends.
“You’re going to see more and more emphasis and need for financial aid,” he said.
The number of matriculating students who indicated interest in humanities concentrations also rose this year from about 14.1 to 15.4 percent of the incoming class. At 83 percent, the yield rate for prospective humanities concentrators was higher than the average yield rate, as has been the trend in previous years, according to Fitzsimmons.
He specifically lauded the work of Diana Sorensen, the divisional dean for the arts and humanities, during the College’s visiting program last month, adding that the opening of the University's renovated art museums and introduction of a new concentration in Theater, Dance, and Media will likely continue to spark interest in the humanities.
“We’re certainly doubling down on the humanities here in many, many ways,” Fitzsimmons said.
More than 40 students so far have indicated plans to defer their admission, a figure Fitzsimmons said he felt was a “high number” for this time of year.
Harvard accepted a record-low 5.3 percent of applicants to the Class of 2019, including 997 students admitted under its early action program. The regular acceptance rate was 2.8 percent.
Two other Ivy League institutions have also recently reported yield rates.
Sixty-six percent of those admitted to the University of Pennsylvania are expected to matriculate. Princeton saw a 69 percent yield rate, the highest in the university’s history.
The Crimson was granted early access to matriculation figures and an interview with Fitzsimmons under the condition that it not publish its story until Friday morning. Anna Cowenhoven, a spokesperson for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, sat in on the interview.
—Staff writer Daphne C. Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @daphnectho.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.