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Yale 62

Yale Admissions Sets New Records: Getting In Is Harder Than Ever

By Lee G. Bolman, Y62 Communications Team member

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This year’s Yale admissions story is more applicants and a lower acceptance rate than ever. For the first time in memory, Yale had more applicants than Harvard, and the two were in a statistical tie for acceptance rate. In short, it’s harder than ever to become a Yalie, and Yale has never been more competitive with its neighbor in Cambridge.

By the numbers, Yale accepted 2,146 students from 57,465 applicants for the class of 2028. The admissions pool was up 10% from last year, while acceptance rate was 3.7%, down from last year’s record low of 4.35%. Yale looks to be aiming for fewer new students than the 1,647 who showed up in New Haven last year when a record 72% yield rate produced Yale’s largest first-year class. For historical context, ten years ago, Yale accepted 6.7% from a pool of about 30,000 applicants. When we applied in 1958, Yale was accepting more than a quarter of applicants.

In recent years, Harvard’s admission rate has run about 1% lower than Yale’s, but this year the two were almost identical: 3.7% at Yale vs. 3.6% at Harvard. The dip at Harvard may reflect a spate of bad media coverage last Fall rather than a long-term trend, so a Harvard comeback next year is likely.

Admissions reported that it was not hindered by the widely-publicized processing glitches with FAFSA, the federal student aid application form, because Yale’s own methodology allowed it to assess student need and include scholarship offers with acceptance letters.

The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the use of race in admissions won’t be known until later in the year. Admissions officers had no access to data about race and ethnicity except by inference from applicants’ essays and backgrounds. Accepted students have until May 1 to decide on Yale’s offer. After that, some students will be admitted from the wait list and the class composition won’t be final until they make their decisions. The next step in the process is Bulldog Days in mid-April, when Yale’s offerings to entice prospective students will include New Haven pizza, a welcome mixer, campus tours, meals in the residential colleges, and an academic fair.


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3 comments to Yale Admissions Sets New Records: Getting In Is Harder Than Ever

  • Larry Price

    I received a daily email from AYA which covered this same topic. That email quoted a man who was identified as the Associate Dean of Admissions for RECRUITMENT. I was surprised that Yale recruited normal(non-athletic) applications. They should discontinue this immediately. We are recruiting bright kids, getting their hopes up, and then denying them admission. The optics are horrible.

  • James A Lewis

    Yes, the optics are somewhat awkward, but there may well be real (and greater) value in seeking out and encouraging talented people who are perhaps not wired into the normal processes.
    Is it a significant problem in a society that seeks to be healthy, when so many students seek a goal that so few will reach? Perhaps we should, as citizens, try to make sure that all our schools attract these interested students, and help them along just as Ivy League schools do.

  • Bill Weber

    Back when I was on the Alumni Schools Committee, Yale sent out likely letters to selected high school students. I imagine with the great increase in applications, this practice is hopefully no longer in use for obvious reasons. In all my work of 49 years with ASC I found the admissions staff very informed and caring about applicants. My only complaint was that applicants from smaller, rural schools were at a disadvantage because of the inability of these schools to offer so much of what the larger, competitive schools had for the students. So-=–back to my hot point of legacies, the rural kids only had a chance if they were legacies!