Number of early action applications falls slightly

Tyler Foggatt

November 18, 2014

Number of early action applications falls slightly

While the number of Yale’s early action applications fell by 1.2 percent from last year, the pool was more diverse.

This fall, the Admissions Office received 4,693 early action applications for the class of 2019, 57 fewer than in 2013 for the class of 2018. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said that despite the slight drop in early applicants this year, the University has seen a 9 percent overall increase in early applications since 2011. Both the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College saw increases in their early decision applicant numbers this year — 5 and 10 percent, respectively. However, Brown University’s early application numbers dropped 2 percent this year. Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and Cornell have not yet released their early application numbers.

But Mark Dunn, director of outreach and recruitment for the Admissions Office, said that his objective is not to increase the number of applicants to Yale but instead to help the best students from the greatest variety of backgrounds consider Yale during their college search process.

“I have always appreciated that the leadership here in the Admissions Office and at Yale has never tried to reduce this goal to a numbers game,” Dunn said.

Bev Taylor, founder of Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said last year’s early application numbers cannot be compared with this year’s, since many schools were forced to extend their deadlines last winter when the Common Application crashed. Last fall, Yale extended its early action deadline by four days.

Taylor added that this year’s early application numbers still saw an increase from the 2012 numbers — the last year Yale had a normal early admissions cycle.

“I would discount last year, because how can you compare this year’s numbers with last year’s when the deadline was extended by so many days in 2013?” Taylor said. “And now, you’re still seeing a rise in applications from two years ago. I might be concerned if [this year’s numbers] were less than the class of 2017, but the class of 2018 is an anomaly.”

This year’s decrease in early applications is trivial, former admissions officer at Yale and private college counselor William Morse ’64 GRD ’74 said. He added that more importance should be placed on yield-rates — the number of students who actually decide to matriculate. Early applicant numbers are often inflated due to the wide misconception that applying early to a school increases the chance of an applicant being accepted, which is not the case with early action programs, he said.

Dunn echoed this sentiment, saying that the Admissions Office does not read too much into certain early action fluctuations because there is no benefit associated with applying early.

“I think there’s a misconception, especially with Harvard, Yale and Princeton, that if you apply early, you have a better chance,” Morse said. “These colleges are just as selective and set just as high a standard for their early applicants.”

But five of the seven Yale students interviewed said they applied early to the University because they thought it would increase the likelihood of their being accepted.

According to Quinlan, the Admissions Office received applications this year from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 80 foreign countries. He said the Admissions Office noticed some continuing trends, which they will examine more closely once they have a full applicant pool in January.

The University received more applications from African American and Latino students this year, Quinlan said, making for a more diverse early action applicant pool than in years past. He added that certain states have been steadily sending an increasing amount of applicants to Yale each year, replacing patterns seen in previous applicant pools. For instance, for the first time, more Californian students applied early this year than students from New York.

Dunn said that while it is difficult to determine the reason for this trend, it is encouraging to see that so many high-achieving students in California are looking 3,000 miles away in their college search. The Admissions Office conducts a variety of outreach events in California, including group information sessions, STEM forums and student ambassador visits, which may play a role, he added.

“Initial evaluation of the applications indicates that the pool, as usual, is very strong, with some of the best prepared secondary school students in the world,” Quinlan said. “Overall I’m very satisfied with the quality and the quantity, and I’m looking forward to reviewing the applications over the next few weeks.”

Early action decisions are released in mid-December.