Yield drops, diversity increases for class of 2019

TYLER FOGGATT

Thursday, September 3, 2015

After receiving 30,237 applications to the class of 2019, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions accepted 1,962 students — 1,364 of which matriculated to the University. This marks a 69.5 percent yield, which is slightly lower than the record yield for the class of 2018, but still marks the second-highest rate the University has seen in recent years.

Last year’s yield of 71.7 percent was the highest in Yale’s history — a significant increase from the 68.3 percent yield recorded for the class of 2017. And while this year’s yield took a slight downturn, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan have described the class of 2019 as the most diverse class ever to enroll in Yale College.

“Yield is hard to predict from year to year,” Quinlan said. “An admissions office can admit for yield: It can accept students who have a higher rate of yielding. But Yale does not do that. We continue to reach for the best students.”

In contrast, Harvard recorded an 81 percent yield for its class of 2019, dropping one percent from last year’s yield. Princeton’s yield also decreased slightly, falling from 69.2 to 68.6 percent.

Brian Taylor, director of The Ivy Coach, a New York-based college consulting firm, said slight decreases in yield from one year to the next are extremely common, and not something that colleges should necessarily look into.

“There’s a lot of things to worry about in this world,” Taylor said. “A two-percent drop in yield is not one of them.”

Director of Outreach and Recruitment for the Admissions Office Mark Dunn ’07 said that it would be impossible to attribute this year’s yield to a particular outreach or recruitment strategy, since there are “many moving pieces,” and each class is different. He noted that, although the Admissions Office made no significant changes to Bulldog Days, the most recent iteration of the admitted students’ event had one of the highest attendance rates that the office has ever seen, with 77 percent of attendees matriculating into the class of 2019.

According to Taylor, small factors like whether or not it rains during Bulldog Days can have an impact on yield. If a student visits New Haven and the weather is gloomy, he said, they might be more impressed by Stanford or another school located in a warmer region.

“If you track the relationship between yield and weather at Bulldog Days, and at Dartmouth’s visiting days too, the rain definitely has an effect,” Taylor said, referring partly to this year’s Bulldog Days, which were plagued by rain.

This year’s freshman class comprises students from 49 states and 60 countries, with 11 percent of the class attending Yale as international students. Additionally, 41 percent of the class identify as members of a minority racial or ethnic group, with a record number of African-American, Hispanic and Latino freshmen. Though diversity can be quantified in many ways, Quinlan said, the class of 2019 is the most diverse class Yale has seen in terms of race and socioeconomics.

Another notable change is the increase in freshmen who are eligible for Pell Grants — financial aid awards given to low-income undergraduates by the federal government that do not need to be repaid. Over 18.5 percent of domestic students in the class of 2019 qualified for a Pell Grant, which marks a 43 percent increase from the number of Pell-eligible students in the class of 2017.

In addition, over 14 percent of the freshman class are first-generational college students, a 22-percent increase in comparison to the class of 2017.

“I’m very excited and proud of the work that’s been done at the University over the last two years to create the changes we have seen,” Quinlan said. “This is the second-highest yield in a few years, and is a little above the five-year average. Over the last five to seven years, it’s still been a very strong number, and a great indication of how students want to come to Yale and choose Yale over a lot of institutions.”

The diversity of the class also extends to academic interests, with 25 percent of the freshmen indicating plans to major in social sciences, 20 percent planning to study the arts and humanities, 28 percent interested in a physical science or engineering major and 16 percent hoping to major in the life sciences. Quinlan said the number of students planning to study in the humanities is slightly higher than in recentyears, with the numbers for STEM students staying relatively steady.

Despite the slight drop in yield for the class of 2019, Dunn said the Admissions Office does not plan to change the way in which it approaches students and advertises Yale.

“We are not planning any significant changes in our outreach or recruitment strategies based on this year’s yield rate,” Dunn said. “We are, of course, thrilled with the incoming class and are excited that they are so diverse in so many ways.”