Colleges report higher admission yields

Admission yields are going up, up, up.

A school’s yield is the number of accepted students who decide to attend the college or university.  The higher the yield, the more desirable the school  appears.       

And for many elite schools, the yields are looking better than ever, as reported in The Choice.

This year, Harvard’s yield increased to nearly 81 percent.  The last time its yield neared this was back in 1971 when the college reported an 80 percent yield.   The school in part attributes this figure to the return of Early Action, which it reinstated this fall. 

Brown is reporting a 57 percent yield, and Dartmouth, a 49.5 percent yield.  The University of Chicago has a yield of 46.8 percent, up significantly from last year’s 39.9 percent.   Here in California, Pitzer College has a yield of 38.6 percent, up from 30.1 percent. 

 Of course, there are ways schools can manipulate their yield.  For example, they may not accept students who they think will enroll somewhere else, so instead stick them on the wait list.  This may be one reason schools now report that a student’s interest is so important – they want to make sure an applicant will actually show up to the school before accepting him or her.

Yield also affects waiting lists.    Harvard anticipates admitting 25 off the waiting list this year; Brown says it has no plans to admit any.   Pitzer says it’s only admitting five.

While the yield at name-brand schools is going up, I can’t imagine it’s not actually going down at some of the less- competitive schools.   Students are applying to more colleges than before, so are turning down more than ever as well.   But perhaps the schools with lower yields aren’t eager to turn in their statistics, which is why we aren’t hearing about their numbers, at least yet.


What do you think?  Does it matter to you or the student in your house what a college’s “yield” is?  Or is it much ado about nothing? 


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