The U of C’s admissions yield for the class of 2012—the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll at the University—is 39 percent, based on preliminary admissions office figures. This year’s number represents a slight increase over last year’s yield of 36.5 percent.
Of the 3,460 students admitted, 1,350 had accepted the offer by the May 1 response deadline, though this number may drop somewhat within the coming months, Dean of Admissions Ted O’Neill said.
Based on trends from previous years, O’Neill said that he anticipates about 50 to 65 confirmed members of the class of 2012 to defer their admission or choose to attend other institutions over the summer, creating a yield rate closer to 37 percent.
Although this year’s waitlist includes 1,200 students—400 more students than last year—O’Neill said it would be “highly unusual” for waitlist acceptances to factor into the final yield significantly.
According to O’Neill, the yield rate from waitlist acceptances is usually close to 100 percent, and O’Neill added that he “can’t foresee admitting enough from the waitlist to make a significant difference.” The current class size of 1,350 is already larger than the University had planned to accommodate.
Still, O’Neill expressed some surprise that despite admitting 200 fewer students than last year, the percentage of admitted students who accepted seats will see only a marginal increase. Strong applicants have many options in deciding which institution to attend, O’Neill said, citing the class of 2012′s 27.8-percent acceptance rate—the lowest in the University’s history.
“We admit good students, so it’s not surprising that our yield would be lower. It’s actually odd that the yield has increased as we’ve become more competitive,” O’Neill said.
However, he stressed that the yield holds a “trivial” significance in national college rankings calculations.
Despite huge increases in applicants from last year and decreased acceptance rates, the University of Chicago’s yield is still significantly lower than that of other elite institutions.
Nonetheless, yield percentages have fallen slightly at many of these institutions, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. Yale’s current yield is estimated at 68.9 percent, a modest decrease from last year. Harvard’s projected final yield percentage is 76 percent, a decrease from last year’s 78 percent.
While some expected Harvard’s and Yale’s attractive new financial aid packages for middle-and upper middle-class families to increase their yields, Harvard’s and Princeton’s decisions to eliminate early decision and early action admissions—designed for committed students—may have negated this effect.
O’Neill credited greater availability of information for the increased competition for spaces in next year’s entering class.
“The more information is available to the rest of the world about us, the more respect we gain,” O’Neill said. He also credited current students’ enthusiasm and success with increasing the University’s appeal to prospective students. The University of Chicago has been an underrepresented school, O’Neill said, but effective delivery of information through the internet and print materials to interested students has increased the school’s visibility.
“We have a great story to tell,” O’Neill said.