Harvard Yield for Class of 2016 Soars to 81%

In the first year of Harvard’s renewed early admissions program, the yield for the class of 2016 soared to nearly 81 percent, a significant increase from last year’s rate of 77 percent, the University announced on Thursday.

This year’s yield, which measures the percentage of accepted students who choose to enroll at Harvard, marks the first time this number has reached 80 percent since the class of 1975 was admitted.

"It is a major jump," Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons ’67 said.

In December, Harvard admitted 772 students under its early action program. Another 1,260 acceptances were extended in March. Overall, 1,641 of those admitted to the Class of 2016 accepted their offer of admission from Harvard.

Due to this high yield a very small number of students will be taken off the waitlist, approximately 25, Fitzsimmons said. The admissions office began reviewing waitlisted applications on Thursday, he added.

Though this year’s yield is not the highest the College has ever seen, Fitzsimmons said it is certainly the highest in the modern era of highly competitive college admissions, especially at the most selective institutions.

"It was a very different world. Harvard and our peer institutions were not anywhere near the national and international institutions they are today. It’s really almost like apples and oranges," he said.

Fitzsimmons said he attributes this significant increase in the yield to three factors—the return of early action, the continuing poor economic climate, and an increase in awareness of new programs at the College.

Fitzsimmons said that the renewed early action program was expected to have a significant influence on the yield. According to Fitzsimmons, students who apply early typically have a stronger interest in Harvard than those who apply regular decision, and are thus less likely to apply elsewhere when admitted early and are more likely to attend.

Fitzsimmons added that the College’s financial aid program continues to encourage students to matriculate.

"The financial aid program continues to be paramount in people’s decisions, even the people who might not be on financial aid, but who see what might happen to them and to their own jobs and their own financial situations," he said.

In addition, Fitzsimmons named the increased public profile of a number of newly introduced programs at the College—including new engineering programs at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences—as factors in students’ decision to matriculate.

Of the other Ivy League universities, only Dartmouth has released its yield rate of 49.5 percent. Harvard’s yield is typically the highest among peer institutions.

—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at eauritt@college.harvard.edu.

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