Freshman Survey Part V: A Look at New Haven

Surveyed Harvard Freshmen Report Backgrounds Similar to Yale Peers

Part V of a five-part series on Harvard’s incoming Class of 2018, based on data collected by The Crimson in an email survey conducted in the month of August and data collected and shared by the Yale Daily News on the Yale freshman class.

A year after the College saw a surge in male applicants interested in studying engineering, men are overrepresented in Harvard’s freshman class. Fifty-three percent of freshmen polled in The Crimson’s survey of the College Class of 2018 identified as male, with the remaining 46.5 percent identifying as female and 0.5 percent as other.

At Yale, however, the gender imbalance is flipped, according to results of a similar survey of Yale’s freshman class conducted by the Yale Daily News. In contrast to their peers at Harvard, 55 percent of the YDN’s respondents identified as female, while 45 percent identified as male. None identified as other.

Throughout the month of August, both The Crimson and the YDN, the daily student newspaper at Yale, surveyed incoming students about their backgrounds, interests, and future plans. The results, which the two newspapers shared with each other, suggest that surveyed freshmen from both campuses hail, on the whole, from similar backgrounds—socioeconomically and geographically—but differ somewhat in what they expect to do in college.

The Crimson emailed its annual survey, which was open from Aug. 6-28, to all incoming freshmen. Of 1,667 students in the Class of 2018, 1,172 responded to the survey, representing around 70 percent of the class. The Crimson did not adjust the results for any possible selection bias.

The YDN emailed its survey to incoming Yale freshmen on Aug. 15 and closed it on Aug. 28. Of 1,364 incoming Yale freshmen, 623, or roughly 46 percent, responded. The YDN, similarly, did not adjust for any possible selection bias.


A greater proportion of Harvard respondents self-identified as legacies than their Yale counterparts. Sixteen percent of Harvard respondents have one or more parents who attended the College, indicating legacy status. In contrast, just 11 percent of surveyed Yale freshmen reported having one or more parents who graduated from Yale.

And while 73 percent of surveyed Harvard freshmen said they have no relatives who attended the College, a larger percentage of Yale respondents—78 percent—reported no family connection to the school.

Both schools offer early admissions programs ,but while just under half of surveyed Yale freshmen—48 percent—said they were admitted through early action, 56 percent of surveyed Harvard freshmen reported acceptance through the College’s early round.

Still, the two freshman classes are similar in many ways. Yale has been called the “Gay Ivy,” but a roughly comparable proportion of Yale and Harvard respondents identified as gay, bisexual, questioning, or other in the two surveys—10 percent of the Harvard freshmen polled and 13 percent at Yale.

The peers of Harvard’s Class of 2018 also reported similarities in socioeconomic background. Fifteen percent of surveyed Yale freshmen reported household incomes of more than $500,000, close to the 14 percent of Harvard respondents who said the same. A plurality of both groups reported household incomes between $125,000 and $250,000.

The survey data also indicates that politically, both classes lean left. Sixty-two percent of Yale respondents characterized their political leanings as very or somewhat liberal; 61 percent of surveyed Harvard freshmen said the same.