About 1,570 of the 2,619 students offered admission to the class of 2018 have committed to the University, leading to a current yield rate of around 59.9 percent, said Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73.
The final yield rate and class size will fluctuate over the summer, but the Admission Office expects a final class size of about 1,560, with an additional 15 students enrolled in the Brown/Rhode Island School of Design Dual Degree Program, he added.
Last May, the Admission Office reported a yield of about 1,589 students, around 60 percent of those admitted. By September, 1,537 students had enrolled and the rate settled to about 58 percent.
The University’s yield rate has increased over the past several years, rising from about 53 percent for the class of 2013 to around 60 percent for the classes of 2016 and 2017, according to Office of Institutional Research data.
Admission officers took note of the “unexpectedly” high yield rates of previous years when making decisions for the class of 2018, Miller said. “We were very cautious in terms of the number of offers we made because we wanted to make sure we didn’t overpressure the housing system,” he said.
In an effort to grow the University’s student population by 1 percent annually, as outlined in President Christina Paxson’s strategic plan, admission officers are aiming for a larger incoming class this year — 1,560 students, rather than last year’s goal of about 1,500. This means some students will be admitted off the waitlist to meet the higher target, Miller said.
This will be the first time in four admission cycles that the University will extend offers of admission to waitlisted students, though the number accepted will depend on changes in the pool of students who have already committed to Brown, Miller said.
Admission officers call these shifts and fluctuations “summer melt,” Miller said. Some students who have committed to the University will decide not to enroll in the class of 2018, instead taking gap years or enrolling at other schools to which they are admitted from waitlists. About 25 admits from the class of 2018 have already elected to take gap years, he added, though this number will likely rise to between 30 and 50.
No students have been admitted off the waitlist yet, but the process is beginning as the Admission Office reacts to “summer melt,” Miller said, adding that waitlisted students should be notified if they have received an offer of admission by mid-June.
The yield rate was higher for students who attended A Day on College Hill, the three-day event on campus for admitted students that occurred April 22-24. Seventy-three percent of ADOCH participants committed to Brown, up from about 67 percent last year, said Liam Dean-Johnson ’16, one of the ADOCH coordinators. The ADOCH yield rate is “not our main focus, but it’s a nice way to evaluate how we’re doing and if ADOCH is an event that is convincing people to come here,” he added.
The University’s yield rate is higher than the national average, which was about 41 percent in fall 2010. The rate reflects Brown’s status as a “highly attractive” school, Miller said.
While the yield rate can provide useful information to admission officers and applicants, variation across universities happens for many reasons, said Michele Hernandez, a college consultant and former assistant director of admission at Dartmouth. For example, some schools manipulate their yield rates by admitting more students through early decision or by admitting more legacy students, who enroll at higher rates than non-legacy students. Others may only officially offer admission to students on the waitlist who commit to attending the school, she said.
Yield rate also varies year to year based on competition from other universities, Hernandez added. A yield rate could actually drop when a college moves up in the rankings due to attracting a more qualified pool of applicants.
Only three other Ivy League institutions have reported yield rates for the class of 2018. Penn’s initial yield rate was 66 percent, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported, while 54.5 percent of students admitted to Dartmouth have accepted their offers, the Dartmouth reported. Harvard’s yield rate was 82 percent, the Crimson reported — an increase of roughly two percentage points from last year, when it was highest in the country, according to U.S. News and World Report.