Stanford received a whopping 42,167 applications for the Class of 2018—8.6 percent over last year’s applications. In December, 748 students were accepted through Stanford’s restrictive early action program. And on Friday evening, an additional 1,390 applicants received highly coveted admit notices, while 958 students were offered the opportunity to sit on the waitlist.
According to Colleen Lim, director of undergraduate admission, fewer students were admitted this year because of an amazing increase in Stanford’s yield (percent of students accepting an offer admission) over the past four years.
“Stanford’s reputation of excellence around the globe has most certainly impacted our application numbers,” Lim said to the Stanford Daily.
Last year at this time, Stanford’s admit rate dropped to 5.7 percent from 6.6 percent in 2012, and for the first time beat Harvard in terms of selectivity. This year, Harvard not only experienced a drop in applications (34,295 from 35,023), but also increased its selectivity from 5.8 to 5.9 percent.
Although the competition to see which school can admit the lowest percent of applicants is not particularly attractive, make no mistake—these schools notice and care about what the others are doing.
While Stanford won the selectivity competition for the Class of 2018, the true test will come when numbers are tallied and final yield is computed.
Harvard has traditionally boasted of a higher yield than Stanford, but even this difference is shrinking as more students elect to go west and reap the benefits of year-round sunshine. And if relative yields get much closer, there may be some changes at the top of the US News rankings.
“I wonder how many of those admitted will accept Stanford's offer. After all, who wants to live in a farm with Spanish architecture and a bunch of ducks? Eww…,” remarked a commenter on the Stanford Daily website.
Quite a few, evidently.
Disclaimer: In 2006, the author’s son turned down an offer from Harvard to head west to Stanford, and he’s still there.