Class of 2021 is one for the record books

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(Photo by Michael Marsland)

The incoming Class of 2021 will be largest and most diverse in Yale’s history, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan has announced. With the opening of Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray colleges this August, the class will be approximately 200 students larger than in recent years.

“No one is more excited about expanded enrollment in Yale College than the staff in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions” said Quinlan, “but even with a significantly larger cohort of admitted students, we have not sacrificed anything to admit an extremely qualified group of students with a remarkably broad range of backgrounds, identities, and experiences.”

In March Quinlan reported that 2,271 of the 32,900 students who applied were offered admission. While official figures on the composition of the incoming class will be released when students matriculate in August, the office’s director of recruitment, Hannah Mendlowitz, reported that the “yield” on admitted students exceeded the staff’s most optimistic projections, reaching one of the highest levels in recent years: 71.4%

Incoming students will benefit from recent enhancements to Yale’s generous need-based financial aid program. A record number of students in the class qualified for Pell grants from the federal government, and more than 200 students received Yale financial aid awards that include a $0 parental contribution. Parents of these students will not be asked to make any financial contribution towards the cost of a Yale education. The students will also receive: a $2,000 “start-up fund” for freshman year to assist with purchasing a computer, winter clothing, and other expenses; a $600 annual allowance in sophomore, junior, and senior years; and a reduced summer income contribution for their three continuing years.

Both Quinlan and Mendlowitz pointed to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers in the Yale College community during new programs for admitted students as instrumental in helping students choose Yale. This April the admissions office supplemented its traditional three-day on-campus “Bulldog Days” program with a one-day “Bulldog Saturday” program that attracted nearly 400 admitted students and more than 500 parents. The office also welcomed a small number of admitted students with special talents in science and engineering for a two-day Yale Engineering and Science Weekend program immediately preceding Bulldog Days. 

Discussing this year’s on-campus programming for admitted students, Quinlan said, “I was blown away by the outpouring of energy and enthusiasm from every corner of the college. Our students, faculty, and staff really stepped up to show our admitted students what makes the Yale College experience so special.”

Mendlowitz pointed to the dozens of academic departments and resource centers represented at the Bulldog Days academic fair, and the faculty and staff who led more than 30 panels, forums, and master classes for admitted students and family members as especially important in the yield effort. She also thanked the more than 600 students who volunteered to host visiting students in their suites and the student leaders who put on more than 150 student-run events during the programs. “I am always amazed by how students take time out of their busy schedules to connect with our admitted students one-on-one. The amazing variety of student-produced Bulldog Days events really showcase the collaboration, creativity, and engagement in community that define the Yale College experience.”

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