College Admissions: Acceptance V. Yield

So there’s this number out there that pretty much everyone in college admissions obsesses over. Their Acceptance rate. The acceptance rate is the percentage of students who apply to a school who are then accepted. Pretty simple? Not so fast.

Check out The Choice’s breakdown of college acceptance rates. Did you know 51% of the students who apply to the University of Wisconsin in Madison are accepted? I didn’t.

On the other side of the coin you have the Yield of a college. The Yield is the percentage of accepted students who then choose to enroll.

Pre-College Programs and College Admissions: Does Acceptance rate equal quality?

The short answer is “No” but let’s get back to acceptance v. yield. These two numbers usually correspond in highs and lows. For example, Harvard has a low acceptance rate (5.79% in 2013). Why? Because everyone wants in. And how many of those who are accepted enroll? What is Harvard’s Yield? It’s very high, (81%) in 2012.


So if 100 students applied to Harvard, only 6 got in … but of those 6 nearly 5 chose to enroll. Those are numbers that help admission officers sleep well. For contrast, to Harvard’s 81%, The University of Wisconsin clocked in with a 39% Yield. Or only 4 out of 10 who were accepted showed up on campus the next fall.

In fact, rankings can be so important to a college that they will lie about their statistics. It’s the truth.

The most recent scandal was when Bucknell admitted it had been misreporting accepted student’s SAT scores so that they would look more competitive in the rankings. And just recently York College admitted nearly the same.

College Admissions: The Cycle Continues

Why? Because the more competitive the college looks on paper the better their applicants will be (on paper) lowering their acceptance and increasing their yield. And the circle is complete.

By this standard, the only thing that makes a school “good” is you. It’s your scores and the supply and demand created by popular opinion.


And most consumers think the brand name is always the best product. But we know you’re smarter than that and don’t believe the hype in college admissions. The “Best College In The Universe” might not be the right college for your student.

Yep, I said it. It might be a tiny school you’ve never heard of in Massachusetts called Stonehill or an even smaller one just for guys in Indiana, Wabash (one of my favs).

So yes, our pre-college programs are fun and you get to study all sorts of cool topics but we also help your student find the colleges that are the best fit for them.

Maybe it is Harvard, but I challenge your family to look outside the box for 2 great colleges you’ve never heard of and get to know them a bit. It could change your life!