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Record-high Yale applications: worth bragging about?

"Every year, I am asked about the significance of application counts," says Jeffrey Brenzel ’75, Yale College's dean of admissions, in a university press release. "My answer every year is the same: year to year fluctuations in total application counts have little meaning in themselves."

Before delivering that analysis, however, the press release offers a different emphasis.

"Record-high applications for Yale College," says the headline. The first sentence follows suit: "Yale College received 29,790 applications for the Class of 2017 — an all-time high applicant pool for the college, and a 3% increase over the previous year’s final total of 28,977."

Brenzel goes on to say that some schools "drive application counts higher" by marketing to students with little chance of admission. Yale, he says, targets "the most competitive students from every family background and region" (and then rejects more than 90 percent).

The Yale Daily News and Bloomberg also stressed the record-high theme in their coverage.

About 9,200 Yale applicants, or roughly 30 percent, checked a box to submit their materials to Yale-NUS College, the new joint venture college in Singapore, which is currently selecting its first freshman class. The release notes, however, that "Yale College and Yale-NUS operate entirely independent admissions processes, with two different staffs in different locations," and no coordination on decisionmaking.

Separately, Yale Law School drew 82 applicants for the first five slots in its new PhD program, the Yale Daily reports.

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