YIELD! …And Learn Why It’s Important to Colleges…And To You


When students (and their parents) work through the challenges of the college application process, the likely assumption is the worries associated with the possibility of receiving the dreaded “rejection letter” is a one-way street, an emotional and financial hit that only impacts the rejected student and their families.

But what about the colleges? A college’s admissions yield is the number of students who decide to enroll in a college that has accepted them.

When an institution accepts and admits a prospective student, it’s a statistical certainty that not all of the students they accept will accept them back. Some students will decide to enroll in another college or pursue other paths in life.The admissions office needs to estimate the yield in order to figure out how many students to accept. If they guess the yield wrong, they will end up with an incoming class that is either too big or too small. And this is where it becomes very important to you as the student.

According to Josh Bottomly , a college admissions and counseling expert, “Colleges mainly care about two things – demonstrated interest and yield. Demonstrated interest simply means you’ve let the college know that you like them. You’ve visited their campus. You’ve met the admissions officer. You’ve stayed in contact via e-mail or phone. Yield then involves the likelihood that a student will enroll if accepted.”

Do colleges actually track that stuff? By individual? Yes, says Bottomly, they absolutely do.

“It does factor into the final decision, especially with a student on the bubble,” says Bottomly. “Last year I had two students apply to SMU. One got accepted, the other rejected. I was puzzled because the former had lower test scores and GPA than the latter. I called the admissions officer and she said point blank: one student visited, called, e-mailed. The other didn’t.

So…the lesson is…If your heart is set on attending a certain college or university…do everything you can to let them know.

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