Northwestern admissions office boasts highest yield rate to date

Graphic by Victoria Jeon/The Daily Northwestern

Ally Mutnick, Reporter

Northwestern admissions passed another milestone with the highest percentage of admitted students on University record choosing to enroll this fall.

The University expects to enroll 44.5 percent of the 4,555 students it accepted for the class of 2017, according to the Office of the Provost. The yield rate is up about 1.5 percentage points from last year, while the percentage of students choosing to enroll at NU has risen by about 14 percentage points since 2008.

“We feel good about just about every aspect of the momentum that we’ve achieved over the last four years,” said Michael Mills, associate provost for university enrollment. “Not just the application growth, but the students that choose to come to Northwestern and the yield rate and the test scores are up.”

Yield rates for 2011 and 2012 both increased by 5 percentage points, with yield rates in May of each year of about 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

With 2,060 students committed to enroll this fall, Mills said some of the six undergraduate schools did not meet their target enrollment, so the admissions office will take students from the wait list.

The class of 2017 has broken almost every record, with an acceptance rate of 13.9 percent, about 33,000 applications received and the most diverse class of admitted students.

Mills attributed the admissions record to the University’s growing visibility and reputation. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions saw 6,500 high schools represented in the applicant pool this year, about 200 more than in previous years.

University President Morton Schapiro’s extensive travel and the work of NU faculty showcased recently in national publications help build prestige for the University, Mills said.

NU’s yield rate still lags behind several of its Ivy League peers. For example, Harvard University reported its highest yield in more than 40 years at 82 percent, while Dartmouth College enrolled 48.5 percent of its admitted students and The University of Pennsylvania 64.3 percent.

However, Mills said the admissions office was pleased with the yield. He said NU has succeeded at highlighting unique programs that many of its peer institutions lack.

“Because of our great music and theater programs, we have sort of a creative student body that’s really unparalleled compared to a lot of our peers,” Mills said.

Kevin Li, a high school senior from Bettendorf, Iowa, said the Bienen School of Music’s dual-degree program convinced him to join the class of 2017.

Li, a violinist, said he did not consider Ivy League schools because none of them offered strong music programs, and he did not consider conservatories because they did not offer other areas of study. Li will study economics and music at NU.

“Northwestern is unique in that it can offer a conservatory-level music education, but it can still offer high academics,” he said. “There are very few schools that offer that kind of program.”

The University hosted three Wildcat Days in April to introduce prospective students to NU. Weinberg sophomore Carrie Langhauser worked at the student activities fair, where admitted students met with different student organizations.

Langhauser, who represented Alternative Student Breaks at the fair, said it was an effective way to showcase NU.

“Going to the fairs and seeing how passionate the students are … kind of differentiate it from any other really good academic school,” she said.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of high schools visited by the Office of Admissions. The office visited 1,300 high schools. The Daily regrets the error.

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