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Yes, your yield rate is still falling, v 2020

I started doing this post on a regular basis several years ago, in response (if I recall) to a colleague talking about their Board of Trustees Chair insisting that "all we need to do" to bring enrollment back to its former level is to get the yield rate up.  

That's the equivalent of saying all you need to do is straighten your drives and cut ten putts from each round, and you'll be a great golfer.  Moreover, it's based on the assumption that a falling yield rate is based on something you're doing or not doing.  The challenge is much larger, and a lot harder to address.  It's not a switch you flip.

So we've got this: A look at applications, admits, and enrolls over the last twenty years, and three key ratios that are based on those numbers: Admit rate, or the percentage of applicants offered admission; yield rate, or the percentage of those offered admission who enroll; and the lesser-known draw rate, which is calculated by dividing the yield rate by the admit rate.  It's a much better indication of market power and market position, and it's much harder to manipulate than admit rate; in fact, if you try to manipulate admit rates, it's likely the cost will be a lower yield and a drop in draw rate.

Side note: Talking about admission data is a lot more fun when I am not tempted to add test scores to the mix.

Another note: If you use the content of Higher Ed Data Stories (like showing it to your trustees) you can support this work and the costs of hosting and software by buying me a coffee.  I appreciate it, and hope high school counselors and people working at CBOs with low-income students should always consider this site free to use at any time. (And some people have donated twice, which is really not necessary!)

The displays:

Admissions overview shows applications, admits, and enrolls for all colleges reporting data (with the exception of some very small colleges, some seminaries and Yeshivas, and other colleges with spotty data.)  It also shows the admit rate, yield rate, and draw rates over time.  You know how the filters work; use them to limit the data displayed, including showing a single institution if you wish.  Hover over a bar or line for the details.

The takeaway: Applications have gone up dramatically because more students are applying to more colleges.  This doesn't change the fact that one student can only go to one college at a time

Most applications by state just shows which institutions in each state received the most applications in 2020.  Choose a region if you want to get to your data of interest quicker.

Admit rates by gender at highly rejective colleges addresses the concerns of some about disparities in admit rates by gender.  You can see overall admit rates, as well as those for men and women.  Since this mostly comes into play at colleges where they select a class rather than admit a class, this only shows colleges with overall admit rates of less than 40%.

Rates just displays the rates for each college.  Choose a year, region or control if you wish.  You can sort the data by any column by hovering over the axis and clicking the little icon that appears.  Click three times to sort ascending, descending, and alphabetically.  You can always reset using the controls at bottom right.

Finally, you know I always ask you to tell me what surprises you on the views.  I found a surprise: Applications to the Ivy League fell for the first time since 2004, when people cared a lot less about this stuff.  The interesting thing to me is that no one had mentioned this, as far as I can remember.  And, as a reminder, applications to these universities were due a few months before COVID shut everything down, so while COVID might have affected enrollment numbers and yield rate, it's unlikely to have affected application numbers.

Dig in, dive in, and let me know what you see.


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