Yield may be the most important aspect of the entire admissions process. Yield (or ‘yield rate’) is one of the primary concerns of admissions panels. Yield rate is the percentage of students offered admission to a particular college who actually end up attending in the fall.

How is yield calculated? If a college accepts 10,000 applicants and 6,000 students enroll, the yield rate is 60%. This means that 40% of the students that were accepted declined the offer of admission.

You may ask why does the yield rate matter? Who cares how many students attend?  Here’s why: Most students will attend the best college they get into. Thus it makes sense that a college with a higher yield rate is more prestigious. In fact, Harvard has, by far, the highest yield rate at 80%.

Of course, all colleges wish they could appear as desirable as Harvard, so they do everything in their power to get a very high yield rate. They consistently use three tactics: implementing binding decision policies (early decision), evaluating student interest, and refusing to accept overqualified students.

This is the entire premise underpinning Early Decision. Early Decision (ED) is a choice students can make that contractually binds them to the college if accepted. Colleges like ED as it can produce yield rates close to 100%. In our next article, we will take a deep dive on the ins-and-outs of Early Decision.