Some Quick Back of the Envelope Math About the Class of 2014

Stanford announced recently that it had accepted a record 753 early applicants for the class of 2014, out 5,556 that applied (that’s a 13.5 percent acceptance** rate**). Historically, Stanford has sent out a total of approximately 2,400 acceptances, early action included, to fill a class of a bit less than 1,700. Last year it had 30,429 applicants total. Assuming that there are approximately the same number of acceptances (note: this is a generous assumption; since the yield on early decision applicants is probably 85-95 percent, they may well offer less) and a similar number of total applicants (we’ll call it 25,000 that aren’t early action), regular decision applicants are looking at these odds:

=(Total acceptances-early acceptances)/(total applicants-early acceptances)=(2400-753)/(30,556-753)

=.0553=a 5.3 percent acceptance rate

Now, if we run calculations using another formula, this time using a historical yield of 70 percent and an assumed early action yield of 90 percent (note, I’m just guessing here (maybe it’s lower), but I can’t really see a whole lot of people going elsewhere after getting in to Stanford early), aiming to fill a freshman class of 1700 we get:

=(inverse historical yield*(total class-(early yield)*(early acceptances)))/(total applicants-early acceptances)=((1/.7)(1700-(.9)(753)))/(30556-753)

=.049=a 4.9 percent acceptance rate

Either way, it looks like those candidates that do make it in will have truly run the gauntlet. Oh, and for a little perspective, if my second calculation were right, that would be ~2213 acceptances out of 30556 candidates, or a net acceptance rate of 7.24 percent. Just two years ago, when I was accepted, the rate was 9.49 percent. It’s getting harder every year.

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