50-50 Highlights: Colleges Students Really Want to Go To

College student representing yield rate of colleges students want to go toStudents may be accepted at ten colleges but they can only attend one. When they finally decide which school to attend, students become part of the college’s yield rate. The yield rate is the percentage of accepted students who actually end up attending the school. So you figure the yield rate for Harvard would have the highest rate around, right? Wrong. There are eight other schools with rates higher than Harvard’s 81% including the College of the Ozarks.

Why look at yield rates? Because it’s not just the most competitive schools that have high yield rates and understanding the causes tells us something about using statistics in admissions and perspective.

Do High Acceptance Rates Mean Students Want to Attend?

For those students chasing the most elite schools in the country, a high yield rate is a reflection of the desirability of the school. However, I suspect many would be surprised by Southeastern Louisiana University that accepts 84% of its applicants of whom 72% end up attending. A super safety school perhaps?

No. At Southeastern Louisiana University, 96% of freshman are in-state residents. These students are probably taking advantage of location and the fact that the average net price in 13-14 was less than $10,000. The Harvard wannabes can breathe a sigh of relief and conclude that it’s the only school available to most of the applicants. Probably true for many of the students.

However, other schools with high yield rates include colleges with strong religious affiliations, the service academies, and state flagship universities. I’m certain that there are plenty of students at these institutions that could compete with the students attending the most competitive institutions.

But Will They Graduate?

However, just because a college has a high yield rate doesn’t necessarily mean it will have a corresponding high graduation rate. The good news is that there are 50-50 colleges that students “have” to attend that do a good job of graduating their students. The following tables show the 50-50 schools where 35% or more of applicants attend. As usual, the four-year graduation rate is used for private institutions and the five-year rate for public universities.

50-50 Colleges with Yield Rates of 35% or Higher



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