Sunday, January 31, 2016

Class of '20: On the Way to Yale

Admissions officers at Yale must now get down to the difficult business of composing the Class of '20 from over 31,000 applications (Yale photos)
Yale's office of admissions announced in late January a record total in applications (over 31,000) for the Class of '20, a number that includes applications submitted for both early and regular admissions. 

After a slight dip last year, the total increased 4 percent and continues to befuddle admissions experts, who years ago projected that application numbers for selective schools, including the Ivy League, would decline because the admissions bubble would eventually burst and the national pool of applications would decrease.  Other peer schools of Yale are expected to report similar increases. 

From Yale's pool of 31,000-plus, the admissions committee in New Haven must now get down to the difficult business of selecting the 1,900-2,000 students who will be invited to join the new freshman class of 1,350.  This is the time of year when admissions officers, representatives and leaders bury themselves in private offices and conference rooms to make difficult decisions--decisions that admissions observers can't project or figure out, especially when large numbers of applicants have GPA's, SAT scores and extracurricular achievements that reach extreme levels.

But every year, March 31 rolls around, and the committee will have composed a Yale class with accomplishments so impressive and potential so glowing that alumni inevitably respond they couldn't get admitted in current times, if they had to apply again.

The task won't be easier in the years to come, even when Yale increases the freshman-class size to about 1,600 after the construction of the two new residential colleges.  The committee will likely admit more students (over 2,200? 2,400?), but it will continue to confront painful choices and must still reject over 25,000 applicants.

For this year, the Class of  '20 already includes a few hundred who applied and were admitted (and have confirmed they will attend) during the early-admissions process.  As expected, they include high-school seniors with stunning records and with varied backgrounds and interests.  Yale continues to take aggressive steps to ensure the freshman class is diverse, talented, and eager to arrive at Yale to get involved, do research, travel abroad, roam athletic fields, and have a voice about anything of importance.

That Class of  '20 already includes two outstanding Westchester residents, Katharine Berman '20 of Hastings and Lauren Chapey '20 of Mamaroneck.

In January, Berman was named one of the 40 national finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search.  She will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to compete for scholarships, valued at $150,000/winner.

A senior at Hastings High, she has conducted research on a blood disease that contributes to acute myeloid leukemia and will present her project to scientists and researchers in Washington. 

"My research focuses on how this particularly mutation plays a role in a specific pathway that leads to the formation of a type of blood cell," she told the Journal News this month.  "I'm very interested in chemistry and biology, but I also love history and Russian language."

Admitted to Yale early, Berman, like most first-year students at Yale, is not yet sure what she plans to major in when she gets to New Haven.

Chapey from Mamaroneck High is one of the top cross-country runners in New York State and plans to continue running at Yale.  She finished eighth in Class A State championships and fourth in the Section 1 (Westchester and Rockland counties) Class A championship.  She was a Westchester champion with the best time in the 5K (17:56.7) this past fall.

At Yale, she will join fellow Mamaroneck athlete Kumar Nambiar '19, who led Mamaroneck to a State baseball championship last spring and who will play for Yale this spring.  Off the course, she is president of her senior class, founder of a cooking club, business editor of the school newspaper, and a film-maker. 

"When I took my official visits, academically, I knew I was looking at the Ivy Leagues," she told the Journal News in November. "It was pretty even across the board. The difference was getting a sense of the team.  I was just so comfortable at Yale."

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