Yale University saw a nearly sevenfold increase to 341 students who took gap years in the incoming Class of 2024. By comparison, only 51 students in the Class of 2023 chose to pursue gap years. This reduced the number of incoming freshmen from an expected 1,550 to 1,267. Additionally, it went counter to the uptick that Notre Dame experienced.
Despite this, Mark Dunn, Yale’s Director of Outreach and Communications, stated, “The admissions office has no plans to reduce the number of admissions offers in the coming year, despite the larger group of postponing students who will join the class of 2025 next fall.”
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan elaborated, “I think that’s [how to accommodate the larger incoming class] something we have to worry about a little bit later down the line. I think right now we are preparing to have a larger first-year class next year.”
The quote from Dean Quinlan doesn’t sound too reassuring to us and there remains a chance that Yale may ultimately accept fewer applicants from what it hopes remains a larger and more optimistic applicant pool.
We can’t say we are surprised with regard to the larger number of gap years. Most of our clients who had attractive gap year options chose to pursue them. Their thinking was the gap year would benefit them more than the year of distance learning.
Unfortunately, we can’t fault them for this. First, there is a chance we may return to a pre-COVID normalcy by Fall 2021. Second, if distance learning remains in place permanently, its quality and efficiency is expected to post large gains after the first year as educators (hopefully!) get up the virtual learning curve quickly.