Approximately 47.7 percent of admitted students accepted the offer to come to Duke this year.
Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle
Approximately 47.7 percent of admitted students accepted the offer to come to Duke this year.

The Class of 2018 comes with the highest admissions yield for Duke since 1979.

Approximately 47.7 percent of admitted students accepted the offer to come to Duke, said Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag. This represents an increase of more than 2 percent from last year's yield of 45.6 percent—and more than 5 percent from two years ago.

The uptick is due to more students admitted via early decision—a record 47 percent of the class—as well as a slight increase in regular decision yield, Guttentag said.

The incoming freshmen are also responsible for another milestone—more than half of them are students of color, a first for Duke.

"It goes without saying that we're pleased," Guttentag said. "I think it's a reflection of how the institution presents itself to prospective students and their families, I think it's a reflection of the quality of the education, I think it's a reflection of the commitment to diversity."

The class includes record numbers of Asian students, Latino/a students and international students—with 495, 159 and 183 students, respectively.

There are also 75 students admitted from a waitlist of more than 1,000. The University aims to admit a few students from the waitlist each year, Guttentag noted.

There was a slight shift in the class's geographic make-up. North Carolina, California, New York and Florida retained their spots as the four most popular states, and Texas took fifth place for the first time, replacing New Jersey.

Despite the increase in yield that Duke has seen in recent years, the University’s rate sits behind a number of its peer institutions—including Stanford University, the University of Chicago and the eight Ivy League schools, all of which consistently post yields of 50 percent or greater.

“That’s a reasonable goal, and I think that we’ll continue to work in that direction,” Guttentag said of a 50 percent yield. “We’re in a very competitive situation—the schools that also admit the students we admit are among the very best in the world, and we relish the competition.”

In terms of recent years' yield increase, Guttentag noted the importance of a strong Blue Devil Days program. Another recent trend is growing communication between parents of current students and parents of prospective students, he said.

“I think parents are seeing Duke as it is now, more than the Duke they recall from when they were thinking about colleges,” Guttentag said.