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Yield keeps steady as applicants rose

Although undergraduate application numbers set a record high this year and Duke's acceptance rate was the lowest in school history, matriculation yield remained a stagnant 43.4 percent for the Class of 2006, according to statistics released this week by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

As of Tuesday, 1,620 high school seniors had told Duke they would matriculate in August, up from 1,587 in 2001, when 44 percent of those accepted decided to enroll. Director of Undergrduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag said the final yield for this year and last should be almost identical, as his office continues to hear from students accepted off the waitlist.

"I'm never satisfied with our yield on admitted students," said Guttentag, who anticipated the similar yield but was still disappointed. "I always want that to be higher.... We are competing with schools that are increasingly aggressive with their financial aid packages and... offer a lot of scholarships. We're working harder and our peers are too."

Yield data for Duke's peer institutions was unavailable Wednesday, as Duke was one of the first schools to release such information.

Guttentag said he was delighted with other statistics for this year's pool, especially the number of applicants--an all-time high of 15,892--and the percentage of minority students in the Class of 2006.

"I'm pleased about the continued strong representation of students of color in the incoming class," he said. "For the second year in a row, a third of the class is going to be made up of students of color."

Just over 33 percent of those matriculating listed themselves as a member of a minority group when applying, about the same as last year. Asian students again are the most highly represented, with a total of 239, or just under 15 percent. Black students compose about 10.5 percent with 170 students, along with 122 Latino students (7.5 percent) and five Native American students (0.3 percent). About 61 percent of the class listed themselves as white, and almost 6 percent did not select a race when applying. Guttentag added that just 10 years ago, only 23 percent of the admitted class were minorities.

Seventy-five of the matriculating students are from other countries, which is consistent with recent trends. International Class of 2006 hopefuls were the first eligible to apply for financial aid, and Duke received a record number of applicants from students abroad.

"We accepted a significantly stronger [international] group academically," Guttentag added, "because we had a much larger and stronger applicant pool."

The incoming class, which arrives on campus for orientation Aug. 21, has 50 more men than women. Guttentag said that since most freshman classes are almost always split evenly, the admissions committee only pays particular attention to the number of women applying and admitted to the Pratt School of Engineering. Women will comprise just under a quarter of the 277 members of the engineering school this year.

The East Coast was the big winner geographically, with North Carolina, New York, Florida and Maryland comprising four of the top five states. Together with Texas, they will make up 40 percent of the class. Besides Texas, California is the only Western state in the top 10.

Guttentag said that although academic statistics, like average SAT score, are not yet available, the new crop of Blue Devils is one of the school's strongest ever.

"We admitted more students this year who were also admitted to other most selective colleges," he said. "That makes the competition [for yield] that much tougher."