Class of ’17 yields 45 percent

Last Wednesday, 524 of the 1155 students admitted to the Class of 2017 paid enrollment deposits, and the five students with extended decision deadlines may bring that number up to 529. This sets the yield for the Class of 2017 at 45 percent, which is down from last year’s high 46-percent yield.

This year, the results came in faster than ever before. “Virtually all of our deposits are coming in electronically,” Dick Nesbitt, director of admissions, said. “As opposed to waiting for envelopes to arrive with checks in them, we pretty much know by the end of May 1 really just about where we are.”

So far, the most impressive result this year is the exactly even gender ratio of 262 men and women enrolling. “We strive for being 50/50, but the pool is such that you get more women than men,” Nesbitt said. “In the past years, it has been roughly 52 or 53 percent women in the class.”

However, the gender ratio and other demographics will likely change from additions off the waiting list. “Being at roughly 525 to 530 is right where we want to be because we can add 25 or 30 from the waiting list and then allow that number to melt back to 550,” Nesbitt said. The “melt” back to the target of 550 students is the result of around 15 students expected to take gap years, depositors being accepted to and choosing to attend other institutions from their wait lists and some students choosing to withdraw for any number of reasons. The added students will be chosen from a group of 300 on the “active wait list” who have demonstrated great interest in enrolling.

The Class of 2017 currently includes 37 percent American students of color. Four identify as Native American, 69 as  Asian American, 67 as African American and 58 as Latino. “We’re particularly pleased with the gender balance among the African American group, which is part of the demographic, but it is harder to yield African American men,” Nesbitt said. “This year of those 67, 34 are men and 33 are women, so we’re very pleased with that.”

Regionally, 37 are non-U.S. citizens and 10 are from Berkshire County and the immediate vicinity. Eighty-five students have at least one parent who attended Williams, 73 are first-generation students who are the first in their family to attend a four-year college and 48 are QuestBridge finalists.

So far, 50 percent of the Class of 2017 will receive financial aid. The average aid package for the Class of 2017 is $45,780, which is higher than the $42,871 average for the Class of 2016. The average aid package consists of $1800 from a campus job, $2000 from loans and $41,980 from scholarship money, with the bulk usually coming from the Williams Scholarship. The rise in average aid is in keeping with increases in tuition and other costs. The total need-based aid awarded so far is $11,948,484, which will rise as more students are accepted off the waiting list.

In the coming weeks, the Office of Admission will have a relatively easy time filling in the rest of the class. “We feel like we hit just about right what we call a soft landing,” Nesbitt said. “If you’re way over the target then there’s nothing you can really do about it. If you’re way under, then you have to go to the waitlist for 100 students then that’s a little tough, but being in the range of 30 to 50 off the waitlist is a really good place to be.”

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