A couple of things make me inclined to feel this way:
(1) The fact that applicants with similar numbers get different decisions.
(2) The fact that the acceptance rate (which factors in yield) counts for 2.5% of the US News Rankings formula. How much does it really matter? The t14 has way more applicants than they know what to do with even if the number has declined. I think it's probably true that they have more qualified people than seats.
I think schools are looking for factors that they feel like would predispose an applicant to success at their school. Since each school has a different personality, these factors are different and that may be why qualified applicants get different decisions from similarly ranked schools. Just a theory. Yield protections is too simplistic of an explanation for me. From going through this application process, I really think that this is not just a numbers game even though numbers ARE important.
kennethellenparcell wrote:I'm gonna be honest - I don't really believe in yield protection at the t14.
Really? What about schools like UVA? They recently sent out a round of WLs that looked like pretty blatant YP. I'm more inclined to believe the conventional wisdom here that different schools rely on it to different degrees and that the T6 don't really bother with it.
I agree with a lot of what you're saying. I still think schools YP, but I don't think it comes down purely to numbers, just as I don't think admissions more broadly are entirely numbers-based (and that has certainly proven true in my own cycle). If two numerically identical candidates with numbers that are >75% apply, but one has a strong why X and the other doesn't, I can see a school reasonably assuming that the why X applicant is more likely to attend and, in turn, being more likely to accept that candidate. Essentially, I think that some consideration might be given to how likely a student is to attend, but I'm not ruling out the possibility that such consideration is holistic - it would make sense that if a student desperately wants to work in New York and makes that clear in his application, a school like UVA or Duke might not accept him because its placement in that market isn't as strong; similarly, if a student expresses a strong desire to pursue a field in which a school offers few classes, that school might reasonably think that the student isn't fully committed to attending and "yield protect" in that sense. Again, I don't know if that's true for every top school, but I think it plays out in some admissions decisions. For example, at my Georgetown interview, Dean Cornblatt explicitly said that he considers how likely a student is to attend in his decision-making; he said that he might turn down a 180/4.0 (or similar) for that reason.
I think we're both essentially saying similar things and just giving it a different label. I was calling it YP for expediency, but maybe that has implications of purely numerical decisions that I wasn't intending to convey
Sorry to derail this thread - good luck to everyone still waiting for decisions!