To paraphrase Nietzsche: Humans can tolerate suffering, but humans can’t tolerate meaningless suffering. There is no doubt that many students are suffering right now with news of rejection from schools where they hoped they would spend the next four years of their lives. Rejection is hard. Wrapping our minds around any type of suffering is difficult, but when the particularly obscure admissions process is the source of suffering, rationalizing and understanding it is a Herculean task. When we are confronted with meaningless suffering, we look for ways to cope. Enter: Yield Protection.

Yield Protection, also known at The Tufts Syndrome, is the idea that in order to protect their yield, Admissions Officers will purposely reject top candidates that they suspect will accept offers from other schools. Since schools want accepted students to attend their school (the “yield”), they don’t want to risk offering admission to students they presume will go elsewhere. Ultimately, this is something invented by applicants to make the rejection pill easier to swallow and it serves that purpose. However, it really has no basis in actual admissions decisions and strategies. Ultimately, the composition of a freshman class is a difficult process with many factors, but rejecting top applicants is not a common strategy for any reason. This post might not make anyone feel better, and I know it is hard not to dwell on the “one that got away,” but it is better to focus on the institutions that want you.admissionsyieldyield protectionwaitlistrejectionrecruitmenttop candidate