An anonymous comment awakened me to the fact that this is the year to test a prediction regarding matriculation at Williams that I have had for a while: that weather during Previews weekend is a significant factor in an admittee’s decision to attend. Bad weather will lower yield on admittees. This year is the first chance I have to test my hypothesis since 2001. Read on for details and musing.

The commenter wrote:

I can’t believe it was snowing a week before you took this video, Diana. Bad luck for Previews, but maybe it will weed out the less hardy.

At last! By my possibly erring tally, every Preview Weekend since 2001 has been uncannily good weather. Sensible though Williams admittees are, I think we’re all aware of the power that little, logically immaterial things have on our decisions: in choosing a job, a mate, and I propose a college as well. My prediction: Williams’ yield on its accepted students — that is, the percentage that choose to attend of the group that is accepted — will drop this year.

Sadly, I will have no way to statistically test if any drop is significant (all my statsd knowledge derives from PSYC 201; suggestons are welcome). Nor, of course, is there any way to discover whether this year’s drop would be due to the bad weather or, say, some effect of the new Anchor Housing. But it’s an interesting question (to me) and testable, if only I (or someone) decide to do the legwork to find and check historical weather records, Previews dates, and yield records.

Someone please let me know when the yield data for this year comes out, so I know whether it’s time to eat crow or not.

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