This is part of a series of posts providing advice you can use when completing The Common Application for 2011. You can find the entire series, including tips for the Common App’s required essays and advice on completing the activities section at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-common-application-tips.
Yale offers both regular decision and single choice early action. Under single choice early action, you can apply to Yale by November 1, and receive an admission decision in December. While the admission rate is generally higher in the early round, the pool of applicants is very, very strong. If your application will contain new information between November and January, such as test scores, grades at a new high school or in more rigorous courses, I’d advise waiting.
Whether you are applying regular decision or early, beginning your application and essays now will only help you present your best possible application to the admission committee.
- You have already told us about yourself in the Common Application, with its list of activities, the Short Answer, and the Personal Statement. While we leave the topic of your second essay entirely up to you, we encourage you to use this opportunity to tell us something that we could not learn from the rest of your application. Try to pick a topic that will convey some aspect of your experience or outlook that you would like us to understand better. Please keep your essay under 500 words. Your essay should be printed on a separate sheet of paper marked “Second Essay” with your full legal name and date of birth at the top, and enclosed with your completed Supplement.
This essay topic is broad-ranging, but clearly your essay needs to be very distinct from the other information provided on your application. If your Common Application essay is about your exchange experience in Sweden, then write about an entirely different experience. If you have already written about your love for the violin in the short answer about your extracurriculars, choose a different interest for this essay.
If some unusual circumstances have impacted your high school years, you can address them here. Depending on the specifics, it might also be helpful if your high school counselor addresses the issue. Keep the focus of such an essay on your growth and learning from the experience, rather than taking a “woe is me” approach and seeking sympathy.
Yale has asked you to keep your essay under 500 words. While they will read words 501 and 502, you can write a succinct and compelling essay in 500 words. Be judicious, draft carefully, and edit thoroughly
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