Not surprisingly, Yale University is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world. It accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, and QuestBridge Application. All three applications require a personal statement essay, and to apply to Yale using any of them, candidates must also submit additional Yale-specific short answers and a writing supplement. This prestigious Ivy League school prides itself on providing undergraduates with an exceptional foundation in liberal arts education that focuses on cultivating knowledge and leadership skills. The supplemental writing responses are a chance for you to convey how the Yale experience might augment your passions and perspectives in terms of learning, living, and preparing for the future.
If Yale is your first choice, it offers a Single-Choice Early Action program (also known as Restrictive Early Action) for freshman applicants that has a November 1 deadline. Check the Yale admissions website for details. Under this program, Yale will notify you of its admissions decision in mid-December. The deadline for submission of applications for regular action is January 2.
Before you begin writing your essay(s), thoroughly research all Yale has to offer and consider how those opportunities bolster your objectives. This is the time to get excited about the prospect of attending Yale! Visit the website and/or campus, speak with students and alumni, and envision yourself as a part of the school’s exceptional learning community. The curriculum at Yale is designed to provide both breadth and depth of study as the foundation for students to pursue inspired lives and careers. The university strives to foster independent critical thinking. Yale is one of the only universities that allow you to try your classes before you finalize your schedule. The first ten days of each semester are an opportunity to visit a number of classes to determine which are most interesting to you! Also, keep in mind that applicants are not admitted to a specific major, and students do not declare a major until the end of their sophomore year.
Located in the small town of New Haven, Connecticut, in an urban setting that is primarily a residential campus, Yale offers a supportive community feel through its system of 14 residential colleges. This configuration, complete with its own residential deans and masters, creates a sense of intimacy within the larger university. Residential deans serve as primary personal and academic advisors. Masters work with students to shape the residential community. This is a powerfully dynamic way of bringing together students and faculty. Think about how this structure can support your intellectual growth.
Short Answer Questions– Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application will respond to respond to the following short answer questions:
Students at Yale have time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
This is not a trick question. With approximately 80 majors to choose from, Yale is trying to gauge your unique interests. Indicate a maximum of three of your top academic areas of study.
Tell us about a topic or idea that excites you and is related to one or more academic areas you selected above. Why are you drawn to it? (200 words or fewer)
This prompt allows you to explain how your academic interests relate to the fields of study available at Yale. The challenge in this response is to discuss your rationale for your selected areas in less than 200 words. Consider your experience thus far in these areas. What sparked your interest? What burning question or issue motivates you? How might these concentrations support your long-term goals? Provide some context to support your interests and convey your enthusiasm.
What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)
Here again, you are under significant word limitations. Don’t underestimate this prompt. It is extremely important to demonstrate good fit in your discussion – what unique aspects of an education at Yale attract you? This is an opportunity to convey your enthusiasm for a potential Yale experience. Sometimes making a list can help you get started. Then review your list and make sure each reason relates specifically to Yale. Consider both what Yale has to offer you and what you might be able to offer the Yale community.
The Yale site notes that QuestBridge applicants will complete these short answer questions via the Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, which candidates can access through the Admissions Status Portal after their application has been received.
Additional Short Answer Questions– Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will also respond to respond to the following short answer questions, in no more than 200 characters (approximately 35 words):
What inspires you?
This response touches on what motivates you as well as what you find valuable. Discuss something that makes a difference in your way of thinking and subsequently influences your actions and/or behavior. Think about what your response might convey about your character.
If you could teach any college course, write a book, or create an original piece of art of any kind, what would it be?
Use your imagination! Consider a creative title to set the tone for your course, book, or art piece. This is a chance to infuse some fun and creativity into your response. Do you have a unique set of skills or interests that might contribute to some expertise on a particular topic? What is your specialty? Be careful to avoid any controversial statements. You never know how your suggestion might be interpreted, so try to steer clear of potentially offensive topics.
Other than a family member, who is someone who has had a significant influence on you? What has been the impact of their influence?
You can select just about anyone, other than a family member! This could be someone famous (dead or alive) or your next-door neighbor. The essential component is explaining how they influenced you and the extent of their impact. Is there something you admire about them? Did/do they motivate or inspire you in some way? Have they changed or encouraged you in some way? Keep the focus on you and the result(s) of their impact. Remember to consider what your response might reflect about your values and character.
What is something about you that is not included anywhere else in your application?
Before you respond, take some time to review your overall application materials for Yale. You should share something meaningful about yourself that you didn’t mention elsewhere. Your response provides a glimpse into the sort of person you might be within the Yale community, so consider what you might contribute and what you hope to gain. You might mention something you always wanted to explore or learn how to do – perhaps something you are not very good at but love to do. Whatever you select will reflect something about your character. How might what you shared relate to attending Yale?
Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will respond to one of the following prompts in 400 words or fewer.
- Reflect on a time you discussed an issue important to you with someone holding an opposing view. Why did you find the experience meaningful?
This prompt asks you to reflect on a time when you dealt with conflicting views. This discussion might have made you feel vulnerable expressing your viewpoint. How do you engage in a civil exchange about controversial or emotional issues? What was the issue, and why was it important to you? Explain both your position and that of the other person involved. What was at stake? How did you work through the conflict and come to an understanding of the other person’s perspective? Were you able to convey your perspective? What was the outcome? Did you change your stance or clarify and strengthen your position? Most importantly, why was the experience you shared important to you? What did you learn from this process? Your response to this prompt helps to shed light on how you learn, the topics you are drawn to, how you interact with others with diverse perspectives, and how you process the world around you.
- Reflect on your membership in a community to which you feel connected. Why is this community meaningful to you? You may define community however you like.
This prompt asks you to place yourself within the context of a particular community. What is this community? Consider how being a part of this community shapes or supports you. The focus is on why you feel connected to this community. This is an opportunity to discuss your role in just about ANY community and the impact you had on it and vice versa. It also allows you to demonstrate your ability to reflect on your community from different perspectives. Topics can vary from a school club to a larger cultural or religious community to the global community, but community is however you define it. Your goal is to EXPLAIN your relationship to the community and convey WHY that community is valuable to you. What did you learn about yourself through your connection to this community? How might this community inspire, support, or ground you and vice versa? What might this reflect about your character or place in the world? How might these experiences prepare you for this next stage of your life?
- Reflect on an element of your personal experience that you feel will enrich your college. How has it shaped you?
If you haven’t already done so, take a detailed look at Yale’s residential college system. The 14 residential colleges strive to create a more intimate living and learning atmosphere that fosters a stronger sense of community connection. Incoming students are assigned to a college and remain affiliated with that college for the duration of their time at Yale. As stated on the school’s website, “each college is a microcosm of the larger student population.” Identify something about your personal experience that might provide a different or unique perspective to enhance your college community. Then discuss how what you shared shaped you, motivated you, influenced your sense of identity, or reflects something essential about you.
The tone of your essays should convey your drive and enthusiasm for learning in general and at Yale in particular. Share your perspectives in your own voice. Be thoughtful and reflective.
Applicants to Yale have an exceedingly competitive profile. Yale received 52,250 undergraduate applications for the Class of 2027. Overall, only 2,275 or 4.35% of applicants were admitted, and 95% of them ranked in the top 10% of their high school class. Although Yale continued to offer test optional admissions for the Class of 2027, you can consider the test scores from the Class of 2024 – average SAT scores over 1500 and average ACT scores of approximately 33 – to get a sense of your likely cohort.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers. At this point, it is heartening to bear in mind that Yale is dedicated to a holistic application evaluation process for admission. Your short answer responses and supplemental essay(s) facilitate a more comprehensive review of you as a prospective student at Yale. The admissions committee takes the time to read your responses carefully. Make sure you allow yourself appropriate time for thoughtful reflection and effective writing. Use your writing supplement to set you apart from your peers. The best approach is to be true to yourself and communicate your thoughts, experiences, hopes, and dreams in a way that highlights your genuine enthusiasm for the extraordinary educational journey at Yale!
Marie Todd has been involved in college admissions for more than 20 years. Marie has counseled applicants to top colleges and evaluated more than 5,000 applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology; School of Nursing; and Taubman College of Architecture. Want Marie to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch.