Applying to Yale College

Does visiting campus or attending an information session in my area increase my chances of being admitted?

No. Yale does not track “demonstrated interest” in any form for the purpose of evaluating applications. Visiting campus or attending an information session can be an excellent way to learn more about Yale, but it will not affect your chances of admission. 

Can Yale estimate my chances of being admitted before I apply?

No. An admissions officer cannot provide an estimate of student’s chances of being admitted to Yale. This is not simply a matter of office policy; Yale’s holistic and contextual review process requires that an applicant’s candidacy be evaluated on the basis of all of the information provided in the application, and within the context of the full applicant pool. When choosing where you will apply to college, remember that admission to Yale is very highly selective, even for the most academically accomplished applicants, but no one thing alone determines who is offered admission and who is denied. For more information and advice, review the extensive Advice to Candidates section of this website.

What is the minimum GPA required for admission?

We do not set a minimum GPA, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA’s to any standard other than what a school provides. An applicant’s complete secondary school transcript (not just the GPA or class rank, if they are provided) is evaluated during the admissions process. We understand that every school and every grading system is different. Admissions officers evaluate a student’s course rigor and academic accomplishment in the context of the school the applicant attends.

Does Yale require that applicants complete certain high school courses?

No. There are no specific high school courses required for admission. There are also no specific high school courses required for applicants who express interest in any particular major. Please reference our Advice on Selecting High School Courses for more information.

Are there different application requirements for students interested in different majors?

No. All applicants submit the same materials and are evaluated through the same processes regardless of their intended major. Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application who express an interest in majoring in one of Yale’s Computer Science or Engineering majors may write an additional optional essay about their interest and experiences in Computer Science or Engineering. Note, however, that applicants are not admitted to any specific major or undergraduate program. All matriculating students enroll in Yale College with access to the same 80 undergraduate majors. Yale College students do not declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. 

Will applying for financial aid hurt my chances of admission?

Absolutely not. An applicant’s ability to pay for a Yale education is not considered during the admissions process. This policy is called “need-blind admission.” Yale is strongly committed to equality of opportunity, and need-blind admission ensures that the College will be open to students of personal and academic promise from all segments of society and all parts of the world. An application for financial aid has no effect on the admissions committee’s decision. This policy applies to all candidates, regardless of their citizenship.

How should I share details of special circumstances that may have affected my academic performance in high school?

Ask your guidance counselor or school official who will be assisting you with your college applications to address any special circumstances in the Counselor Recommendation. You may also write about particular challenges in your personal statement or the “additional information” section of the application, but an explanation from your counselor or another school official is especially valuable. Remember that Yale’s review process is holistic and contextual. If you believe there is important information the Admissions Committee should know when evaluating your application, please share that information with your counselor.

My activities do not fit in the space provided in the application. May I send an additional résumé or activities list?

Although the Coalition Application, Common Application and QuestBridge National College Match Application limit the number of activities you may report, this is typically more than enough space for most competitive applicants to communicate their most important and relevant commitments. Please note that it is not necessary to report all of the activities you have ever participated in. You should only report your most recent activities, generally from grades 9-12, and you should focus on activities that you have spent the most time on, those that have meant the most to you personally, and those that are most relevant to your college plans and goals. Generally speaking, applicants should not submit additional résumés, except in the case of professional employment experience in the performing arts.

What does Yale look for in essays and short answer responses?

The best writing in an application is thoughtful and reflective, conveying a specific idea related to your personal or intellectual life. We understand that in a mere 200 or 500 words you cannot possibly tell us everything about yourself, and the essays and short answer responses in the application are not meant to create a comprehensive autobiography. Take some time to think about what you want us to know about you. Consider the essay’s brevity to be a challenge: it’s often more difficult to say what you mean with economy. Choose topics that express who you are and allow you to share something important about you. Don’t feel the need to come up with a “gimmick” or an original topic. Many successful candidates write about fairly common topics, such as music, sports, community service projects, jobs, and family relationships. Take the time to carefully review your essays before submitting them. Additional information can be found in our Advice to Candidates section.

My essay is more than the stated word limit. Is that OK?

Please work to keep your essays and short answer responses to the provided word limits. In some instances, if your responses do not adhere to the given word limits, you will not be able to submit your application. Remember, concise and simple writing is often the best writing, so adhering to the word limits and the space provided will work to your best interest. 

What does Yale look for in the Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay?

The optional Engineering and Computer Science essay is an opportunity for applicants who have expressed an interest in one of Yale’s computer science or engineering majors to provide additional information to the Admissions Committee regarding their area(s) of interest and any relevant experience with the field(s) they have selected. We understand that student’s exposure to these fields while they are in high school can vary significantly. Like all parts of the application, the optional Engineering and Computer Science essay is evaluated holistically and contextually.   

What does Yale look for in Coalition Application digital uploads?

Students applying to Yale with the Coalition Application are prompted to upload a digital file of their creation along with a short reflection on their choice and how it relates to one of two topics: A community to which you belong and the footprint you have left. OR  A time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something. Uploads are evaluated in conjunction of the written reflection, and will not be evaluated on the basis of their production quality. Successful Coalition Application digital uploads will reveal something meaningful about a community to which an applicant belongs, or an experience that brought the applicant genuine excitement about learning. 

I participated in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) or American Invitational Mathematics Examination. How should I report my scores?

If you have completed external examinations such as the AMC, AIME, or academic Olympiads and know your score(s), please self-report the score(s) when completing your application. When completing the Yale-specific questions for the Coalition Application or Common Application, you will see the option to “list any additional academic examinations you have taken or will take.”

I have dual citizenship or attend high school in a country where I am not a citizen. Should I apply as a domestic applicant or an international applicant?

When applying to Yale, there is no difference. All candidates submit the same application materials regardless of citizenship. The application will prompt you to list your country or countries of citizenship. We are interested in your citizenship chiefly for reporting purposes, but it has no bearing on your chances of admission.

Who should write my teacher recommendations?

Yale requires two letters of recommendation from teachers who have taught you in credit-bearing classes during the academic year in core academic subjects (English, Foreign Language, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies). We recommend, but do not require, that applicants solicit recommendations from 11th and 12th grade teachers, as they are typically able to provide the best insights into your most rigorous academic work. Yale does not require that these recommendations come from teachers of particular academic subjects. Choose teachers who know you well and can give us a sense of your academic and personal strengths.

May I submit a supplementary letter of recommendation?

Yes, but please note that supplementary letters are neither recommended nor required. The writer of a supplemental letter should know you personally and/or have mentored you closely in some capacity. For example, if you have engaged in advanced scientific research, you should consider asking your research mentor to write a supplemental letter of recommendation for you. Please ask that person to include the following at the top of their letter: your full, legal name as it appears in your application, the name and location of your high school, and your date of birth. See the guidelines about Supplementary Materials.

How does Yale evaluate supplementary materials such as music, art, dance, film, or scientific research?

The vast majority of our students are admitted on the basis of required documents alone. For a very small number of exceptionally talented researchers, artists, musicians, dancers, or filmmakers, supplementary material may be useful to communicate information that cannot be conveyed adequately in the rest of the application. See the guidelines about Supplementary Materials for more information.

How can I confirm that Yale has received all my required application documents?

The Yale Admissions Status Portal will allow you to view an Application Checklist of all required material and, eventually, your admissions decision. You can also use the Status Portal to request a change of address, change of primary email, etc.

May I apply to enter Yale in the spring semester?

No. Students may only begin a course of study at Yale in the fall semester.

May I apply to Yale more than once?

Yes, but Yale has a longstanding policy that a student may not apply to the College more than three times. This includes freshman, transfer, Eli Whitney, and non-degree applications.

How does Yale use AP, IB, A-Levels, and Dual Enrollment courses completed in high school?

Admissions officers are familiar with various types of advanced coursework, including AP, IB, A-Levels, Dual Enrollment, and others, but have no preference for one advanced curriculum over another. We also understand that the availability of advanced coursework varies significantly from school to school. For matriculating students, top scores on AP or IB exams can, in some cases, be used for the purposes of course placement or acceleration (i.e. completing the requirements for an undergraduate degree in fewer than 8 semesters). Details of the Yale College policies on acceleration are available in the Yale College Programs of Study.