The Top 10 Yale College Admissions Questions

As the regular decision deadline (January 1) approaches, the admissions office has been getting a lot of emails from applicants with last minute questions. To help you guys out, I’ve compiled a list of some of this year’s most common and pressing questions (and their answers). If you have any questions that I did not address, send us an email at

1.     Sigmund Freud asks: What are the components of a Yale application?

A complete Yale application includes the Common Application and Yale supplement (two essays on topics of your choice and a list of your activities), two teacher recommendations, a secondary school report (which includes the student’s transcripts and counselor evaluation, standardized test results ( a) the SAT and two SAT Subject Tests, or b) the ACT with writing) and an eventual Mid-Year report (due when first semester or trimester senior grades become available at your school). Students whose first language is not English or who did not study in an English-medium curriculum for at least two years should also submit results from the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE to demonstrate their English proficiency.  For more information on Yale’s application instructions and components, visit:

To fulfill the testing requirement, students can take either the ACT with writing, or the SAT Reasoning with at least two SAT Subject Test exams. Yale understands that applicants come from a wide range of backgrounds - some students don’t even have access to the SAT in certain countries - so it’s not as if one test is “preferred” over the other. The admissions office does not recommend specific SAT Subject Tests as the admissions staff understands applicants come from a variety of academic backgrounds and interests. Yale does not participate in Score Choice. Therefore, you need to send Yale the results of all SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Tests or all ACT tests that you have taken. Unfortunately, you cannot mix and match (or “super score”) ACT scores. The admissions committee will take the composite score with writing from any one test date. For Yale’s official testing requirements, visit:

There is no need to submit supplementary material in addition to what is included in a complete Yale College application as detailed above. The vast majority of our students are admitted on the basis of required material alone. For a very small number of exceptionally talented artists, musicians, and researchers, supplementary material may be useful to communicate information that cannot be conveyed adequately in the rest of the application. On the same note, if you feel the need to submit extra information, you may ask one additional recommender to write on your behalf. Please do not solicit this additional letter unless you feel it will add substantially to your application. 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. The letter should be labeled “Supplementary” to avoid confusion. See the guidelines about Supplementary Materials for more information on art, music, or academic supplements, as well as information about additional recommendations. 

The admissions office strongly encourages you to apply online using the Common Application and Yale Supplement. The online versions of the Common Application and the Yale Supplement are easy to use and ensure quick and accurate transfer of your personal information to our database. In the most recent application cycle, over 98 percent of Yale’s applicants filed their applications online. It generally takes far longer to process a paper application than an online application, especially close to the deadline dates. For the same reason, the admissions office encourage you to have your teachers and counselor submit their forms online if they can.

Please use your full legal name on all admissions documents, including teacher recommendations, the school report, standardized test results, supplementary materials, etc. The admissions staff will file your application under the full legal name listed on your Common Application. If the admissions office receives documents under any other name, they might not be filed with your application.

If you do mail any paper documents to us, “Regular Decision” on the envelope so that we can process your materials more quickly. Any materials that need to be sent via the U.S. Postal Service should be sent to our post office box:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions          
Yale University
P.O. Box 208234       
New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8234

If you or your school send material by Federal Express, UPS, TNT, DHL, or other private delivery services, please use our street address:  

Office of Undergraduate Admissions                  
Yale University                               
38 Hillhouse Avenue                      
New Haven, Connecticut 06511

All financial forms and documentation should be sent directly to the Financial Aid Office:

Student Financial Services                        
Yale University               
P.O. Box 208288                          
New Haven, CT 06520-8288

2.     Jesse Owens asks: I am taking my final SAT test in January and only find out my first semester grades after the application deadline has passed. Will my scores arrive in time?

Your application will be considered incomplete if the admissions office does not receive the required test scores. January is the last month in which SAT Reasoning or SAT Subject Tests may be taken for consideration under Regular Decision. Although the admissions office cannot guarantee that scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee convenes, past experience has shown that tests taken within these months will arrive in time.

We will accept additional school documents throughout the month of January, so have your school forms (e.g. teacher recommendations and secondary school report) sent as soon as they are available. As long as your application materials (Common Application and Yale Supplement) were sent or submitted by the deadline, you will be considered for admission to the Class of 2016. 

3.     Jane Austen asks: I forgot to include something in my application/ I need to change something on my application but I have already applied.  How can I fix this?

You may send a short letter with the additional information (by regular mail) to the admissions office so that we can add it to your file.  Be sure to include your application number and other identifying information (such as your birthday) to make processing easier.  You can also fax this information to our office at 203-777-6120.

If you have name inconsistencies on some of your application materials (different spellings of name, legal names versus nicknames) you should make a note of the name discrepancy on the Common Application in a space designated for additional information.  After you submit your application materials, you may check the status of your application materials online: If there is a problem, you may also contact the admissions officer for your area to alert him or her of the situation; you can find his or her contact information here:

4.     J.P. Morgan asks: My parents are unsure if they can afford to send me to Yale.  Does Yale offer any scholarships?  Will financial aid affect my application to Yale?

Yale is committed to meeting every student’s demonstrated financial need. While Yale do not offer merit-based or athletic-based scholarships, Yale does have need-based financial aid available to all students (international or domestic). Yale’s philosophy is that if a student is admitted to Yale and is interested in attending, Yale will work with his/her family to make it affordable for them. Nearly 53% of the freshman Class of 2015 qualified for Yale’s generous financial aid program. The average Yale scholarship to an eligible freshman this year is $38,230, or about 69% of the cost of attendance. Each family’s situation is unique so Yale’s financial aid process is as individualistic and holistic as its admission process. 

Admissions is need-blind, so applying for aid WILL NOT affect your application for admission.  In other words, an applicant’s ability to pay for a Yale education IS NOT considered during the admissions process. 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. You can find everything you need to know about financial aid on our website: and here:

All financial forms and documentation should be sent directly to the Financial Aid Office:

Student Financial Services                        
Yale University               
P.O. Box 208288                          
New Haven, CT 06520-8288

5.     Confucius asks: I am an international student and I speak English as a second language.  Are there different requirements for admission for international students?  Also, am I eligible for financial aid as an international student?

The application process as well as the admissions criteria for students applying from abroad is essentially the same as for those from the US. In addition to background information, Yale’s basic application requirements include a transcript of marks from earned in senior secondary school as well as national exam scores/predictions if applicable, recommendations from 2 teachers and 1 counselor/school administrator, 2 essays, and a list of your activities and honors.  Yale also requires standardized testing from all its applicants in the form of SAT reasoning and two SAT subject tests or the ACT with writing. If your English skills may be in question, the admissions office also recommends that you take the TOEFL or IELTS test. Please keep in mind that the admissions office requires that the recommendation letter be translated, signed, and sealed by an outside party. The translation must be conducted officially by another teacher or administrative member in your high school; you may not translate your own recommendation. Please submit both the original and the English translation. All this information, the application forms (the Common Application and the Yale Supplement), and more can be found on our website,

While Yale does not offer merit-based or athletic-based scholarships, Yale does have need-based financial aid which is available to all students who qualify, domestic AND foreign, regardless of their citizenship status. Applying for financial aid will in no way affect your chances of being admitted, as the admissions process is “need-blind” and does not take financial position into account in its decision making. For more information on applying for financial aid, visit

6.     Elihu Yale asks: I have applied to Yale College. How do I check my application status?

Within three weeks of receipt of your application, we will send an email to the email address you listed on your application. It will include a username, PIN, and instructions for setting up your “Eli Account.” If you do not receive your Eli Account information within three weeks, please check your ‘junk mail’ folder in case our email has been filtered by mistake. To prevent this, you may want to add ‘’ to your address book or contact list. You should use your Eli Account in the coming months to check online for receipt of required application materials.

Please use one email address throughout the application cycle. If your email address changes, please send that information to as soon as possible in case we need to contact you via email.

You may check the status of your application online via your Eli account. Eli account information is sent out by regular mail as part of a confirmation letter, so it may take 1-2 weeks to arrive after your application has been received and processed. If your letter has still not arrived after two weeks, you can call our office during regular business hours for more immediate assistance: 203-432-9300. If you have forgotten your login information, you can email

Please note that it may take 2-3 weeks to process your materials once they have arrived. If you still have not received any confirmation that the admissions office have received your application, please call the office at 203-432-9316 or email You should also call the office if you have a good reason to believe that it is still lacking some of your application materials after checking for receipt of those materials online (

The Common Application’s status codes are as follows:

  • Downloaded = we have the application in our system
  • Submitted = your application is on the Common Application website, but it make take another 1-2 business days for us to download into our system

7.     Marie Antoinette asks: Are there any standardized testing score cut offs?  How about GPA ranges?

Yale does not have any score cutoffs for standardized tests.  During the most recent year, test score ranges (25th to 75th percentiles) for enrolled freshman were:

  • SAT-Verbal: 700-790
  • SAT-Math: 700-800
  • SAT-Writing: 710-790
  • ACT: 31-35

Of course, these scores are just ranges. The important thing for students to show is that they have challenged themselves in the courses that their school offers and done well in those courses.

Each school has a very individual curriculum to offer and a unique way of grading. With this in mind, Yale’s admissions staff does its best to tailor its evaluation based on your particular circumstances so that fairness is maintained in comparing applicants from diverse educational backgrounds. Since each high school has different ways of measuring student grades, Yale does not have an average GPA calculated for accepted students. The admissions committee does not prefer weighted or unweighted GPAs, instead they prefer to see that students have challenged themselves with the strongest curriculum possible at their high school.

While there is no hard and fast rule, it is safe to say that performance in school is more important than testing. A very strong performance in a demanding college preparatory program may compensate for modest standardized test scores, but it is unlikely that high standardized test scores will persuade the admissions committee to disregard an undistinguished secondary-school record.

8.     Johnny Carson asks: Is it possible to obtain an on-campus or alumni interview?

Unfortunately, at this time the admissions office cannot offer on-campus interviews. Do not be discouraged if you aren’t able to schedule an on-campus interview. Please keep in mind that once you submit an application you may have the opportunity to interview with an alumnus/a in your area. We urge all applicants, whether or not they have scheduled interviews, to visit the campus if they possibly can. You can plan your visit to Yale here:

If there is an alumnus in your area, you may be contacted for an alumni interview after you have sent in your application. Interviews will be offered on a space-available basis to as many applicants as possible, but applicants may not request an alumni interview. Please note that interviews are not required. While alumni interviews are available in most parts of the United States and in many foreign countries, there are places where Yale cannot offer alumni interviews. If an alumni interview is not available where you live for whatever reason, don’t worry. Interviews are not required in order for the admissions staff to evaluate your application, and we don’t disadvantage students who are not able to have an interview.

9.     Benedict Arnold asks: I have visited campus three times and attended an evening information session. Does that count in favor of my being admitted?

Unfortunately, it does not.  But it doesn’t count against you either and we’re glad that you came to visit and connect with us!

Unlike some schools, Yale does not track your communications with the admissions office or your visits to Yale. It is not necessary to be in regular contact with the admissions office. Admissions officers are happy to answer your questions, but emails, phone calls, or visits will not affect your application.

10.  Plato asks: Is there one type of Yalie? 

There is no magical formula for becoming a Yalie—Yale has an incredibly diverse student population with many unique strengths, and the admissions office has no official “minimum” grade requirements because each applicant is evaluated on a very individual level based on their individual achievements within the structure of their particular education system. It is not necessary, for example, to take AP exams to gain entrance to Yale if AP classes are not offered at your high school. The only thing that Yale requires is that you challenge yourself in the school in which you are enrolled.

That being said, Yalies all have a passion for learning and demonstrate it through leadership in their school and home communities. The admissions office estimates that over three quarters of the students who apply for admission to Yale are qualified to do the work here. But here is the thing to know: the great majority of students who are admitted stand out from the rest because a lot of little things, when added up, tip the scale in their favor. So what matters most in your application? Ultimately, everything matters. The good news in that is that when so many little things figure into an admissions decision, it is fruitless to worry too much about any one of them since the members of the admissions committee will consider every part of your application when making its decision.

Our advice is to pursue what you love and tell us about that. The Common Application and Yale Supplement give you the opportunity to tell us more about your background, activities, interests, and motivation for applying to Yale. Write openly and honestly about activities, interests, or experiences that have been meaningful to you. Most importantly, write in your own voice about topics that you are passionate about.  If an essay doesn’t sound like the person who writes it, it will not work well as a personal statement. The admissions committee reads essays very carefully and tries to get a full sense of the human being behind them because they are looking for students who will bring an enthusiasm and energy to campus in addition to an excellent academic and testing record. 

So be yourself. Ask the teachers who really know you to recommend you. Apply and relax.

Unfortunately, the admissions office can’t assess anyone’s individual chances, as admission to Yale is a highly holistic process and is decided by a panel rather than by an individual. But the admissions office wishes you the best of luck and looks forward to reading your application!

For more advice to applicants, check out the Advice section of our website:

11.  YOU ask: If you have any questions that I did not address in this post, send us an email at Also, check out our website for a lot of helpful answers and tips about all stages of the college process:

Good luck everyone!