A message to prospective students, their families, and educators:
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how schools teach and students learn all around the world. The staff at Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions recognizes that the pandemic will have lasting effects on school communities and on students’ academic records, standardized testing opportunities, extracurricular activities, and learning experiences outside of school.
We hope to reassure all future college applicants that your community’s response to the outbreak—and your personal circumstances associated with it—will not negatively affect your chances of admission to Yale.
Yale’s whole-person review process relies on a committee of admissions officers, faculty members, and college deans to make admissions decisions through discussion and deliberation. This system allows for maximum flexibility when considering applicants from all backgrounds and experiences.
Below are insights from our Admissions Committee for prospective students about some common areas of concern:
Just as secondary schools take a diverse set of approaches to curricula and assessment during normal times, schools are taking a diverse set of approaches when responding to the pandemic. We expect that many transcripts will look different for at least some semesters. Regardless of your school’s decisions, we will work to understand your school’s unique context and will not penalize students whose transcripts lack letter grades. It may be helpful to know that Yale does not re-calculate or re-weight grade point averages to a uniform scale.
We also recognize that many students’ personal circumstances may make it especially difficult to achieve at their typical academic level during this time. These considerations will also be part of our committee’s whole-person review.
February 2022: In response to the ongoing disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Yale will extend its test-optional admissions policy for an additional year. All applicants for undergraduate admission for fall 2023 enrollment may apply with or without ACT or SAT scores.
Applicants who have successfully completed one or more ACT or SAT exams should consider including scores, even if those scores are below the middle 50% ranges listed below. Yale’s internal research has consistently shown that ACT and SAT scores are a significant predictor of a student’s undergraduate academic performance. When students include scores with their applications, the Yale Admissions Committee evaluates them within each student’s unique context and uses them to augment other academic indicators throughout the application.
For applicants without scores, the Admissions Committee places greater weight on other parts of the application, such as high school transcripts, recommendation letters, and essays. Competitive candidates with or without scores are those whose applications clearly demonstrate a high degree of academic preparedness, a consistent record of scholastic success, and genuine intellectual curiosity.
If public health conditions improve, Yale will decide on a long-term standardized testing policy in winter 2023. This decision will be informed by the data and insights generated from the 2021, 2022, and 2023 admissions cycles.
Extracurricular Activities and Experiences
The pandemic has caused the cancellation of innumerable events, activities, and programs. It has caused disruptions to family lives and livelihoods with wide-ranging effects on students’ schedules. It has changed nearly everyone’s priorities and opportunities with remarkable speed. We expect that most students’ extracurricular activities and learning opportunities outside of school have been, or will be, affected.
We share your disappointment about canceled performances and sporting events, service projects and mission trips, school activities and conferences. While we wish that all students could continue pursuing their interests and commitments as they did before the pandemic, for most students this will not be possible. We also recognize that many students will need to take on additional responsibilities at home or at a family business during this time.
Yale’s application platforms provide ample space to provide contextual information that can help the Committee understand the factors that shaped students’ opportunities and commitments. Rest assured that Yale will take each student’s unique context into account when reviewing applications. No student will be penalized because of a change in commitments or a change to plans because of the outbreak. Our advice to candidates during this time remains the same: demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for whatever you spend your time doing.
Yale’s commitment to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students remains firm. Yale has made no changes to its financial aid policies, and recent enhancements to Yale’s generous policies remain in effect. The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid will continue to award Yale Scholarship aid solely on the basis of financial need with the goal of making the entire Yale undergraduate experience affordable to all students and their families. Yale’s Quick Cost Calculator provides prospective families a personalized estimate in three minutes.
The current circumstances are unprecedented in our lifetimes, but the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is responding by remaining committed to the thoughtful, human-centered principles and practices that have guided our work for decades. The entire staff at the Admissions Office wish you good health and peace of mind during this challenging time.