A message to prospective students, their families, and educators:
The COVID-19 outbreak is changing how schools teach and students learn all around the world. The staff at Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions recognizes that the outbreak 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. Our upcoming admissions cycles will be no different.
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 outbreak. We expect that many transcripts will look different for at least the spring 2020 semester. 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.
Yale requires all applicants for first-year and transfer admission to report results from the ACT or SAT. At this time, we expect there will be sufficient opportunities for all applicants to complete the ACT or SAT before the next admissions deadlines. If Yale’s policies change, we will provide a public notice as soon as possible.
Extracurricular Activities and Experiences
The outbreak 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 outbreak, 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 Admissions Office staff was disappointed that the outbreak caused many thousands of prospective students and families to miss an opportunity to visit New Haven this spring. Although we believe there is no true substitute for visiting a campus, we are happy offer live virtual information sessions and five spectacular virtual-tour experiences.
It may be helpful to know that Yale does not track campus visits or any form of demonstrated interest when evaluating applications. We hope prospective students will be able to visit Yale at a later date, but those who are unable to visit will not be at any disadvantage in the admissions process.
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.