Eli Whitney: Application and Instructions

Please review the information below carefully before beginning the Eli Whitney Students Program application.

Admissions Overview

Yale looks for nontraditional students who demonstrate intellectual depth and curiosity, strong motivation, energy, leadership, community involvement and/or professional achievement. The Admissions Committee uses a holistic approach and considers many factors when reviewing applications. 

Academic strength is an especially important factor. Although some successful applicants have been out of the classroom for many years and have weak high school records, excellent candidates demonstrate strong recent performance in demanding liberal arts and science courses. Most successful applicants have recent college GPAs of 3.8 or above. The SAT and ACT are not required, but the Admissions Committee encourages Eli Whitney applicants to submit SAT or ACT results.

Admission to the EWSP is highly competitive. In recent years, the rate of admission has been below 10%. 


Eligible Eli Whitney applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED and will have been out of high school for five or more years by the time of their proposed matriculation at Yale. Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree are not eligible to apply. There are no typical paths for Eli Whitney students, but many take breaks in their education immediately after high school or after enrolling in college and return to college on a full- or part-time basis prior to applying. 

Academic Preparation

Prospective students without recent academic credentials are encouraged to take classes elsewhere before applying to the EWSP and to enroll in courses that are similar to classes offered at Yale. Higher-level mathematics courses and writing-intensive courses are especially valuable to prepare for Yale’s rigorous curriculum. Online classes are not recommended as they are usually not transferable to Yale. Transferable courses must be taken at fully-accredited institutions, either four-year or two-year, public or private. The majority of Eli Whitney students previously attended community colleges.

Admissions Timeline

November: Online application becomes available
March 15: Admissions application deadline
Late April to Early May: Interviews for select candidates
May 1: Financial aid application deadline
Mid to Late May: Decision notification
Early June: Candidates’ reply date

Application Instructions

The online application for will become available in November.

The online application includes: 

  • An $80 nonrefundable application fee. Applicants who feel that the fee presents severe financial hardship may request a fee waiver in the financial aid section of the application. All veterans of the U.S. military who request a fee waiver will be granted one.
  • Personal and biographical information.
  • Education history including official high school transcripts, GED diplomas (if applicable) and official college transcripts. Official transcripts should be sent electronically to eliwhitney.students@yale.edu.
  • Employment history including a resume with complete educational and professional history. This can be uploaded electronically.
  • Two essays/personal statements and three short answer questions.
  • Three letters of recommendation: At least two should come from instructors who have recently taught you in academic subjects. Select educators who can highlight your academic performance, intellectual capacity, classroom engagement, and interactions with other students. If you have not attended school for several years, you may ask employers, colleagues, or other individuals who know you well to write.
  • Standardized test results: Although not required, the SAT or the ACT are strongly recommended. Non-native English-speakers who have not been taught in the medium of English in the last two years should also submit results from English proficiency exams such as the TOEFL. You may self-report testing on the application. In June, applicants who are admitted and choose to enroll at Yale will be required to submit official score reports that match their self-reported testing.


  • StandOut interviews: All applicants to the Eli Whitney Students Program will be invited in early April to participate in an optional interview via StandOut, an online video interview platform. StandOut provides applicants access to record and submit video responses to interview questions for inclusion in the Eli Whitney Students Program application. StandOut interviews allow applicants an opportunity to share their perspectives and experiences beyond what is noted in their applications. Completing a StandOut interview is entirely optional. Applicants who do not submit StandOut interviews will not be negatively affected in the application review.
  • Virtual interviews: After a preliminary review of completed applications, the Admissions Office offers virtual interviews to a small number of Eli Whitney applicants. These interviews are scheduled with admissions officers during the end of April and early May via a tele-conferencing platform such as Zoom. Interviews with an admissions officer are required for all students admitted to Yale. 

Application Status

Current applicants can check for receipt of required application materials on the Yale Admissions Status Portal using their email address and personal password.

Financial Aid

The Eli Whitney Students Program offers generous need-based financial aid. To apply for financial aid, please visit the EWSP section of the Undergraduate Financial Aid website. The financial aid application deadline for candidates to the EWSP is May 1.

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