Essay Topics

All first-year applicants will complete a few Yale-specific short answer questions. These required questions are slightly different based on the application platform an applicant chooses. The 2019-2020 Yale-specific questions for the Coalition Application, Common Application, and QuestBridge Application are detailed below.

Short Answer Questions

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application will respond to the following short answer questions:

  • Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
  • Why do these areas appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)
  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)

Applicants applying with the QuestBridge Application will complete the questions above via the Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, available on the Yale Admissions Status Portal after an application has been received.

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will also respond to the following short answer questions, in 35 words or fewer:

  • What inspires you?
  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask?
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called?
  • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six students. What do you hope to add to your suitemates’ experience? What do you hope they will add to yours?

Essays

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application will respond to the prompt below in 250 words or fewer:

  • Think about an idea or topic that has been intellectually exciting for you. Why are you drawn to it?

Applicants submitting the Common Application will also select ONE of the two prompts below and respond in 250 words or fewer:

  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How has this engagement affected you?
  • Yale students, faculty, and alumni engage issues of local, national, and international importance. Discuss an issue that is significant to you and how your college experience could help you address it.

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application will also select ONE of the two prompts below and respond in 250 words or fewer: 

  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How has this engagement affected you?
  • Yale students, faculty, and alumni engage issues of local, national, and international importance. Discuss an issue that is significant to you and how your college experience could help you address it.

In addition to writing on your chosen prompt, upload an audio file, video, image, or document you have created. The upload should complement your response to the chosen prompt. Above your response, include a one-sentence description of your upload.

Please limit uploads to the following file types: mp3, mov, jpeg, word, pdf. Advanced editing is not necessary. Uploads provided via the Coalition Application will be reviewed by the Admissions Office only. Review the Supplementary Material instructions for material that may be evaluated by Yale faculty. 

Engineering Essay

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application or Common Application who select one of Yale’s engineering majors will also respond to the prompt below in 300 words or fewer:

  • Please tell us more about what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in engineering, and what it is about Yale’s engineering program that appeals to you.