Essay Topics

Students applying to Yale with the Coalition Application or Common Application are asked to respond to a few Yale-specific short answer questions in addition to the Common Application’s personal statement essay or the Coalition Application’s general essay. Those who submit the Coalition Application are also asked to upload a digital file of their creation along with a short reflection. Those who submit the Common Application are asked to respond to two short essay prompts. See additional details below.

You may begin your freshman application to Yale by visiting the Coalition Application or Common Application online. We recommend reviewing Yale’s advice on putting together your application before you begin.

If you would like to begin working on your short answer responses and essays before beginning your application, please see the 2016-2017 Yale-specific questions for the Coalition Application and Common Application below.

Short Answer Questions

Applicants submitting either the Coalition Application or Common Application are asked to 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)
  • Why does Yale appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)
  • Who or what is a source of inspiration for you? (35 words or fewer)
  • If you could live for a day as another person, past or present, who would it be? Why? (35 words or fewer)
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)
  • Most Yale freshmen live in suites of four to six students. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)

Essays - Coalition Application

Upload an audio file, document, image, or video  you have created (any one thing of your choosing) in the last four years that is meaningful to you. It should be related to one of the two topics below. In 250 words or fewer, reflect on why you chose to share this with us and how it relates to the topic you select. (Uploads are limited to the following file types: mp3, word, pdf, jpeg, mov, mp4.)

  • A community to which you belong and the footprint you have left. (You may define community and footprint in any way you like.)
  • A time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something.

Please note that professional-level editing of the audio/document/image/video is neither necessary nor encouraged. While we are not providing limits to the length of the material you upload, the Admissions Office may not have time to review the entirety of your submission. Sometimes, less is more.

Uploads provided here will be reviewed by the Admissions Office only. If you wish to submit material that may be evaluated by Yale faculty, please see our Supplementary Material instructions.

Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay

If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, 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 computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)

Essays - Common Application

Please choose two of the following topics and respond to each in 200 words or fewer.

  • What is a community to which you belong? Reflect on the footprint that you have left. (You may define community and footprint in any way you like.)
  • Reflect on a time in the last few years when you felt genuine excitement learning about something.
  • Write about something that you love to do.

Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay

If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, 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 computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)