Eli Whitney Program for Nontraditional Students

I attended Yale College but did not graduate. I now want to complete my degree. What should I do?

The usual procedure is to apply for reinstatement through the Yale College Dean’s Office. This path requires you to attend as a full-time student, and gives you the option to live in campus housing. If you have been out of Yale for over five years and still need at least eighteen course credits to graduate, you may instead apply as an Eli Whitney student. Coming back to Yale as an Eli Whitney student gives you the option of finishing your degree on either a part- or full-time basis. On the other hand, as an Eli Whitney student you will not be able to live in campus housing. Please note that Eli Whitney students must take a minimum of eighteen term course credits at Yale to qualify for a degree.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of courses an Eli Whitney student must take in a term or year?

Eli Whitney students may choose to take up to nine course credits each year (roughly the equivalent of nine semester courses), and must take at least three course credits each year to remain in good standing. International students who hold F-1 student status for this program must register as full-time students taking at least three Yale course credits per term. 

Does it matter where I take college courses? Can I enroll at a community college?

You should pursue coursework at a fully accredited post-secondary institution, such as a public or private college/university that grants bachelor’s degrees or a community college that grants associate’s degrees. Many Eli Whitney students have taken courses at community colleges at some point during their educational careers. Please note that courses completed online are not transferable. 

Should I apply as a first-year, transfer, or Eli Whitney candidate?

You should apply as a first-year applicant if: you consider yourself a traditional student and have not taken a significant break in your education (you can still apply as a first-year if you had a gap of just one or two years); and you will have less than the equivalent of one year’s worth of transferable credits. On-campus housing is guaranteed for all 4 years for students who apply as first-years.
You are eligible to apply as a transfer applicant if: you will have completed the equivalent of at least one year of full-time college study but have not accumulated more than two years’ of transferable credits; and you wish to pursue your studies on a full-time basis. On-campus housing for transfer students is available.
If your college experience was delayed or interrupted at any point for five or more years, then you may apply to the Eli Whitney Students Program (EWSP). Keep in mind that first-year and transfer students must attend full time, but Eli Whitney students have the flexibility to attend on a part- or full-time basis. Undergraduate on-campus housing is not available to Eli Whitney students. Unlike all other undergraduates, tuition costs for Eli Whitney students vary depending on the number of credits taken in any given semester. The maximum amount of Yale Scholarship per semester for Eli Whitney students is capped at the cost of tuition.

What college courses should I take before submitting an application?

It is strongly encouraged that you take rigorous liberal arts courses in the humanities, social sciences, foreign languages and natural or physical sciences. You should consider taking courses in math (preferably through at least Pre-Calculus) as well as classes that focus on writing skills. Prospective students intending to major in engineering should also read the special note for engineering majors.  Choose courses similar to those offered at Yale. Classes such as, but not limited to, business, communications, and criminal justice usually would not transfer to Yale and we do not encourage you to take these courses specifically for the purpose of gaining admission to the EWSP. Online classes are not transferable to Yale.

May I apply to the EWSP if I have already obtained a bachelor’s degree?

No. If you have received the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, you are not eligible to apply to the EWSP or any other Yale undergraduate program.

I have not taken any classes in a number of years. May I still apply to the EWSP?

You may still apply to the EWSP, but keep in mind that it is unusual for Yale to admit students who do not demonstrate strong recent academic performance.

I took standardized tests many years ago and I cannot remember my scores. What should I do?

Your high school transcript may include standardized test results. If not, you should ask the College Board (for SAT tests) or ACT, Inc. (for ACT tests) to send the results. For more information regarding SATs, please visit the College Board website or call 866-756-7346. If you are calling from outside the United States, call the College Board at 212.713.7789. You can visit the ACT website, and you may reach ACT by telephone at 319.337.1000.

Are there any other nontraditional programs I should consider?

Yes. The Eli Whitney Students Program receives applications from a far greater number of students than it can accommodate. It is prudent to apply to more than one program. Fortunately, there are many colleges that have programs designed especially for nontraditional students. Some of the non-traditional student programs within a two-hour drive of New Haven are
Columbia University School of General Studies
Connecticut College, Return to College Program
Smith College, Ada Comstock Scholars Program
Mount Holyoke College, Frances Perkins Program
Trinity College, Individualized Degree Program for Adult Learners

What type of housing is available for Eli Whitney students?

Eli Whitney students are not eligible for on-campus undergraduate housing. Many Eli Whitney students live in rental apartments in New Haven. Yale students have access to a list of available rental off-campus properties.

If I am denied admission, may I reapply?

Yes, but you must submit a new application for admission in a subsequent year. A new application fee is also required. Please note that applications will not be considered from individuals who have submitted applications to Yale College more than three times.