First-Year Application Process News and Notes

June 2021: Essay Topics for 2021-2022 Admissions Cycle

The Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions has released the text of the Yale-specific short answer questions that will be included on applications for first-year admission in the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Students applying to begin as first-year students in fall 2022 using the Common Application, Coalition Application, or QuestBridge National College Match Application will complete some or all of these questions. The topics are available at

February 2021 - Extension of Test-Optional Policy to 2021-22 Admissions Cycle

In response to the extraordinary circumstances associated with the pandemic, Yale is extending its test-optional policy for first-year and transfer applicants to the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. For students applying to enroll in the fall of 2022, Yale will temporarily suspend the requirement that applicants submit results from the ACT or SAT.

The staff at the admissions office understands that students have many priorities associated with the consequences of the pandemic; completing standardized tests should not be among them. 

As it has done this year, the Admissions Committee will expect that some applicants will have completed one or more exams and received scores they feel reflect their academic strengths and college preparedness. Others may be disappointed in their performance but face barriers to registering or preparing for an additional exam date. And some students will simply be unable to complete any exam prior to the application deadline. Yale’s policy is designed to accommodate all students with a straightforward option: report ACT or SAT scores if you wish.

Applicants who are unable to complete an exam or who choose not to report exam scores will not be disadvantaged. Applicants who include scores may choose to report scores from one exam date or multiple exam dates. 

While Yale’s test-optional policy is in effect, the admissions office will not report data on the test scores or test-sharing choices of applicants, admitted students, or enrolling students.   

Yale will continue to adhere to Ivy League policies regarding testing requirements for applicants who plan to participate in varsity athletics.

June 2020: Yale announces test-optional policy for 2020-2021 undergraduate admissions cycle

In response to the widespread disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions will temporarily suspend its requirement that first-year applicants submit results from the ACT or SAT.

The change will be in effect during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle for applicants to the Class of 2025. Applicants who are unable to complete an exam or who choose not to report exam scores will not be disadvantaged in the selection process. As announced previously, SAT Subject Tests will not be considered during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.

This one-year policy change reflects the extraordinary circumstances that students, families, and educators are currently facing. This policy applies only to students graduating from secondary school in the 2020-2021 academic year. Transfer applicants and students who intend to apply for admission to enroll in fall 2022 or later should plan to complete the ACT or SAT by the appropriate deadlines.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions remains committed to a whole-person review process that relies on experienced application readers and a committee of admissions officers, faculty, and deans to consider every applicant’s unique context and circumstances. This commitment extends to Yale’s evaluation of a student’s test scores, when available. For applicants who choose to send scores, the Admissions Committee will continue to view the scores within the context of the student’s entire file; to focus on the highest individual section scores for students who have completed the exam more than once; to accept self-reported scores for the purposes of evaluation; and to take context into account if a student has had limited or no opportunities to complete an exam.

Whether an applicant chooses to report standardized test results or not, the committee will pay close attention to a student’s high school transcript, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated academic drive and commitment. As always, the committee will make decisions with the best information available and with as much flexibility as possible to consider applicants from all backgrounds and experiences.

Students who have completed AP Exams, IB Exams, or AICE Exams prior to submitting their applications may opt to self-report scores in the application, but there is no expectation that students enrolled in academic-year courses associated with any of these tests complete exams in spring or summer 2020.

Prospective student-athletes will be required to comply with Ivy League policies and provide test scores for compliance purposes. Specific cases of prospective student-athletes who demonstrate that they do not have access to standardized tests will be considered on an individual basis.

The current circumstances are unprecedented in our lifetimes, but the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is responding by remaining committed to the thoughtful, student-centered principles and practices that have guided its work for decades.