Standardized Testing for Transfer Applicants

Yale evaluates each applicant as an individual. Standardized test scores are just one of many factors Yale may consider when reviewing applications.

Test-Optional Policy: Fall 2024 Admission

Transfer applicants for fall 2024 admission may apply with or without standardized test scores. 

When students include test scores with their applications, the Yale Admissions Committee evaluates them within each student’s unique context and uses them to augment other academic indicators throughout the application. 

For applicants without test scores, the Admissions Committee places greater weight on other parts of the application, such as transcripts, recommendation letters, and essays. Competitive candidates with or without scores are those whose applications clearly demonstrate a high degree of academic preparedness, a consistent record of scholastic success, and genuine intellectual curiosity.

For applicants who have previously applied to Yale, all test results submitted in prior applications will be available for review.

Test Optional Overview

Yale’s transfer application for fall 2024 admission includes the following question: “Yale is providing applicants the option to have their applications reviewed with or without ACT or SAT scores. Do you wish to have ACT or SAT scores considered with your application?” 

  • Applicants who respond “Yes” may not change their response. Any official or self-reported ACT or SAT scores included with a student’s application will be considered during the review process.
  • Applicants who respond “No” may change their response to “Yes” by using the Application Update Form on the Yale Admissions Status Portal to self-report ACT or SAT results at any time after applying.

Test-Flexible Policy: Fall 2025 Admission and Beyond

Standardized tests are required of all transfer applicants for fall 2025 admission and later. Applicants will choose which scores to include from four options: 

  • ACT
  • Advanced Placement (AP) 
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • SAT

Applicants choosing to submit AP or IB scores should include results from all subject exams completed prior to applying.

The admissions process for the Eli Whitney Students Program (EWSP) for nontraditional students is test-optional. Review EWSP eligibility guidelines and application instructions.  

What Test-Flexible Means

Yale’s test-flexible policy is designed to empower applicants to put their best foot forward. There is no perfect test, and no one-size-fits-all approach to demonstrating a student’s college readiness. Prospective transfer applicants should consider the exams they have completed and self-report the results that best complement the other academic information in their application—such as their transcripts, honors and awards, and educational experiences outside the classroom.

Admissions officers do not prefer one type of test over another and do not penalize applications that lack particular test scores. Neither perfect scores nor a long list of completed exams are required to be competitive in Yale’s selection process.

To learn more, listen to Inside the Yale Admissions Office – Standardized Tests: The Big Picture

Selecting Scores When Applying

When completing the Yale-specific questions on the Common Application, transfer applicants for fall 2025 admission and later will respond to three prompts: 

1. Select one or more test types from the list of four options to indicate which scores you wish to have considered.

2. Self-report any scores from the test type(s) selected above that are not included elsewhere in your application. 

3. Provide any details of circumstances that may have affected your experience preparing for or completing tests (optional). 

To learn more, listen to Inside the Yale Admissions Office – Standardized Tests: The Details

How Yale Considers Standardized Tests

Admissions officers read applications holistically, using all the information available to paint a picture of a student’s strengths and potential to contribute to a college community. An application is like a jigsaw puzzle: the picture is not complete without all its pieces. 

Academic strength is Yale’s first consideration. Every successful application demonstrates that a student has the academic foundation necessary to complete Yale’s rigorous liberal arts program, including coursework in the diverse range of subjects that fulfill Yale’s distributional requirements.

A student’s transcript tells the selection committee much about a candidate’s preparation: it provides evidence of a student’s academic drive, resourcefulness, and performance over time. Testing can fill in additional parts of the picture. Tests can highlight an applicant’s areas of academic strength, reinforce high school and college grades, fill in gaps in a transcript stemming from extenuating circumstances, and—most importantly—identify students whose performance stands out in context. 

For these reasons, admissions officers consider standardized test scores and transcripts together. Strong scores are not a substitute for a weak transcript, and weaker scores do not disqualify an applicant. Scores are evaluated within each student’s unique context and are used to augment other academic indicators in the application.

To learn more, listen to Inside the Yale Admissions Office – Standardized Tests: The Big Picture

Advice on Selecting Scores to Include for Test-Flexible

When considering which scores to include with your application, consider the following questions:

  • Do the scores indicate my preparation for a rigorous liberal arts curriculum?
  • Do the scores reflect areas of academic strength?
  • Do the scores help showcase my academic range?
  • Do the scores supplement the courses and grades on my transcripts?
  • Am I proud of the scores as a reflection of the effort I put into preparing for the test(s)?

Keep in mind that Yale’s review process is holistic and contextual. All test scores are considered by real people; they are not fed into an algorithm or weighting rubric. If extenuating circumstances affected your experience preparing for or completing an exam, share the details in Yale’s optional question. 

Try to avoid the urge to seek equivalencies or comparisons among the tests. Each test can help strengthen a student’s application in a unique way, and the most helpful test for an individual applicant will depend on that student’s specific context.

Yale enrolls students with a range of scores. The middle 80% of ACT and SAT scores (the 10th to the 90th percentiles) of students who enrolled in fall 2020 were as follows:

  • ACT Composite: 31-36
  • SAT-Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 680-790
  • SAT-Math: 690-800

These ranges provide a snapshot of the class, not a floor for competitiveness in Yale’s selection process. It is not the case that scores below a certain threshold “hurt” an application while those above “help” it. Scores below these ranges can still be helpful to establish an applicant’s academic preparation for Yale coursework. The admissions office plans to publish similar data on score ranges for students applying with AP and IB exam scores in summer 2025. 

If you are struggling to decide whether to include or exclude a set of scores, rest assured that, on their own, a single set of scores do very little to sway an applicant’s overall candidacy. Yale’s test-flexible policy reflects the Committee’s belief that scores are often revealing but never determinative.

For more insights and advice, listen to Inside the Yale Admissions Office – Standardized Tests: The Details

Specific Test-Flexible Policies

  • Applicants reporting results from the SAT should include scores from the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math sections.
  • Applicants reporting results from the ACT should include scores from the English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science sections as well as a Composite Score. The writing section is optional.
  • Applicants reporting results from AP or IB exams should include scores from all subject exams completed prior to applying. There is no minimum number of subject-based exam scores required. 
  • Applicants may report “super-scored” results from the SAT or ACT, i.e. their highest section scores or a recalculated ACT composite score from across multiple test administrations.
  • Only completed or final test scores — not predicted scores — will fulfill Yale’s standardized testing requirement.
  • The Admissions Committee will consider self-reported results from all eligible tests when evaluating applications. Applicants who are admitted and choose to matriculate at Yale will be required to provide official results of all self-reported scores prior to enrolling. Discrepancies between an applicant’s self-reported scores and official scores may result in the withdrawal of an offer of admission.
  • Applicants who wish to share an additional score after submitting their application may use the “Update Application” form available on the Yale Admissions Status Portal to self-report new scores, or list Yale as an official score recipient. Yale’s CEEB code for the SAT and AP is 3987; the ACT code is 0618.
  • Review Standardized Testing FAQs for more details. 

Testing for non-native English speakers

Yale requires that non-native English-speakers who have not taken at least two years of their most recent education where English is the medium of instruction submit the results from any of the proficiency tests listed below.

TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL requires pre-registration for available testing dates. Yale’s most competitive applicants have scores of at least 100 on the internet-based TOEFL.

IELTS International English Language Testing System

The IELTS offers proficiency tests in locations around the world. Pre-registration is required. Yale’s most competitive applicants have IELTS scores of 7 or higher.

Cambridge English Qualifications

Cambridge English exams are available at testing locations around the world. Pre-registration is required. Yale’s most competitive applicants have Cambridge English scores of 185 or higher on the C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency, or B2 First exams.

DET Duolingo English Test

Applicants may submit the Duolingo English Test (DET), which combines an English proficiency test with a brief video interview. Duolingo’s technology and format allows applicants to complete the test at any time or place with internet access. Yale’s most competitive applicants have DET scores of at least 120.

InitialView InitialView

InitialView provides live, unscripted video interviews that candidates may submit to colleges for consideration with other application materials. Interview times must be reserved in advance. There is no scoring associated with these interviews.