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Yale application essay

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Oh boy, grab your popcorn and take a seat, cause I’m about to take you down the rollercoaster of Yale undergraduate admissions.

If I knew what a “top” Yale admissions essay was, I wouldn’t have fretted so much about getting in. Heck, I’d be surprised if anyone outside of the admissions committee knew what a top admissions essay was.

Fear not. You don’t need a top essay to get into Yale. Your essay does not have to win awards. But it does need to win the hearts and minds of those reading it.

If you want a little bit of insight into exactly whose hearts and whose minds you are writing for, I’d suggest you tour Bulldog Blogs . The posts on this site come from students, admissions officers, and all sorts of people from around Yale. They are honest, open, and were incredibly helpful for prospective students like me. Take the post 650 Words On College Essays , which has this great quote about writing a top essay:

I do have favorite essays that I can remember, but they have no particular topic in common. Instead, they are the ones where at the end I have a grasp on what it might be like to have a conversation with the writer, to be in the same room as them

Source: Hannah, a Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, on 10/12/17

You want to write an essay that makes you alive, and so more often than not a great essay will center around experiences unique to you. I cobbled together multiple different experiences to create essay that, in the end, had a common thread. That strategy worked best for me, but since your story is different your essay has to be different too.

So relax. Just put some words onto a paper and see where it leads you. Don’t set out to write an essay that sells your strengths—an authentic essay will do that naturally. Don’t set out to “write a better essay than the rest”—tell your story, and after all is said and done, the impression you give might be what gets you admitted.

Again, I’m just a a guy who went through this last year. You don’t have to take me word for word, but do put some thought into what Yale College Undergraduate Admissions has to say.

Tl;dr : Be honest. Be humble. Be yourself. And see what happens!

Hope this helps!

The best admission essay is one written on the topic you’re passionate about. This is #1 advice that you can read everywhere. It is a good idea to tell your story because the admission essay is simply the way for you to talk to the admission committee without facing them.

Usually, you are asked to tell about your personal interests, background, problems that you’ve faced before and how you solved them, what lessons you’ve learned and so on. You should also remember that a good essay engages with the reader from the beginning: you should come up with a catchy introduction because this is the way for you to make a good first impression.

To learn more about Yale admission process you can simply check one of these links:

The Yale University application essay: (“Write about something that you love to do”)

For many students and families, Yale is a dream. With application season getting more and more competitive, how can students step up and turn this dream into a reality? Take a look at the following essay intros from Yale students on AdmitSee:

The incessant Q&A never really got to me. “Yes, I am an albino.” “Yes, my eyes are blue, not red.” “Yes, I do know how much some would pay for this hair.” I always told myself I had a story to tell. God made me special, right? Living with a disability, I sought to convince myself of internal worth at a young age. Nothing truly combatted such worth until I reached high school and listened more closely. Surprisingly, words murmured behind my back dug a lot deeper than inquiries and insults to my face. Whereas before it merely represented a conversational ice-breaker, albinism began to define my identity. No longer did others know me as the theatre kid with chamber music on his iPod. Rather, I became a sight to see. “I saw a shooting star!” “I saw an albino!”

I turned to see my mother’s red face, eyes welled with tears that I have not seen since my family immigrated to the United States. I remember the sorrow and vulnerability consuming my mother’s face, but I only heard my heart pounding against my chest. For the first time as a child, I remember hoping my suspicions and theories about my father’s long-term absence were wrong; How could he abandon his young family? Why would he abandon me?” In addition, if you still don’t know what is a response paper , follow the link to learn what it is, each student must know it.

Essay Topics

All applicants to Yale are asked to respond to a few Yale-specific short answer questions. Those applying with the Coalition Application are asked to upload a digital file of their creation along with a short reflection. Those applying with the Common Application are asked to respond to two short essay prompts. Those applying with the QuestBridge National College Match Application are asked to complete a short Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, available via the Yale Admissions Status Portal after an application is received and a student activates his/her status portal. See additional details below.

You may begin your freshman application to Yale by visiting the Coalition Application, the Common Application, or QuestBridge 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 2017-2018 Yale-specific questions for the Coalition Application, Common Application, and QuestBridge Application below.

Short Answer Questions

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge 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)
  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)

Applicants submitting either the Coalition Application or Common Application are also asked to respond to the following short answer questions:

  • What inspires you? (35 words or fewer)
  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host intimate 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? (35 words or fewer)
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)
  • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six people. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)

Essays – Coalition Application

In 300 words or fewer, write on one of the two essay topics below. In addition to writing on your chosen topic, upload an audio file, video, image, or document you have created that is meaningful to you and relates to your essay. Above your essay, include a one-sentence description of what you have submitted.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?
  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?

Please limit your upload to the following file types: mp3, mov, jpeg, word, pdf. Note that advanced editing of audio/video/image/documents is not necessary. 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 via the Coalition Application 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 250 words or fewer.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?
  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?
  • Write on something you would like us to know about you that you have not conveyed elsewhere in your application.

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.)

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Yale College Undergraduate Admissions

Copyright ©2018 Yale University. All rights reserved

Application Instructions & Components

There are three ways to apply to Yale for freshman admission. Select the option that is right for you.

Yale will accept any one of these applications, without preference for one over another. Students should submit one – and only one – application per admissions cycle. Click on the links below to learn more about each type of application.

All applicants for freshman admission must submit one of the following:

See the information below regarding the additional requirements for all freshman applicants.

Additional requirements for all freshman applicants:

Additional Information

$80 Application Fee or Fee Waiver

Applicants should pay the $80 application fee via the Common Application or Coalition Application website. The QuestBridge National College Match Application is free, but note that only students named QuestBridge Finalists may apply to Yale with the QuestBridge National College Match Application.

Applicants using the Common Application or Coalition Application may request that the application fee be waived. Qualifications for a fee waiver are as follows:

  • You have received or are eligible to receive an ACT or SAT testing fee waiver.
  • You are enrolled in or eligible to participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch program (FRPL).
  • Your annual family income falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines set by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
  • You are enrolled in a federal, state, or local program that aids students from low-income families (e.g., TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
  • Your family receives public assistance.
  • You live in a federally subsidized public housing, a foster home or are homeless.
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan.
  • You can provide a supporting statement from a school official, college access counselor, financial aid officer, or community leader.

If you feel that your college application and financial aid application fees present a severe hardship for your family, but you are not sure if you meet the qualifications as outlined above, please consider the final bullet point carefully. If there is an adult in your community who could attest to your family’s economic situation, please do not hesitate to request a fee waiver. You will not need to submit supporting documentation unless specifically asked to do so. More information about the guidelines Yale uses to determine eligibility for fee waivers is on the Fee Waiver page.

Two Teacher Recommendations

High school teachers can provide extremely helpful information in their evaluations. In addition to discussing your performance in their class or classes, teachers may also write about your motivation, intellectual curiosity, energy, relationships with classmates, and impact on the classroom environment. Solicit recommendations from teachers who have taught you in core academic subjects, who know you well, and who have seen you at your best. It is also preferable, but not required, that letters come from teachers who have taught you during your junior or senior year of high school. Through experience, admissions officers have found that letters from junior or senior year teachers are the most illuminating. Yale does not encourage supplemental letters of recommendation. Those considering a supplemental letter of recommendation should first read Supplementary Materials-Extra Recommendations.

Recommendations should be submitted electronically through the Common Application or Coalition Application website. For QuestBridge Finalists, recommendations and transcripts are automatically forwarded to Yale with the QuestBridge National College Match Application. If necessary, teachers may also submit their recommendations via mail or fax. Recommendations may be sent before or after you submit your application; materials that arrive before your application will be kept on file. The admissions office understands that it may not be possible in some cases for teachers and counselors to meet the application deadlines. We will make reasonable allowances for late school documents.

Counselor Recommendation and School Report (including transcript)

The counselor recommendation and transcript give the Admissions Committee a sense of your place in your high school class and in the larger school community. Your counselor can provide insight into the rigor of your academic program, highlight leadership positions, share information on your background, and help your application come to life. If your college counselor does not know you well, he or she can still provide helpful contextual information about your school and its academic programs.

A counselor recommendation and complete secondary school transcript should be submitted electronically through the Common Application or Coalition Application website. For QuestBridge Finalists, recommendations and transcripts are automatically forwarded with the QuestBridge National College Match Application. If necessary, counselors and/or other school officials may submit recommendations and transcripts via mail or fax. Recommendations and transcripts may be sent before or after you submit your application; materials that arrive before your application will be kept on file. The admissions office understands that it may not be possible in some cases for teachers and counselors to meet the application deadlines. We will make reasonable allowances for late school documents.

Standardized Test Results

All applicants for freshman admission should submit either the SAT or the ACT with Writing. For SATs taken in March 2016 or later, the additional essay is required. Applicants to the Yale Classes of 2021 and 2022 may submit either the old or the new SAT. More information on Yale’s test policies, including Score-Choice and recommended tests, is available on the Standardized Testing page. Standardized tests are just one component of a student’s application and are viewed within the context of the student’s entire file. There is no minimum score required for admission, nor is there a score that will guarantee admission. The middle 50% of test scores (the 25th to the 75th percentiles) for enrolled freshman are as follows:

  • SAT-Verbal: 720-800 (Old SAT)
  • SAT-Math: 710-800 (Old SAT)
  • SAT-Writing: 710-790 (Old SAT)
  • ACT Composite: 32-35

All applicants for freshman admission who have not already graduated from secondary school should submit a mid-year report with official grades from the first marking period of the current academic year as soon as those grades are available. A school counselor or official should submit the grades directly to Yale, online via the Common Application or Coalition Application, or via mail or fax.

Application Acknowledgment, Yale Admissions Status Portal, Checklist, and Admissions Decisions

  • Beginning in mid-October, a student who has submitted an application will receive a confirmation email that includes a PIN and instructions for activating a Yale Admissions Status Portal account. If you do not receive a confirmation email within two weeks after submitting your application, please check your junk mail folder in case the email has been filtered by mistake. To prevent this add donotreply@yale.edu to your address book or contact list.
  • Applicants should use the Yale Admissions Status Portal throughout the admissions cycle to check for the receipt of required application materials.
  • Applicants will use the Yale Admissions Status Portal to view an admissions decision online when it becomes available.
  • Applicants should use one email address throughout the application cycle. If your email address changes, use the Yale Admissions Status Portal to notify the admissions office of changes.

Important Note about Legal Names

Please use your full legal name on all admissions documents, including teacher recommendations, the school report, standardized test results, supplementary materials, etc. The admissions office will file your application under the full legal name listed on your application. Documents received under any other name might not be matched successfully with your application.

Mailing and Fax Instructions

Applicants should submit all documents online. If you must mail or fax a document, please use the information below.

For materials sent via the U.S. Postal Service, use this address:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8234

For materials sent via FedEX , UPS, TNT, DHL, or other private delivery services, please use this street address:

Office of Undergraduate Admissions

38 Hillhouse Avenue

New Haven, Connecticut 06511

The fax number for application materials is (203) 436-9775.

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Copyright ©2018 Yale University. All rights reserved

Yale Admissions Essays

These college essays are from students who got accepted at Yale University. Use them to get inspiration for your own essays and knock the socks off those admissions officers!

1. Yale Supplement Essay

It’s never easy to appreciate something unconventional. Just ask the people who attended the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s , a performance infamous for sparking a riot, reducing the proud composer to tears. Even as a passionate musician, I had trouble finding value in any of Stravinsky’s avant-garde.

2. Yale Supplement

She wore a fluffy elf cap—powder pink, of course—and at barely an arm’s length, she already sported wispy hair and delicate fingers and toes. Still, her puffy eyes seemed too big for her tiny visage, which seemed curled into an eternal…scowl? Gingerly, I poked one chubby cheek. “Not cute at all,” I .

3. Culture Shock?

I love sitting by the Haft-Seen, surrounded by family, at the turn of another solar year on the first day of spring. I love listening to my dad pray for us with the Quran before him. I love the smell of our traditional foods wafting from the kitchen.

For that one day I am truly an Iranian; before I r.

4. Yale Short Answers

Computer Science, Economics, Italian

I see computer science as a refined way of thinking that allows me to find solutions to all types of queries. To me, economics is finding patterns in the ways that people make choices. I want to study both computer science and economics to develop a solid understa.

5. Loud Learning

My house has never been quiet, and I do not think it ever will be. Living with six siblings is not the definition of tranquility. My parents’ affinity to invite perfect strangers into our home only adds to the chaos. However, I have learned more from this revolving door than I could have ever .

Essays That Worked

Read the top 5 college essays that worked at Yale and more. Learn more.

Yale University Facts

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and selective universities in the world.

Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher educ.

Yale Stats

  • 6.3% acceptance rate
  • 12,336 enrolled students
  • $47,600 tuition & fees
  • #3 in US News & World Report

Located in New Haven, CT

  • 157,757 views

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. William Butler Yeats

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How to Write the Yale Application Supplemental Essays (2017-18)

Yale University is, of course, one of the most prestigious and highly selective universities in the world. Yale prides itself on welcoming the best and the brightest to its gorgeous Gothic campus in New Haven, CT. Admitted students learn from acclaimed professors and unparalleled academic programs. Graduates go on to achieve the greatest of heights, from winning Pulitzer Prizes to snagging a seat in the Oval Office.

That’s all well and good, you’re thinking, but what does it take to get in?

Of all the Ivy League universities, Yale arguably places the greatest emphasis on student interest and fit. That means Yale wants to admit applicants who: A) REALLY want to go to Yale, B) have SPECIFIC reasons for wanting to go Yale, and C) can illustrate HOW they will take advantage of Yale’s many resources. These are the qualities you should highlight in your supplemental essays and short takes.

Now, let’s analyze the Yale supplemental essay prompts and consider the best strategies for acing each one.

What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (required, 125 words)

The infamous Why X University essay requires careful research and planning, particularly in Yale’s case. Yale admissions officers are infamously sensitive to applicants’ interest – and that doesn’t mean interest in Yale’s name brand, or interest in getting into an Ivy League school, or interest in going to Rory Gilmore’s alma mater. No, admissions officers want proof that you know why Yale, specifically, is the right place for you to pursue your goals. After all, there are plenty of elite schools out there; what makes Yale different, for you?

In practice, answering this question well means conducting fairly extensive research. Look into specific professors, courses, student organizations, campus traditions, and other opportunities. Include vivid, descriptive details that show readers that you can really envision yourself thriving on campus. Make connections between your current activities and those that are available to you on Yale’s campus. And don’t remind admissions officers that Yale is a prestigious school. Trust us, they know.

Short Takes (required, 200 characters)

The following four short takes questions require applicants to demonstrate their passions and multi-dimensional personalities in 200 characters or less. No pressure! Luckily, by employing a few key strategies, you can tackle the short takes without fear.

1. What inspires you?

Elsewhere in your application, you’ve demonstrated your specific interests, passions, and goals. You’ve listed the hundreds of hours you’ve dedicated to extracurricular activities. Now, Yale wants to know why. Why did you do it? What was the inspiring impetus for all of that effort and dedication? Admissions officers hope that your answer to this question reveals genuine authenticity.

Think of your response as a personal mission statement. What is the central guiding mission that connects your past accomplishments and future goals? In one sentence, capture the essence of that mission. Use your own voice here, and don’t be afraid to be bold and earnest and ambitious – after all, every big accomplishment starts with a big dream.

To get started, try writing a bullet-pointed list of answers to that WHY question. Don’t think, pre-judge, or censor yourself – just write every single answer you can think of. When you run out of steam, read over your responses and look for patterns or key words that repeatedly come up. These will likely form the backbone of your final answer.

2. Yale’s residential colleges regularly host intimate 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?

Yale admissions officers are looking for intellectually curious, engaged applicants. After all, Yale students are treated to visits from fascinating, diverse, accomplished people from around the world. The admissions team wants to ensure that they admit students who will be excited to attend these events.

Your response should demonstrate a unique perspective and connect in some way to the rest of your application. Interested in tech? Don’t pick someone obvious like Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk. Dig a little deeper – think about interesting, engaging figures on the cutting edge of the tech world right now. Or, look for an accomplished person in your specific niche. The best questions will demonstrate that applicants are in-the-know about their chosen guest speaker’s field. Essentially, your goal should be to demonstrate deep intellectual engagement in a specific field.

3. You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called?

Take a look at Yale’s course listings. Notice how specific and focused many of the course titles are? You can invent an equally focused course that aligns with several of your interests at once. Are you an equestrian who’s passionate about art history? You’d surely be a great candidate to teach “Horses in Art: Symbolism and Significance.” Or, if you have particular expertise in a field, you can create a course that hones in on your specialty.

However, you’re also free to break out of your shell and demonstrate an interest outside of your primary niche. For example, if you’re a pop culture lover with an interest in gender studies, “The Boy Band in American History” might be the course for you. You’ve done a good job showing how serious you are about your interests and goals throughout the application; feel free to loosen up and share a different side of yourself in this response.

4. Most first year Yale students live in suites of four to six students. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite?

This is a personality question. What type of role do you see yourself playing in a future suite? You have a few different structural options here.

You can create a list of features, both small and large, that you’ll bring to the suite dynamic (e.g. “warm and supportive friendship, my excellent banana bread recipe, a passion for movie nights”). The list format enables you to reveal small, personal details that might not pop up elsewhere in your application.

Alternatively, you can choose to strongly identify with a specific role: “I will be the debate moderator, always interested in others’ opinions and eager to hear all sides.”

Focus on being personal, detailed, and true to yourself. Rather than trying to mold yourself into your idea of the ideal Yale student, remember that the admissions team really does want to admit a diverse array of applicants, each of whom will bring unique strengths to their classrooms and friendships at Yale.

Essays (2 out of 3 required, 250 words)

1. What do you most enjoy learning?

Yale wants to see genuine enthusiasm here. What topic could you talk about for hours without getting bored? What do you read about in your spare time? This topic is likely to be connected somehow to your primary application narrative – don’t fake enthusiasm for something you’re only somewhat interested in.

Your main goal should be to convey enthusiasm and passion. Don’t just describe your favorite subject – tell the readers how YOU engage with that subject. Offer vivid details of your engagement in classroom discussion, describe the rewarding nature of searching for truth through the slow and methodical research process, or capture the giddiness you feel as you crack open a new book about your favorite subject.

2. Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?

This question becomes a stumbling block for applicants who worry they haven’t made a big enough impact. In fact, this is a common concern for frustrated students, many of whom half-jokingly complain that they won’t get into college because they “didn’t cure cancer.” Let us make this completely clear: no one expects you to cure cancer! Simply by being a good student, friend, and citizen, you have made meaningful contributions to your community. The trick to answering this question is figuring out how to frame those contributions in the best possible way.

The best strategy here is to think of scenarios in which you’ve played a meaningful leadership role. Think about clubs in which you held a leadership position, groups or events you organized, and volunteer or activist work you did. Then, reflect on specific anecdotes from those scenarios. Which stories stand out as being demonstrative of your broader role/impact?

For example, perhaps as the student government vice president, you helped resolve a conflict (even a minor conflict!) between the president and treasurer. Describe your effort, then reflect on how your strengths as a mediator improved the dynamic of the student government as a whole.

3. Write about something you would like us to know about you that you have not conveyed elsewhere in your application.

This question is ideal for applicants who have something important to share that doesn’t seem to fit into any other essay prompt. For example, you could elaborate on extenuating life circumstances and explain how you overcame them or describe the impact of a major life experience on your personal growth and development. These are crucial pieces of information that the admissions officers will benefit from knowing.

You also have the flexibility to be a little wacky here – but make sure you’re wacky with a purpose. Go ahead and write about your quirkiest habit as long as you draw a meaningful connection between that habit and your core identity. For example, tell us about your personal tradition of waking up each day before sunrise, then explain why that tradition is important to you: you relish the feeling of possibility offered by a new day and the sight of the rising sun inspires you to make the most of your opportunities.

Conclusion

As you write your Yale application essays, remember that each response is another opportunity to showcase your personality, your strengths, and the unique qualities you’ll bring to the Yale campus. Take a deep breath. You can do this!

We’ll be posting “How to Write the Application Supplemental Essay” guides for Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT and more soon – stay tuned!

Looking for personalized assistance with your Yale application and essays? Learn more about our Admissions Advising Program and Essay Coaching services.

For instant edits and detailed analysis of your application essay draft, submit it to our Insta-Edits Essay Review service. You’ll receive feedback in 48 hours or less.

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