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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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Yale University Undergraduate College Application Essays

These Yale University college application essays were written by students accepted at Yale University. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.

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College Application Essays accepted by Yale University

The Absurd, The Prom Anthony Haddad

Yale University

In ninth grade, we learned that Voltaire’s Candide was a satire on society, expressed through the absurd extremities Candide must face. In “What Befell Candide among the Bulgarians”, ‘our hero’ must ‘run the gauntlet six and thirty times through.

An Academic Affair Anthony Haddad

Yale University

Oh, you naughty girl you! NO, I can’t spend the night, I have so much work to do. I’m sorry. look. I promise I’ll make it up to you on the weekend. I won’t even go see my friends on Friday. Yeah, I promise. Sure, of course I think about you. I.

Yanni Anthony Haddad

Yale University

I was about nine when I watched the PBS special “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis” with my extended family. My parents said Yanni was a piano virtuoso, for whatever that was worth to a nine year older. As I awaited in ‘enthusiastic anticipation’, our.

From Negative to Positive (Or Positive to Negative?) The Lurid Confessions of a Member of Teeny Bopper Anonymous Janet Rosenbaum

Yale University

From Negative to Positive (Or Positive to Negative?) The lurid confessions of a member of Teeny-Bopper Anonymous

Wow. Wasn’t I cool? Since this picture was taken, everything outside of myself – my appearance, my surroundings, even my superficial.

EMR Michael Jin

Yale University

The smell of twenty-seven kinds of chili and one style of barbecue wafted through the air at the Palo Alto Chili Festival. It was a perfect day on a summer weekend, one of many I had spent volunteering for the Palo Alto Fire Explorers. The morning.

Having a Ball in Europe Dan Venning

Yale University

On a summer vacation with my family last year, my first experience of independence in Italy was of almost being arrested. My parents had decided that they wanted to go to Europe for our annual summer trip. Since I had studied Latin for three.

Challenges of the New Millennium Anonymous

Yale University

The advent of the year 2000 signifies a new world of hope and challenges for our country and the planet. With developments in technology such as the Internet, the world is coming closer together than ever. It is vital for the survival of our.

The Power of Diversity Anonymous

Yale University

The doorbell rang incessantly. The rest of the NASA Sharpies (as we like to call ourselves) and I in the room looked at each other in confusion – the door was already wide open. Glancing over, we saw Kennedy walk in with a curious look on his.

A Night at the Fifth Avenue Brian D. Earp

Yale University

Midnight was two hours old before I could finally peel out of my costume. The prosthetic nose and glue-on beard tore at my skin as I tugged them off, and they quickly joined the clutter on the bathroom floor: a tired pile of mismatched robes.

The Listening Party Brian D. Earp

Yale University

My brother lives in a “gated community,” one of those manufactured neighborhoods. It was like we were driving through the streets of a toy city, a miniature suburb built for the amusement of a god-sized obsessive compulsive. I myself was steering.

Safeguarding Memories Rachael Ji Yoon Kim

Yale University

Leaping over crooked crevices in the sidewalk, my childhood self hopped a few yards ahead of my grandfather. As I paused to scrutinize a colorful candy wrapper, the smell of melting sugar drifted from a small blue cart where an old woman flipped.

Color Guard Rachael Ji Yoon Kim

Yale University

I like to play with guns and knives.

It’s not what you think: I’m in color guard. Although events like the Virginia Tech incident have worsened the reputation of weaponry, color guard attempts to transform the traditional connotations of.

Poetry Rachael Ji Yoon Kim

Yale University

“Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.”

It is impossible to convey the art of words with more words. Case in point: try to find another word for “salty.” It isn’t bitter; it isn’t sour; it’s salty. Likewise, the terms “.

Colors of Life Anonymous

Yale University

Yellow – one of the primary colors. It is one hue; it is a million hues. Pale yellow, the color of silt in China’s River of Life; saffron yellow, the color of Chinese sovereignty for two millennia; tanned yellow, the tint of my skin.

Unfinished Symphony Hang Xu

Yale University

A small square office, no more than ten feet wide, holds two upright mahogany pianos sitting back-to-back. The metronome marks the beat, ta-ta-ta-ta, first 100 beats per minute, then 105, 110, working toward 120. The door is closed.

The Ride Hang Xu

Yale University

September 15, 2002

“Star 94 FM Real-time Traffic…those heading northwest on Peachtree Industrial should expect major delays due to a gas leak….”

I abruptly change the radio station. What luck! I have moved exactly one mile in ten minutes.

Most Influential Teacher Anonymous

Yale University

She was the toughest; she was the best. She was also the most influential teacher I have ever had. Ms. William, my sixth grade teacher, was never one to settle for second-best. As a demanding teacher, she hadn’t always been popular. In fact, my.

Why I Love Debating Anonymous

Yale University

We are sitting in an empty classroom, two hours after school has ended. Our hands are scribbling furiously across the page, trying to catch up with our torrent of ideas. It is the week before the debate final, and we are doing a dress rehearsal.

Writing With Emily Emily Zhao

Yale University

In my naïve middle schools days, I did not think highly of English class. My love was math, with its logical equations, universal numbers, and challenging problems. English was my second language, something that surrounded and engulfed me the.

Beyond What I Knew Kevin Lin

Yale University

Imagine this: you are working on a complex jigsaw puzzle, placing piece after piece at ease, when you suddenly realize you have absolutely no idea what goes where next. I felt this initial shock when I first reached the third paragraph of a Judith.

Finding My Faith Anonymous

Yale University

A year and a day’s journey lay ahead of every fabled knight in search of the ever elusive Holy Grail, and if said knight was deemed worthy to find it, exhaustion would cause him to sleep at the feet of the Grail without ever truly seeing it. And.

More on Rowing Anonymous

Yale University

The first rower I ever met was my proctor in my dorm. At the end of her senior year, her first year on varsity, I asked her how she felt about closing her career with a championship. “I would have rather been on third boat,” she said, “Less.

The Duty of a Journalist Anonymous

Yale University

“You have a choice to make. If you choose to publish that article, you will be responsible for ruining the reputation of the school. Do you want to have that on your shoulders?” Assistant Principal Jeff Dingo asked me sternly. The following day.

A Tradition of Service Anonymous

Yale University

Each weekend before Christmas the tempting aromas of ginger, cloves and cinnamon permeate our kitchen as jovial friends and family gather. Freshly baked gingerbread for miniature houses are laid out on the table, and bowls of candy and homemade.

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Recent Questions about Yale University

The Question and Answer section for Yale University is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

The Germans had soldiers and guns. The Jews had nothing. A failed outburst would end up in mass killings. The Jews were also weak and starving.

Common themes during this time period were the supernatural, social problems, progress, and the status or position of women.

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Undergraduate Study

At Yale, we view college as a time for students to explore, exercise curiosity, and discover new interests and abilities.

We provide students with an immersive, collaborative, and inspiring environment where they can develop a broadly informed, highly disciplined intellect that will help them be successful in whatever work they finally choose.

Our students graduate with the values and knowledge they need to pursue meaningful work, find passion in life-long learning, and lead successful and purposeful lives.

Yale College

All undergraduates attend Yale College, an intimate learning environment offering instruction in the liberal arts and sciences.

Programs of Study

Browse available majors, academic requirements, and other key info about our undergraduate curriculum.

Undergraduate Research

With access to Yale’s extensive collections and resources, our undergraduates have discovered new species, patented products, and co-authored original research.

International Experiences

There are a variety of global learning opportunities available, from studying abroad to international internships to directed research.

Special Programs

Writing and science programs, directed studies, seminars, and more … students can choose from a number of special academic offerings during their time at Yale.

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

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How to Write the Yale University Application Essays 2017-2018

Yale University is one of the world’s most famous institutes of higher learning. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, the school’s rich history includes famous authors, scientists, and politicians. It is consistently at or near the top of every college rankings list and draws some of the most accomplished students from around the world.

Yale is famous for many things; from its exceptional political science program to its vibrant residential colleges, it’s no surprise that it is a common dream school. But with nearly 30,000 applicants a year and an acceptance rate of just 6.3% (one of the lowest in the country!), not everyone gets the chance to be a Yale Bulldog.

Indeed, being a part of this amazing university requires an amazing application. This includes writing some exceptional essays. But there’s no need to fear! CollegeVine has the advice you need to conquer Yale’s writing supplement.

Read on to understand how to tackle Yale’s 2017-18 writing supplement.

Yale University Application Essay Prompts

Short answer questions (Required)

The short answer questions give you an easy way to make your application memorable. However, too often, many students write something boring or cliché. While your mom might be the most important person in your life and scoring the game-winning goal might be your most memorable experience, the same is likely true for hundreds of other applicants. How can you avoid this? Let’s take a look at the questions.

What inspires you? (35 words or fewer)

This sounds a lot like “vision statements” that many business professionals write for themselves. The idea here is to give a concise summary of what drives you every day.

While brainstorming an answer to this question, it’s a good idea to think about how you would summarize your application in a few sentences. What are your recommenders saying about you? What do your classwork and extracurriculars demonstrate an interest in? What sentence instantly helps to combine the disparate elements of your application into a cohesive narrative? This should help guide an answer to the question that’s consistent with your overall application.

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)

The stereotypical answer to this question is along the lines of Mahatma Gandhi or President Obama. Of course, these are interesting people that anyone would like to have a conversation with, including hundreds of Yale applicants. On the other hand, very few applicants will write about people like Paul Baran or Joseph Campbell. You can make your application stand out by mentioning someone unique.

Once again, this question gives you the opportunity to reference back to the rest of your application. If you’re trying to show you really love math, maybe write about Pierre de Fermat. Or, if you have already written two essays about math, show you’re well-rounded by writing about Strom Thurmond.

The second part of this question is about what you’d like to ask the selected individual. Admissions officers see questions like “what is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?” all the time. Be original! Think about how the person you’ve selected interacts with your application. Remember, the question you would ask them reflects upon yourself too.

You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)

This is just a proxy to ask “what interests you?” That is, what interests you enough that you’d want to share that passion with a handful of Yale students? You can let your creativity run wild here; if you have a niche interest, this is the perfect place to mention it. An answer like “Designing and Testing Role Playing Games” is a lot better than “Economics 101.”

Alternatively, think about two interests you have. For example, if you like cartoon shows and politics, a class called “The Politics of Cartoon Shows” will definitely catch the eye of an admissions officer.

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)

In one of our team member’s successful Yale applications, he made a long list of things he liked, spicing it up with humorous items like “dank memes.” A list of things is a great way to answer this question; you can easily show your diverse interests in one sentence.

Another way to answer this question is by describing your personality. Are you outgoing and social? Are you calm and composed? Let Yale know with this question, but make sure it doesn’t contradict what your recommenders say about you!

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)

This prompt is a similar to a traditional “Why Major” prompt, however, 100 words is a very tight amount of space, and thus you need to be comprehensive and clear. Whether or not you plan on majoring in physics, economics, or neuroscience, the same basic strategy can be applied across the board.

As directly as possible, you need to describe what exactly is most fascinating or compelling about your intended major. For example, if you are interested in linguistics, you could write specifically about the nuances of language formation in prehistoric hominids or how language and thoughts are linked in dreams. If you are interested in psychology, you could explain how you want to better understand consumer mentalities in order to build organic and effective marketing campaigns.

Whatever your interest is, waste no space in diving right into the most specific details. Then, work to connect the details to future goals and interests. Make a statement about how you will act upon your interest.

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

Like other Yale responses, here you are challenged to discuss your thoughts deeply and clearly in a limited amount of space. A great resource to consider is CollegeVine’s “Why School” essay guide , which contains excellent information about how to tackle any specific school prompt.

For Yale in particular, you want to pick a refreshing aspect about the school that really piques your interest. One way would be to discuss how the school culture and atmosphere spark an electric fervor for learning. Be keen on discussing very specific and poignant details. For example, if you visit Yale, you may immediately notice the silent focus that permeates the massive libraries or the clarity of the cold winter air. Don’t be afraid to use acute or even sensory details to describe these experiences and the aspects of Yale that have led you to apply. A great strategy is to choose an idea, opportunity, or aspect that is very concrete and specific and build around it, as opposed to discussing an exhaustive list of reasons without truly elaborating in depth.

Don’t Worry — We’ll edit your admissions essay in a few hours.

Submit your essay and we’ll get it back to you with helpful edits.

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.)

This question is about specificity, so be specific! Tell the Admissions Office exactly what you’ve done with computer science or engineering. If you’ve taken AP classes in these fields, mention them. If you’ve done your own independent projects, make these the focus of your essay. Don’t talk about your general love for engineering or Yale’s general strength as a school. If you’re writing this essay, Yale already knows about this!

The second part of this question is to reflect on what Yale’s program will offer you. For example, Yale is famous for their biological science department, as well as for having many Nobel laureates. Tell them exactly what you’d like from your engineering education (even if you don’t know yet). For example, if you’re interested in medicine, tell them how you like Lisa Sanders’ community outreach or that Stephen Fleck’s research interests you.

Longer essays (2 of 3 required)

Here comes the most important part of the writing section: the two longer questions. You have up to 250 words to respond to TWO of the following three prompts.

What do you most enjoy learning?

What makes you tick? What intellectual thoughts keep you up at night? Yale is looking for students driven by a passion for learning; they want to see the ability to succeed within a focused field of study (i.e., the college major). Therefore, your answer to this question should convey your love for a certain field of study. Keep in mind that your answer isn’t constrained to classroom subjects — if you read books about sports statistics on your own time, that’s a perfectly valid answer!

Example 1: A broad answer like “physics.” If you choose such a vast topic, make sure you focus on what specifically excites you about it. Since answers like “physics” are going to be common, you need to convey your passion in a unique, memorable way. Tell Yale what part of quantum mechanics excites you and how you look forward to certain lab experiments. However, try to avoid really broad topics like “science.” If your transcript distinguishes between different sciences, your essay should too.

Example 2: A very specific answer like “15th-century European history.” There aren’t going to be many (if any!) other applicants with that answer, so you’ve already made yourself memorable. The challenge here is to tell a broader narrative of what excites you about this distinct topic. You could talk about how you got interested in it and why it excites you more than, say, European history as a whole. A word of caution though: Don’t claim an interest that the rest of your application doesn’t support! Between your transcript and recommendation letters, it could be very clear that your professed passion is not as intense as it seems.

No matter what you talk about, make sure your essay conveys your intellectual vitality — an interest and desire for learning. The exact thing you talk about matters less than showing a deep passion for a specific interest. Focus on your involvement with the process of learning and the rest of the essay should fall in place.

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

This is what CollegeVine considers “the leadership essay.” Show off how you took charge in a situation to make a real impact! You shouldn’t talk about a group you were minimally involved with nor should you only talk about the accomplishments of the group. Make sure the essay reflects well on you, not just on the group .

A few examples of how to answer this prompt:

Example 1: Again, mentioning your research here isn’t a bad approach (unless you’ve done so in a previous answer!). Research isn’t constrained to scientific research either. If you’ve been involved in some academic pursuit outside of school, this is also a great place to talk about your impact.

Example 2: Have you been involved in your school? Clubs, sports, student council — these are all common places for visionary leadership. Talk about how you’ve engaged with the community, grown as an individual, and left your mark. Make sure the essay focuses on you, with the engagement providing the necessary stories and insights to write compellingly.

Example 3: Involved in your community? Common groups include churches, hospitals, activism, and non-profits. If your political activism or volunteering has made a difference you’re proud of, this is the perfect essay for you! Again, focus on your role and your impact, rather than that of the organization. For example, if you volunteered at a hospital, don’t tell Yale about how hospitals are important; tell them how you rearranged the bookshelf to make the books easily accessible.

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

Ah, the wildcard. Be careful if you choose this prompt; your answer better convey something memorable! Don’t tell them about your GPA or pet goldfish; this essay is for truly extraordinary things. Before you choose to answer this prompt, ask yourself: Do I have something truly unique to share? If the answer is yes, this is the question for you.

Some possibilities include:

Example 1: If you have experienced personal or familial hardship, and you don’t talk about it in your Common App essay, this is the perfect place to mention it. Make sure not to be too negative in your writing, but rather to focus on how you got through the experience and what you learned. Remember that the prompt is about YOU, so tell them about you.

Example 2: Did you spend your childhood in Kenya? Do you read a book every day? These are really interesting aspects of yourself that could make your application a lot more memorable. So mention them! Use this essay to tell Yale exactly what they should remember you by. When they talk about you in committee deliberations, you’ll be the “applicant who read 365 books in one year” instead of “another kid with a 36 on the ACT and 4.2069 GPA.”

Example 3: Do you have some personality trait that you haven’t mentioned anywhere else? For example, do you smile way more than you should or does your bright pink hair define you? If so, you should write about this. There are likely opportunities for humor in such an essay, so if you’re a funny type, this is your space to show it.

General Reminders

Yale is one of the most selective schools in the country, so applaud yourself for shooting so high! Great essays are quite possibly the easiest way to distinguish yourself from thousands of other accomplished applicants. Start early, take the essays seriously, and with a bit of luck, you might find yourself with an acceptance letter in a few months.

From everyone here at CollegeVine, we wish you the best of luck writing your Yale essays!

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