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What's New in 2023/24
What Are Yale's Essay Prompts?
Answering the Short Answer Questions
Answering the Short Essay Questions
Dive into Yale's 2023/24 supplemental essay updates, grasp the intricacies of each prompt, and garner insights on penning standout answers with our comprehensive guide, enriched with expert advice and links to exemplary Yale essay samples.
Securing a spot at Yale University, with its acceptance rate between 3-4%, is undeniably challenging. In such a competitive landscape, your supplemental essays become instrumental in distinguishing your application.
Every academic year, elite institutions like Yale refine their application process to ensure they holistically understand their applicants. For the '23/24 admissions cycle, Yale University has introduced some significant changes to its supplemental essay questions.
Previously, applicants were posed with questions about hosting a guest speaker in Yale's residential colleges and suggesting a title for a new Yale course they envision teaching. These have now been replaced.
The current cycle invites you to highlight personal academic interests and directions, and share unique insights into who has inspired you or influenced your personal growth.
The longer essay section appears designed to help Yale see how you engage with campus and community life. While this section retains two past themes — discussing opposing viewpoints and community involvement — a fresh prompt has been added. This third option encourages applicants to reflect on personal experiences that would enrich the Yale community.
These modifications underscore Yale's ongoing commitment to understanding its applicants' personal narratives, values, and potential contributions to a dynamic university environment.
For the 2023/24 application cycle, Yale University has introduced specific supplemental essay prompts to delve deeper into the profiles of its applicants in tandem with the Common App or Coalition App questions. These prompts are designed to uncover your academic interests, personal insights, and your unique connection to Yale.
All applicants are required to address three core questions: one asks you to identify three academic disciplines of interest, another is a short essay about a topic of interest related to one of those academic disciplines, and the third is about your reasons for choosing Yale. The word limits are 200 words for the second item, and 125 words for the third item.
For those using the Coalition or Common Application, additional short answer questions are capped at roughly 35 words or 200 characters. These questions probe into personal inspirations, potential academic or artistic contributions, influential figures outside of family, and unique aspects of one's identity not mentioned elsewhere in the application.
Lastly, in the essay section, Coalition or Common Application users will select one of three prompts, responding within a 400-word limit. The options in this section include discussing opposing viewpoints, reflecting on community ties, or narrating a personal experience that you believe will help you enhance the college community.
These prompts provide you an opportunity to present a comprehensive picture of your personality, background, values, and aspirations — ensuring Yale gets a multifaceted view of who you are.
Seeking some inspiration? Explore these Yale essay examples to understand what makes an application stand out!
How This Student Got Into Yale
Yale's reputation for academic rigor and intellectual engagement is renowned. The university fosters an environment where students are encouraged to explore various academic interests before settling into their major(s). This flexibility is a testament to Yale's commitment to producing well-rounded individuals who are not just experts in their fields but also possess a broad knowledge base.
Be genuine when deciding whether to indicate one, two, or three disciplines from the list. There’s probably little to gain from selecting a discipline if it won’t tie into responses to other questions or essay prompts and doesn’t have any connection with academic interests and motivations you want to emphasize.
You may want to preview the other two questions in this section, as well as the remaining short answer and essay prompts — making sure to select a discipline from the list if you anticipate talking about it in other responses.
The subsequent question offers an opportunity to delve deeper into a specific academic topic or idea. This is your chance to demonstrate genuine passion. Instead of providing textbook answers:
Yale's second short answer question is a direct invitation to showcase your academic passion. The university, renowned for its intellectual vibrancy, seeks students who are not just academically competent but also deeply passionate about their chosen fields of study.
This question is your space to "nerd out" and demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for a specific topic or idea. Reflect on:
Avoid merely regurgitating textbook knowledge. Instead, offer a fresh take or a personal connection to the topic.
While the previous prompt may have focused on your broader academic interests, this question allows you to home in on a specific topic. You can:
Yale's second short answer question emphasizes depth over breadth. It's an opportunity to delve into the intricacies of a specific academic topic that excites you. You can convey to the admissions committee why this topic resonates with you and how it aligns with your academic journey at Yale by showcasing genuine passion, thoughtful engagement, and a clear understanding of the subject.
Yale's third prompt is a classic "Why this school?" question, albeit phrased with a twist. It's not just about why you want to attend Yale but what specific aspects of Yale resonate with your aspirations and interests.
Avoid generic answers that could apply to any top-tier university. Yale's admissions officers are looking for applicants who have genuinely understood what makes Yale unique.
To craft a compelling response:
Discuss how you see yourself fitting into the Yale community:
The "What is it about Yale?" question is an opportunity to demonstrate your genuine interest in the university and how it aligns with your goals. By showcasing a deep understanding of what Yale offers and articulating how it fits with your aspirations, you can convey a sincere desire to be a part of the Yale community.
5 Tips for the "Why This School?" Essay
For applicants using the Common or Coalition App only.
The question aims to delve into your intrinsic motivations and passions. Yale wants to understand what drives you, what makes you tick, and what fuels your academic and personal pursuits. This is not just about what interests you but what deeply moves and motivates you.
While it might be tempting to provide an answer you think the admissions committee wants to hear, it's crucial to be genuine. Reflect on moments, people, books, artworks, or experiences that have profoundly impacted your perspective or aspirations.
Your answer should ideally resonate with other parts of your application. Discussing a related inspiration can create a cohesive narrative if you've mentioned a particular interest or activity elsewhere.
Steer clear of overused phrases or generic inspirations unless you can provide a unique twist or a deeply personal reason for why something commonly cited truly inspires you.
Question 4 offers a window into your inner world. By sharing what genuinely inspires you, you give Yale a glimpse of your passions, values, and potential contributions to their community. Ensure your response is both authentic and reflective of your unique perspective.
This question is a playground for your imagination and intellectual fervor. Yale is keen to understand the depth of your interests and how you might bring a unique perspective to their campus.
Reflect on the subjects or hobbies that resonate with you. This question allows you to merge different areas of interest to create something novel. If you're a history buff with a penchant for drama, perhaps you'd write a play set during the Renaissance. If you're passionate about biology and art, maybe you'd create an intricate sculpture representing cellular structures.
While authenticity is key, strive to think outside the box. Consider topics or ideas that aren't just personal but also bring a fresh perspective or address contemporary issues. For instance, if you're intrigued by psychology and technology, you might design a course on "The Psychological Impacts of AI on Human Interaction."
Yale is a hub for innovation and interdisciplinary exploration. Your response should echo a spirit of inquisitiveness and a hunger to delve deep into subjects, reflecting how you'd enrich the Yale community with your unique insights.
Yale's Question 5 is more than just a query; it's an opportunity. You're offering a window into your intellectual and creative soul by suggesting a course, book, or artwork. Craft a response that's not just distinctive but also deeply reflective of who you are and what you'd bring to Yale.
This question seeks to understand the people and experiences that have shaped you outside your immediate family. It's a chance to highlight mentors, teachers, friends, or even public figures who have left an indelible mark on your life.
While it might be tempting to choose a well-known personality, ensure that your choice genuinely reflects a deep personal connection. It's not about the prominence of the influencer but the depth of their impact on you.
Discuss specific moments, lessons, or interactions that encapsulate the essence of their influence.
While the direct influence is essential, it also reflects on the ripple effects. How did their influence shape your actions, decisions, or perspectives in broader areas of your life?
Yale's Question 6 is an introspective journey into the people who have molded your character and values. Yale aims to understand the external forces that have shaped your journey through this prompt. As you craft your response, focus on authenticity, detailing who influenced you and how their influence continues to resonate in your life.
This question offers a unique opportunity to share a facet of your personality, experience, or aspiration that hasn't been covered in your application. It's a chance to provide a fuller picture of who you are.
While your academic achievements and extracurricular activities are essential, this prompt seeks insights into your character, passions, or experiences that aren't necessarily tied to school or structured activities.
Perhaps there's a hobby you're passionate about, a quirky tradition you uphold, or a personal project you've embarked on. Whatever you share, find a way to make your short response shine a spotlight on something unique, about yourself — perhaps something ingratiating, humorous, or compelling.
It's not just about stating the 'what.' Be sure to share how this aspect of your identity, psychology, experiences, or personality shapes your values, your aspirations, or how you interact with others in friendships or in community settings.
Yale's Question 7 is a canvas for you to paint a more comprehensive picture of yourself. It's an invitation to share something special that make you unique. As you respond, ensure that what you share is relevant to an admissions context and offers a fresh insight into something that makes you unique and may make your application more memorable.
Applicants submitting the Common App or Coalition Application will respond to one of the following prompts in 400 words or fewer.
Renowned for its academic rigor, Yale University values students who can engage in meaningful discussions, especially when faced with opposing views. This question seeks to understand your ability to engage in such dialogues, emphasizing your intellectual curiosity and interpersonal skills.
Begin by setting the stage.
The depth of your reflection on this experience is crucial. It's not just about the disagreement but about understanding and learning from it.
Discussing an opposing view can be transformative. Reflect on how this conversation changed or solidified your perspective. Did it teach you the value of understanding different viewpoints or the importance of effective communication?
This prompt isn't just about a single discussion; it's about how you approach disagreements and challenges in general. Reflect on how this particular experience is indicative of your broader approach to challenges and learning.
Yale's Question 1 is an opportunity to showcase your ability to engage in meaningful, constructive dialogues and to learn from them. It's about demonstrating intellectual curiosity, respect for diverse viewpoints, and personal growth.
Begin by clearly defining the community you're discussing. This could be based on ethnicity, shared interests, geographical location, a shared challenge, or any other binding factor. Remember, the definition of 'community' is broad, and Yale gives you the freedom to interpret it in a way that's most meaningful to you.
Discuss your role or membership within this community. Have you been an active member, a leader, or an observer? How have you engaged with this community, and how has it shaped your identity or perspective?
Delve into why this community is meaningful to you. Is it a source of support, a platform for shared experiences, or perhaps a space where you've faced challenges and grown from them? Reflect on the emotions, experiences, and lessons this community has offered you.
End by discussing how your connection to this community has influenced your personal growth. Has it taught you the value of diversity, the importance of support, or perhaps the strength in unity? Reflect on the broader implications of your membership in this community and how it might influence your future endeavors, especially at a place like Yale.
Yale's Question 2 is an opportunity to showcase your understanding of community, your place within it, and the personal growth that arises from such connections. It's about demonstrating empathy, understanding, and the ability to connect with diverse groups of people.
Start by pinpointing a specific personal experience or element of your life. This could be a unique cultural background, a challenging obstacle you've overcome, a hobby or passion you've pursued, or any other experience that has significantly impacted your life.
Discuss how this experience or element of your life will enrich the college community. Perhaps your unique background offers a diverse perspective, or maybe a challenge you've faced has equipped you with resilience and adaptability. Consider how your experience can contribute to classroom discussions, group projects, extracurricular activities, or casual dorm conversations.
Reflect on how this experience has shaped you as an individual. Has it instilled certain values in you? Has it changed the way you approach challenges or interact with people? Dive deep into the personal growth and self-awareness that emerged from this experience.
Consider how this element of your personal experience will influence your future at college and beyond. Will it drive you to join certain clubs, advocate for causes, or pursue specific academic interests? How will it continue to shape your journey?
Yale's Question 3 is an invitation to introspect and share a facet of your life that not only defines you but also adds value to the diverse tapestry of a college community. It's about showcasing self-awareness, growth, and the potential for future contributions.
Remember, the supplemental essays are an opportunity to showcase aspects of yourself that aren't evident in other parts of your application. Use them wisely to provide a holistic picture of yourself and why you'd be a great fit for Yale.
Looking for inspiration? Dive into these Yale essay examples to see what successful applications look like!
Embarking on the journey to Yale is about more than showcasing academic excellence; it's about weaving a narrative that deeply resonates with the admissions committee. Your supplemental essays offer a unique lens into your character, aspirations, and the distinct contributions you'll make to the Yale community.
Every Yale hopeful possesses a unique story. This is your golden opportunity to narrate yours. Approach your essays with authenticity, introspection, and a genuine enthusiasm for your narrative.
If you're uncertain whether your essay truly encapsulates your essence or if it will distinguish you amidst the sea of applications, our essay review service is here to assist. Our seasoned experts will meticulously review and provide feedback, ensuring your essay strikes a chord with admissions officers. Explore our ebook, which features essays from students who secured places at elite institutions for added inspiration. And for those aiming for Yale, our collection of successful Yale essay examples will offer invaluable insights.
For those at the onset of their college application journey, consider booking a free consultation with our experienced college counselors. We're committed to guiding you in crafting an application that amplifies your chances of walking through Yale's historic gates. Your dream of becoming a Yalie is attainable, and we're here to support you every step of the way.
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