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How To Get Into Yale: Breaking Down Admission Requirements With Our College Admission Experts

26 NOV 2021

Record low acceptance rates don’t mean you should give up on your Yale dreams. In this blog, we’re going to show you how you can get into Yale by breaking down the acceptance rates and admissions requirements. We’ll also offer some invaluable insight from one of our very own Crimson academic advisors who specifically helps students get into Yale. It’s not easy to gain admittance to Yale, but it’s not impossible. See what it takes to be one of the lucky few that earn their spot at this prestigious university.

The 2020-2021 admissions cycle proved to be one of the most competitive cycles in history due to several factors, including test-optional admissions policies and leniency amid COVID-19 restrictions. It’s not a surprise that Yale University was among the toughest to gain admittance, receiving 33% more applications than the previous year. Still, Yale offered spots to 2,169 of the 46,905 students who applied for the Class of 2025.

How Crimson Student Bluebelle got into Yale

If Yale is the school of your dreams, Crimson can help you achieve your goal. Our strategists include former Yale admissions officers and graduates who can help you put together a solid application that stands out from the crowd! Learn more about our Admissions Support program.

Table of Contents

  • Yale Overview
  • Yale Rankings 2022
  • How Hard Is It To Get Into Yale?
  • Yale Acceptance Rates
  • What Does It Take To Get Into Yale?
  • How To Stand Out In Your Yale Application
  • How Crimson Can Help With Your Yale Application
  • Is Yale Right For You?
  • Life After Yale
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Yale

Yale Overview

The beautiful coastal town of New Haven, Connecticut, is the home of Yale University. Founded in 1701, Yale is dedicated to “expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.” The university partners with its hometown of New Haven and with people and institutions worldwide, promoting unity and cultural awareness while training and educating the next generation of leaders. Yale has a strong passion for improving the lives of the less fortunate and underserved.

Yale ranked #5 in the 2022 edition of the US News Best Colleges list. With nearly 4,703 (Fall 2020) undergraduate students taking classes on their 373-acre campus, Yale is a hotspot for student service and activism organizations, cultural clubs, and even secret societies. Their most famous secret societies are the Skull and Bones Society, whose notable members include George W. Bush and John Kerry, and the Scroll and Key Society.

Yale is known for its drama and music programs, as well as its well-known rivalry with Harvard. Yale students live in one of 14 residential colleges complete with their own head and dean who also live in the college. While each college offers its own events, seminars, and speakers, all students study and take classes taught by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Yale Rankings 2022

US News & World Report ranked Yale #5 in their Best Colleges 2022 edition. Yale also ranked #14 in the 2022 QS World University Rankings.

Notable Yale Rankings

  • #1 in Best Value Schools
  • #2 in Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects (tie)
  • #3 in Learning Communities
  • #3 in Writing in the Disciplines (tie)
  • #19 in Most Innovative Schools (tie)
  • #20 in Study Abroad (tie)
  • #31 in Best Undergraduate Teaching (tie)

Most Popular Majors at Yale

  • Social Sciences
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services
  • History

How Hard Is It To Get Into Yale?

As one of the most selective colleges in the world, it is tough to get into Yale. Yale’s acceptance rate in 2018 was 5.9%, and it plummeted to 4.62 in 2021, likely due to making the SAT and ACT test-optional. This decision may have contributed to record-high application numbers and record-low acceptance rates.

What Is Yale’s Acceptance Rate?

Yale Admission Statistics for Class of 2025
Total ApplicationOverall Acceptance RateRegular Decision ApplicationsRegular Decision Acceptance RateInternational Student Acceptance Rate

What Does It Take To Get Into Yale?

Here’s the obvious answer: You need to be in the top 10% of your graduating class to have a shot at getting into Yale. Yale looks for students who excel in a wide range of challenging courses. They love letters of recommendation from teachers who talk about how your energy, curiosity, and drive helped you excel in and out of the classroom. Their first consideration is always academics, so your high school transcript is the most crucial part of your application.

But, that’s not all Yale looks for in its applicants.

Yale selects students who are leaders in their community and in their particular area of interest. They want students who will make the most of their abundant on-campus resources, stretch the limits of their talents, and use everything they have learned to improve the world around them.

These two questions guide the Yale admissions team:

  • Who is likely to make the most of Yale’s resources?
  • Who will contribute most significantly to the Yale community?

Grades and test scores might get you through the door, but they probably won’t help you stand out from the rest of the applicants with equally high numbers. Your application will come to life through your extracurricular activities and essays (more on this later).

The admissions committee looks for exceptional engagement, ability, and promise. Rather than participating in every available opportunity, focus on the one or two activities that excite you. Utilize the resources available at your school and in your community to stretch yourself in that area. Then show how you will use Yale’s extensive resources to further your passion.

I am inclined to believe that the person who gives every ounce to do something superbly has an advantage over the person whose capacities may be great but who seems to have no desire to stretch them to their limit

- Kingman Brewster, 17th President of Yale University

A Day In The Life: Yale Student

Find out your chances of getting accepted into Yale based on your profile using our free College Admissions Calculator!

How To Stand Out In Your Yale Application

Yale’s general application process is similar to the rest of the Ivy League schools. Admissions officers look for applicants with stellar grades, exceptional academic accomplishments, and those who will utilize Yale’s breadth and depth of knowledge and resources to improve the world around them.

To stand out to Yale, your application needs to come to life! Use every part of the application to reveal a piece of yourself. If the admissions committee can picture you on campus, participating in student clubs and organizations, utilizing their extensive resources, and applying what you’ve learned, they’re more likely to admit you.

Below is an overview of the Yale application requirements. Yale offers extensive information about their specific application requirements on their website, even answering the most commonly asked questions from first-year applicants. Visit their application instructions page for specific application requirements.

What Application System Does Yale Use?

Yale accepts the following applications:

Application fees for the Common Application and Coalition Application are $80. Students who apply through the QuestBridge application do not pay an application fee, but only students named QuestBridge Finalists may apply with this application.

Yale Application Requirements

The Yale application asks you to provide the following:

  • Application (Coalition/Common/QuestBridge)
  • Yale-Specific Questions (Supplemental Essays)
  • Letters of Recommendation (two academic teachers & one counselor)
  • School Report with Transcript
  • Standardized Test Results (optional)
  • Mid-year Report (when first semester grades are available)

To learn more about how to make your application stand out, check out our free eBook on How to Crush Your US College Application

Crush Us College App Ebook

Yale GPA Requirements

Nearly every Yale student was part of the top 10% of their high school graduating class. Since the average GPA for Yale is 4.14, it’s safe to say you will need nearly straight A’s to compete with other Yale hopefuls. In addition to having a high GPA, you should also take advantage of the advanced classes your school offers. Depending on where you live, this means you should take AP or IB courses to show the Yale admissions officers you can handle demanding coursework.

Suppose your GPA is not as high as the average Yale GPA. You may be able to compensate with high test scores, glowing letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities that complement Yale’s mission.

Check out our free GPA Calculator to find out if you have what it takes to get into Yale today!

Does Yale Accept AP Credit?

It depends.

You can receive acceleration credit for scores of 4 or 5 on some AP exams. This credit might give you the option to graduate early, but only if you complete specific courses in specific departments. Most students do not use this credit to graduate early. Click here for more information about Yale’s Acceleration policies.

Yale Standardized Test Requirements

Due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19, Yale chose to make standardized tests optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. You can report your SAT or ACT scores, but you will not be disadvantaged if you choose not to take the test.

Yale SAT Requirements

Students who submit their SAT scores typically score between 1460-1580.

Does Yale Require The SAT Essay?

Students have the option to submit their ACT Essay and SAT Writing sections. They can self-report their subscore on the application.

Yale SAT Subject Tests

Yale recommends that students who choose to submit the SAT subject tests submit two SAT Subject Tests, with only one being the math test.

Yale ACT Requirements

ACT scores typically range from 33-35.

Find out your chances of getting into Yale based of your current SAT or ACT scores with our free college admissions chances calculator!

SAT and ACT Score Ranges of Admitted Yale Students
TestScore Range (25th & 75th Percentile)
SAT Math740 - 800
SAT ERW720 - 780
ACT Math31 - 35
ACT English34 - 36
ACT Composite33 - 35

If you would like help with your SAT or ACT preparation, Crimson offers online tutoring programs with the world’s best teachers and tutors, many of whom scored a perfect 1600 (SAT), 36 (ACT), and 800 (SAT II) on their college admissions standardized tests. Book a free consultation to learn more.

Yale Application Essays

While some students might believe the application essays are the least important part of the Yale application, they’re actually extremely important! These essays are one of the best ways students can distinguish themselves from the rest of the highly-qualified applicants. The admissions team encourages students to take these essays seriously.

The broad range of prompts allows students to write about activities, hobbies, and important experiences. They also encourage students to use their voices rather than say what they think the admissions team wants to hear. These are personal statements and are one of the only ways students can explain why they are perfect for Yale.

You can complete the Yale Questions directly on the Common Application or Coalition Application.

Yale Supplemental Essay Topics

The essays vary slightly based on the application platform you choose, but Yale requires nine responses - seven short answer questions and two short essays.

Short Answer Questions
  1. 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.
  2. Why do these areas appeal to you? (125 words or fewer)
  3. What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)
  4. What inspires you? (200 characters or fewer; approx. 35 words)
  5. Yale’s residential colleges regularly host 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? (200 characters or fewer; approx. 35 words)
  6. You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (200 characters or fewer; approx. 35 words)
  7. Yale students embrace the concept of “and” rather than “or,” pursuing arts and sciences, tradition and innovation, defined goals and surprising detours. What is an example of an “and” that you embrace? (200 characters or fewer; approx. 35 words)
Two Short Essays
  1. Yale’s extensive course offerings and vibrant conversations beyond the classroom encourage students to follow their developing intellectual interests wherever they lead. Tell us about your engagement with a topic or idea that excites you. Why are you drawn to it? (250 words or fewer)
  2. Respond to one of the following prompts: (250 words or fewer)
  • 2A. Reflect on a community to which you feel connected. Why is it meaningful to you? You may define community however you like.
  • 2B. Reflect on something that has given you great satisfaction. Why has it been important to you?

Read our blog on how to answer the Yale supplemental essay to learn about tips to stand out against other candidates!

Extracurricular Activities for Yale

Yale isn’t interested in every single activity you participated in during grades 9-12. They want to know about the extracurriculars that meant the most to you, the ones that are most relevant to your college and career goals, and the ones that best align with Yale’s mission. There are a limited number of spaces for extracurriculars, so only include ones that you’re genuinely passionate about and fit within your with your future goals.

Read more about Crimson Student Bluebelle’s non-academic interests that led her to Yale University.

Consider exploring interests and activities that are a bit outside the box to distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicants. Start a club or a company. Take your passion for reaching the underserved community and turn that passion into starting a non-profit organization. The options are endless. Remember whatever you choose, dive in deep and make the most of it. Yale wants to see that you’re passionate about your chosen activities and interested in serving the greater community.

Crimson’s Admission Support program comes with extracurricular and leadership project planning, execution, and reporting to make you a well-rounded candidate when applying to universities. Crimson Students are 4x more likely to be admitted to Ivy League universities such as Yale. Find out more about how we do this through our Admissions Support program.

Letters of Recommendation

Yale requires three letters of recommendation (two academic teachers and one counselor). These letters don’t necessarily need to come from the class where you received your highest grades. Ask a teacher or counselor who knows you well for a recommendation letter. They should come from someone who know you best and can give Yale the broadest picture of who you are and why you should be part of the Yale community.

The counselor you choose should talk about your leadership positions at the school and how you contributed to the school community as a whole. Your letters of recommendation are another great way to make your application come to life. They should reveal attributes about you not found in any other part of the application.

Applying To Yale As An International Student

International students follow the same application process as all other students, with just a few minor differences. Non-native English-speakers are strongly encouraged to take one of the following proficiency tests:

How Much Does Yale Cost?

Like all Ivy League schools, Yale is expensive. These are the raw costs for the 2021-2022 academic school year.

Yale Tuition Fees 2021-22
Fee BreakdownCost

Is Yale a Need-Blind School?

As the first private research university in America to establish need-blind admissions and need-based financial aid for undergraduates, Yale continues to provide aid awards that meet 100% of a family’s demonstrated need without using loans.

Learn more about the differences between need-blind and need-aware policies.

Does Yale give scholarships or financial aid?

Yale only offers need-based financial aid and will meet 100% of demonstrated need without loans. While Yale doesn’t offer merit-based scholarships, students can apply for these types of scholarships through other organizations.

Does Yale offer financial aid for international students?

Yes! International students can apply for financial aid similar to US students. To access financial aid forms or find out more about Yale’s international financial aid options, visit their financial aid website.

Read more about how financial aid works and How you can apply for financial aid.

Yale Application Deadlines

Yale offers two application deadlines for first-year undergraduate students.

Yale Early Action and Regular Action Application Deadline
Single-Choice Early ActionRegular Decision
Apply by November 1st 2021Apply by January 2nd 2022

How Crimson Can Help Your Yale Application Stand Out

Crimson’s elite team of strategists graduated from some of the top universities in the world, including Yale! Many of them also worked as admissions officers at some of these schools.

Our strategists come alongside Crimson students as they work through the application process. Mason is one of Crimson’s top strategists. Here are four of his top tips for making your Yale application stand out.

  • Build your profile to a high level of accomplishment in whatever area you excel at, especially showing yourself as a leader in your field.
  • Focus on giving back to the community through high-impact activities. Yale likes social enterprise since it’s in line with Yale’s mission.
  • Strive for 10’s across the board: A 10 is the highest possible level of accomplishment. Do your best to level up as much as possible in your high school career.
  • Take the time to research Yale before starting your supplemental essays. SHOW rather than tell why you’re a good fit for Yale and how you’ll contribute to their community.

Crimson offers a wide range of educational support services that will help you tailor your education and application, so it aligns with Yale’s mission and requirements. From online tutoring and extracurricular mentoring to essay review and even postgraduate admissions, Crimson can help you get into Yale. Through our admissions support programs, we walk with you through the application process.

Is Yale Right For You?

Believe it or not, Yale isn’t for everyone. Some people apply to Yale only for the name or because it’s an Ivy League school. If that’s you, consider applying to a school (maybe even another Ivy League school) that specializes in your area of interest instead. The admissions committee at Yale can tell if you’re truly passionate about their school or if you’re applying for other reasons.

But, if your grades, extracurriculars, and future goals indeed line up with Yale’s mission and you can’t imagine yourself going to school anywhere else, then you should apply! But remember, some of the smartest and most talented students in the world do not get accepted to Yale. You can apply again! Focus on the weaker aspects of your application so the next time you apply, you’ll shine above the rest!

Life After Yale

Newsweek ranked Yale as the #7 private college whose graduates earn the most money. Additionally, a degree from Yale can open doors to some of the most high-profile global firms in the world.

Yale Most Recent Class Overview
Knowledge RateSuccess RateMean Starting SalaryTop 5 Industries
91.6% of those graduating between July 1, 2019-June 30, 202091.7% employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation$71,030 among graduates employed in the United States.Financial Services, Education, Consulting, Technology, and Healthcare

*source Yale University Office of Career Strategies

Some of Yale’s most famous and distinguished alumni include:

  • Meryl Streep: Actress
  • Edward Norton: Actor
  • George H.W. Bush: 41st President of the United States
  • Samuel Morse: Inventor of the single-wire telegraph and co-inventor of Morse Code
  • Chris Cuomo: American Television Journalist
  • Ben Silbermann: Co-founder, Pinterest
  • Bob Woodward: Washington Post Investigative Journalist
  • Sigourney Weaver: Actress
  • Charles Ives: Composer

Final Thoughts

Many students aspire to attend Yale. With its beautiful tree-lined campus, historic buildings, and excellent research opportunities, it’s an ideal place to earn a liberal arts education.

About three-quarters of students who apply to Yale meet their qualifications. That means you will need to stand out in small areas. Every piece of your application matters, so find ways to give each section a little extra boost. When it comes to who gets into Yale, sometimes the subtle differences make all the difference.

Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admissions support company specializing in helping students gain entry to some of the world’s most competitive universities. We help you find the university that meets your goals. Crimson Students are 4x more likely to be admitted to Ivy League universities like Harvard. Learn more through our Admissions Support program.

Frequently Asked Questions about Yale

Is it hard to get into Yale?

Yes, Yale’s acceptance rate in 2021 was 4.6%, down from 8.6% acceptance in 2008.

Is Yale expensive?

Yale University’s tuition is $59,950. Compared with the national average cost of tuition ($41,281), Yale is more expensive.

How much does it cost to go to Yale?

While Yale’s total cost for tuition and fees is around $77,750, the median net price for Yale students receiving financial aid is about $13,000.

What is the retention rate for first-year students at Yale?

Yale has one of the highest freshman retention rates in the US. The freshman retention rate for Yale University is 99%.

What is the average salary for a Yale graduate?

The average salary for a Yale graduate is $70,000 USD per year.


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