23 SEP 2021
Like the Common App personal statement, the supplemental essay questions are another opportunity for you to show Yale what you value, your interests, hobbies, goals, and where they originated. It's your chance to tell them all the things that make you the perfect Yale student. Accomplishing this feat in 35, 100, or 250-word answers can be daunting, but the ability to demonstrate critical, personal information through concise and robust language is crucial to a strong application. Your final responses should reveal an exceptional or analytical self-awareness that comes from carefully reflecting on who you are, what you care about, and why.
Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admission consulting company. Our expert admission strategist can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect essay prompt response. Get your essay reviewed today!
The essays vary slightly based on the application platform you choose, but Yale requires nine responses - seven short answer questions and two short essays.
Applicants submitting the Coalition Application must upload an audio file, video, image, or document you created. The upload should complement your response to one of the prompts. You can find more information here.
Start by making a list of experiences, values, or personality traits you want the committee to know about you. From there, think of stories or specific experiences that demonstrate these values. How does Yale fit into this picture? You can also start with the questions you feel will be challenging to answer. Jot down ideas as they come. If you have a strong sense of humor, you can include this aspect of your personality in some of your answers. In all your answers, tie what you say about your career aspirations or expectations for a Yale education to instances from your lived experience.
Questions 1-3 ask about academic motivations, your interest in Yale, and general inspiration. A strong response would describe the moment you knew you were interested in an academic discipline or goal and how you developed that motivation over time. Who or what inspired you? What obstacles did you overcome? Why is Yale the only school that fits your academic dreams? Do your research and be as specific as you can.
Questions 4-7 ask how you will take full advantage of the Yale community and what you might contribute. Strong responses, especially to questions 4 and 5, are based on personal experiences. Is there a professor, academic, or public figure who inspires you and would make a good guest speaker? What is a class you have always wanted to take? What would it mean for you to teach it? Maybe you have niche knowledge of yo-yo competitions. Could you turn that knowledge into a Yale class syllabus? How would you teach the class differently than anyone else? Finally, for the last question, consider what aspects of your application you might want to tie together. Do you have unique interests that aren't necessarily connected? Do you see the world from an unusual angle? Take this opportunity to celebrate your contradictions and uniqueness. Remember to draw from your life experience and share your viewpoint with others?
The short essay questions have higher word limits. When writing about your academic interests, do your best to base your response on a specific experience or anecdote. Try to write primarily about how you discovered a particular issue or topic, rather than just drawing analytical insights into its implications. The purpose of this essay should be to demonstrate a genuine predisposition of academic and worldly curiosity or engagement. To this end, your writing style must be sincere and revealing without being overly dramatic.
For the second prompt, choose the question that makes the most sense to you. For either question, reflect on something meaningful that you feel gets buried in the rest of your application. These questions allow you to articulate how you relate to others and what you value. Be authentic and sincere. Where have you felt a deep sense of belonging? On a team? Through an artistic venture? What brings you joy or satisfaction, and how does it motivate you? Think beyond your accomplishments to what makes you who you are as a person.
Pro-tip: It can be helpful to choose an experience that contrasts with your intended major. This type of experience shows your diverse interests and gives your application more depth.
When you sit down to write, be honest. Use your voice. One of Yale’s short answer prompts from many years ago was, “What would you do with a free afternoon [50 words]?” The question was so popular that when freshmen students arrived on campus many months later, they asked each other this question as a conversation starter. To their surprise, most of the responses were quite ordinary. They answered with activities they actually did on a free afternoon - going on a run in the park or finally finishing a book. Most people didn’t say they read the complete works of William Shakespeare during their free afternoons. Use language and sentence structure that fits your voice and your story. No answer or topic is too familiar as long as you articulate your perspective or rationale clearly.
Finally, proofread and stay within the word limit on all the short answers and essay questions. Being concise is crucial. Ask your teachers, friends, and family to read your responses. A fresh set of eyes makes a big difference.
Crimson Education is the world’s leading university admission consulting company. Our expert admission strategist can help you narrow down your ideas and word choice to help you craft the perfect supplemental essay responses. Get your essay reviewed today!