What Does it Take to Get Into Yale?

Strategies by School
September 26, 2019
Yale’s Stature As One Of The Oldest And Most Rigorous Universities In The Country Has Solidified It As One Of America’s Top Academic Institutions.

Often listed among schools such as Harvard and Princeton, Yale cultivates a sense of excellence and community on campus that makes it unique. Since 1701, the scenic backdrop of New Haven, Connecticut, has worked with the university to strengthen this sense of going above and beyond for one’s community.

What You’ll Find In This Article

Yale's Ideal Student

Yale’s prestigious reputation comes in part from the fact that the school’s admissions process is extremely selective. Every year, this process becomes even more selective as students across the nation raise the bar of excellence. Students aspiring to Yale typically come from the top of their classes; and even then, students must boast impressive test scores and extracurricular achievements to stand out in this competitive field.

Here’s a quick look at the average scores of a typical incoming Yale freshman:

  • GPA: 4.12
  • SAT: 1505
  • ACT: 34

Though your GPA and test scores alone can’t guarantee you entrance into Yale, having scores at or above the average is ideal when applying. However, don’t let your scores hold you back if they’re only close to the average! Your essays, as well as letters of recommendation, can go a long way in increasing your chances of being admitted.

Beyond academics, Yale believes in a set of core values that all their students strive to adhere to in their everyday lives. If these values align with your own, then Yale may be the perfect college to hold you to your highest standard.


Yale’s commitment to strengthening and building communities is so strong that it works as a foundation for everything else the school teaches. Students who naturally find solutions to problems through community engagement or involvement find themselves in good company on campus.

In addition to building on campus communities through campus housing, Yale works closely with their scenic hometown of New Haven, Connecticut, to strengthen the local community.


A strong academic commitment is essential for a thriving Yale student. With access to a plethora of academic resources and mentors, the typical student at Yale commits themselves to academic excellence above all else.

Working closely with peers and prestigious professors alike, students work to push the bounds of their intellectual limits in a way that translates into their future careers and lives.


Yale is known for students with the ambition it takes to succeed in some of the country’s most intensive positions. Students who find themselves with the drive to go above and beyond in all they do will find many like-minded peers at Yale. Fortunately, students are supported in their ambitions by a dedicated facility and the resources it takes to achieve their goals.


Students with a strong sense of responsibility, both personally and within their community, make up the bulk of Yale’s student body. Students are encouraged to take action for their own future and the future of their community, country, and planet. This is done not just through teaching, but by allowing students to take responsibility for activities that promote accountability, sustainability, and ethics.


Yale is known for their commitment to giving students a strong academic foundation. Yale’s academic programs offer students the challenge, guidance, and resources needed to prepare for their future careers. Some of Yale’s most popular academic programs include:

  • Economics (Ranked 1st nationwide)
  • Political Science and Government (Ranked 4th nationwide)
  • History (Ranked 1st nationwide)
  • Psychology (Ranked 3rd nationwide)


Overall, the ideal incoming Yale freshman has displayed a strong academic record through their GPA, test scores, and transcripts. In addition, they have a commitment to serving their communities and learning through action. If you’re to thrive at Yale, you’ll need a strong vision of what a better world could be, and how you could help it get there.

What You Need To Get Accepted Into Yale

Yale is one of the most competitive schools in the nation. The most recently available acceptance rate is 6.2%, which means that only 6 out of every 100 applicants are accepted. With such a slim margin for error, students should take the time to prepare themselves carefully before applying to Yale.


Students can apply to Yale via either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Once you’ve picked your application, you’ll be guided through the process of including your information, essays, transcripts, and everything else that goes into the paperwork part of the college application process.

The deadlines are November 1st for early action and January 1st for regular decision.

Students who apply through the Common Application will also be asked to submit two essay responses, whereas the Coalition Application requires a single essay and a media file (video, audio, etc.) that relates to your essay.


The standard application fee to apply to Yale is $80, however fee waivers are available for students with financial hardship. Students are not required to submit proof of their hardship to obtain a waiver, however, the school may ask for supporting documents in certain situations.


Yale accepts both the ACT and SAT, and it’s the student’s responsibility to make sure their scores get sent to the admissions office. The main difference between the two tests is that Yale asks for all of your SAT scores, whereas the student is in control of how many ACT scores are sent to Yale.


Your transcript, complete with all classes taken and the grades you received, acts as proof of your academic record beyond your GPA. Yale is looking for students with consistent academic commitment and your transcript is the easiest way for them to judge this, so make sure your transcript shows off your academic prowess.


Yale requires three letters of recommendation to be considered for admission. Because of this, it’s essential that students begin seeking their letters of recommendation well before the application deadline to make sure they receive them on time.


As mentioned earlier, the number of essays a student must complete will depend on which application they use to apply to Yale. The topics are generally broad and allow students a chance to truly showcase themselves. Focusing on concise and authentic answers will give you an edge, so take the time to carefully polish and perfect your essays before turning them in.


Students with a solid academic record matching or exceeding the average scores listed so far have a good chance of being admitted into Yale. Additionally, those who have worked throughout high school serving their communities or showing ambition will naturally have more extracurricular activities and achievements that point toward values that Yale holds in high regard.

Students looking to increase their chances of acceptance at Yale should take extra time to write their essays and short answer questions. Authentic and thoughtful responses do more to show who a student truly is than a transcript ever will, and Yale is keenly aware of this. Make sure your essays showcase what makes you unique and community driven above all else.

Yale's Campus Life

While Yale is known for being an academics first school, the school understands that the entire college experience is critical to a student’s growth. Let’s go beyond the classroom and take a deeper look at what makes Yale a thriving college.


With 14 fraternities and 4 sororities, there is a thriving Greek life scene on campus for students looking to grow and excel beyond the classroom. Many Yale alumni claim this is a “responsible” party atmosphere that makes the campus feel close-knit and bustling. Still, many freshmen are eager to ‘rush’ for Greek life their freshman year on campus.


Founded officially in 1701, Yale boasts a sprawling and historic campus that houses a vast majority of their student body. Old Campus and the Harkness Tower provide a scene backdrop for Commencement each year, while modern buildings such as Evans Hall hosts a wide range of classes and services.

The rich history of Yale’s campus goes beyond just the beautiful architecture. Nearly half of Yale’s student body and many affiliates fought to defend their college town in the Battle of New Haven during the Revolutionary War, adding an even more interesting layer of history to the campus.


Bulldog pride runs deep in every Yale student’s veins. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in soccer, football, or the campus’s 150 year old baseball program - there’s a sport for every student to be involved in.

Yale offers a wide variety of on campus organizations for students to get involved in if they’d rather cheer on the Bulldogs from the sidelines. Whether you’re passionate about joining the student government or a smaller club within your particular school of study, students are sure to find the right fit for their interests, career goals, and hobbies.


Yale has a variety of housing options available to their graduate and professional students. Undergraduates, however, are assigned to a residential college that serves as a central hub for their next four years on campus. This helps create a sense of community that we’ll discuss more in a moment.

While many students believe a car is a necessity to attend college, students will find a variety of ways to get around campus and the city of New Haven without one. Between biking, walking, and taking public transport there are plenty of ways to get around, so don’t worry about bringing a car, especially during your freshman year.

The city of New Haven itself is known for its fantastic food and general foodie scene as well. With a wide variety of international restaurants in every corner of the city, there are plenty of ways for students to chow down both on and off campus.


Yale has utilized a unique system of 14 interconnected residential colleges for over 70 years. This system allows students to experience the close-knit feel of a smaller university while still experiencing the wide range of ideas, cultures, and values that make up Yale at large. Students are assigned to a residential college their freshman year; this allows them to begin bonding with their fellow students and facility immediately.

From Application To Career: What You'll Experience At Yale

The Yale experience starts with their stringent application process that weeds out all but the top students. However, this process is all worth it once you’re accepted into Yale. Students who familiarize themselves with what to expect can gain a better understanding of what applying for and attending Yale is really like.


As an institution with a strong focus on academics, it’s no surprise that Yale values your academic background, GPA, and test scores highly in the admissions process. Students should submit sharp applications with a focus on their academic accomplishments and extracurricular achievements that have served their communities.


Staying true to yourself in your essays is essential (so essential, in fact, that Yale themselves offers this piece of advice to prospective students).

While it may be tempting to fill your essay with complex terms and jargon to prove your intellect, avoid the urge to needlessly complicate your essay. A concise essay that’s true to your unique voice, values, and writing style will increase your chances of admission far more than a convoluted mess of profound or provocative thoughts.


While attending Yale, you will be immersed in a rich tradition of academics and community service. Alongside students and professors from around the world, you will push the limits of what you believe is possible in academic and leadership development. The sense of a closely knit community, fostered by Yale’s unique residential college system, will help propel you toward a successful future.


As a Yale alumni, you’ll find yourself among a group that includes former Secretary of State John Kerry, the late President George H. W. Bush, and famous actors like Meryl Streep. Leveraging your education like those who came before you can land you prestigious jobs in careers such as:

  • Finance
  • Consulting
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Law
  • Business Development
  • Writing/Editing

Your education at Yale goes a long way toward affecting your potential earnings as well. Over 28% of students from the class of 2018 were employed in a job offering a salary between 70,000 and 90,000 dollars right out of college.

Your Future At Yale

Yale is a prestigious college sure to jump start any ambitious student’s career path. While Yale is one of the most difficult schools to be accepted into, the rewards of studying at Yale far outweighs the effort students will need to put into their application.

Attending Yale provides a student with a life changing opportunity to challenge themselves and become a better academic, civic leader, and citizen.

Fortunately, WeAdmit counselors are well versed in the admissions requirements for Yale, and can help students looking to attend this historic college fine tune their applications to perfection. Our counselors work with you on a journey of self-analysis, helping you set achievable goals and apply to your dream college. Even if you don’t believe you can make it into Yale, our counselors do; if there’s a shot, our counselors will help you make the best of your odds!

So, Grab A Poster Of Handsome Dan And Tape It To Your Locker; It’s Time To  Apply To Yale!



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