Yale University Admission Counselors

A Guide to the Yale Admissions Process - Essays, Interviews & Deadlines

Yale University Admissions Counselors

what is yale looking for?

Yale’s residential college system and focus on providing a liberal arts education make it a popular choice for many top applicants. Applications at Yale are evaluated by committees comprised of the admissions staff, Yale faculty, and deans. The primary questions they ask during the evaluation are:

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

Yale rates every applicant in two separate areas on a 1 to 4 scale (1 being the highest and 4 being the lowest): (1) Academic Rating and (2) Personal Rating.

Academic rating

Yale, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students with a deep intellectual curiosity.

An applicant with the highest Academic Rating of 1 out of 4 at Yale would have these credentials:
  • Top 1-2% of high school class
  • Most challenging courseload of AP courses
  • SAT/ACT scores in the 99th percentile
  • Glowing letters of recommendation indicating that student is best out of applicants from past several years from his/her high school
  • An intense love of learning, as evidenced by academic research outside the classroom with a college professor leading to publication in a journal
  • Potential to be leader in academic field in future
An applicant with an Academic Rating of 2 out of 4 at Yale would have these credentials:
  • Top 5% of high school class
  • Most challenging courseload of AP courses
  • SAT/ACT scores above the 95th percentile
  • Strong but unexceptional letters of recommendation
  • Lacking the intense love of learning of other students, with some independent reading outside the classroom but no published research with a college professor
  • Driven to achieve by competition more so than by a true love of learning

Personal rating

Yale, like all Ivy League schools, looks for students who are specialists as opposed to those who are well-rounded.

Examples of applicants with the highest Personal Rating of 1 out of 4 at Yale would be:
  • Published author
  • Intel STS Finalist (top 40 in country)
  • Olympic medalist
  • Soloist at Carnegie Hall
  • US Math Olympiad Qualifier (USAMO)
  • Awards at the national level
  • Patent pending (without parental involvement)
Examples of applicants with a Personal Rating of 2 out of 4 at Yale would be:
  • Awards at regional level
  • Significant commitment at a high level to a few activities
  • Student Body President
  • All-State Orchestra
  • Captain of varsity sports team
  • Nationally ranked debater
  • Well-rounded and involved but not the most passionate about anything

Acceptance Rates

What is Yale's current acceptance rate? 

4.6% for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

What is Solomon Admissions' success rate to Yale?

24.0% for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

For the 2021-2022 admissions cycle, we had a 24.0% acceptance rate to Yale. Solomon Admissions provided an advantage factor of 5.2X for our clients. You can see more of our acceptance rates here.

Yale Admissions Counselors

Because the applicant pool is so stellar at Yale with an overflow of people who have the highest academic qualifications, recommendation letters at Yale are critical to distinguish perfect students who are good from perfect students who are great.

Yale looks closely for evidence of intellectual vitality, leadership, and the potential for contribution in the recommendation letters. During the past decade, Yale has made a push to compete for top engineering students who usually end up at:

Since Yale’s engineering program has historically lagged behind the above-mentioned schools’ engineering programs, Yale is very receptive to strong engineering applicants.

Yale Supplemental Essays

Solomon Admissions provides extensive guidance on the Yale supplemental essays to its clients, and here is an example of how our former admissions officers would recommend approaching the Yale supplementals:

Why does Yale appeal to you? (100 words or less)

The “Why Yale” question is an important supplemental question at Yale. Applicants must address why their learning style and academic interests fit with the academic philosophy at Yale.

Yale University Application

Applicants often make the mistake of stating cliché reasons that everyone applying to Yale mentions - the residential college system, the great theater program, etc.

We at Solomon Admissions recommend that students take an academic approach to this question. One compelling way to answer this question would be to research the major you plan on pursuing at Yale and why Yale provides undergraduate research and other academic opportunities within this major that other comparable schools cannot offer. You must state a compelling case for why Yale is the only place where you can get the education you seek.

For more information about the Yale University application process, contact us at one of the following: