Yale University is an Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut. With numerous successful and famous alumni occupying top spots in government, media and business, Yale attracts some of the most gifted students in the world. Fortunately, while Yale's standards are much higher than average, the criteria the university uses in its admissions decisions are not very different from other universities in the United States.
The Common Application and Supplement
In all likelihood, you're probably applying to other universities beside Yale. With an acceptance rate of 7 percent, Yale's standards are high, so it's probably a good idea to apply to some safety schools in addition to Yale. Luckily, applying to many universities along with Yale is easy because of the Common Application. Besides the Common App's usual admissions essay, Yale only requires one additional essay on a topic that varies from year-to-year. Yale will read both of these essays to try to get a sense of the person who wrote them. Your character, personality and ambition, therefore, are all relevant criteria in Yale admissions.
Two Teacher Recommendations
To validate your achievements from another perspective, Yale requires two recommendations from teachers who know you well. These recommendations can be submitted through the Common App. Yale prefers letters from teachers who have taught you in a core subject during your junior or senior year. In these letters, Yale is hoping to get a sense of your performance in a classroom setting, your intellectual curiosity and your ability to work with classmates. This information is useful criteria in admissions because it helps Yale understand your academic abilities beyond just test scores and GPA.
Counselor Recommendation and Transcript
In addition to two recommendations from teachers, Yale also requires a recommendation from a school counselor along with your academic transcript. In your transcript, Yale wants to see evidence of academic rigor. AP classes, honors classes, and a wide breadth of subjects are all important in this regard. Additionally, a high GPA relative to your peers (and thus, a high class rank) are all extremely important. To supplement this information, Yale wants a letter from a school counselor. This letter is primarily used to understand your broader contributions to your school community. Your counselor should highlight your participation in extracurricular activities and leadership roles, which Yale values in admissions.
Standardized Test Scores
While the broader criteria of extracurricular activities, academic curiosity and personality are all important, standardized test scores matter a lot in Yale admissions. Enrolled freshmen at Yale scored highly on their standardized exams. For example, the middle 50 percent scored between 710 and 800 on each section of the SAT, and between 32 and 35 on the ACT. These scores put Yale admits well above the 90th percentile of all test-takers. While Yale has no minimum score for admissions, nor a score that guarantees an acceptance, the high scores among enrolled freshmen imply that exam scores are important.
Kevin Wandrei has written extensively on higher education. His work has been published with Kaplan, Textbooks.com, and Shmoop, Inc., among others. He is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Cornell University.