The rigorous and highly competitive admissions process might make some high school students wonder if they have what it takes to get into Yale. According to 2013 data published in Yale News, Yale College only admits approximately seven percent of their applicants, so prospective students have their work cut out for them. Although Yale has no specific set of admissions standards, they look for students with high test scores, above average grade point averages, leadership qualities and extracurricular activities.
Making the Grade
Although Yale’s website stresses the importance of a high school transcript in determining an applicant’s admissions acceptance, the college does not specifically require any particular high school classes. The Yale admissions committee looks for high performing students who have taken a well-rounded, challenging curriculum, including classes in math, writing and science. Students must take a challenging course load throughout their senior year to market themselves most effectively during the application process, and they should perform well in their classes and on the SAT or ACT.
Yale admits high school students who are not only academically advanced, but who also demonstrate strong character, leadership skills and a personal responsibility toward improvement, according to the College Board. Yale prefers candidates who demonstrate that they will make the most of their college experience by using the university resources available to them. A student's involvement in extracurricular activities, clubs, community involvement and other personal interests can be one of the most important deciding factors among students of similar academic backgrounds.
Yale’s admissions committee looks for diverse high school candidates with varying interests and backgrounds. While high test scores and good grades are very important, Yale only admits highly motivated, curious, energetic and talented leaders with unique skills or talents that set them apart from their competition. No student is disqualified because of income level or socio-economic background.
Essays and Recommendation Letters
Yale requires letters of recommendation from school counselors and teachers because they can help the admissions committee understand the difficulty of an applicant’s course load and get to know the student on a more personal level. Yale’s admission requirements also require applicants to write two essays displaying their honest reflection on their personal interests, activities and experiences.