Am I Good Enough For Yale?

October 15, 2021
By AdmissionSight

Am I Good Enough For Yale?

For high school students that set very lofty goals for themselves, there is little doubt that one of the most important moments of their young lives takes place when they decide which college or university they will attend.

For students who are committed to attending one of the most competitive and prestigious schools in the world, there is little doubt that Yale University is on their list. However, many students surely ask themselves each and every application cycle, “Am I good enough for Yale?”

Of course, Yale is one of the most historic, impressive, and hard-to-get-into schools in the entire United States. However, just because it is hard to get into does not mean that it is impossible.

At AdmissionSight, we know precisely what it takes to get into Yale or other schools within the Ivy League. And we make it our number one priority to help the students that we work with achieve their college admissions goals and get into the schools of their dreams.

View of the fall season at the campus of Yale with its building and students in the background

When it comes to the class of 2025, which otherwise means students applying to Yale in 2021, they faced an uphill battle in more ways than one. Not only has the application process been dramatically impacted by the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, but also students have been dealing with a level of competition that has never been seen before.

Acceptance rates have gone down to historic lows for schools all over the country, but the dip was most dramatic at top schools such as Ivy League schools and other top-10 schools elsewhere in the United States.

For the class of 2025, 7,939 students applied to Yale via Early Action. That marked a massive increase from the previous year, in which only 5,777 students applied to Yale Early Action. Moreover, the acceptance rate for Early Action students saw a massive dip from 2020 to 2021.

For the class of 2024, the acceptance rate for Early Action students at Yale was a pretty favorable 13.8 percent. For the class of 2025, that acceptance rate dipped to 10.5 percent.

When it comes to students that applied to Yale via Regular Decision, the acceptance rate was far less forgiving. There were 46,905 students that applied to be a part of the 2021-22 freshman class, marking the largest number of applicants in the history of the school. For those students, the acceptance rate was just 4.62 percent, one of the lost acceptance rates in the entire United States.

While Yale has always had a low acceptance rate, recent years have seen that number hover between 5.9 percent and 6.9 percent. To see the acceptance rate dip below 5.0 percent was a surprise to many!

Now that you know just how tough it is to get into Yale at present, the chances are good that you have a lot more questions. Luckily, we’ve got you covered!

So, whether you are a student currently working with us, considering working with us, or simply curious to learn about what it truly takes to beat the odds and improve your chance of getting into Yale, then you have absolutely come to the right place.

So, without further delay, let’s start breaking down how any student can answer “Am I good enough for Yale?”

Yale University admissions requirements

While there may have been admissions requirements for students depending on what schools students were interested in applying to, those kinds of admissions requirements have mostly become a thing of the past.

The simple reason for this is because – as more and more schools have sought to become more inclusive for students – schools have come to accept that some academic requirements can be very restrictive.

A person doing a checklist

After all, school curriculums are different all over the country depending on what kind of school a student goes to, what kind of funding that school has and much more.

However, while Yale does not have a list of courses that any student interested in attending must take, the school certainly does look out for a number of things on a students’ curriculum to get a good idea of how serious they were about their schooling during high school.

For that reason, any student who is interested in attending Yale should without a doubt look to fulfill these expectations.

Students should take:

  • Four years of English (including continued practice in writing)
  • Four years of mathematics (including calculus for students interested in engineering)
  • Four years of one foreign language
  • At least two years of laboratory science (including physics and chemistry for students interested in engineering)
  • At least two years of history

On top of that, students should take part in at least a couple of schools that focus on the visual or performing arts.

On top of that, students who are wondering “Am I good enough for Yale” should absolutely enroll in as many advanced courses as possible.

This means enrolling in honors courses, AP classes and IB classes whenever possible. The reason for this is because admissions officers at Yale want to see that students are not only challenging themselves in high school, but also excelling within those challenges.

So, as you begin your high school years, you should make a point to enroll in as many advanced courses as possible. It is also advised that students enroll in honors, AP or IB courses in subjects that they are most confident in. The reason for that is because schools will want to see that students can earn top grades in those courses and ideally earn high scores in placement tests if such tests are offered.

Application requirements

Beyond admissions expectations at Yale, there are a number of application requirements that students will want to prepare themselves for when the time comes for them to begin filling out their application to the school. Those requirements include:

  • The Coalition Application with Yale-Specific Questions
  • The Common Application with Yale-Specific Questions
  • The QuestBridge Application with Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire

Yale will accept any one of these applications, without preference for one over another. Students should submit one—and only one—application per admissions cycle.

Additional requirements for all first-year applicants:

  • $80 application fee or fee waiver
  • Recommendations from two teachers and one counselor
  • School Report with transcript
  • Standardized test results (ACT or SAT) – not required for fall 2021 or 2022 admission. See below.
  • Mid-Year Report (due when first semester/term senior grades are available at your school)

What we know about Yale’s ideal student

When it comes to improving your chances of getting into Yale, much of what it takes is for students to learn more about what the specific school that they are trying to get into looks for in the students that they review and accept each and every year.

One of the best ways to figure out what Yale looks for in its ideal students is to get a better idea of how Yale actually evaluates its applications.

In the words of one former president of Yale University, the school is aimed at ““selecting future Yale students was a combination of looking for those who would make the most of the extraordinary resources assembled here, those with a zest to stretch the limits of their talents, and those with an outstanding public motivation.”

While many of the United States’ top schools are trending towards valuing pre-professional candidates – meaning students who have signaled a clear goal when it comes to what kind of profession they plan on pursuing upon graduating – Yale still highly values students who show a great curiosity in their studies.

In fact, the school’s own website encourages students to “pursue what you love and tell us about that. Be yourself. Ask the teachers who really know you to recommend you. Apply and relax.”

When it comes to how Yale judges applying students, the school ranks the following categories as being the most important, in no particular order:

  • Application essay
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Rigor of secondary school record
  • Class rank
  • GPA
  • Standardized test scores
  • Character/personal qualities

Below that, there are also a number of factors that are also considered, though not as highly as the aforementioned list:

  • Interviews
  • First-generation college application status
  • Legacy status
  • Geographic residence
  • State of residence
  • Racial/ethnic status
  • Volunteer work
  • Paid work experience

When it comes to some of the most important factors that the school considers, such as grades and standardized test scores, it is crucial that students who are interested in attending Yale know what they are up against.

When it comes to the average high school GPA for students that get into Yale, that weighted GPA average is a 3.14.

As for the SAT, the average score for students who get into Yale is an amazing 1515 out of 1600. When it comes to the ACT, the average score is 34 out of the perfect score of 36.

From these quick breakdowns alone, it should be incredibly clear just how demanding the Yale admissions process is and how lofty the school considers the students that are applying.

For any student committed to attending Yale, he or she will want to make sure that they are doing everything within their power to earn the best grades possible throughout their high school years and prepare for the SAT or ACT with ample time so that they can master the format and material to give themselves a great chance of earning a fantastic score.

Who gets into Yale

Another thing that students can take into consideration when they are applying to Yale is the demographics breakdowns of the students that get into the school.

Yale University academic building and a green lawn in front of it

For the graduating class of 2024 we have some very useful information regarding the different breakdowns regarding the students that got into Yale. From a geographical standpoint, here are where the students who got into Yale call home:

  • Northeast: 29 percent
  • Mid-Atlantic States: 9 percent
  • Southern States: 14 percent
  • Western States: 17 percent
  • Midwestern States: 11 percent
  • Southwestern States: 9 percent

When it comes to a racial or ethnic breakdown of the students that were accepted to Yale into the graduating class of 2024, here is who made up the list. It is important to note that the following percentages do not add up to 100 percent because students can pick multiple ethnicities in their applications:

  • White: 45 percent
  • Asian American: 29 percent
  • Hispanic: 14 percent
  • African American: 13 percent
  • American Indian: 2 percent
  • International: 9 percent

Finally, when it comes to the types of schools that students attended in high school, here are where students that got into Yale studied:

  • Public: 67 percent
  • Independent Day: 19 percent
  • Boarding: 5 percent
  • Religious: 9 percent

So, now you have a great idea of what kinds of students get into Yale. Even though this only specifically applies to  the graduating class of 2024, it serves as a very strong barometer for all years!

Depending on where you live, what ethnicity you are and what kind of school you attended in high school, you may have a good idea of whether or not those factors will work for you or against you when it comes time for you to apply to Yale.

How to improve your chances of getting into Yale

No matter what kind of student you are, where you come from, or even what kinds of scores you got on your standardized tests, you can always find ways to improve your chances of getting into Yale.

While grades, standardized test scores, personal essays, extracurriculars and the other factors that are considered most important by the school will always play a very high level of importance, there are some other things that students can do to give their chances of getting into Yale a healthy boost.

Schedule an interview

While an interview with an alumnus of the school is not a mandatory part of the process, all applicants are encouraged to connect with an alumni interviewer whenever possible. These interviews are seen as an important part of the process because they are both informational and evaluative.

A two women are conducting an interview

Interviews can take place either face-to-face or over video chat (an especially popular choice amidst COVID-19). Not only do they give the school more information about a particular student to base their final decision on, but a student who pursues an interview with an alumni interviewer is making a clear signal that they hope to attend Yale. That can only help them in their pursuit of getting in!

Bring you application to life

Another really great way that any student who is applying to Yale University can improve their chances of getting in is to do whatever they can to bring their application to life. Far too often, students struggle to break through the strict formats of college applications to really manage to show any admissions officers who they are as students.

Perhaps the best way to do this is to focus on highlighting your extracurriculars that you were heavily passionate about and dedicated to, so that admissions officers can get a better idea of what you are truly interested in both in and outside of the classroom.

Moreover, picking the right teachers to write your letters of recommendation can make a major impact in the positive direction. Students who are interested in attending top schools should make sure to plan out which teachers they plan to ask well ahead of when they actually have to start applying to schools.

We advise that students discuss letters of recommendation with the teachers whom they want to write their letters as early as the end of their junior year of high school. This will give any student the time they need to construct a great letter.

Beyond that, it is a good idea for students to meet with the teachers who will be writing their letters of recommendation. Of course, no student should be “coaching” a teacher on what they want them to write in a letter, but it is never a bad idea for a student to let the teacher know how they plan on presenting themselves in their applications. This will help the teacher when they are constructing their letter for a given student.

Give yourself time to write, edit and improve your essays

Students have a real ability to improve their standing at any school if they are able to craft powerful, personal and enlightening personal essays. While there is no “right” or “wrong” topic for an essay, there is absolutely the right way to go about crafting those essays.

a male student writing something into his notebook

One crucially important thing for students to do is give themselves the time necessary to edit and improve their essay. Truly, students will want to get started on their essays as soon as they are available for that application year. On top of that, asking a peer, teacher or parent to look over, edit and offer notes on their essays so that the applying student can take another pass at them before sending off can be highly helpful.

Will you get into Yale University?

Depending on your grades, essays, standardized test scores, and much more, you will either have a fairly good chance of getting into Yale or be facing an uphill climb.

At AdmissionSight, we do whatever we can to help our students achieve their application goals. It’s why 75 percent of the students that we work with getting into an Ivy League school or a top-10 school elsewhere in the U.S. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.


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