Does Yale Interview Everyone?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A white Yale University building

Does Yale Interview Everyone?

For students who have the goal of getting into one of the best universities in the United States, Yale University is a dream destination. Yale, along with the likes of Harvard University, Princeton University and five other schools make up the incredibly historical and prestigious Ivy League.

Each year, tens of thousands of high school students apply to Yale with the hopes of becoming a member of its incoming graduating class. One part of the application process at Yale includes an admission interview with a member of the school’s decorated alumni community. But does Yale interview everyone?

If you are planning on applying to Yale and want to learn more about the incredible application process, as well as what role the interview can play in your ability to get into the school, then you have come to the right place!

View of Yale University building.

At AdmissionSight, it is our primary goal and concern to help the high school students that we work with every application cycle to get into the schools of their dreams. While we help students with many different aspects of improving their chances of getting into top schools, a lot of the students that we work with specifically have to do with the application process.

Our experience and knowledge of how the most selective and elite schools operate their unique admissions processes have helped us offer the students a fantastic advantage compared to students who are going through the entire process alone. That’s just one of the reasons why 75 percent of the students that we work with end up getting into Ivy League or top-10 schools!

So, if you are wondering, “Does Harvard give interviews?” or if you want to know what you could expect out of your Yale interviewer and want to know more about what an interview could be like in the event that you do get interviewed, then keep on reading to learn a lot of important information about admissions at Yale

Does Yale give interviews?

Does Yale give interviews? Yes, it absolutely does! Does Yale interview everyone? Well, no. To put it simply, the interview component of the undergraduate admissions process at Yale is not required. With that being said, applicants are absolutely encouraged to join in on the process whenever possible.

It is important to know that it is actually not up to the students who get to take part in an interview with Yale. In fact, alumni and student Yale interviewers will contact applicants after their admissions materials are submitted.

Two students talking near a building.

When it comes to the interview itself, it is simply seen as another bit of information and proof that the admissions committee at the school can utilize to determine whether or not a student applicant would be a good fit at the school. Of course, the considerations students probably think about most when it comes to the things that really impact their ability to get into a school include components like their high school grade point average, their standardized testing scores and their extracurriculars, the interview process can also play a major role.

Think about it this way: These days, one of the most important components of any students’ application to a top school in the United States is their personal statement and essays.

The reason why these aspects of an application have become more important in recent years is because they offer the best insight into whether a student is a good fit for a school in terms of who they are and what their unique point of view is beyond just grades and test scores. Of course, being a great student is an important part of getting into a school like Yale, but the admissions officers at the school also want to be sure that a student could be a great fit from a cultural level.

That is where the interview can come in as well. While the interview certainly serves as an opportunity for you to learn more about the school and the direct experience of the student or alumni Yale interview who you are meeting with, it also gives the school a great opportunity to learn more about who you are as a person!

As the Associate Director of Admissions Dara Norwood made clear last year, that the interview has become even more impactful in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has always been our goal to try and interview as many students as possible,” Norwood said. “For this year, we tried to get a manageable number of students who we felt like the interview was going to really make an impact … I just think that going through such a weird and hard year, and still trying to get this information, our alumni have been so amazing in stepping up and trying to help us get this done.”

So, to wrap up this important section, Yale absolutely does offer interviews to undergraduate applicants, but not every student applicant gets the opportunity to take part. If you are offered the option to be interviewed by a current student or member of the school’s alumni, you should absolutely jump at the chance!

How much does the Yale interview matter?

Now that you know a bit more about the Yale interview process, you might be wondering how much it really matters. For a starter, it is important to keep in mind that the interview is not required, and students who are not able to take part in the interview process do get into Yale every year!

For a variety of reasons, alumni volunteers are not able to offer every applicant an interview. Still, if you are offered the opportunity to take part in the process, the school does “strongly encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Young woman interviewing a student in a room.

With that in mind, the school itself makes it abundantly clear that if you are not able to take part in the interview, your application will not be at a disadvantage and “many successful applicants are not interviewed.”

Still, it is highly important for students who are offered an interview to know that just because they get to take part in this exciting opportunity does not mean that they will be a shoe-in to get into the school. While the fact that you are getting an interview does guarantee that you and your application are being considered, you have to remember that a very small percentage of students that apply to Harvard each application cycle actually end up getting in.

When it comes to Yale in the 2021-22 application cycle specifically, the school admitted a total of 2,234 students from an applicant pool of 50,015 students – the school’s largest applicant pool ever. The acceptance rate at Yale for the graduating class of 2026 was an incredibly competitive 4.46 percent, lower than any of the three prior years.

For that reason, if you are being heavily considered at Yale, and the admissions office makes it a priority to make sure you are interviewed, this alone will not guarantee your spot at the school.

This is, truly, one of the hardest learning institutions to get into in the entire world. You cannot feel wholly confident about your ability to beat the odds of the very low acceptance rate until your offer of admissions is in your hands!

Remember, this information is not meant to discourage you from applying to Yale. Quite the contrary! We just feel it is our responsibility to let our readers know just how competitive the school truly is. It’s part of what makes getting into just so special.

What are Yale interviews like?

For any student who is invited to take part in an interview with a Yale interviewer, it is really crucial for that student to know that this is not a simple or casual conversation.

This is not going to be just a meet-and-greet that you may have with a peer or even an employer for a job that you held during high school. The truth is that an undergraduate admissions interview with an Ivy League school is likely going to be the most demanding and difficult interview up to this point in a student’s life!


Yale University signage

That is not to say that the questions themselves are necessarily hard, but the way in which a student performs will be highly scrutinized by the interviewer and Yale’s admission committee.

For that reason, any student who is offered an interview with Yale is going to want to take the time to prepare and think about some of the questions that they might be asked so that they can show up confident, calm and prepared!

There is a fine line that every interviewer should strive for, which will allow you to not sound like you have rehearsed or pre-prepared answers while also not rambling or thinking too long before you finally answer.

After all, the interview is going to be styled more after a conversation than a professional interview. Though that is definitely part of what makes it so difficult. Some students do get lulled into a false sense of comfort and end up not taking full advantage of the opportunity that has been offered them.

When it comes to sitting down and actually having the conversation, students can expect a pretty back-and-forth exchange. Topics that are typically covered always include Yale (unsurprisingly), as well as the specific student’s high school education. But it won’t be all about your education past or future.

You can also expect to talk about things that you are interested in outside of the classroom. If there is a passion or interest that you and your interviewer share, don’t be surprised if your interview takes a left turn to something you never even expected would come up!

Still, just because the conversation can end up going in casual directions does not mean that you should be casual along with it! Take the entire interview seriously and make sure to try to represent yourself in the best way possible.

This can start with something as simple as wearing business-casual attire such as a nice button down shirt or blouse. This will help you remember that what you are doing is serious business, even if it may end up feeling like a simple conversation with a like-minded individual.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that while you do want to be your genuine self for the entire interview, you should remember that your interviewer – whether they are an alum Yale interviewer or a student interviewer – is going to be older and more experienced than you. Your interview is a chance to prove to them that you have a great amount of self-awareness and maturity.

When it comes to specific questions that you are going to be asked, every Yale interview is a bit different. There are going to be certain questions that every student that is interviewed is asked, such as “Why Yale?” but there are many more questions that are going to be dependent on you and the application that you sent into Yale. Based on your academic interests as well as your passions outside of the classroom, here are some questions that you may get from your Yale interviewer:

  • Reflect either on something that doesn’t come as naturally (i.e. English class for the STEM kid) or a particularly difficult experience in the thing you love
  • Tell me about influential person in your lives
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What do you hope to gain from your undergraduate experience?
  • What can theater offer that other performance forms don’t? What are its possibilities?
  • Can you remember a really great discussion from your English class?
  • Do you have favorite subjects you like to write about?  Why?
  • Is there a cause that you feel particularly strong about?
  • What is a memorable experience from a community service project?
  • Do you create art for yourself or for an audience? What aspects of your life have influenced your art?
  • Tell me about some interesting places you have visited. Can you talk about cultural differences you observed?
  • What was it like adjusting to a new community/school?
  • How do you imagine yourself getting involved with music at Yale?
  • What aspects of chemistry/biology/physics/etc. are particularly interesting to you?
  • What do you like about individual/team sports?

As you can see, there are a lot of different topics that you can expect to discuss based on what you are personally interested in and what you mentioned in your personal statement, essays and what your high school faculty members mentioned in your letters of recommendation!

You don’t have to expect any curve balls or truly difficult questions, but you will want to review your application and personal statement to remember what information your interviewer is going into the conversation with and what they might want to know more about by the time your interview concludes.

Other tips for your Yale interview

Now that you have a decent idea of how the overall interview experience will likely go, we wanted to go over just a few useful tips that any student can benefit from before taking part in their own interview. These are easy tips to remember and can make all the difference between you leaving your interview feeling great or leaving it reeling like you could have done more to improve your chances of getting in.

Make a connection

The main goal of your interview from beginning to end should be to connect with your interviewer on a personal level. The simple fact is that at the end of your interview, your interviewer will consult with the admissions officers at Yale and give them insight into how the interview went.

If you two are able to connect and your Yale interviewer feels like you are a good fit at the school, they will go to bat for you. For that reason, remember to remain genuine and be honest about yourself, your passions, your goals and more!

A student being interviewed by a UChicago admission officer

Don’t be afraid to think before you speak

One thing that some students believe is that really thinking before answering a question that is presented to them will give off a sense that they are not prepared and are unprepared. However, the truth can actually be true!

After every question, especially if the question comes as something of a surprise to you, don’t be afraid to take a breath, really think for a couple seconds and then offer your answer. Responding immediately only to find out that you’re somewhat lost in your answer is not the best way forward!

Don’t brag, but be confident

That last thing you want to do is come off as braggadocious and overly self-interested. Yale does not want students that think they are all that and a bag of chips! However, you shouldn’t be reluctant to talk about your accomplishments, what sets you apart and why you think you’d be a great fit on Yale’s campus.

Succeed in the Yale interview

While taking part in a Yale interview is not going to be the single deciding factor in whether or not you end up getting into the school, a great interview can certainly help your chances! If you want to learn more about how to prepare for your Yale interview, or any of the other aspects of the application process, contact AdmissionSight today to schedule a free consultation.





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