Why Attend Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS)

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Yale building surrounded by trees

Why Attend Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS)

Yale University, founded in 1701, is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Yale Young Global Scholars summer program is one of the most prestigious in the world, hosted by a top Ivy League university. It would be an honor for any student to participate in this or any of Yale’s highly respected programs.

How you spend your summer is important. Not only do colleges and universities look at academics and test scores, but they also like to see leadership, initiative, and community involvement. A prestigious summer program at one of the world’s top universities is an excellent way to demonstrate passion and dedication.

What is the Yale Young Global Scholars Program?

Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) was founded in 2001 as a small, pre-collegiate summer program under the name Ivy Scholars.

During the 2012-2013 application cycle, the name changed from “Ivy Scholars” to “Young Global Scholars” to better reflect the program’s continuing mission to educate increasing numbers of international students, as well as expose U.S. domestic and international students to global issues, international affairs, and policy leadership on an international scale.

In 2013-2015, the Yale Young Global Scholars Program admitted 600 students to the Politics, Law, & Economics session and Studies in Grand Strategy session and offered three sessions in the summer.

By 2019, the program had evolved to offer nine sessions and serve over 2,000 students, as well as running an international program in Beijing, China. Currently, the Yale Young Global Scholars Program offers over twelve sessions ranging over a variety of topics, from science to international affairs, and hosts over 2,500 students from around the world.

Yale Young Global Scholars is an unparalleled academic and leadership program at Yale University, founded on the tenets of liberal arts, renowned for its diverse and inclusive community, and committed to increasing education access.

Yale Young Global Scholars is committed to empowering the next generation of leaders by building a global community and designing interdisciplinary programs that encourage intellectual curiosity, deepen understanding, and inspire creative action across all borders.

With an emphasis on an open, exploratory, and collaborative approach to learning, the program is designed to allow students to experience learning in a variety of university contexts, from large lectures to small seminars, and even the spontaneous learning that happens in dining halls and around campus.

There are five sessions with different areas of focus within the program: Applied Science and Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Science, Literature, Philosophy and Culture, Politics, Law and Economics, and Solving Global Challenges. The program is structured around a core curriculum made up of a student’s chosen seminars, discussion sessions, and lectures.

There are no grades or course credits, and each individual’s structure is dependent upon the limits they set for themselves. Connections and bonding with peers are encouraged through dedicated games and activities. The program culminates in a final collaborative capstone project supervised and mentored by Yale faculty and students. Yale University also offers a variety of scholarships, financial aid, and fundraising opportunities to those who qualify.

Yale University entrance with students walking past by

Why Should I Participate in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program?

Besides being an outstanding addition to any college application, there are a variety of other reasons why attending the Yale Young Global Scholars program would be beneficial to any student.

The Campus

Getting accepted to the Yale Young Global Scholars program means you will be living on campus and be able to experience life on one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation. The exquisite architecture combines with a rich history to produce the beautiful, Hogwarts-esque campus of America’s third-oldest university. Yale University is famous for its iconic Gothic and Colonial Revival buildings and landscape spaces, and in 2010 it was officially named by Forbes as one of the world’s “most beautiful campuses.”

As a Young Global Scholar, you can attend a discussion in Battell Chapel, a historic civil war memorial, one moment, and stroll past the 216-foot tall Harkness Tower to attend a seminar in the stunning Sterling Memorial Library the next. During your free time, you can take advantage of Yale’s incredible facilities by exercising in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium, the second-largest gym in the world, or visiting the Yale University Art Gallery, housing masterpieces by Monet and Picasso.

The Seminars

While the enriching lectures that the Yale Young Global Scholars Program offers are the same for all participants of a session, seminars are entirely up to individual choice. Within each session, whether it be Politics, Law and Engineering, or International Affairs and Security, there are thousands of topics to discover, and the program recognizes the diversity of the 200 participants’ interests.

About a month before the start of the sessions, students can choose from an extensive array of seminars and activities, allowing them to tailor their experience to their own unique interests. Students attend about ten seminars throughout the course of the program, and each seminar hosts around 15-20 students taught by Yale undergraduate and graduate students. Seminars are hands-on and interesting, allowing students to completely immerse themselves in a subject of interest, surrounded by people who are as passionate about learning as they are.


Most mornings during the course of the two-week program, passers-by will often see large groups of students in matching name tags piling into one of Yale’s architecturally renowned lecture halls. Lectures, which are one hour of explanation by Yale professors and/or leaders in their respective fields followed by a 30-minute question and answer session with the lecturer, are one of the most valuable aspects of the global scholar program.

The lectures educate students on topics pertaining to their session and subject of choice and expand their horizons to applications of that subject in other fields. The Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) session, for example, included a lecture about using music as a technology for nurses to better recognize the functions of the human body.

One of the most incredible parts of the lectures was that students were encouraged not to take notes, but rather to simply listen and take in the information; this created a stress-free, enriching environment that was ideal for learning. With this, students are able to take advantage of a world-class education taught by professors who are experts in their field and gain insight into what a typical class would be like in college.

Students listening to the class lecture

The Residential Life at Yale Young Global Scholars Program

Yale Young Global Scholars live in one of Yale’s 12 residential colleges alongside the other 200 students attending the same session. Students live in a suite with around six or seven people, with whom they share a common room and a large part of the program experience.

Since YYGS is a global program, many of the people living in a suite together are often from different countries; living with people your own age from around the world, hearing their languages, and learning about their cultures is truly an experience that is hard to come by anywhere else.

On a typical day in the program, students can be seen relaxing together on the hammocks or playing frisbee in the courtyard, playing the pianos in the common room, eating delicious meals together in the `“` college’s dining hall and letting their competitive sides shine in the game-room. Participation also gives students a further look into their future at Yale or any university they wish to attend.

The Capstone Project

The Yale Young Global Scholar Program is as much of hands-on experience as it is a learning experience, and this is evident in the Capstone Project that students work on throughout the course of the program. Students are placed in subject groups based on their indicated subject preference, and from there they work with a small group of five or six people to create unique solutions to global problems.

Solutions developed by students in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, for example, ranged from mental health research to the development of higher-efficiency vaccines. At the conclusion of the program, Capstone groups formally present their solutions to their peers in the session. Some capstone groups have even continued to work together beyond YYGS to make their capstone-inspired solutions a reality. Besides the exciting content they learn, students are also able to experience collaboration in a college environment with their peers.


The people involved in this program, whether they are students or instructors, are some of the kindest, most interesting, genuine, and intelligent people you will ever meet. You may enter the program surrounded by nameless faces who are young scholars alongside you, but in just two weeks those “nameless faces” will be some of your closest friends.

The beauty of this program is the ability for students to work alongside and share a bond with some of the most ambitious, outstanding young minds of this generation who represent a community of youth from all over the world. Eye-opening discussions will enhance your view and allow you to see the world from someone else’s perspective who may not come from the same background as you.

The same people you just saw asking thought-provoking questions in a lecture are the same people that you will be laughing over dinner with; you may have just beaten the future Secretary of State in an intense game of ping-pong. There is so much to be learned just from talking to the incredible people in this program, and there is so much comfort that can be found in knowing that the future lies in the hands of the brilliant young people around you.

YYGS also has a global network of 8,000+ past participants from around the world. Alumni can share updates, join affinity groups, seek mentorships, explore job opportunities, and much more.

A group of students sharing their works

What are the Requirements to Apply for the Yale Young Global Scholars?

In order to be accepted to YYGS, you must meet the criteria below:

  • Be at least 16 years old by July 19, 2020 (first day of Session III).
  • Be able to participate in a rigorous academic curriculum conducted in English.
  • Be a current high school sophomore or junior (or international equivalent).
  • Be graduating in May/June 2021 or 2022 from the Northern Hemisphere, or in Nov./Dec. 2020 or 2021 from the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Be a first-time participant in YYGS. If you have participated in any YYGS session during a previous summer (e.g., 2019, 2018), then you are not eligible to participate during YYGS 2020. If you previously applied to YYGS but were not offered admission or were unable to attend and you meet the eligibility criteria noted above, then you are encouraged to re-apply for YYGS 2020.

YYGS accepts applications from ALL countries and offers the opportunity for students to apply for need-based financial aid to students from ALL countries.

All students must also submit the following application components:

  • Activities list
  • One 500-word essay and one 200-word response
  • Two “fast take” responses (140 characters each)
  • Official school transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation (as completed YYGS Recommendation Forms ONLY)
  • Application fee* ($55 for Early Action, $70 for Regular Decision)
  • OPTIONAL: English fluency test scores (TOEFL or DuoLingo)**

Students may also submit applications for need-based financial aid for application fees.

Group of students studying and reading together in the library

With overall acceptance rates to top universities and Ivy League Colleges at an all-time low, it is more important than ever that students take the extra steps needed to ensure that their application stands out. Yale University specifically has a current acceptance rate of only 6.3 percent out of tens of thousands of applicants.

Final Thoughts

The Yale Young Global Scholars (YYGS) program is an outstanding choice if you’re a high school student eager to develop your academic and leadership abilities on an international stage. You’ll have the chance to tackle complex subjects in diverse sessions, learning alongside peers from all over the world and under the guidance of Yale’s top faculty, all equipped with cutting-edge resources. This program enhances your grasp of college life and academic expectations while also helping you build lifelong connections and skills that stand out on your college applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Yale Young Global Scholars Program?

Yale Young Global Scholars is a prestigious summer program at Yale University that offers intensive academic sessions across multiple disciplines. It brings together students from around the world to encourage intellectual curiosity, deepen understanding, and inspire creative action on global issues.

2. Who can apply to YYGS?

High school sophomores and juniors (or international equivalents) who are at least 16 years old by the start of the session can apply. Applicants should be ready to engage in a rigorous academic curriculum conducted in English and must be first-time participants in YYGS.

3. What types of sessions are offered at YYGS?

YYGS offers a variety of sessions including Applied Science and Engineering, Biological and Biomedical Science, Literature, Philosophy and Culture, Politics, Law and Economics, and Solving Global Challenges. Each session focuses on different thematic areas, allowing students to explore their interests deeply.

4. What does the application process involve?

The application process requires an activities list, a 500-word essay, a 200-word response, two “fast take” responses, an official school transcript, two letters of recommendation, and an application fee. Applicants can also submit English fluency test scores and apply for need-based financial aid.

5. What are the benefits of participating in YYGS?

Participants gain a competitive edge for college applications, experience life on a historic Ivy League campus, engage in seminars and lectures led by Yale faculty, and work on collaborative projects. The program also offers networking opportunities with a global community of like-minded peers and alumni.



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