Yale isn’t just one of the best colleges in the country — it’s one of the best schools in the entire world.
Yale offers more than 80 majors via 2,000 courses that enable students to become world experts in everything from law and history to anthropology, engineering, physics, and everything in between.
But if you want to unlock those opportunities and join Yale’s jaw-dropping list of alumni, you’ve got to put in a lot of work.
Yale is one of the most competitive institutions in the world, which means that getting into Yale can be incredibly tricky.
This guide explains everything you need to know about Yale, what GPA and standardized test scores you need to get into Yale, the Yale application process, Yale’s acceptance rate, and more.
About Yale University
Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale was founded in 1701 — making it the third-oldest university in the U.S.
It’s been led by 23 presidents since colonial times, and over the course of the last 300 years, it has risen to become one of the most well-respected higher education institutions in the globe.
If you’re looking for a university with an impressive list of alumni, look no further.
Four Yale graduates signed the Declaration of Independence, and five U.S. presidents studied at Yale. Former staff and students have also racked up 20 Nobel prizes and 32 Pulitzer prizes.
Yale is the second-richest university in the world, with an endowment of more than $25 billion. Thanks to its 15 million volumes, Yale also has the third biggest library in America.
In terms of size, Yale is a relatively small institution. Its student body is currently composed of just over 12,000 students.
Around 40% of those students are undergraduates, and 60% are graduates. Within that student body, one in five Yale students hails from overseas, representing over 120 different countries.
Yale comprises 14 residential colleges. Whenever an undergraduate is accepted into Yale, they’re assigned one of these colleges. All undergraduates remain affiliated with their residential college throughout their time at Yale.
Those colleges are:
- Benjamin Franklin College
- Berkeley College
- Branford College
- Davenport College
- Ezra Stiles College
- Grace Hopper College
- Jonathan Edwards College
- Morse College
- Pauli Murray College
- Pierson College
- Saybrook College
- Silliman College
- Timothy Dwight College
- Trumbull College
Meanwhile, degrees are split between Yale College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and 12 other professional schools.
We’ll get to those in just a minute.
Undergraduate application requirements
Yale University is one of the best colleges in the world, so it goes without saying that its admissions department is super selective.
It takes a lot of hard work to get into Yale — but if you keep your eye on the ball and stay organized, it’s definitely possible to gain entry to Yale as an undergraduate.
To help you get your bearings, let’s take a look at Yale’s eligibility requirements and acceptance rate.
What is Yale’s acceptance rate?
Colleges like Yale University calculate acceptance rates by dividing the number of accepted students by the total number that applied. That number changes a little bit every year, but to give you a rough idea, we’ll break down Yale’s 2020 admissions figures.
In the run-up to 2020, 35,220 applied to join Yale’s “Class of 2024.” Of that group, just 6.6% of applicants were admitted — and only 1,267 incoming freshmen ultimately enrolled.
About 2/3 of those enrolled came to Yale from public high schools, while the other third came from independent day schools, boarding schools, or religious schools. About 8% of accepted applicants were the children of Yale alumni.
What GPA do you need to get into Yale?
Your grade point average (or GPA) is a number that schools use to communicate how well you performed on average across all of your classes.
As far as the GPA requirement for admissions is concerned, Yale is incredibly competitive.
Although it’s important to note there’s no formal GPA requirement, it’s worth going back to Yale’s 2020 admissions numbers for an idea of how high you need to shoot. The average GPA of Yale’s incoming class of 2024 was 3.9.
Translation: your high school transcript is going to need to be pretty close to flawless to wow an admissions officer at Yale.
But that’s not to say you shouldn’t apply if you have a low GPA. It just means you’ll need to compensate for that performance by shining in other areas like great standardized test scores.
What SAT score is needed for Yale?
If you want to get into Yale as an undergraduate student, you’ll need to take at least one standardized test. The most commonly accepted options students choose from are the SAT or the ACT.
According to Yale’s 2020 admissions data from the Class of 2024, the average SAT scores for its most recently accepted cohort were between 740–790 for math. The average scores for evidence-based reading and writing were between 720–770.
Just like a GPA, Yale doesn’t have a cutoff score for the SAT. But it makes a lot of sense to use the average scores of admitted freshmen as a guide.
What ACT score is needed for Yale?
If you choose to take the ACT instead of the SAT (or opt for both), the same guidance applies where scores are concerned. Yale doesn’t have a cutoff score you must achieve to get in.
But again, if you look at Yale’s 2020 admissions data, there’s a clear range that accepted students all achieve. Last year, the average ACT composite score for Yale’s most recently accepted cohort was between 33–35.
Neither the SAT nor ACT are required for fall 2021 or 2022 admission. This is because there was a lack of testing sites as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But from 2023 onward, you should plan on sitting at least one standardized test.
How do you apply to Yale?
Once you’ve explored Yale’s course offerings and put in the work to gain entry, it’ll be time for you to apply.
You can apply to Yale online and choose from one of three different application types:
- The Coalition Application with Yale-specific questions
- The Common Application with Yale-specific questions
- The QuestBridge Application with Yale QuestBridge questionnaire
Yale accepts any of these applications, and your admissions officer won’t prioritize one over the other. Just remember that you can only send in one application (of any type) per admissions cycle.
In addition to your first-year application, you’ll be expected to submit an $80 application fee, two recommendations, your school report and transcript, and standardized test results.
You’ll also need to send in a mid-year report as soon as possible, which shows your continued academic progress after submitting your application.
When do you apply to Yale?
If you’re applying as a Single-Choice Early Action applicant or a QuestBridge National College Match applicant, the deadline for your application is November 1. Financial aid applications are then due on November 10.
Regular decision applications are due on January 2, followed by financial aid applications, which are then due on March 15.
Graduate application requirements
OK, so we’ve covered how to get into Yale as an undergraduate. If you’re applying to Yale as a graduate student, there’s a much different process.
Let’s take a quick look at the graduate application process, as well as the different professional schools at Yale.
How do you apply to Yale?
If you’re applying to Yale as a graduate student, you’ll need to submit a statement of academic purpose. There’s a prompt every year, which you can find on Yale’s Application Questions page.
You’ll also be expected to send in a list of all the previous colleges you’ve gone to and unofficial transcripts from each school. These should be uploaded as part of your online application.
Next, you’ll need three letters of recommendation and your resume alongside a $105 application fee.
Finally, you’ll need to send in your standardized test results. Test requirements vary by program, and some programs have additional requirements like writing samples.
Standardized testing requirements
Each graduate program has its own set of standardized test requirements, but the most common testing requirement is a Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Some master’s and Ph.D. programs require a GRE score as an entrance requirement, but others don’t. If you sit the GRE, you’re asked to send your scores directly to Yale’s grad school.
If English is not your first language, you’ll also have to send in English language exam results. Yale accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) tests.
Let’s look at the requirements of specific schools at Yale.
Yale School of Medicine
The Yale School of Medicine was established in 1810, and it has made some extraordinary contributions to the profession — including the first X-ray performed in the U.S., the first successful use of penicillin, the first use of chemotherapy, fetal heart monitoring, and more.
If you want to join the Yale School of Medicine, pre-med requirements include three years at an accredited college and the completion of several science courses with lab work.
Applications can be submitted using the AMCAS Application.
You’ll also need to submit the Yale Secondary Application, letters of recommendation, and an application fee of $95. Finally, you’ll need to send in your Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores.
Yale Divinity School
Founded in 1822, Yale Divinity School offers degrees in divinity, religion, and theology.
Applicants are required to have obtained a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and are evaluated based on academic quality and their ability to do graduate work.
But in addition to academics, Yale Divinity School says it also places a lot of focus on leadership qualities, spiritual maturity, and seriousness of purpose.
Yale Law School
If you want to apply to Yale Law School, you’ll first need to subscribe to the Law School Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
You can register for this online and then submit your law school application through the LSAC electronic application service included as part of a CAS subscription.
As part of your application, you’re required to send in your application fee, undergraduate degrees, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.
You’ll also need to submit a personal statement and short essays, standardized test results, a Dean’s Certification, and completed diversity statements.
Yale School of Art
Founded in 1869, the Yale School of Art is America’s oldest professional fine arts school.
If you want to join the Yale School of Art, you can submit an online application — but it’s important to note that you can’t apply using the materials on the graduate school’s website.
To apply, you’ll need to pay a $100 application fee and submit transcripts and three references.
More importantly, you’ll also need to submit a one-page statement of interests and a portfolio of work. If you fail to send in your portfolio by the advertised deadline, your application won’t be considered.
Yale School of Music
Yale is the only Ivy League school with a separate school of music, and it has an incredible reputation.
If you’d like to apply to Yale School of Music as a graduate student, you’ll need to send in an online application form, a $150 fee, your resume, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts. Crucially, you’ll need to send in prescreening recordings related to the course that you’re applying to.
Yale School of the Environment
Founded in 1900, the Yale School of the Environment offers master’s degrees and doctoral degrees relating to environmental and sustainability issues.
To apply, you’ll need to complete an online application form and submit multiple essays, three letters of recommendation, and your resume.
You’ll also need to submit your official transcripts, your application fee, and an online supplement specific to the Yale School of the Environment.
Yale School of Public Health
Founded in 1915, Yale School of Public Health features one of America’s oldest public health master’s programs.
To apply, you have to complete an application form from the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS).
Alongside that form, you’ll need to send in official transcripts from all schools you’ve attended, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and your resume.
Yale School of Architecture
The Yale School of Architecture offers a number of specialist MArch degrees that are available for those already holding a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college.
To apply to the Yale School of Architecture, you need to pay a fee of $90 and submit transcripts, standardized test scores, your CV, and letters of recommendation.
You’ll also need to send in a portfolio of your work — and for some courses, you’ll have to send in a research proposal.
Yale School of Nursing
Founded in 1923, Yale School of Nursing was the first school at a university to offer a degree program rather than an apprenticeship in nursing.
To apply, you’ll need to submit an online application, your resume, three references, and transcripts. You’re also required to send in an integrated and comprehensive essay and two short answer essays.
If English isn’t your first language, you must also send in TOEFL or IELTS scores.
GRE scores aren’t required for the School of Nursing if you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or more.
David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University
Each program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale has its own unique set of eligibility requirements where auditions or portfolio work are concerned, so it’s important to research the program you want to attend.
For example, if you want to pursue acting, you won’t just have to send in your online application. You’ll also need to attend an in-person audition where you’ll perform two contrasting pieces.
Yale School of Management
The Yale School of Management is Yale’s graduate business school.
If you’d like to apply to the Yale School of Management, you’re required to hold a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited college.
In addition to your online application form, you must submit two professional recommendations, your official GMAT or GRE scores, and transcripts from every college you’ve attended.
Yale School of Management also requires you to complete a video questionnaire and a behavioral assessment.
The Jackson School of Global Affairs
Opening in the fall of 2022, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs will become the Jackson School of Global Affairs. In time, the new school might introduce its own unique set of application requirements.
But for now, students can apply to the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The online application is available from mid-August until January 2 every year.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to beat Yale. Not only is it the ‘creme de la creme’ of the American Ivy League, but it’s also one of the best schools on the planet.
Because Yale is such an incredible Ivy League institution, it goes without saying that getting into Yale University is tricky. You have to put in a lot of effort, do your homework, and stay incredibly organized.
But if you keep your eye on the ball and understand Yale’s eligibility requirements and application processes, it’s possible to get into Yale.
Want to learn more about getting into Yale? You’ve come to the right place.
Check out The GradCafe for real acceptance results from applications, as well as Yale application tips, tricks, and more.