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What Is Yale’s Acceptance Rate and Admissions Requirements?

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Yale University, a member of the Ivy League and one of the nation’s most selective colleges, is a renowned community of intellects and academics. It boasts impressive resources, a strong endowment, and world-class facilities. Students at Yale University are assigned to one of 14 residential colleges, to which they remain affiliated throughout their four years at Yale and beyond. These smaller residential colleges allow for the feeling and community of a much smaller school within the context and resources of a larger one. It’s no surprise that it attracts some of the top students in the country. 


If you’re one of the thousands of Yale hopefuls this season, you may be wondering what the acceptance rate is and what the other admissions requirements include. In this post, we’ll outline all the logistics you need to know and share insight on how to optimize your chances.


Yale’s Acceptance Rate is 6.3%. How can you beat the odds?


Yale stands among the hardest schools in the country to get into. In 2018, it accepted just 2,200 of its 35,000 applicants to the class of 2022. This resulted in an acceptance rate of just 6.3%, placing it as the fifth most selective college in the country. Only Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia boasted more competitive admissions. 


In 2017, Yale actually expanded the size of future incoming freshman classes: two additional residential colleges were added to its campus. This increased total undergraduate enrollment from 5,400 to 6,200. Nonetheless, Yale’s acceptance rate hit a record low in 2018. To receive a coveted acceptance to this Ivy, it’s clear you’ll need a beyond-impressive application.


As is often the case in the Ivy League, however, early action applicants yielded much higher acceptance rates than their regular decision counterparts. Of the 2,200 students offered admissions to Yale’s class of 2022, 735 were accepted early action, making the acceptance rate 15.5%, significantly better than the 6.3% acceptance rate overall. To learn more about applying early, check out our post Early Action vs Early Decision vs Restricted Early Action. 


What SAT and ACT Scores Are Needed to Get Into Yale?


Successful Yale applicants often achieved top scores on standardized tests. In the class of 2022, 80% achieved composite SAT scores over 1400. Generally, admits scored slightly higher on the math section of the SAT than they did on the reading portion. 65% scored at or above 760 in math, while only 45% met this standard on the reading section. Less than 1% of admits received a score of less than 600 on any section of the SAT. 


ACT achievements for the class of 2022 were equally impressive. 87% of admitted students received a composite ACT score of 32 or above. Less than 2% scored below 27. 


What Are the Other Admissions Requirements to Get Into Yale?


To get into Yale, applicants will need to submit:


  • A transcript
  • Two teacher recommendations and one counselor letter
  • A mid-year report 
  • SAT and two SAT Subject Test Scores, or ACT scores
  • $80 application fee or fee waiver
  • Yale supplementary writing questions


The requirements for international students are similar, but not exactly the same. To learn more about them, be sure to visit Yale’s page, Applying to Yale as an International Student.


So, How Does One Get Into Yale?


Yale prides itself on a holistic admissions approach, which leads to a diverse study body. 20% of Yale’s incoming freshman class were recipients of Pell Grants, 11% were legacy students, and 18% were first-generation college students. Yale’s acceptances reached all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, in addition to 57 international countries. 47% are students of color and 65% matriculated from public high schools. 


Of course, academics remain a prime consideration, and Yale admits tend to shine. 95% were ranked in the top 10% of their graduating high school classes. The Dean of Admissions, Jeremiah Quinlan, noted that admits to the class of 2022 “have already demonstrated the highest levels of scholarship in their secondary school endeavors and are exceptionally well prepared to take advantage of Yale’s academic opportunities.”


The Yale admissions committee has estimated that upwards of 75% of applicants are actually qualified to attend Yale. Though academics are the first screening tool used, most applicants pass without issue, having consistently and successfully taken a challenging course load. What sets accepted students apart is often the qualitative factors of an application: their passions and achievements, engaging essays, strong recommendations. 


Relative to Harvard, many Yale students have a more intense academic focus. While Harvard might value community engagement, leadership, and other metrics of success, Yale favors students who have deeply engaged with an academic topic, but in more of an extracurricular sense. For example, a student interested in robotics who started a robotics course for disabled children would fit this criteria well.


Want to learn more? You can read about Yale’s application process on its page Advice on Putting Together Your Application


For more about applying to Yale and other Ivy League schools, don’t miss these valuable CollegeVine posts:


How to Write the Yale University Application Essays 2018-2019

Ultimate Guide to Applying to Yale  

The Demographics of the Ivy League

What Are the Average High School GPAs of Admitted Students at Ivy League Schools?

Which Ivy League School is Right for You?

Dealing With Ivy Day

For more help achieving your Ivy League dreams, consider enlisting the help of CollegeVine’s Elite Universities Application Assistance program, providing targeted services for applicants to top colleges.

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.