What Makes Yale University Unique?

The various Ivy League schools tend to attract a lot of college-bound kids. One of them is Yale University, which seems to be the dream school of teens in numerous movies and TV shows. It’s due to this why you are probably thinking about putting Yale on the top of your list.

Yale University is unique in that, among the Ivy Leagues, it has the median acceptance rate and cost. The school is also known for having 12 residential colleges often compared to Hogwarts Houses. The most popular majors at Yale are Computer Science, Economics, Biology, and Political Science.

Don’t stop reading now if you wish to earn a degree from Yale University.

Below, we will answer some of the most pressing questions a lot of students dreaming of becoming Yalies (what Yale students are called) have in their minds. By the time you reach the very end of this article, you will have a better idea of whether or not this prestigious school is the right one for you.

Fun Facts About Yale

Yale University was established in 1701. Back then, it was called the Collegiate School. The institution was originally founded to continue the European tradition of liberal education in the US.

The initial classes took place in the home of Abraham Pierson, the school’s very first rector, in Clinton, Connecticut. When Pierson died in 1707, the school transferred to Saybrook.

The location was unpopular, which is why it was relocated to Wethersfield. But in 1718, the institution transferred to New Haven, where it remains today.

In 1878, a successful businessman in Wales named Elihu Yale was asked for financial assistance by the school for the construction of a new building.

Yale donated nine bales of goods, which were sold for £560 — a huge sum of money during that time. He also donated more than 400 books. It’s due to his generosity why the Collegiate School was named after him.

Besides showing gratitude, the school was renamed Yale University also to encourage the businessman to donate more.

The following are some quick facts on Yale:

  • Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Campus type: Urban
  • Size: 373 acres
  • School type: Private Ivy League research university
  • Reputation: Non-party school
  • Motto: Lux et Veritas (Light and Truth)
  • Number of majors: 80
  • Best majors: Engineering, mathematics, history, statistics, biomedical sciences, social sciences
  • Selectivity: Highly selective
  • Student population: 13,609
  • Average class size: Less than 20 students in 73% of classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 6:1
  • Retention rate: 99%
  • Graduation rate: 93.7%
  • Color: Yale blue
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division I
  • Mascot: Handsome Dan
  • Number of varsity teams: 35
  • Sports: Basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, ice hockey, field hockey, golf, soccer, football, fencing, gymnastics, track and field, rowing, swimming and diving

Yale University Rankings

In the 2021 Best National Universities ranking by US News, Yale University is number four. It is also number four in the Best Value Schools ranking by the same ranking site. In 2020, according to Niche, Yale was the third-best Ivy League. It is number 14 in the QS World University Rankings 2022.

Most students check out various college ranking sites to quickly come up with a list of institutions to apply to.

Everyone knows that Yale University is one of the eight Ivy League schools.

Because of this, you can rest assured that it’s one of the best schools in the nation (and even on the planet), even without taking a look at any ranking site. Still, it’s a good idea to see how the Connecticut-based institution fares compared to other well-known schools.

The following are 2021 Yale rankings by US News besides the ones mentioned earlier:

  • Learning Communities – number 2
  • Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects – number 3
  • Senior Capstone – number 5
  • First-year Experiences – number 9 (tie with Arizona State University – Tempe)
  • Best Undergraduate Teaching – number 12 (tie with Harvard, Vanderbilt and Georgetown)
  • Study Abroad – number 18 (tie with Dartmouth and the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities)
  • Most Innovative Schools – number 30
  • Top Performers on Social Mobility – number 291

Yale Accreditation

Since 1929, Yale University has been evaluated and accredited by the same accrediting body: the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). It evaluates Yale every 10 years. NECHE accredits numerous institutions in the six New England states as well as a few schools outside the US.

Before sending an application to any college or university, make sure that it’s accredited. And while you’re at it, check that it is regionally accredited rather than nationally accredited.

There are a few reasons why going to a regionally accredited school is a great idea:

  • Trouble-free transfer of credits from one regionally accredited school to the other.
  • Access to more competitive financial aid programs.
  • Better employment opportunities — employers know the prestige that comes with regional accreditation.

NECHE is a regionally accrediting body. Needless to say, Yale University is a regionally accredited school. Besides this institutional accreditation, the school has 12 degree programs with programmatic accreditation from recognized agencies and one accredited residency program.

Acceptance Rate at Yale

According to 2019 data, the acceptance rate at Yale University is 5.9% only. This means that it is a highly selective institution. It’s not uncommon for an Ivy League school such as Yale to have a low acceptance rate. To get accepted into Yale, one must be an academic standout in high school.

Students looking for colleges and universities to apply to often look at acceptance rates. The higher the number they see, the higher the chances of getting an acceptance letter instead of a rejection letter.

Yale University is neither the most selective nor the least selective Ivy League.

Just check out this table:

Harvard University4.50%
Columbia University5.10%
Princeton University5.80%
Yale University5.90%
Brown University6.60%
University of Pennsylvania7.40%
Dartmouth College7.90%
Cornell University10.60%

Refrain from assuming that only Ivy League schools have the lowest acceptance rates and thus the most selective. According to US News, the following are non-Ivy Leagues with Ivy League-like selectivity levels:

Curtis Institute of Music5%
University of Chicago6%
Alice Lloyd College7%
Pomona College7%
Duke University8%
Juilliard School8%
United States Naval Academy8%
Bowdoin College9%
College of the Ozarks9%
Northwestern University9%
Rice University9%
Swarthmore College9%
Vanderbilt University9%
Claremont McKenna College10%
Colby College10%
Johns Hopkins University10%
United States Military Academy10%

What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Yale?

The average GPA of students attending Yale University is 4.13. This means that applicants with a 4.13 GPA or higher have better chances of gaining admission into the school. Besides the GPA, Yale’s admissions officers also look at the rest of the application as a part of a holistic admissions policy.

With a high GPA requirement, it’s no wonder why most of the students welcomed onto the campus of Yale are those who got straight A’s in high school and were at the top of their class.

Needless to say, if your GPA is nowhere near 4.13, consider applying to another college or university.

But just like many higher education institutions, Yale University has a holistic admissions policy. This means that it’s not just an applicant’s GPA they consider when deciding but also a few other parts of the application. According to the admissions officers of the school themselves, here are the things they take into account:

  • Counselor recommendation
  • Teacher recommendations
  • Personal essays
  • College-level courses (if offered by high school)

In a nutshell, the school is looking for students who will make the most of Yale and the most of their talents, too.

Related Article: Good Safety Schools For Ivy League Applicants

Does Yale Offer Early Decision?

Yale University does not offer Early Decision (ED). What it offers is called Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA). Compared to ED, SCEA is a much less common decision plan — only a few well-known institutions offer it. The main difference between SCEA and ED is that the former isn’t binding.

SCEA is also sometimes referred to as Restrictive Early Action (REA).

What’s nice about SCEA is that it allows an applicant to demonstrate his or her commitment to a particular college or university. So, if you apply SCEA to Yale, you are telling its admissions officers that it’s the school of your choice.

Demonstrated interest is an admissions factor many schools consider.

However, unlike ED, SCEA is non-binding. This means that you can still attend another college or university if you receive an acceptance letter from Yale University. However, you can apply SCEA to only one institution.

The deadline for applying SCEA is November 1. Applicants will be notified of the admissions officers’ decision in mid-December.

Students who get accepted into Yale through SCEA have until May 1 to make a decision — they can choose to attend another school despite gaining admission into Yale because, again, SCEA is non-binding.

SCEA leads to three possibilities:

  1. Admission offer
  2. Admission denial
  3. Deferral

If you apply to Yale University SCEA and you get a deferral, it means that the admissions officers have deferred their decision and will reconsider your application together with Regular Decision (RD) applicants.

Related Article: Pros and Cons of Going to an Ivy League School

Does Yale Require SAT or ACT Scores?

Currently, Yale University does not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. Submitted test scores will be taken into account in the admissions process. Applicants who choose to keep their test scores will not be disadvantaged and asked to provide an explanation by the admissions officers.

A survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) said that 45.7% of participating schools deem that test scores are of considerable importance in the admissions process.

The good news is that Yale has a test-optional policy (at the time of writing), which means that you may or may not submit your SAT or ACT score when applying to it.

But because there’s one less piece of information for the school’s admissions officers to check out, if you choose to withhold your test score, the rest of your application should be strong.

Before becoming test-optional, the SAT scores of students admitted into Yale University were from 1460 to 1570. On the other hand, ACT scores of students accepted into the school were between 33 and 35.

Also, the school superscored test scores, which means it considered only the highest section scores across all test dates.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to Yale?

For the academic year 2021 to 2022, the estimated cost of attending Yale University amounts to $81,575. The tuition and fees alone cost $59,950 already, which is 73.49% of the sticker price. The good news is that Yale awards financial aid that does not require loans on the basis of financial need.

Many students stay away from prestigious schools not only because they tend to have low acceptance rates but because they usually have steep asking prices.

Yale is number 18 in the CBS News article the 50 Most Expensive Colleges in America, Ranked.

The Ivy League is sandwiched by Occidental College (number 19) in Los Angeles, California and Southern Methodist University (number 17) in Dallas, Texas.

The number one entry on the list is the Chicago, Illinois-based University of Chicago.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated cost of going to Yale for the academic year at the time of writing:

Tuition and Fees$59,950
Books and personal$3,700
Student Activities Fee$125
Yale University Cost of Attendance

Because it’s Yale’s goal to make higher education affordable for everyone, the school awards all undergraduate students loan-free financial aid on the basis of financial need.

Students receiving financial awards do not pay the full cost of attending Yale University.

What the school does to figure out how much students will have to pay is compute the expected family contribution according to the estimated cost of attendance and demonstrated financial need through the financial aid application process.

Related Article: Getting a Full-Ride Scholarship to Harvard, Princeton, or Yale

Are Yale Students Happy?

The majority of students attending Yale University are happy. Only a very small fraction (around 7%) of the student body feels unhappy. Parties happen on the campus, but Yale is not a party school. New Haven, Connecticut is lively, with many restaurants, art galleries, museums and parks to visit.

It is said that students at an Ivy League school can be up to three times more anxious and depressed than average students enrolled at an average college or university.

But don’t let this keep you from applying to Yale.

That’s because, according to a 2018 survey that appeared on the Yale Daily News, nearly 70% of participating students said they were either happy or extremely happy. On the other hand, around 24% of the respondents reported being content at the prestigious university.

Unfortunately, the rest, a very small percentage only, admitted to being unhappy or extremely unhappy.

New Haven, Connecticut, which is where Yale University is located, has many tourist attractions that students may visit during their free time. The majority of them are associated with Yale, too. Some of the best are:

  • Yale University Art Gallery
  • Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • Yale Center for British Art
  • Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
  • Sterling Memorial Library
  • Knights of Columbus Museum
  • New Haven Museum
  • Pardee-Morris House
  • Shubert Theater
  • East Rock Park
  • Savin Rock Park
  • Lighthouse Point Park
  • The Green
  • Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium
  • Grove Street Cemetery

Is the Yale Campus Safe?

In the 2022 Safest College Campuses in Connecticut by Niche, Yale University is number 19. The college ranking site gave the Ivy League a C+ grade. Some of the most commonly committed criminal offenses on the Yale Campus are rape, fondling, burglary, aggravated assault and motor vehicle theft.

Going to a safe college or university can help lower your stress and anxiety, thus allowing you to focus on your studies. On the other hand, it allows your loved ones to have peace of mind, especially if they are miles away.

Some criminal offenses are committed more often on the Yale campus than others.

For instance, according to data from the Campus Safety and Security (CSS) by the US Department of Education, there were 23 rape cases on campus in 2019. The number of reported rape cases in the previous years were lower — 22 in 2018 and 15 in 2017.

Another commonly reported criminal offense that happens on campus is burglary. In 2019 alone, 36 cases were reported. The number of cases was slightly lower in the previous year (28).

The good news is that Yale makes it easy for students to get in touch with the Yale Police Department during an emergency. Across the campus, over 500 emergency phones are installed.

Blue lights are placed over or near them to make them easy to see at night. The phones have red emergency buttons for direct connection to authorities.

By the way, Yale is one of several schools in the US that remind me of Hogwarts.

How Does Yale Compare With Other Schools?

Since Yale University is an Ivy League school, it makes perfect sense to compare it with other Ivy Leagues. The New Haven, Connecticut-based school is better than other Ivy Leagues in terms of factors like acceptance rate and cost. However, others are better in terms of graduation rate and ranking.

There is no denying that Yale is one of the best schools on the face of the planet. However, it doesn’t mean that you should no longer consider applying to other colleges and universities ideal for your educational and career goals.

Let’s see how it fares against other Ivy League schools:

  • Yale vs. Harvard University. Both Yale and Harvard are Ivy Leagues and competitive schools. However, with an acceptance rate of 5.9%, it’s slightly easier to gain admission into Yale than into Harvard — Harvard’s acceptance rate is 4.5% only. Yale offers more majors than Harvard — 80 vs. 57.
  • Yale vs. Columbia University. Going to Yale is a little cheaper than attending Columbia. For the academic year 2021 to 2022, the tuition and fees at Yale is $59,950. In contrast, the tuition and fees at Columbia is $60,514. The cost of attendance (COA) for Yale is $81,575 and the COA for Columbia is $82,585.
  • Yale vs. Princeton University. The acceptance rates at Yale and Princeton are almost the same — 5.9% vs. 5.8%. However, Princeton ranks higher than Yale in the 2021 Best National Universities ranking by US News. Princeton is number one in the said ranking, while Yale is number four, which is not bad.
  • Yale vs. Cornell University. Many things make Cornell better than Yale. For instance, the COA for Cornell is cheaper than for Yale — $80,287 vs. $81,575. Your chances of getting accepted into Cornell is higher, too, with an acceptance rate of 10.6%. However, Yale tends to rank higher than Cornell in many college rankings.
  • Yale vs. Brown University. Yale has a larger campus than Brown — 373 acres vs. 146 acres. While the campus size difference is significant, the student population is not that different — 13,609 vs. 10,333. What’s impressive about Brown is that it has the same student-to-faculty ratio as Yale, which is 6:1.
  • Yale vs. the University of Pennsylvania. Your chances of getting an acceptance letter from Penn is higher, thanks to its 7.4% acceptance rate. The COA for Penn is also lower than the COA for Yale for the academic year 2021 to 2022. The estimated cost of going to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based school is $79,635.
  • Yale vs. Dartmouth College. Dartmouth has a higher acceptance rate than Yale — 7.9% vs. 5.9%. It has a higher graduation rate, too — 96.4% vs. 93.7%. However, Yale has a higher retention rate — 99% vs. 97%. This gives the idea that first-year students at Yale are more satisfied with their college experience.

Just Before You Apply to Yale

Yale University is neither the easiest nor the hardest Ivy League school to get into. The cost of going to it is not the most expensive or cheapest, either. It’s because of this why Yale is an attention-grabbing school.

Above, we answered some of the most important admissions-related questions about the elite school in New Haven, Connecticut. It’s a wonderful choice for you if you want to attend a traditional liberal arts school. Just make sure that you have a strong application as Yale University is one of the most selective schools in the US and on the planet.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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