Private Ivy League not-for-profit university
“Lux et veritas”; light and truth
Handsome Dan XIX
Yale University is a small-to-medium sized research-oriented institution located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, the university offers over 80 majors to concentrate a student’s studies, ranging from Electrical Engineering to Russian, East Asian, and Eurasian Studies; Linguistics; History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health; and more. The university is most known for its rigorous and prestigious political science and English curriculums, its residential college system, its sense of community, and its 14 dining halls.
For first-time freshman applicants, Yale has three ways of applying: the Common App, the Coalition application, and the Questbridge application. All three application services offer different prompts to choose from; for all applications, Yale requires one 200 word “Why Major” essay and one 125-word “Why Yale” essay. For the Common and Coalition applications, Yale requires four “short-take” responses totaling at most 200 characters each. The Questbridge application has most of these by default.
Students are able to apply either through Yale’s restrictive early action program (REA)— preventing them from applying to any other private school early— due November 1st, or Yale’s regular decision (RD) program due in early January. Questbridge applicants can apply to Yale through the National College Match (NCM) program and either match to Yale, apply REA, or apply RD.
Transfer students are able to apply to Yale through the Common and Coalition applications only. Yale is a need-blind school, meaning that admissions does not reject or discriminate against students purely on the basis of income. They also guarantee that 100% of all need-based financial aid will be met in full and with grants.
Yale’s admission office also releases a semi-regular podcast titled “Inside the Yale Admissions Office”, which is available for free on their website, on Spotify, and on Apple Podcasts. The podcast contains a wealth of information regarding how the admissions office works and general application advice.
Freshman Acceptance Rates (class of 2027)
Number of Apps.
Yale, like every university in the United States, has a list of acronyms for its various majors, buildings, faculty positions, and more. Listed below are some of the most common ones:
- HoC: Head of College; the individual in charge of student life and activities at your residential college.
- DUS: Director of Undergraduate Studies; the individual person in charge of a given undergraduate major at Yale
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology → EEB
- Electrical Engineering and Computer Science → EECS (worldwide)
- Ethics, Politics, and Economics → EP&E
- Ethnicity, Race, and Migration → ER&M
- History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health → HSHM
- Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry → MB&B
- Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology → MCDB
- Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations → NELC
- Statistics and Data Science → S&DS
- Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies → WGSS
- Residential Colleges
- Benjamin Franklin → Franklin
- Pauli Murray → Murray
- Jonathan Edwards College → JE
- Ezra Stiles → Stiles
- Timothy Dwight → TD
- Grace Hopper → Hopper
Certain major titles are long enough that students, faculty, and staff refer to them as their course codes, which are themselves abbreviations. Some of the most common Yale-specific ones are listed below.
One-word colleges are not commonly abbreviated. Two-word colleges either drop the first name or are referred to as “first letter” + “last letter”. All changed names are italicized.
The Residential College System
[my residential college] is the best one!
During the summer after a student is initially admitted to Yale, the university assigns the new incoming class to one of the 14 residential colleges. For most students, this is an entirely random process; legacy applicants have the option of opting into the residential college associated with their parents or siblings. First-years are grouped by residential college in on-campus housing in separate entry ways and, when possible, into separate buildings. In four of the residential colleges— Benjamin Franklin, Pauli Murray, Silliman, and Timothy Dwight— students dorm in their actual residential college quads instead of their affiliated building on Old Campus. Almost all sophomores, juniors, and seniors live in their physical residential college quadrangles with people only in their college. Only one dorm building school-wide— Old Campus’s McClellan Hall— is where this is not true; students from all colleges can live and dorm with anybody else in McClellan.
Residential colleges are simultaneously social and academic units. At the head of every residential college are two officials: a dean in charge of all academic matters for the college’s students and a “head of college” (formerly a Master) in charge of all non-academic matters. Like states in the US, every residential college body has its own college council and elects two senators each to the unicameral Yale College Council. Every residential college has their own minor bylaws governing who is able to access what residential college facilities, where, when, and how. Each residential college has at least one library, one student kitchen, one theatre, one game room, one buttery (a late night student cafeteria), one gym, and at least one common room. Most residential colleges have their own dining hall, with two exceptions: Morse and Stiles share the second largest dining hall on campus located at the two colleges’ intersection. Each residential college has its own history and traditions. Generally speaking, students identify with Yale first and their residential colleges second.
Addendum: only two residential colleges— Pauli Murray and Ben Franklin— have air conditioning. All colleges have heating during the winter.
Transferring Residential Colleges
If a student feels as if they do not belong in their residential college or would like to dorm elsewhere (besides McClellan), then they can apply to transfer residential colleges. The process is somewhat arduous and mostly unsuccessful, as all residential colleges are mostly at capacity. Generally, to successfully transfer residential colleges, a student needs to swap colleges with another student.
Yes, the food does sometimes look like how it is on TikTok.
Yale effectively has 14 dining halls: the joint dining hall between Morse and Stiles, 13 dining halls for every other residential college, and the largest dining hall on campus: Commons. All residential college dining halls are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Commons is only open during lunch but for extended hours. Students generally have one meal swipe per meal that they use to get into a dining hall. Students are also given five guest swipes per semester to use on themselves, family, or friends.
Multiple smaller establishments exist on campus where you can either use a meal swipe or Eli Bucks— the university’s version of dining credits pegged to the U.S. dollar— to eat. Each of these have different hours from each other and from the regular dining halls.
All late night food options are provided by each residential college in the form of a buttery. All butteries are student ran and open Sundays to Thursdays barring any external circumstances or college breaks. Butteries are generally always located in the basement of each residential college alongside a community or entertainment space (usually a game room of some sorts). Advising
Upon arriving on campus, freshman are assigned an advisor through their residential college. Generally, these advisors manage around 20 students each and will make time for almost all student requests. Most— if not all— advisors for undergraduates are residential college fellows, or faculty with a historic or specific connection to a residential college. All residential college advisor advice is non-binding. Once a student declares a major, their advisor switches from the one assigned to them first-year to their major’s DUS. If a student feels dissatisfied with their assigned advisor, they can declare their major early and switch to an advisor more knowledgeable about the student’s own major.
The Credit System
For the most part, Yale doesn’t have a core curriculum, and therefore isn’t “the best school ever”.
Unlike other schools, at Yale, each course generally corresponds to one course credit. Most labs are worth 0.5 credits, and language courses that meet every day of the week are worth 1.5 credits. Many Yale courses are distributed to at least one of six categories each:
- Humanities & Arts (Hu)
- Social Sciences (So)
- Sciences (Sc)
- Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
- Writing (WR)
- Language Courses (L)
In order to graduate from Yale, a student must take at least 36 credits-worth of classes (roughly 36 courses) while fulfilling the university’s distributional requirements: two Hu, two So, two Sc, two QR, two WR, and— depending on the student’s proficiency in foreign languages— either one, two, or three sequential L courses in the same language. Advancing between grade levels requires meeting part of this requirement.
Also, WR courses don’t necessarily need to be English courses (one Thermodynamics lab counts for this) and nor do QR courses necessarily need to be physics or mathematics (one philosophy course counts for this). Some students avoid taking any math course entirely. Others avoid anything remotely related to biology.
Generally speaking, students spent 1/3rd of their time (12 credits) taking purely distributional requirements, 1/3rd of their time taking major-related courses, and 1/3rd of their time taking any elective course that interests them regardless of their major. Usually, distributional requirements themselves are also electives, opening up more room for Yale students to take as many interesting courses as they want.
Like other colleges and universities, Yale’s majors generally require students to enroll in some specific courses, enroll in a variable amount of electives, and to complete either a final paper or a final project.
For example, Yale’s computer science major (CPSC) requires that all students in the major pass “Intro to CS” (CPSC 201), “Discrete Math” (MATH 244 or CPSC 202), “Data Structures” (CPSC 223), “Introduction to Systems Programming” (CPSC 323), and one “algorithm and design course” (CPSC 365, 366, 368). Otherwise, the CPSC major requires that those interested in attaining a B.S. take six more electives and complete a senior capstone project (labeled CPSC 490).
Yale generally discourages students from double majoring, as students must complete two capstone projects and fulfill two separate major schemes, thereby removing their ability to take any outside electives. To counter this, Yale has multiple joint-degree programs between related fields. You only receive one physical degree for each joint degree program.
For example, Yale has a joint “Computing and the Arts” major, a “Physics and Philosophy” major, and four joint CS degrees with economics, math, and psychology.
Yale also does not offer any minors; instead, the university allows students to either achieve certificates or enroll in specialized intensive scholar programs.
For example, Yale does not have an explicit “education” major. Instead, Yale has two types of education certificates: a general “Education Studies certificate” and the “Education Studies Scholars Intensive Certificate”. To obtain the normal certificate, students must take five courses either about or relating to education. To obtain the intensive certificate, students must first apply internally and then complete six education courses alongside a senior capstone.
When admitted to Yale, students are not admitted into a single major or a sub-school. All incoming freshman and sophomores are admitted to Yale College, the undergraduate component of the university, which contains all majors offered. Students do not need to apply to transfer majors; they can do so with almost no questions asked before the end of their sophomore year. Declaring a major early only serves to change who your advisor is to the DUS (Director of Undergraduate Study; dean of the major) from your previously randomly selected one.
All students, regardless of aid status, receive specific benefits under Yale Health’s Basic Coverage. All students are allowed to visit Yale Health’s acute care department, basic clinical care, inpatient care, the university’s Mental Health and Counseling (MH&C) department, and more. Yale Health’s Hospitalization and Specialty Care program covers specific medical disciplines more akin to a hospital than an urgent care center. Yale allows students to opt into or out of the Yale Health Hospitalization Plan, which is the university’s comprehensive healthcare plan for undergraduate and graduate students. For students close to or on full aid, the entire health plan is free.
Colloquially, wait times for services covered under Yale’s Basic Coverage commonly exceed multiple hours during peak times. Wait times for Mental Health and Counseling services, such as therapy and initial psychiatric services may exceed multiple months if not scheduled early enough.
Yale Shuttle (the “Yuttle”)
Yale offers a shuttle-bus system to transport students, faculty, and staff across its slightly linear campus. Shuttles are free for all Yale ID holders. Shuttles have three different schedules: a weekday daytime schedule from 7 am to ~6 pm, a weekday nighttime schedule from ~6 pm to 1 am, and weekend services from ~7 am to ~6 pm. Shuttles are somewhat reliable and usually beat walking one of the longest stretches on campus— Science Hill to Old Campus— assuming one comes at the right time. Most students prefer walking over taking the shuttle primarily for the small time save and the inconsistency of shuttle schedules.
Yale Police and Safety
Yale’s campus is generally safe. Yale is patrolled by the Yale Police Department, an independent police force separate from the New Haven Police. Any and all incidents of violent crime are reported to the entire student body in emails sent by the chief of Yale Police. When it happens, violent crime is largely concentrated to the borders between Yale and New Haven’s police jurisdictions. Like all American cities, New Haven’s crime is concentrated in a few select neighborhoods, and taking basic precautions (”street smarts”) when going out is necessary to ensure a student’s continued safety.
Sources (TODO make MLA):
https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2023/03/30/yale-accepts-4-35-percent-of-applicants-marking-lowest-acceptance-rate-in-history/#:~:text=WKND MAGAZINE | About-,Yale accepts 4.35 percent of applicants%2C marking lowest acceptance rate,a place on the waitlist.
This article was written by @Anthony (Disc: alkiepoodles#0), a current Yale undergraduate studying Applied Physics. All other information not cited can be considered to come from him as a primary or secondary source.