2020-2021 Yale University Application Essay Tips

At Opus College Prep, we know that strong supplemental essays are the key to a competitive application. In this post, we will be sharing our best tips for student’s applying to Yale University for the class of 2025. Yale asks their applicants to respond to many supplemental essay questions. We will provide our expertise for a few of them here. If you’d like guidance on additional prompts, please reach out! You can schedule a free consultation with us here. We look forward to helping you stand out in Yale’s applicant pool!

Yale University Prompt 1

What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer).

This is a classic college admissions question. You can swap Yale for any other school, and it’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask a college applicant on any application. Why in the world are you planning on spending 4 years with us? What makes Yale different than every other school you could apply to?

When Yale ( or any school) asks this question, they want answers specific to you. If you waste space talking about the student body, location or a specific major, you’ve missed the mark. Take time to research more about Yale beyond the Ivy League name. Is there a professor you’re eager to learn from? Is there a course that Yale offers that no other school offers? Are there more alumni in your desired field than other schools you’re interested in? These are all questions to consider as you tackle your 125 word response to this prompt.

Prompt 2, Option A

Reflect on your membership in a community. Why is your involvement important to you? How has it shaped you? You may define your community however you like. (250 words or fewer).

In responding to this question, it is very important to first describe your community. Before you answer the rest of the question, it’s imperative that the admissions reader has a clear idea of what your community is. How do you describe your community? What makes it a community? Is there a culture that reflects the community you wish to describe? Additionally, what role do you play in this community? Starting here will help you shape a compelling answer to this prompt.

Now, in less than 250 words, you also need to address two more parts of this question. Why was the involvement important and how has it shaped you? Many students want to lean on the idea that x community “made me who I am today.” If that is a sentiment you feel too, try to dive a bit deeper. Why did it make you who you are? Did you find comfort in being around people who shared similar interests? Did your community push your boundaries and help you develop new skills? The more specific you can be about why it was important and how it has shaped you, the better your admissions reader will understand what makes you, you.

Prompt 2, Option C

Tell us about your relationship with a role model or mentor who has been influential in your life. How has their guidance been instrumental to your growth? (250 words or fewer).

The most common mistake students will make on this prompt is spending too much time talking about their role model or mentor. With just 250 words, it’s imperative to be direct about who you role model/mentor is. Define how you know them, a few of their key traits and then focus your response on how their guidance has been instrumental in your growth.

Some people also choose to work backwards with this prompt. For instance, you could start by thinking about a personality trait or skill that you’re really proud of. This trait or skill could also be something you want to showcase to admissions officers, but haven’t been able to yet. Why is this trait or skill important to you? And, is there a role model in your life who emulated it for you? Did a teacher lead a class that helped you develop this skill? By working backwards, you can be strategic with your response. This strategy would be a good one to take if a strong quality of yours you hasn’t shared in your application yet.

We hope our insights are helpful as you tackle your application to Yale for the 2020/2021 application season! There are a few prompts we did not address, so feel free to reach out if you have questions about those. Also, schedule a free consultation here or email laura@opuscollegeprep.com directly. We can’t wait to help!

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