Yale Supplemental Essays Workshop

Join our “Yale Supplemental Essays Workshop” webinar to gain valuable insights and expert guidance on crafting standout Yale University application essays. Whether you’re a high school student preparing to apply or a parent supporting your child’s college journey, this webinar will provide you with essential tools and knowledge to create compelling essays. Key learnings in this webinar include: – Understanding Yale’s Unique Approach: Learn about Yale’s distinctive essay prompts and what they reveal about the university’s values. – Essay Brainstorming Strategies: Discover effective techniques for generating unique and compelling essay ideas. – Crafting Engaging Narratives: Explore how to weave personal experiences and anecdotes into a compelling narrative that captures the admissions committee’s attention. – The Power of Authenticity: Understand the importance of being genuine in your essays and how to convey your true self effectively. – Editing and Refining: Learn how to edit and refine your essays to ensure they are polished and error-free. – Expert Tips and Best Practices: Benefit from expert advice on what admissions officers are looking for and tips for making your essays stand out. – Q&A Session: Get your questions answered by our experienced college admissions expert and Yale alum, Stacey Tuttle. Don’t miss this opportunity to demystify the Yale supplemental essays and increase your chances of securing a spot at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Register now and embark on your journey to crafting outstanding Yale application essays.

Date 11/19/2023
Duration 1:00:49

Webinar Transcription

2023-11-19 – Yale Supplemental Essays Workshop

Anesha: Hi, everyone, and welcome to tonight’s webinar. My name is Anesha Grant. I’m a senior advisor at CollegeAdvisor, and I will be your moderator today. Today’s webinar is, “Yale Supplemental Essays Workshop.” Before we get started, I just want to orient everyone with the webinar timing. So our presenter will introduce herself, share a bit about her experiences, and then also provide some tips and writing guidance for the Yale Supplemental Essays.

And then we will open up the floor to answer your questions in a live Q& A. One thing I will say about the Q&AA, please do not drop your like numbers, your GPA, things like that to say, will I get into Yale? We cannot give you an estimation of your, your prospects of getting into Yale during tonight’s session.

We can give you some guidance and some thoughts on how to structure your essays in order to make it. The strongest application possible. So please just keep that in mind as you drop in your questions. Um, you can download our slides under the handouts tab and you can start submitting questions whenever you get ready under the Q&A tab.

Now let’s meet our presenter. Stacey Stacey. How are you doing?

Stacey: Good, Anesha, thanks for that. Um, first and foremost, I want to apologize for my voice. I am recovering from a little bit of a cold is the season. Um, so please bear with me. I hope I’m Transcribed You know, understandable at this point. Um, my name is Stacey Tuttle.

I, um, currently work at the Yale School of Public Health as, um, uh, their Director of Student Affairs and Registrar. Um, before I was in my current role, I worked on their admissions team for their Master of Public Health program, and that’s where I’ve gained all of my key admissions experience. Also, way back in the day, I was a Yale undergrad.

I was a first generation college student. I went through that process directly and. Was able to successfully, excuse me, get into Yale University as an undergrad and can speak to that experience. Um, so I’m really excited to be here with you all tonight and to talk about one of my favorite topics, which is essay writing.

Anesha: Awesome. Before we let you get started, we’re going to do a quick poll. So let us know what grade you’re in. If you are a parent or a teacher, we welcome you. You can go ahead Select other you do not have to select the grade level for your student. Um, excuse me. And while we’re waiting, Stacey, I wanted to ask you a question that I know will come up, but like why Yale for you?

What was your like answer to what was most compelling about Yale when you decided to apply?

Stacey: Yeah, it’s a great question. Um, and it’s a question I do get asked often. When I was in high school, um, I grew up in West Haven, which was just a town over from Yale. Um, and so I was also a high achieving student in a public high school, first generation college student.

So I was aiming for the Ivy League universities, but Yale was right in my backyard. Um, and when I walked on the campus, I just felt like I was at home. I had a lot of connections there throughout high school, um, and I wanted to stay close to home and my family. So while I did have other Ivy leagues on my list, I preferred Yale simply due to location.

Um, but also, you know, in my research across the Ivies, they were all offering a set of majors and academic programs that were of interest to me. So, you know, all things being equal, um, I felt like Yale was the best fit for me overall, given. It’s location. But that’s only one positive thing about Yale.

There’s many others. And Anesha’s smiling at me because she’s a Harvard undergrad.

Anesha: I have no shade towards Yale. And I think it’s interesting. I think tonight is the game.

Stacey: Yesterday was the game. Yesterday was the game. And I’m sorry, Anesha. Yale did win. We lose? Yeah, you lost. I’m sorry. It was on our home campus.

It was at Yale. So it was a nice win for us. But no bad feelings.

Anesha: I, I, I don’t, I didn’t even know when the game was, honestly, so my feelings are maintained. It’s okay. I’m sorry for the football players, but happy for you. Um, yeah, so anyway, we will, we will, we won’t offer too many contrasts of Harvard and Yale tonight, but we’re going to close our poll because tonight is about Yale.

So actually, understandably, the majority of folks with us are in the 12th grade, 70%. Of our attendees are in the 12th grade. We have 1%. Welcome to our solo 9th grader. We welcome you here to get some context. And then we have even split 9 percent 10th and 11th graders and then 11 percent other. We’re assuming some parents and teachers.

So, um, speaking to students who are probably in the midst of writing right now, and then some other folks are just curious about what the process will be. I’ll stop talking and I’ll hand it over to you. I’ll be back a little bit later. Thanks, Stacey.

Stacey: Thanks, Anesha. Okay, going to dive right in here. Learning objectives for tonight’s presentation.

What are the Yale application requirements? I do want to touch on that briefly, not just on the essays, right? We do want to go over those key components. How do AOs, so admissions officers, is when I say AO, that’s what that stands for. How do they generally evaluate an application? And then we’ll dive into the supplemental essays and how I would advise responding to those.

So the Yale application process, the requirements include the Common or Coalition app. You can apply through either, um, and that application does include a personal statement. I say this because that is an additional essay, it is 650 words, and it is separate from the supplements. All of your schools, usually when you apply through the Common or Coalition app, um, will have access to that personal statement.

Now, whether or not they look at it is. It’s a different story, but that is part of the main application. There will also be an application fee or waiver. I believe this year it is BD dollars. Um, there’s a recommendation requirement. That is two teachers in your main subject areas and then one counselor.

There is a school report requirement. So your guidance counselor, the counselor that will be submitting the recommendation will usually send over a school report for your high school, along with your official transcript that does need to come directly from them and not from you to be considered official.

Standardized tests is another optional requirement. So Yale is still test optional through this cycle. And standardized tests may include the SAT or the ACT. Um, We can definitely answer questions more later about the test optional component. But, you know, if you are submitting, um, your test, you do want to prepare in advance for that and make sure that you’re practicing.

Um, and. Considering the value of one versus the other, the ACT versus the SAT. Um, if you do get a score and you’re not happy with it, um, my suggestion would be to look at Yale’s most recent class and the range of scores that they have and see if you fall in that, that range. If you don’t, maybe you decide to go test optional.

So I just wanted to touch on that a little bit. Um, mid year report. So this is typically after your first portion of your academic year and your senior year. Thank you. Whatever that looks like for you, you would have a mid year report submitted with your first quarter, whatever that looks like, grades from senior year.

So don’t sleep on senior year, right? Your grades might still be seen by admissions officers during the review process because of the mid year report. There might be a potential interview component. This was actually a big component of my experience. I remember, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a really pivotal moment in my life.

And I had a really great interview experience. That being said, when I interviewed at Yale, it was a totally different landscape for admissions. Nowadays, their, their interviews are by invitation only. They are not required for all of their applicants. They only, uh, Extend those invitations for applicants for whom they need more information.

And those will typically be done by a, an, uh, an alumni or a current student. Um, they do have kind of this admissions network that helps them with their interviews, but, um, typically it’s not even with an admissions officer. So. While it’s still important, it’s not required of everybody, and you might not always receive that invitation.

Deadlines for Yale, the early action deadline, meaning you submit your application early, and therefore you find out your decision from Yale early, is November 1st. Their decision release for early action is still in mid December, so you submit November 1st and you find out very shortly thereafter.

Regular decision is January 2nd. I believe they release all decisions for regular decision applicants by April 1st. Financially, um, usually I would recommend strongly submitting those financial aid, um, papers, the FAFSA, the CSS profile at the same time as when you apply, whether that be early action or regular decision.

That being said, the FAFSA is obviously delayed this year, so you wouldn’t be able to submit the FAFSA as an early action applicant by the November 1st deadline, which has already passed, right? Um, but regular decision folks, you could still submit that, and for early action folks, as soon as that’s available, I recommend submitting that as well.

The, um, application process, what that looks like, it is a holistic application review process, meaning they look at all components of your application when making a decision. They will look at your academic profile and assess your academic profile, including your transcript and your test scores. They will look at.

Your activities and assess what types of extracurriculars you’ve had and what your extracurricular life has been like, and then they will also look at your essays and your letters recommendation and the goal in reviewing all of those components together as an admissions officer is to get a total picture of you as an applicant, um, to understand your narrative, to understand your story as a person, and they base their decision on all of those components.

And then during that process, you’re also. Having your application reviewed by more than one person, it’s never usually sitting with just one individual who will make that final decision, but rather it’s a committee of individuals. Um, and so there are multiple people reading your application during that process.

So, diving into some of the particular questions that Yale offers, um, to students as part of the application process. The very first question is actually not an essay question, but rather an academic interest question. In this, you will be choosing, um, The top three majors are our areas of study fields of study from the list that they provide at the school.

I believe there’s over 80 undergraduate majors now. And what they’re really asking for you here is what do you want to study? Right? So when you’re trying to make this decision, a lot of students. Are really thrown by the fact that they want, they want three options from you. But in reality, when you get to any college, you will likely have time to explore your interests.

And in, in reality, you will maybe change your major. I forget what the statistic is, but a lot of students change their major from what they initially. Indicate as the major of interest on their application once they get to college. I know I did I applied as an engineering major and I ended up, uh in the psychology Uh department so definitely a swing And I made that decision by the end of my freshman year A lot of schools will allow you to elect your major by the beginning of sophomore year So definitely something to consider Yale is definitely one of those schools that allows for that liberal arts exploration And so they want to know what you’re interested in you In researching this question, I would suggest looking at the curriculum online.

If you go to their academic catalog and look at all of the majors, they will list coursework required of those majors. And in that way, you can really get a sense of, does this major actually make sense for me? Is it exciting for me? Will I academically like these courses? Will I succeed in these courses?

I’m giving my background. So consider your past academics. Your past extracurriculars, you know, what courses did you like to take? Are these majors really like aligning with what you like to take here in high school? What did you do in your spare time in high school? Are these majors aligning with what you like to do in your spare time?

And ultimately what you hope to do in the future if you look to the career goals that you have What majors did those individuals who pursue those careers? Um, study when they were in their undergraduate, um, studies. So those are all things that you can look at to, to ultimately narrow down your list. Um, some thing to consider is that you might decide that you don’t want to choose three majors that aren’t precisely related to each other.

Like, say, you might not want to pick. biology, chemistry, and Yale has a number of biology majors and chemistry majors, but maybe you don’t want to choose molecular biology and chemistry and evolutionary biology. Maybe that’s not you. Maybe you want to choose biology and Italian studies and psychology and they don’t necessarily seem directly correlated.

The key here is that you want to make sure whichever majors you’re choosing, it’s clear in the story that you’re building throughout the rest of your application that that major makes sense for you based on the courses that you’ve taken, based on the things you’ve done in your spare time, based on the essays that you’re writing.

If somebody looks at the major choices you’ve selected, they should say, okay, that makes sense. They don’t all have to be directly correlated, but they should be in alignment with your narrative and your passions as a person. Um, that all being said, choosing three majors that are more closely aligned may make it easier to write your essays directly relevant to this discussion today.

So let’s dive into the first essay. Tell us about a topic or idea that excites you and is related to one or more academic areas you selected above. Right? So these are the majors that you’ve chosen, and this is 200 words or fewer, not a huge essay. So my advice here, one topic, focus on that topic, one topic as a central theme or thesis of that essay.

It anchors your essay. You should keep returning to that central theme and focus on that central theme. Yeah, they’re asking for one topic or idea that excites you, right? And to begin, try to think of a starting experience, that first aha moment that you had that excited you about the topic. What was the first moment where you were like, this is really interesting to me.

Um, and that’s sort of your hook, that first experience describing that first experience is your first, you know, moment. Approaching the topic. And then my suggestion from there would be to outline other significant moments in your academic personal career, whatever that is, that continue to build upon that interest or passion.

So think, okay, this was that first moment, here’s a couple of more moments that further solidified my interest in this topic or idea or further excited me about it. Um, and now, at the end of your essay, if you have room, I would say potentially end with a description of how Yale will help you further pursue those themes.

topics or ideas. Be reflective, right? Make sure you’re describing why that particular topic or idea is exciting to you. Don’t just describe the topic or idea, bring it back to who you are and why that’s important to you. And then if you have room, Bring it back to why that’s going to be important to you going to Yale.

What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? This is the next essay. Even shorter, 125 words or less. I call this the dating essay. So you’re going to be making a case for why you and Yale are a good match, right? Make a really strong case for this. It’s very short, so you have to use your words wisely.

My recommendations here start with a lot of do nots, but I think these are really important. Do not reference common knowledge topics. Do not say Yale is the most prestigious school in the world. Yale has one of the best educations in the country. These are broad general topics. Anybody Would know this you know in if they had any idea what you know The top 20 or ivy league schools are like it’s not specific enough to you Do not also focus on emotional connections to the school Don’t say something like I walked on Yale’s campus and just knew it was the right school for me That doesn’t tell me anything about you And it doesn’t tell me anything about why my school is the right school for you.

So definitely be more reflective elaborate more And lastly, I shouldn’t be able to pick up your essay and put it into another school’s supplement. That might be the same question. Why my school? If I can pick up your essay and do that and put it in another school’s application and it works, You are not being specific enough.

You have not done enough research. You do need to do research for this essay. It will take time beyond writing. And in that research, you want to find those resources that are only available at Yale and will help you achieve your goals, career, academic, personal goals. You might have, this might be specific research centers or particular labs or particular student groups.

And then the secondary part of this Consideration that last bullet. Consider the mission and values of the school and how that aligns with who you are and your values as a person being specific about those two things, the resources that are available at Yale that help will help you achieve your goals.

And then also their mission and values will show the admissions officer that you did your research. Okay. So the next question actually asked you to respond to four different short, very, very short prompts. And these are 200 characters or fewer characters. So that’s actually around 35 words, maybe, maybe closer to 40, but not a lot of words.

So we’re going to go through each of these. And you do have to respond to all four. So the first one, what inspires you, I would really take time to brainstorm for this, you know, really be reflective, think people, places and things. It’s not, I think a lot of people when they read this question, they often think of people, but it can be a place.

It can be a thing that inspires you. Maybe it’s, you know, your grandmother’s necklace. And for some reason there’s a story attached to that that’s really inspiring to you. Maybe it’s a local museum. Um, and that sparked your interest in a particular topic. What I challenge you to do is think, what experiences have led to you?

You to your best ideas. So those moments where you have thought of your best idea, how to make something better, you created something new that you were really proud of. Think of those light bulb moments, those aha moments where you have. been inspired, right? And you can take two approaches. You can tie the narrative you’ve been crafting throughout the rest of your application to this moment of inspiration that you’re describing.

So let’s just say you’re premed and maybe you say that the patients at the hospital, at the hospital that you volunteer at are inspiring to you. That would be in alignment with the narrative you’re creating. Um, or maybe you’re an artist and there are certain landscapes near, uh, a place that’s very important to you that are really inspiring to you.

That would be in alignment with your narrative. You could also consider topics that show admissions officers a different side of you as a person. Something they wouldn’t know otherwise unless you described it in this essay. So let’s just say, um, You, uh, have this great narrative about how you want to go into political science, but you also love to hike.

Maybe there’s a really great hiking trail that’s very inspiring to you for some reason. That’s something the admissions officer wouldn’t have known unless you wrote about it here. So think you could be creative in that way, or you can align it with your overall narrative. Um, but don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to what’s related to your academics or your career goals.

Look at examples online. There’s a lot of creative approaches to this essay, but what I encourage you at the end of the day, um, bottom line, be authentic to yourself. And be specific because you don’t have a lot of words to do this If you could teach any college course write a book or create an original piece of art of any kind Excuse me.

What would it be? So I love this prompt. I think it’s so much fun Um, there’s so many things you could do with this The key here is intellectual curiosity, demonstrating your intellectual curiosity as a person. You can definitely show your personality, a sense of humor if you want, and be creative, dynamic, whatever you want with the naming of the course.

In fact, I would encourage it, but don’t lose sight of the goal. to demonstrate that you would be engaged with intellectual minds at the college level in some capacity. So in brainstorming, consider what you’re good at, a skill, a talent. Um, is there something that you really, really like to do? And you know a lot about how can you share that with other people in a teachable way?

And then once you have that topic or topics, think of a few, it’s okay to brainstorm around a few. Then add a fun creative spin to that title if you can. You can also be direct about it. You do not have to, you know, have a fun or sense of humor infused title by any means. What’s most important is that you’re maintaining an intellectual point to what you’re going to be teaching through the art piece, the book, or the college course.

And if you can show a little personality, That would be great. The next prompt is, other than a family member, who is someone who has had a significant influence on you? What has been the impact of their influence? This is again a shorter prompt, just like the last two. This is a way for admissions officers to understand what you value out of other people.

What I would suggest doing is avoiding spending too much time talking about that person that you’re describing. And not about you. Remember, the second part of that prompt is what has been the impact of their influence. That is more important to spend word count on than the person themselves. You should elaborate the most on the impact on you and what that means for you.

That is the number one mistake I see is somebody just describing the person and not actually describing the impact on them. Briefly, name that person, discuss their influence, Bring it back to you. As always, when you’re answering this prompt, when you’re brainstorming this prompt, make sure you’re answering in a way that adds value to your application and communicates more important information about you to the admissions officer.

I think this is one of the hardest ones for people to brainstorm because it is hard to think about those influential members of your life in your past. Um, and I would suggest even talking to family members or friends. They might help you come up with some really good ideas.

What is something about you that is not included anywhere else in your application? So, again, this is the fourth and final very short prompt. This gives you one more opportunity to add meaningful content to your application. You could say anything you want here. It’s sort of like an open ended, uh, prompt.

And when you’re answering it, I would consider a couple of questions. What can be said that will further assist your application? An admissions officer and understanding your fit with Yale. Okay, so what more can you say at this point that will drive that point home? Yale is the place for me. What can you say about yourself that matches, demonstrates that match further with Yale?

Is there a value or skill that you didn’t translate anywhere else in the application to the point of the question? Is there something else that you really think admissions officers should know and that you can show through this essay? Again, another place where you can ask a family member or a peer of yours to read your application in its entirety and see what they think is missing.

They might have some really great insights here. What I would avoid doing is highlighting the challenges or unique circumstances that should really be in your additional information section. There’s an additional information prompt. Um, usually with all of the schools you’re applying to, and any challenges academically or unique, um, personal circumstances that you might have had that impacted your academics, your extracurricular life, those should really be in the additional information section and not in this prompt.

And then I would also avoid saying something that has already been said because that’s not answering the prompt appropriately. You need to say something that you haven’t said already. All right. Anesha over to you for the poll.

Anesha: Yes, we need to give you a break, from talking. Oh, it’s okay.

Stacey: I got my tea. I’m good.

Anesha: Alright, so our next poll is just where are you in the application process. If you haven’t started, that’s totally fine. No shame. If you’re almost done, congrats. Um, if you’re already done, ’cause you submitted early. Double congrats . Um, but yeah, let us know where you, where you are, how you’re doing. I appreciate that you broke down the short answers because I think sometimes.

People skip over those or, you know, and I, I think sometimes folks also put too much energy towards them, but it is helpful to have some kind of context on like how should I try to approach this question and, and sharing the university’s earnestness of just sort of like, yeah, they just kind of want to know this information doesn’t have to be.


Stacey: At the end of the day, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with people over the last couple of weeks, you know, don’t feel like you need to be fancy about it. You do not have to have this like life altering amazing hook. Um, all it’s great to have that, you know, what we really want to know is who you are as a person, right?

Anesha: Yeah. No, my, um, I had a student earlier today and I was like, you just, just answer the question. It’s honestly, they’re just honestly asking. She’s like, I don’t believe you. And I’m like, I don’t know why I would lie.

Stacey: You really, and students, I think they really expect there to be, and even if you look at Yale’s, you know, they have an FAQ online, they have videos, they will say repeatedly, Be true to yourself.

Admissions officers don’t have a lot of time to review applications. They don’t want to have to, you know, dig to figure out who you are. They want it to be clear. They want it to be concise. They want it to be evident, right? And that’s your experience too, I’m sure, Anesha, in reviewing these essays.

Anesha: Yeah, it’s a delicate balance of like students wanting to express themselves, wanting to answer the question directly, and then knowing how much admissions officers actually are going to.

Spend on it, have the capacity to spend on it. So it is like you do, you do want to demonstrate your writing ability, but you also need to get to the point and make sure the point is clear in the essay as well. So

Stacey: with these short, these short essays, and that’s why I like talking about these because they are very hard to answer.

Someone just

Anesha: asked if you could re explain, if you could go back and give a little bit more context to number four.

Stacey: Sure. So, um, so I’m not sure if you missed my overview of it, but basically what you’re doing here is trying to fill in any, you know, gap in your application that might exist because you could not express an idea about yourself, a value that you have, a skill that you have, Um, maybe an extracurricular or an award you received elsewhere in your application.

Um, maybe there’s a quality that you feel like is important for admissions officers to know. But really what you’re hoping to do here is make sure the picture that you’re painting to admissions officers of yourself is complete. They are giving you an opportunity because you have all these prompts and you have all these requirements.

They are structured. They are, they’re pretty strict in their, their requirements, right? This is one opportunity you have very briefly to say anything you feel like is important to you that might not have been expressed elsewhere. And again, tips here, ask a family member or a peer to review your application.

Without this prompt and ask, What am I missing? And they might be able to give you insight there. But really, you should be reading your application and asking yourself that same question as well.

Anesha: Thank you. Thank you for going back through it again. Just really quickly, I’ll share out the answers from our poll.

About 15 percent haven’t started. Totally fine. We get it. 20 percent or 19%, rather, are researching schools. 33 percent are working on their essays, which makes sense. That is our biggest group. Thank you so much. they are here today. 22 percent are getting some applications together and 11 percent are almost done.

So congrats to wherever you are in the process. We hope today’s conversation continues to be useful. All right, I will hand it back over to you to wrap us up with some more tips on the last few questions.

Stacey: Yeah, thank you. Okay, so the last question here is respond to one just one of the following and 400 words or fewer So these are longer that you do have more opportunity to reflect on these And we’re going to go through each one of these individually and how I would advise brainstorming and writing So the first prompt Excuse me reflect on a time.

You discussed an issue important to you with someone holding an opposing view Why did you find the experience meaningful? So number one, choose an example of a conversation that truly did impact you. The key here, and this is something I’m always trying to, you know, drive home for my students writing these essays, you do not need to show how you change somebody else’s mind, nor do you have to show how your mind was changed.

That is not a requirement of the essay. Rather, it’s to show an example of how you engage with another person in a meaningful way, even though you had opposing viewpoints. And you took something from that. You learned something from it. Again, doesn’t mean you changed your mind, doesn’t mean they changed theirs.

Be sure when you’re writing about this conversation to consider both sides of the argument. That demonstrates to the admissions officer that you’re able to objectively outline both viewpoints. You’re able to consider both viewpoints, put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and it also ensures clarity to the person reading your essay that they understand what both sides are, right?

This is this side, this is my side, and then reflect, reflect on what happened. The impact of that experience on you is the most important part of this essay. And ask yourself, What did you take away from the discussion? Show to the admissions officer in your response to this essay that you’re able to listen, discuss, and grow from such an experience.

The reason why this essay is so important is because this is exactly what you’re going to be doing in an academic setting at Yale. All the time. You will be engaged in discussions like this constantly in the academic classroom and beyond outside of the classroom as well. So they want to make sure that you’re able to engage in high level discourse.

in a way where, you know, you’re, you’re doing it, um, and growing, uh, and that’s not easy to do. So demonstrating an example of your ability to do that, and it doesn’t have to be an academic conversation, it just needs to be an example of having two opposing viewpoints and how you grew, or what lesson you learned from that discussion.

So the second option to answer this prompt. This is the second prompt choice is to reflect on your membership in a community to which you feel connected. Why is this community meaningful to you? And you may define that community however you like. This is actually a very popular prompt across colleges.

I’ve seen this community essay multiple times. So you may be in a situation where you’re using this essay multiple times across schools. That being said you do want to tailor it a little bit to the school that you’re actually applying to in their supplement So the first step here is to pick a community that you belong to That is central to your identity important to you.

So important consider community of place So maybe it’s where you grew up. Maybe it’s your school community consider action. Maybe you’re part of an advocacy group Interest group. Maybe it’s a group that, um, is for music lovers, or maybe it’s a sports group. Circumstance, you know, there’s a lot of circumstances that might bring you together in a community.

Um, one example I experienced recently with a student is being, you know, part of a military family. That’s a, uh, a community of circumstance. Um, so there’s a lot of different types of communities. You can think very broadly about it. Excuse me. And creatively about it. The next step is to discuss that. The meaning of that community to you as an individual provide examples of your involvement in that community And discuss how the community I call it impact in both directions is how I say it The impact the community had on you and the impact you had on the community.

So it’s usually direction is in both ways Um where it’s a give and a take you give back to your community They give back to you in some way and then reflect. What did you learn? Because you were a part of this community. And then finally, if you have room for it, and I would advise making room for it, briefly touch on how that community involvement and the related lessons you learned from that community will be carried with you to Yale as an undergraduate student.

Will you be involved in a similar community on campus? Or maybe you’ll help foster or create a group related to that community on campus. Make a connection. And I think that really makes essays much stronger. It’s not self evident in the prompt, but I think it’s an extra step that would be appreciated.

The final option for responding to this essay is reflect on an element of your personal experience that you feel will enrich your college. How has it shaped you? In other words, how will you contribute to life on campus at Yale? So this is a lot of similar brainstorming, um, to the community essay in some ways.

Think back to the identities that you hold as a person and the experiences that you’ve had in your communities. How have those experiences shaped you? What lessons, skills, values, what mission do you have as a person? What goals do you have as a person that were directly shaped from past experiences in your life?

And how will you bring those lessons, values, skills from that core background or experience to your life at Yale? Be sure to make the connection between your experience, this is really important, You don’t just want to talk about the experience. Um, And, and there, you need to talk about how you’re going to bring that to Yale, specifically.

This does require additional research. You want to see what parts of Yale’s student life, academic life, will connect to that key part of yourself, of your identity, and make that connection. This is a more complicated essay, um, I think, so I do suggest outlining your response by writing Out and outline and keeping yourself organized in some way while you’re brainstorming.

I always also encourage students to think past, present, future. So, here is my past experience, here I am now, this is how I’ve grown and learned from that. And here is my future self at your school and what I’ll be doing there because of it. Past, present, essay writing tips to wrap up. Proofread. Proofread, proofread, proofread.

Please, please, please, please. I cannot emphasize that enough. Um, carelessness in writing is not a good look. Answer the prompt. Reread the prompt. Reread it over and over and over while you’re writing. Make sure you’re answering all parts of it. Don’t forget any part of it. Don’t feel like you answered the first part, so you don’t have to answer the second part.

Answer it all. Be specific in your examples. And concise in your sentence structure. So make sure you don’t have a lot of words, you know, make sure you’re doing that research. Make sure you’re making the connection to Yale. And when it comes to your word count, your senses, sentences, your phrases, ask yourself at every point, does it add value to my answer that I’ve answered this way?

Also be reflective and not just description descriptive. So you’ll hear a lot show, don’t tell. Um, this means, you know, you can describe something all you want, but you need to demonstrate. what happened and reflect on what happened. You need to go beyond just the description. Be open to the writing process as well.

Spend time brainstorming with other people’s help, like your counselor, a mentor, a friend. They can give you feedback, and then ask for others to review your essay drafts. But I also caution against too much help. Um, I think there’s such a thing as having too many eyes on something, too many edits, too many editors, if you will.

I recommend two to three people reading your application before you submit it. Um, and be authentic to yourself. Focus on your voice. Anesha and I were just talking about this. That’s what You know what admissions officers want when they open an application. They want that voice to be heard. They want it to be clear.

And when you walk on campus, that voice should be yours. It should match you. Um, and so that would be my last piece of advice. Hey,

Anesha: thank you so much, Stacey. Um, that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. We hope you found the information helpful. Again, you can download the chat. Download Stacey’s slides under the handouts tab, and you can continue submitting your questions in the Q& A.

We’re going to move over to the live Q& A. The way that it will work, everyone was waiting for me to open the Q& A before they submitted questions. Okay, um, we, uh, the way it will work, you can send in your questions. I will read them aloud so that Stacey has a chance to answer, and then I will paste them in the public chat so that everybody can see it, just as a heads up if you’re having any challenges.

Submitting questions. You might have to log out, log back in and make sure you are logging in through the email that you received and not through the webinar landing page. All right. Um, so the first question I wanted to ask you was, uh, someone asked early on, but you, it seems, it seems like you mentioned hybrid undergrad.

Stacey: I don’t think I mentioned, I don’t, and maybe it was a slip of the tongue. I don’t think I said a hybrid undergrad. I don’t know what I meant by it. If I did say it, do you remember me saying I

Anesha: don’t? Yeah, I saw them. I was like, I’m not sure what it was referred to. Okay, so

Stacey: there’s no hybrid undergrad. It’s all, you know, and actually, I’m pretty sure.

I don’t know if it was, it was this way at Harvard when you went, but I’m pretty sure it’s required that you live on campus freshman year. Yes.

Anesha: Yes.

Stacey: Yes.

Anesha: Yeah. Unless you have like a security thing, but even Malia Obama lived on campus. So yeah. Okay. Sorry. So that, that’s that. Um, so first question, what are the first proper question was, what does Yale’s approach to the review process for admissions look like compared to other Ivy leagues?

Stacey: I would say, you know, it’s probably very similar. I think across the board across the nation colleges approach the application review process in a similar holistic way. That being said, every school has different. University needs and goals. And so there will be, you know, departmental requirements like numbers that they’re trying to fill seats that they’re trying to fill in each department.

Um, those are internally set. They vary from year to year. Um, there might be, um, financial needs at various schools. Yale is actually need blind, but that’s true. treatment by need line. I mean, they do not consider financial need in the final decision they are making. That is generally true across the Ivy.

So I don’t think that they’re different in that way. Um, the other schools might have geographic considerations. They might want to Make sure they’re getting a certain number of students from certain parts of the country or the world or a certain number of international students, um, that again is not different from school to school.

Everybody has those internal goals that they’re setting. Um, and so I actually don’t think it’s very different. That being said, everybody, every admissions team will have a different kind of take on the review process. There’s usually like a rating system that admissions officers will use when reviewing academic and applicant profiles.

Um, and so that might be a little different from school to school. Um, but I think generally there are a lot of admission standards that, um, and best practices that a lot of schools will follow.

Anesha: How they evaluated. What they evaluate is not, is the same, but how they evaluate it is what’s different. Yeah, it’s a little different.

Implications for that school, so yeah. Um, okay, this is a question going back to the interview. So someone asked initially, what are the criteria for getting an interview? Is it a bad sign if I don’t get invited? And then someone else chimed in a little bit later to say, does it affect my chance? If, if I choose to waive the interview, does it affect my chances of getting in?

What does it mean exactly?

Stacey: So the answer would be if you don’t get an interview, that is not a bad sign. There are students who do not get interviews and still get into the, to Yale. Um, again, the purpose of the interview is for admissions officers to get to know you more. Um, it’s not a bad sign to get an interview and it’s, it’s not necessarily like, Oh, you’re definitely going to get into the school if you have an interview.

It’s an additional component of the application that when admissions officers can extend it, they will in order to. Reinforce their understanding of their application or information in your application. Um, and again, very small staff, um, a lot overwhelming volume of applications, um, there just simply isn’t enough people in time to give everybody an interview.

Um, and so don’t think about that negatively. And then the second question, Anesha, was, um, Um,

Anesha: if I choose to waive my right to an interview summary, does it affect my chances of getting it?

Stacey: So if you choose to waive, consider that the invitation coming out to you is a way, like I said, for admissions officers to understand more about you and reinforce information in your application.

If you choose to waive it, That, that’s fine, but then they don’t have that component to consider in their final decision, and they extended it in the hope of getting that additional information. So I do encourage you to consider it, um, and I would reach out to admissions officers if you do have a specific circumstance that would prevent you from doing that.

from completing an interview, maybe in the timeline or in the circumstances they’re asking of it. I would reach out to them to clarify why that might be.

Anesha: And here’s some more general question. What is considered a good amount of extracurriculars? My son essentially has limited time to offer other activities outside of his sports.

Stacey: Yeah. Um, the good news is that most applications have a limited number of spaces for you to actually enter activities that on the common app, it’s only 10. And you only have room for five honors or awards. So, and that’s it. And within those activities, you have a limited number of characters to describe those activities, awards, and honors.

So what I would, I remember when I was in high school, I would, Angst. And I didn’t know at the time, you know, I was young and I didn’t, I wasn’t where I am now, where I understand the application process. I would angst over not doing a particular activity because I would think, oh, that’s going to look bad that I didn’t do that extra thing.

But in reality, I didn’t have enough room to list everything. So I would focus, I would advise focusing on the things that are most important to your child, having your child pick the things that they’re most passionate about and that they align with their future career goals, right? So pick the things that they love to do, but also the things that will help further their career goals and their academic goals.

And those should take priority. And make sure you know you balance. You don’t want to take on so much that it’s to the detriment of their academics because academics are equally important, right? And so it is a delicate balance, but just know there are limited number of spaces for activities. So you do not have to do a 10, 000 activities and get 10, 000 honors.

That’s just not. realistic and it’s not advisable.

Anesha: Yeah, there’s a magic number of specific types of extracurriculars. Um, someone’s asking going back into the third 400 word essay option, uh, does the college in the, in that option refer to, refer to the residential colleges at Yale or does it refer to the general undergraduate school?

Stacey: Yeah, thank you for that question. It refers to the general undergraduate school. Um, you don’t know which residential college you’ll be in until you are given a residential college once you’ve been admitted. So yeah, it refers just to the undergraduate university.

Anesha: Um, I’m still reading this one. Do admissions officers take into account personal context and opportunities when evaluating extracurriculars?

Um, should international advocates keep anything in mind? Oh, that’s separate. Okay. Um, do admissions officers take into account personal context and opportunities when evaluating extracurriculars?

Stacey: I think, um, this might be a question that’s better. To discuss with like an individual counselor because it sounds like you might be thinking of something in particular um personal context and opportunities so You would have had to have described those personal That personal context and opportunities somewhere in your application To give context to your extracurriculars and why they might be the way they are But I think we would need to unpack that more.

Um Um And, Anesha, I’m not sure if the one on one advising is gonna be the option tonight. Oh,

Anesha: yes. Sorry. Um, so, no,

Stacey: maybe this is a perfect time to talk about it, actually.

Anesha: Thank you for that. Sorry, I got caught up in the questions and I totally spaced out. No,

Stacey: no, no. I just looked at, that wasn’t actually, that was perfect timing, that was just a segway.

Go for it.

Anesha: Yeah, thanks. Um, so if you are not currently working with us and you would like to have those opportunities for one on one advising, we encourage you, uh, to use the QR code on the screen through which you can sign up for a free 45 to 60 minute strategy session with an admission specialist on our team.

We have a team of over 300 former admissions officers, like Stacey, and it was just experts like myself, who are ready to help you and your family navigate the process through a one on one advising session during your senior year. Free 60 minute strategy call. You will get the opportunity to discuss your extracurriculars and talk about how they relate to your application strategy and discuss how everything aligns with your potential college list.

Um, so yeah, we will leave that QR code up on the screen and get back to, I don’t know if you have more you wanted to add to, to finish answering that question.

Stacey: No, I think, um, because it does sound like it’s couched in something very particular. It probably makes sense to take advantage of this one on one consulting opportunity.

Anesha: Okay, this is a Yale specific. How open is Yale to out of state homeschoolers? Is there anything in particular that we should be prepared to have to do?

Stacey: Great question. So there’s two parts of that question, actually. Are you open to out of state and homeschoolers? Because those are two different categories in person, right?

Um, Out of state, absolutely. Yale is a very diverse campus of many, many people from across the globe and across the country. So that’s absolutely true. And they are also open to students who are homeschooled actually. One of, um, the people in my hall was a homeschooled student, um, when I was a freshman. So I definitely think that, you know, they’re looking, like I said, for a diverse range of individuals.

As a homeschool student, um, there are additional challenges to reporting, say, you know, transcript information. Um, there might have been more limited extracurricular opportunities for you. And so your extracurriculars will look a little different. Um, and so I would definitely reach out to. The admissions team to make sure there’s nothing, um, in particular that you need to know from a homeschool perspective, um, because the admissions landscape has changed.

I wouldn’t want to either on specific parts of what you should be doing. I think that’s best coming from the admissions team at Yale. as of this cycle. But I do think there are additional challenges and you do want to make sure you’re working through those with the admissions team.

Anesha: All right, I’m going to ask the majors question. So one student asked, is applying for engineering or comp sci more competitive or slash selective? And then also someone asked a little bit earlier, what is the process like to transfer internally regarding programs like engineering or comp sci?

Stacey: Yeah, that’s a great question.

So a lot of schools do have limitations on transferring into a particular major. Um, once you get to the school, um, at least when last time I checked, there aren’t any limitations like that at Yale. So like, if you get to Yale, um, and you decide, I want to follow up with this particular major and see what that’s like, um, you would have an opportunity to explore and potentially transfer into like comp sci or engineering.

That being said, they usually encourage students in Comp Sci and Engineering majors to elect and start right away on those majors because if you get to Yale and you start on a different major and decide later, I really want to do Comp Sci or Engineering, you might be too far behind on the requirements to finish that in the four years of your undergrad.

Um, because the courses are usually sequential and they build upon one another. Um, and so you definitely want to look at the curriculum and see what that looks like for you if you’re all interested in those majors. Um, the, I, oh, so the second half of the question was, do you have a lesser chance of getting in or does it impact your chance of getting in if you’re a comp sci engineering major?

Um, the answer goes kind of back to that, what I was discussing with university needs, every university will have a set of seats, if you will. Um, that they’re hoping to fill. for a particular department. So they’re going to be looking at their applications to see, you know, that they’re going to be fulfilling, um, like I said, seats potentially in each of these departments in a certain way, um, and reaching a certain number.

If You know, they’ve reached a certain number of computer science majors and they’re reading your application and they’re weighing your application, all things being equal against somebody who’s a psychology major and maybe they need more psychology majors. Yes, that could absolutely impact their final admissions decision because for a school like Yale with such a high volume of applications, they have a ton of academically excellent people applying.

And I have this conversation with students all the time. You can be absolutely A 1600 4.0 student with tons of great extracurriculars and a great narrative, but they might be trying to build this diverse. They have a very difficult job of building this diverse population, this very unique community of people on campus.

And in order to do that, they need to pull people from a lot of different backgrounds. And that does mean sometimes they need to deny somebody who might have been a good fit for the school and could academically handle it, but they needed a more diverse population. So they picked somebody who plays violin over somebody who plays a sport.

That’s an internal conversation that has to be had with the admissions team. Teams, it changes from year to year and it changes from applicant pool to applicant pool. Um, and you should, does that help answer the question? I’m sorry. Yeah. Yeah, no, you’re

Anesha: good. You’re good. Take a sip. If you need to, um,

Stacey: you know, lots of talking tonight.

Anesha: Um, so this is an interesting question. So. In the Yale admissions podcast, they actually said not to mention details about Yale because they already know about Yale. So should you focus so the focus should be only on you and not specific courses or clubs at Yale.

Stacey: So I think that you need to take this This feedback with a grant assault because I think the problem is that students might just be endlessly listing Things that they’re interested in and not making the connection back to them, right?

And these prompts are these answers are really short So you don’t have a lot of room to say a lot about you or Yale, right? And so if you’re going to be spending your word count saying something about Yale It better be something meaningful and has, has a clear connection to you. I don’t see how you can answer the why Yale prompt without talking about Yale, so I’m, I’m a little hesitant to, um, feel as though that applies across the essays.

I think it’s, it’s relevant. to certain essays where you should be able to talk about Yale.

Anesha: Yeah, I have not heard the podcast, but what I think they are guarding against is what I call brochure language. Like, you’re just kind of repeating things that are already on the Yale website or on the school’s website and not necessarily adding nuance or diving deeper.

You’re just kind of saying how beautiful New Haven is, um, to that effect. Right, right.

Stacey: You need to, you really need to make the connection to you And again, there are certain essays where it’s appropriate and certain essays where it’s not.

Anesha: Um, I’m just going to ask this, this is a quick question. I feel like you could, and then I have one more question I want to ask before we end.

Are applications evaluated differently in EA versus regular decision?

Stacey: Um, so I will say that statistically it, it’s true. And you’ll hear this from admissions officers. It’s true that, um, generally speaking, they, Do admit a little bit more in the early action pool, and that’s not because they’re necessarily trying to it’s because those who submit early action in, you know, applicants pools past tend to be those students who are actually really great fits with Yale.

They’ve done their research. They’re academically very excellent. And so it happens to be the case that it leans that way. That’s true for a lot of schools that they lean in that direction for students to apply who apply early because the students tend to be really good applicants because they’ve gotten everything together and they’ve been able to apply early.

Um, they’re very focused. They know what they want. Um, so if you look at the stats, it is true that you, there is a slight increase, um, in admissions rates. If you apply early action,

Anesha: but there’s no difference in how it’s evaluated. The applications are still given.

Stacey: Oh yeah. They’re evaluated on the same, in the same scale, same rankings.

Um, they might have a different set of quotas for early action versus regular decision meeting. Like they might be hopefully reserving some seats, regular decision, right? Because they do need to reserve some seats for regular decision applicants. They might have a limit as to how many people they can admit.

early action. And so that’s something that might be a little different from regular to early.

Anesha: Back to essays, would you recommend, would you suggest saying clear of hot topics when responding to writing prompts? Example, politics or women’s rights.

Stacey: So you can absolutely talk about hot topics in your essays.

What should You shouldn’t do is spend time talking about like your specific views on politics. You should be talking about like how you’ve engaged with your community, how you’ve grown, how you learned as a person, what qualities you have, what values you have, what skills you have. You don’t need to talk about your specific viewpoints, but you should be able to talk about.

why, you know, that subject is relevant to your application as a whole, your career goals, your academic goals. Um, it doesn’t mean that you have to, you know, dive deep into the politics of it.

Anesha: Is there anything that, Oh, should international applicants, is there anything that international applicants should keep in mind, uh, when writing essays or crafting the application in general?

Stacey: No, I would say, you know, across the board, you should follow a lot of the same advice. What’s nice is that Yale is. actually need blind to international students. So usually that need blind consideration, a lot of schools are not need blind with international applicants. So that’s nice to know going into the process, but I would say across the board, um, those considerations are, are pretty much the same.

Anesha: Does visiting the campus in person add weight? I’m assuming there’s a question about demonstrated interest.

Stacey: No, they do not consider demonstrated interest.

Anesha: Um, do you suggest submitting a music sample if I’m not applying for the music school?

Stacey: Oh, really interesting question. Um, I think any, I always tell my students who are interested in submitting a supplement that it should add value to your application if you’re going to do it.

If it doesn’t add value to your application, then don’t submit. Um, so if you’re submitting a music supplement, you’re not applying to the music school, um, you wouldn’t be applying to the music school, you’d be applying to the undergraduate campus. And so, excuse me, that could be valuable for an admissions officer to understand a side of you and what you might be engaged with on campus, and therefore it would potentially add value.

We, that said, you’d have to review that in light of your full application. I would definitely recommend the individual constant consultation on the screen.

Anesha: I also feel like it would depend on what you want to do. Like if you may not want to be a music major, but maybe you want to join the orchestra or something like that.

Like, is it, how is it adding to your application or what you might do at that campus? Okay. We will have to leave it there. Thank you so much, Stacey. Thank you so much to everyone for joining us. Um, we definitely also hope that you will join us for, um, sessions later on this month. And so we’re going to close out the month tomorrow, actually November 20th.

We’ll, I will be back here discussing research and colleges for sophomores and juniors. So for folks who are curious about things outside of Yale, please join us after the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll have a session on starting, starting early in order to stand out on November 20th. And we’ll end the month actually talking about MIT Supplemental Essay Workshop on November 29th.

So we hope to see you soon, but until next time, take care and have a wonderful evening, everybody. Thank

Stacey: you. Thanks everyone for your patience, uh, and have a great night.