Applying to Yale College

A note of advice to prospective applicants

It has come to our attention that there are people claiming to be current Yale students offering admissions counselling / advice for a fee. We do not object to any form of admissions counselling, but anyone considering their offer should make sure to check that they are indeed Yale students before committing to anything. We do not take responsibility if you fall victim to a scam.

To verify that they are Yalies, ask them to log in to or any official Yale website and show you their enrolment status.

Alternatively, please email us to confirm.

Why Yale?

Yale undergraduates are given much freedom to develop a well-rounded mind with the guidance of internationally-renowned faculty and through interactions with intellectual peers. Yale is also a fairly small, well-knit school with approximately 1300 students in each cohort, each of whom is placed in one of 12 residential colleges where students form
life-long friendships.

What subjects is Yale strong at?

(All rankings are of graduate departments/schools)

Arguably 1st/2nd place rankings among US universities:
English, History, Psychology, Law School
Other highly regarded departments/schools:
School of Architecture, School of Art, Art History, Biology, Classics, East Asian Studies, Economics, School of Forestry, Literature, School of Management (i.e. Business School), Mathematics, School of Medicine, School of Music, Philosophy, Theater Studies
The science and engineering faculty include more than 60 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

What is not offered at the undergraduate level?

Pre-professional programs like Accounting, Business, Finance, Law, Medicine are not offered. Neither are minors. There is no Honours program for any of the major, although it is possible to graduate with "distinction in the major."

Interesting facts about the undergraduate degree

Students can major in not more than two subjects, subject to approval, and get a Bachelor's Degree in one of them. They may also choose to design their own major, again, subject to approval.

Certain majors offer a joint B.A. / M.A. or joint B.S / M.S. program. These programs require students to take a certain number of graduate level classes in addition to the undergraduate ones.

How many students from Singapore study at Yale?

For the school year of Fall 2008- Spring 2009, there were 21 Yale undergraduates from high schools located in Singapore:

  • 10 Singaporean citizens
  • 4 American citizens
  • 4 Chinese citizens
  • 2 Vietnamese citizens

On average there are 5 students/year. A few more students get admitted each year but choose not to attend Yale because they decide on other top universities. 

Typical Profile of Students Admitted into Yale from Singapore


  • Excellent teachers' recommendations
  • Excellent academic grades and a challenging course load (in the Singapore JC system, this could be interpreted to be taking H3s)
  • From the Admissions Office: Graduates of polytechnics are advised to apply as freshmen, and not as transfer students
  • Excellent extra-curricular activities
  • Excellent SAT scores (see below for elaboration)
  • Excellent college application essay (good grammar, an original piece of work – admissions officers can often tell when the essay was written with external help)
  • Excellent Interviewer’s report is helpful, but probably not as important as the above.

Rough Generalizations

  • “Humanities students” from local JCs: Generally less well-defined criteria, especially because there are fewer national and international competitions. Examples: Top in Economics for that JC’s cohort, National debator, Commonwealth Essay award winner
  •  “Science students” from local JCs with Singaporean citizenship: Ministry of Education-endorsed national representatives who have won awards overseas, e.g. International Biology Olympiad Gold Winner
  • “Science students” from local JCs with
    non-Singaporean citizenship (typically unable to represent Singapore abroad): Won national competitions, e.g. Gold at National Biology Olympiad
  • Students from International Schools: Typically, a
    maximum of one student admitted per school (based on past trends in admissions), with the student having won awards for the school
  • Athletes: National representatives, Record

Disclaimer: Many students who fit the above criteria are not admitted, and there are students admitted who do not fall into these categories and who are not easily classified. I would describe the admission
processes as a partial lottery.  

Recommended Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) scores

The university does not have any cut-off for SAT scores. However, applicants from Singapore tend to have very high SAT scores, so here is a rough guideline as to what you might want to aim for, just to be on the safe side:

2200+/2400 for SAT Reasoning Test (Critical Reading + Writing + Mathematics)

750+/800 for SAT Subject Tests

Scoring very well for the SATs (e.g. full marks for everything) does not guarantee anyone a place. Grades based on school/Singapore national
exams are more important.

Can I postpone matriculation at Yale?

Anyone admitted to the freshman class has the option of postponing matriculation at Yale for one year, as long as secondary school work has been completed successfully. Singaporeans serving NS can postpone matriculation for up to two years.

Paying for Yale

If you are considering Yale, please do not hesitate to apply because you fear the cost will exceed your family's means. Yale College admits students on the basis of academic and personal promise and without regard to their ability to pay. Once a student is admitted, Yale meets 100% of that student's demonstrated financial need. All aid is
need-based. This policy helps to ensure that Yale will always be accessible to talented students from the widest possible range of backgrounds.” 

– Yale Financial Aid website