A Visit to Yale University

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By Sue Luse


I had an absolutely awesome tour of Yale, even though it was a really cold day! This charming campus is located in in the heart of down town New Haven, Connecticut, which is known as a vibrant community full of opportunities. As Yale’s President Richard Levin has said, “New Haven is large enough to be interesting but small enough to be friendly.”

Campus Housing

Yale Residence Halls

I was very impressed with Yale’s Residential College System.  Each of the twelve residential colleges has its own distinctive architecture, courtyard, dining hall, and library, as well as activity spaces.  It reminded me of Harry Potter and Cambridge and Oxford. It is often said that most freshman quickly become convinced that their residential college is the best residential college.

Yale Students

Freshman are randomly assigned to one of the twelve residential colleges giving them a built-in community from the moment they arrive on campus. Each residential college has approximately 450 students and this is their home for all 4 years at Yale. The residential colleges reminded me of a fortress home away from home. They are comprised of suites with a large common room and bathrooms shared by approximately 8 students. These colleges bring together faculty and students forming a unique bridge between academic and social life.


Yale Architecture

  • 75 majors to choose from
  • Students choose majors at the end of their sophomore year
  • There are no minors, but you can double major
  • Approximately 12 of your 36 courses will be within your major
  • 36 courses needed  to graduate
  • Yalies typically take four or five courses each fall and spring
  • Student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1
  • In the Engineering Department,the faculty to student ratio is 1:1
  • Students take 1/3 of their courses within a distribution requirement (rather than core classes) and 1/3 in their major and 1/3 are electives
  • 2,000 classes are offered every year
  • Over 70 languages offered
  • 800 research labs
  • 95% of science students do research
  • Most students are published

Yale Tour

Yale has what they call a “Shopping Period” – the first 10 days of each semester are a time when students can visit dozens of classes that interest them in order to decide which ones they want to take.  Students build their class schedule as they “shop”. During this shopping period students also meet with academic advisors to sort through all of the academic opportunities. Through this process, students formulate their most fulfilling academic semester!


Yale Architecture

While Yale evaluates each applicant as an individual, academic strength is their first consideration. A rigorous high school courseload is very important. Yale likes to see students  take advantage of any advanced opportunities at their high school.You may submit scores from  the SAT and any two SAT Subject Tests or the ACT Plus Writing Test. Interviews are not required but encouraged. Remember that the goal of any interview is an outside “validity check” to prove that you have accurately presented yourself. Two letters of recommendation are required preferably from teachers who taught you during your junior or senior year. Teachers need to mention specific example(s) of how the students perform in the classroom, so it’s a good idea to give your teacher specific examples to use in this letter. You should allow your character to come out in your essay.  This is your opportunity to show Yale how you think, what drives you and that you are intellectually passionate. Definitely be yourself in your essay.  It’s also a great idea to have a friend or parent read it and see if it actually sounds like you. Your extracurricular activities are important. Yale likes to see that you are driven by something outside of the classroom.

Financial Aid

Yale Campus

  • Need blind
  • Need based
  • No merit or athletic scholarships
  • Scholarships meet 100% of need
  • Cost of attendance is approximately $56,000 a year
  • The average financial aid package is $36,000
  • 55% of undergraduates receive need-based aid directly from Yale
  • Families whose total gross income is less than $65,000 are not expected to make a contribution towards their child’s Yale education
  • No loans offered

Sue at YaleSue at Yale

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