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Catrina Coffey

Yale ACT Scores

Hey, Magooshers! Today we’re going to talk about another of the United States’ finest colleges: Yale University. So for all of you out there who want to live and study in Connecticut, this post is for you!


So, if you want to be a Bulldog, joining the ranks of Eli Whitney, Benjamin Spock (no, not that Spock), and Edward Norton, here’s what it’s going to take!


What is Yale Looking for?

Like Princeton (and, spoiler warning, every top school), Yale is focused on accepting students who have the full package: great grades, great test scores, and great extracurriculars. They’re an institution with enough prestige to be as selective as they want.

The middle 50% of Yale students in the class of 2018 had between a 32 and a 35 on the ACT. However, there are no score cutoffs, and Yale’s own website says that attendees have a wide range of scores.

There are no score cutoffs for standardized tests, and successful candidates present a wide range of test results. […] While there is no hard and fast rule, it is safe to say that performance in school is more important than testing. [emphasis mine] A very strong performance in a demanding college preparatory program may compensate for modest standardized test scores, but it is unlikely that high standardized test scores will persuade the admissions committee to disregard an undistinguished secondary-school record.

So, what does that mean for you? It means that test scores alone will not get you into Yale. A great GPA can make up for less-than-stellar test scores in certain cases, but great test scores will not make up for a less-than-stellar GPA. Make sense? But, honestly, if you can give the Yale admissions committee both a stellar GPA and excellent test scores, they like that best.


But then, I can’t really narrow it down to just those two criteria, either. Yale is looking for something beyond that, and anyone who would apply there needs to know this:

Between two and three hundred students in any year are so strong academically that their admission is scarcely ever in doubt. But here is the thing to know: the great majority of students who are admitted stand out from the rest because a lot of little things, when added up, tip the scale in their favor. So what matters most in your application? Ultimately, everything matters. The good news in that is that when so many little things figure into an admissions decision, it is fruitless to worry too much about any one of them.

Again, what does that mean for you? It means that, while Yale can afford to be selective, they’re not selecting on the basis of academics and test scores alone. They are looking at you, the person, as a prospective student. They’re looking at what you can offer Yale, and what Yale could offer you. If they think you’re a good fit for the school culture, based on your extracurriculars and essay, you have a shot, even if your grades and test scores aren’t the best of the best. (Your GPA is still the top priority, so it has to be decent, but a chance is a chance!)

So, with any luck, all you Magooshers who want to go to Yale will apply, get accepted, and graduate after having received a fantastic education. But remember, if you don’t get the answer you’re hoping for, it isn’t the end of the world! There are thousands of four-year colleges in the U.S., and you’ll find the one that’s right for you — whether that’s Yale or not!

Best of luck to you!

Bright college years with pleasure rife,

The shortest, gladdest years of life;

How swiftly are ye gliding by!

Oh, why does time so quickly fly!

The seasons come, the seasons go,

The earth is green or white with snow,

But time and change shall naught avail

To break the friendships formed at Yale.

About Catrina Coffey

Catrina graduated from Rider University with a B.A. in English. She’s been helping students prepare for standardized tests since 2011. In her spare time, you can find her reading anything within arms’ reach, playing video games, correcting grammar, or studying word derivations. (Did you know that procrastinate comes from the Latin word cras, which means “tomorrow”?)

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