Yale Admissions: The SAT, ACT Scores, and GPA You Need to Get In

yale admissions -magoosh

Applying to Yale?

If you’re thinking about applying to Yale, you probably already know that your admissions journey is going to be a competitive one. But I’m guessing that competitive academics is sort of your thing, so … congrats!

You’re already on the right track. Just like this baby.

yale admissions -magoosh

Right about now, you’re probably in one of two situations:

  • You haven’t taken the SAT or ACT yet and you’re just beginning to plan your college application strategy for next year, or even two years down the line.
  • You took the SAT or ACT once already, and you’re wondering if your score is good enough to be considered a Yale score.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

How to Get Into Yale

Yale is the third oldest university in the United States, and a prestigious member of the Ivy League.

Admission into Yale isn’t for your average student. Yale adcoms carefully sift through thousands of undergrad applications each year (35,308 in 2019 alone), and almost every student that applies is academically stellar.

Think of it this way: the Yale admissions committee need ways to narrow down a pool of over 35,000 applicants to form a freshman class of fewer than 2,500 students (2,224 for the 2019-2020 freshman class – only 6.3% of applicants were admitted). They have to be picky! (And let’s be honest – they love the exclusivity.)

yale admissions -magoosh

Once you’re admitted, Yale will give you your own set of fancy pants–for now you just need to focus on keeping your smarty pants in good shape: The more of these bullet points that describe you, the better chances of being accepted to Yale.

  • You’re at or near the top of your high school class.
  • You have extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership skills and social-mindedness.
  • You have a unique background or point of view.
  • You’re SAT/ACT scores are exceptional.
  • You have a very high GPA.

Not all of these characteristics are under your control…

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…but some of them can be! Starting with your test scores.

Yale SAT Scores

Each year, Yale releases interesting facts about its incoming freshman class. The Yale admissions details of the Class of 2022 have been made publicly available, and has a lot of interesting and relevant information about where current Yale students have been scoring.

Here are the Yale SAT scores of the Class of 2022:

SAT Score RangeEvidence-Based
Reading & Writing
below 6000.6%0.8%

As you can see, there isn’t one magical, super-specific Yale SAT score that the adcoms are looking for. But, you can also see that approximately 75% of the incoming freshman class scored above a 700 on each section of the new SAT. Out of the students who submitted scores from the old SAT, about 50% scored higher than 760 on each section.

It’s generally a good idea to aim for the 75th percentile of whatever school you’re applying to–so in this case you’d want to set your goal score around 780 for each section.

Yale ACT Scores

Taking the ACT? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you!

ACT ScoreAdmission Rate
below 271.6%

For students who submitted ACT scores and were admitted to Yale in 2017, the 83.6% (so about 4 out of every 5 admitted students) scored a 32 or above on the ACT. So to make your application competitive you definitely don’t want to go below a 32, and should probably think about setting your Yale ACT goal score around a 34 or 35.

Keep in mind that Yale does NOT take ACT superscores into consideration.

Yale GPA Average

Yale actually doesn’t officially report the GPAs of its admitted students–but based on data from more than 1,000 schools, the average GPA of a freshman at Yale is 4.19.

As you probably are aware, high schools generally use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, meaning you would have to be taking plenty of AP or IB classes (and racking up A’s across the board) to be averaging a 4.19. (Learn how to calculate your GPA here.)

Yale doesn’t set a minimum GPA, nor do they re-weight GPA’s to any standard other than what a school provides. However, the admissions committee does understand that every school and every grading system is different, so they’ll do their best to evaluate your scores fairly!

Yale Acceptance Rate

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, the 2019 Yale admissions rate was 6.3%. But that’s not enough for you is it…you want a full breakdown of who these people are–any scrap of information that might explain why they got into Yale.

This calls for the Freshman Profile!

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Yale Freshmen Profile (2018-2019)

Ready to go all the way down the rabbit hole? If I remember anything about applying to college, it’s that I was obsessed with any and all information about which students were getting into my school of choice. And now it’s your turn.

Let’s take a look:

Yale 2022 Freshman Profile

90th Percentile High School Rank95%
Attended Public High School 64.6%
Attended Private Day High School19.0%
Attended Private Boarding High School7.7%
Attended Religious High School8.7%
African American11.8%
Asian American21.7%
Native American2.2%
Enrolled first-years1,578 students
First-generation students18%
Legacy affiliation11%
Receiving need-based financial aid53%
Average need-based scholarship $53,500

Some Needed Perspective

If your test scores are in the lower range, all is not lost. Yale looks at more than the numbers on your application to determine whether or not to admit you. You’re not just a number on a page. There is no required score that you must earn in order to be admitted into Yale. Your score is just one piece of the puzzle.

Actually, instead of a puzzle, think of your application as a pie chart:

Yale SAT Scores Pie Chart-magoosh

When Yale looks at your application, your test scores are only 1/3 or less of what they are interested in. Your GPA and difficulty of your high school classes, along with your personal statements, extracurriculars, and unique persona also play a part.

Bulldog20 (’20) provides some advice on how to emphasize these strengths in your application on AdmitSee:

“My activities in high school were sort of disparate (some involved writing, others politics, others working with children) so I tried to find qualities that applied to all of them (communicator, team player and leader) and emphasize those when talking about them. To prepare for interviews, I thought of stories that exemplified those qualities. I also tried to weave them into my common app and supplemental essays. When I met with my teachers to discuss my recommendations, the information I gave them also emphasized those qualities. Even though my application may not have seemed cohesive at first, the sum all of the parts gave a clear picture of me as a person.”

Yale Admissions: The Takeaway

Thanks for reading this far!

If there’s anything to take away from this post, let it be these two things:

1. Scores aren’t everything—you need a well-rounded application!

2. Yale admissions are competitive enough that your well-rounded application needs to include good standardized test scores.

So how do you get those high scores? Lucky for you, that’s our area of expertise:

  • First, decide whether you’re taking the SAT or ACT (we have a handy quiz that can help you with this task)
  • Set a goal score your goal score at the 75th percentile of what Yale admitted students have been scoring.
  • Make friends with some high quality test prep. (Obviously I recommend checking out the Free 1-Week SAT Trial or the Free 1-Week ACT Trial from Magoosh).
  • If you don’t get the scores you were hoping for, think about retaking the exam—or switching tests!
  • It’ll be a lot of work. But if you follow these steps, you can be confident that you’ve done everything you can to get into the school of your dreams! 🙂

    Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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    • Molly Kiefer

      Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

      Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

      Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


    By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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