Yale Essay Topics

Planning to apply to Yale University this fall? Here are the essay prompts you’ll need to answer to submit your Yale application.

Yale isn’t just another Ivy League. Learn more about the university’s program, environment and campus culture before you decide to apply! Here’s a university overview of Yale.

Yale University’s application is available on both the Common Application and the Coalition Application. Please note that the main essay prompts on the two platforms are not the same. Here are the Common Application’s 2017-2018 essay prompts and the Coalition Application’s 2017-2018 essay prompts.

Short Answer Questions

  • Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.

  • Why do these areas appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)

  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)

  • What inspires? (35 words or fewer)

  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host intimate conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask? (35 words or fewer)

  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)

  • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six people. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)

Don’t overthink your answers! Be true to who you are and answer these questions honestly. This is where you can let your personality shine through!

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Supplemental Essay (Common Application Only)

Please choose two of the following topics and respond to each in 250 words or fewer.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?

  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?

  • Write on something you would like us to know about you that you have not conveyed elsewhere in your application.

Supplemental Essays (Coalition Application Only)

In 300 words or fewer, write on one of the two essay topics below.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?

  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?

In addition to writing on your chosen topic, upload an audio file, video, image, or document you have created that is meaningful to you and relates to your essay. Above your essay, include a one-sentence description of what you have submitted.

Both supplemental essay requirements on the Common Application and the Coalition Application are fairly similar. As suggested in one of the prompts, it’s important for you to look at your application holistically. Here are some questions to think about: 

  • What have you already emphasized in your personal statement?

  • What do your extracurricular activities say about you?

  • Which side of you did you show off in the Short Answer Questions?

  • Now, what about you is missing in the application?

Still not sure what we mean by that? We’ve put together a package of profiles from the most recently admitted class at Yale! Unlock this Yale 2021 package to view full successful application files and learn how to craft your own: Our premium plans offer different level of profile access and data insights that can help you get into your dream school. Unlock any of our packages or search our undergraduate profile database to find specific profiles that can help you make an informed choice about where to apply!

 

About The Author

Frances Wong

Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.





Yale School of Management MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

We continue with our Essay Topic Analysis, as Yale SOM announced their MBA essay question for 2017-2018. For the second year running, Yale MBA hopefuls are required to respond to a 500-word essay about their biggest commitment.  Last year, Admissions Director Bruce DelMonico commented that the Yale MBA adcom developed this “seemingly simple and straightforward question” essay prompt in collaboration with a professor of organizational behavior at SOM.

 

Yale SOM MBA Essay Analysis

Let’s take a closer look at the 2017-2018 Yale SOM essay question:

Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made. (500 words maximum)

With such a broad, open-ended mandate, it’s important to impose a structure on the response.  Consider the main categories of what one can be committed to:

  1. An idea
  2. An organization
  3. A person

An Idea

The benefit of being committed to an idea is that it likely allows for the broadest approach to responding to the prompt, as an idea could be supported in one’s professional and personal lives.  For instance, perhaps you have been most committed to raising awareness of social injustice and have sought to introduce this in your office and community.  Or perhaps you are committed to lessening the environmental impact that humans have on our planet and you have pursued that commitment via volunteer work, initiatives at work, and changes in your personal life.  In short, it’s easy to see how commitment to an idea offers a broad array of possibilities to showcase various aspects of your candidacy.

One important note regarding commitment to an idea is that some individuals may gravitate towards religion or politics.  While these are clearly fair game in light of the question Yale SOM has posed, it’s important to remember that these can be sensitive topics (and that we typically advise candidates to tread carefully when broaching them).  In short, if religion or politics has been your priority, the key will be to focus on your actions and positive results as opposed to ideology.

An Organization

Before we look closely at a response around an organization, we want to remind our readers that organizations can be of a professional or community nature. In addition, because the question originates from a professor of organizational behavior, it likely makes sense to reflect on one’s efforts within a group or in conjunction with groups.  This would also afford the opportunity to showcase one’s leadership and teamwork skills—both desirable skills at MBA programs.  Candidates do not need to feel confined to the professional realm; Yale SOM, after all, does seek to “educate leaders for business and society.”  Perhaps you organized a community fundraiser or launched a community event—the key is to show how you engaged a group and led them to a positive result.

A Person

With regards to a person, it’s understandable that one’s go-to response would be a spouse or child; however, we would like to remind readers that taking this course may present some challenges.  First off, there are likely to be many other applicants following the same path with their essays, and that could make it harder for you to stand out in a crowded applicant pool.  Second, it may be a bit harder to speak to elements of your commitment to a significant other or child in a way that relates to your potential skills as a future business leader and ability to contribute to life at Yale SOM.  Of course, if you truly feel that the biggest commitment you have ever made has indeed been to a loved one, and that you can write about this in a compelling fashion, then by all means give it a shot.  With all that said, we would like to remind you that “a person” doesn’t have to be a loved one.  For instance, perhaps you have maintained a strong mentoring relationship either at work or in your community; detailing the interpersonal challenges of your relationship and ultimate success in achieving goals together could fit well here.  Once again, honesty is the best policy here, as the most compelling descriptions of commitment will stem from something or someone you are passionate about.

Things to Avoid

While we’ve covered what potential topics could be discussed, there are likely a couple of choices to avoid.  Namely, though it may be tempting, this essay should be limited to one commitment.  You may have multiple examples in support of an idea, but the theme should be singular. Additionally, ‘applying to business school’ or ‘pursuing an MBA’ as an answer should probably be avoided.  It is certainly a grueling process to apply to business school–and a big decision to commit to an MBA–but the adcom wants to get to know who you are, not just your passion for an MBA.  Also, remember that everyone applying to Yale SOM is theoretically making a commitment to an MBA, which would make it harder for you to stand out.

Final Thoughts & Structure

Underlying each of the aforementioned categories, consider what it means to be committed: overcoming challenges consistently and staying the course.  A commitment takes work, takes time and can take sacrifice or compromise.  Consider what made achieving your goal difficult (in other words, what made you want to walk away or give up on your commitment), but, ultimately, what made you stick with it (some sign of progress, the impact of the ultimate goal).  Finally, because this should be one’s “biggest” commitment, reflect on the scope and scale of the project.  Your commitment should be worthy of the moniker, “biggest.”

As for structure, 500 words is not a lot of space, so it should be used wisely.  Start with a concise and straightforward explanation of your commitment—ideally in a sentence or two.  Then, move onto the meat of the content, which should include examples that showcase how you are committed to the idea, organization or person you have chosen.  Space permitting, it would be nice to suggest how you would continue to pursue this commitment at Yale SOM and beyond.  The essay can then be wrapped up with a brief reiteration of your biggest commitment and the satisfaction you get from it.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Yale SOM MBA essay topics. As you work on your SOM MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Yale offerings:

Posted in: Essay Tips & Advice, Essay Topic Analysis, Essay Topics, Essays

Schools: Yale SOM

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