Guest post written by Tara Tyrrell, a current student at Yale University:
The admission rates for Yale University are steadily dropping as the number of applicants goes up every year, and it can seem discouraging for those who dream about getting in, but there are a few tips and tricks that might help in the application process. Yale is interested, first and foremost, in high levels of drive and intelligence, so the basics of high test scores and GPA are essential. Of course, this is not enough to represent you fully as the type of student that Yale is interested in accepting, so extracurriculars are very important to showcase on your resume. Any extracurricular that demonstrates creativity, leadership skills, or charity is preferable, so even if you only volunteered for a couple of hours on Earth Day or failed at your computer building experiment with your friends one Saturday when you were bored, be sure to mention it. Even if you weren’t successful or you didn’t stick with it, it shows that you are willing to try new things, enthusiastic and creative, and someone who stands out.
The second most important aspect of getting into Yale is a stellar personal statement. I was wait listed my senior year of high school, and it kicked me into high gear and prompted me to write a new personal statement that demonstrated how badly I wanted to be a part of the Yale experience (and how much I could do for Yale as a student). I am fully convinced that my personal statement was essential for getting me off the wait list because, though we often forget this in the mad rush of an application process, colleges want to be wanted. If you hold this school in high esteem, tell them. If they have been your dream school since you were five, be sure to let them know why. If you want this experience so badly that you can almost taste it, write it out. If you want to go to Yale, you will work harder to make the most of your experience, and admissions officers know that. Of course, this desire must be emphasized in the context of your well-rounded, hardworking, interesting resume, but telling a college how badly you want to be there always adds an extra element of enthusiasm that will make any school sit up and take notice. Good luck!