February 8, 2024
To the Yale College Community,
We write to share the latest updates on Yale College’s response to the Supreme Court’s 2023 ruling about the consideration of race in admissions. We last wrote on September 7 with details of updates to the undergraduate admissions process, new initiatives designed to expand Yale’s outreach and build new talent pipelines, and efforts to support a culture of belonging in Yale College.
We are pleased to share the progress made in these areas over the last five months and our updated plans for 2024. The efforts detailed here support our shared goal of making Yale College a place where talented students with a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, goals, and strengths can thrive.
Expanding Admissions Outreach
Yale College received more than 57,000 applications for first-year admission to the Class of 2028, a record figure that represents a ten percent increase over last year. By some available measures, the applicant pool has set new marks for diversity. Applications from students who will be the first in their families to attend college and applications from students who reside in neighborhoods with median household incomes below the national average make up their largest shares of the applicant pool on record.
Admissions officers are now engaged in a thoughtful whole-person review process to evaluate each applicant individually. Thousands of volunteer alumni interviewers and the dozens of faculty members and staff who participate in admissions committee meetings have received updated trainings. We look forward to welcoming new members of the Class of 2028 at the end of March.
In September, the admissions office hosted its annual Multicultural Open House, drawing more than 1,000 prospective students and family members for a celebration of diversity that featured Yale’s cultural centers, student performance groups, campus tours, and panel discussions. For the first time, the admissions office sponsored overnight hosting for several students affiliated with Connecticut college access organizations. Next fall the office will expand this successful pilot to provide travel support, two nights of on-campus hosting, and additional programming to fifty prospective students affiliated with college access organizations across the US.
In October, the admissions office hired Jorge Anaya (TD ’19) and Samantha O’Brien to fill two new full-time positions. As Senior Assistant Director for Student Access Programming, Anaya is overseeing the Yale Ambassadors Program and new outreach and recruitment initiatives that engage current and prospective students. As Senior Assistant Director for Partnership Programming, O’Brien is building new relationships with College Access and Community-Based Organizations and developing strategic partnerships with other universities and national consortia.
Over the winter recess, more than 5,000 high school students attending 339 high schools in 36 states connected with Yale Student Ambassadors — Yale undergraduates who visit high schools in their home areas to share information about Yale’s commitment to affordability. More than 250 students participated in the winter program, and hundreds more have applied for spring break.
As an inaugural member of the Small Town and Rural Students (STARS) College Network Yale representatives led four outreach trips last fall with other partner colleges focused on rural and small-town students. These efforts included an innovative program that brought representatives from thirty-one colleges to five midwestern cities, as well as trips targeting areas of the rural southeast and Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. Yale has also launched a new virtual outreach consortium, hosting popular virtual events for students and counselors in rural communities.
Later this year, the admissions office will feature local Yale alumni in outreach events hosted in select cities. These events will engage members of the admissions office’s Alumni Schools Committee and active members of the YAA’s Shared Interest Groups. Yale is an inaugural member of Colleges for Opportunity, a group of thirty-nine selective colleges that will host sessions for prospective students and college counselors across the country.
More than 70,000 prospective students received a copy of Yale’s Diversity Viewbook this fall. In 2024, an expanded and redesigned publication will highlight Belonging at Yale, showcase additional dimensions of diversity, feature students’ relationship with New Haven, and include new profiles of faculty and staff who identify as people of color and as members of Yale’s first-generation and low-income communities.
Building New Talent Pipelines
In addition to ensuring that all promising high school seniors consider Yale in their college search process, the admissions office is developing several long-term initiatives designed to support a pipeline of high-achieving students from backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented at selective institutions.
The Yale Visitor Center is partnering with the admissions office to develop new on-campus experiences for community-based organizations and college access organizations who visit campus. These will include a new tour featuring Yale’s four cultural centers. Officers also are developing new materials and workshops designed for younger visitors in grades 8-10 to guide them toward building strong high school academic records.
We are also currently in conversation with national college access organizations to bring summer programs for high-achieving high school students to Yale. We hope to announce a new partnership later this semester.
The admissions office will also provide scholarships to attend the Yale Young Global Scholars Program to several New Haven Public School students and students from rural areas and small towns. During the 2024-25 academic year, Yale will partner with Brown, Colby, Columbia, and MIT to host an inaugural Northeast Rural Counselor Conference.
Promoting a Culture of Belonging in Yale College
In December President Salovey announced that Yale College will create more space dedicated to celebrating the diverse cultures of our students who identify as Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) and will strengthen its partnership with the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale. We are proud of the steps Yale has taken to add funding to support security staff at the Slifka Center and kosher dining at the newly renovated Kikar Schusterman. The College will also hire a new assistant director for MENA student life to support burgeoning cultural programming, and Yale will hire a second Muslim chaplain.
The academic support programs now organized under the new Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) saw a 75% increase in engagement this past fall. The STEM Navigators program has been especially popular, and students have gravitated toward recent collaborations with La Casa Cultural and the Office of Career Strategy. Other highlights from a busy semester have included “language tasting” events hosted by the Center for Language Study and the Arts and Humanities Friday series, which will feature new programming for first-generation and lower-income (FGLI) students later this semester. OEO is engaged in a multi-stage assessment of Yale’s academic and pre-professional support for FGLI students. This has already contributed to planned revisions to First-Year Scholars at Yale program and will guide future programming for FGLI students, to be directed by a new Assistant Director for FGLI Student Success joining OEO this spring.
Our Shared Work
Despite the changed legal landscape, our community’s values remain as firm as ever, and our shared goal of building and supporting a community whose excellence is strengthened by its diversity remains unchanged. Realizing this goal requires effort from all of us — to inspire future students to look at Yale; to pay forward the benefits of the educational opportunities we have received; and, most important, to participate actively in creating a supportive community where all Yale College students can thrive. We promise to continue listening to your ideas, your concerns, and your hopes for Yale College and to continue providing these updates on our progress.
Pericles Lewis Jeremiah Quinlan