Have you heard of the Yale Young Global Scholars program but aren't sure if it's worth attending? YYGS is a summer program for high school students run by Yale University. Some attendees love their experience, while others don't feel the program is worth its high price tag. So, should you apply?
This article will explain exactly what the benefits and drawbacks of YYGS are, as well as the questions you need to ask yourself before you make a decision to attend.
What Is the Yale Young Global Scholars Program?
Yale Young Global Scholars (previously known as "Ivy Scholars") is a summer enrichment program for high school students. It offers three sessions, in June and July, where students spend 13 days in one of five programs. (YYGS hopes to offer both residential and online sessions for June and July 2022 due to COVID-19. Updates will be posted on the program's COVID-19 page.)
Attending a YYGS residential program costs $6,500, while the online program costs $3,500. YYGS is run by Yale University and takes place on its campus in New Haven, Connecticut. (They used to run programs in Beijing, but now they are only focusing on programs on Yale's campus.) During the program, students will live in Yale dorms and attend classes, listen to talks from Yale professors, and spend their free time with other program participants.
Online YYGS participants will have a slightly different experience. Online participants will engage in a virtual program that is designed to be as intensive and intellectually enriching as the residential program. If you choose the online YYGS option, you’ll spend about 20 hours per week “attending” Yale faculty lectures, mini-seminars, and simulations, among other virtual activities.
By participating in the program, students can learn about a subject of particular interest to them and spend time with like-minded peers. Each program includes lectures, seminars, and a capstone project. The Yale Global Scholars program emphasizes small lectures, collaborative learning, and a diverse community. Roughly 2,500 students from over 120 countries attend each summer.
What Programs Does Yale Young Global Scholars Offer?
You can attend one of four YYGS programs. Each lasts 13 days. On the YYGS application, you’ll be able to rank your preference for up to all four sessions that are offered, but you’ll only be able to attend one session per summer.
Below is a brief description of each program. All YYGS programs emphasize peer discussion, varied learning formats, and a capstone project conducted under the mentorship of YYGS staff.
Innovations in Science and Technology
For students interested in learning about various topics within STEM fields. Students will get to apply scientific principles to real-world scenarios and explore scientific fields ranging from physics, to biochemistry, to immunology, among several others.
Applied Science and EngineeringFor students interested in physical science and its real-world applications. Students will learn about astronomy, chemistry, earth science, and physics, among other topics.
Literature, Philosophy, and CultureDesigned for students interested in expressing creativity and interpreting significant texts. Students study a variety of creative arts, including fiction, poetry, philosophy, theater, film, dance, and visual arts.
Politics, Law, and EconomicsAimed at students with an interest in economic theory, government values and practices, and/or legal frameworks, both historical and contemporary. Topics students will learn about include government structures, human rights, international policies, market regulation, and public policy.
Solving Global Challenges
Designed to teach students about the most pressing challenges facing the world today (focusing on the 17 challenges identified by the UN in their Sustainable Development Goals), as well as how solutions can be developed. Topics students learn about are wide-ranging and include artificial intelligence, global health, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, and cyber security.
How Prestigious Is Yale Young Global Scholars? Will It Impress Colleges?
How hard is it to get accepted in YYGS? What is the YYGS acceptance rate? Yale Young Global Scholars doesn't publish data on its acceptance rates, but by comparing numbers of applicants to attendees, we know that the YYGS acceptance rate is at least 34%.
This is based on information from their website that states that they receive about 7,000 applications a year and about 2,400 students attend. Certainly not every student who is admitted attends, but we don't know how many decline their offers of admission. We can say that at least ⅓ of students are admitted though, and possibly a significantly higher number. So YYGS is definitely a competitive program, but it's nowhere near as hard as getting accepted into Yale University itself, which has an acceptance rate of about 6%, significantly lower than the Yale Young Global Scholars acceptance rate.
Will attending a Yale Young Global Scholars program impress colleges? It depends on what you make of the program. Just having it on your college application won't do much. Despite a somewhat low acceptance rate, the program isn't competitive enough or well-known enough to really make a difference to colleges. It will basically look the same as any other extracurricular program, such as a local summer camp, club membership, etc. Because the program is affiliated with Yale, it may give your application a small boost if you apply there, because it'll show interest in the school, but in most, if not all, cases, this won't be enough to make a difference whether you'll be admitted or not.
So how can you make YYGS more of a strength on your college application? You need to connect it to your spike. Your spike is what we call your main focus/interest. If your goal is to attend an Ivy League school, you need to have a strong spike to stand out from the crowd, and it's possible for Yale Young Global Scholars to contribute to this. For example, if you want to become an immunologist, then attending the Innovations in Science and Technology program and creating a strong capstone project that relates to that interest can strengthen your spike.
Yale Young Global Scholars on its own, however, is not enough to be a spike, or even be the strongest point on your spike. At its core, it's basically a summer school program, albeit a competitive and high-quality one where you have the potential to learn quite a bit. The best spikes show initiative, exceptional abilities, and deep passion for and commitment to a subject. It's difficult to achieve this in a YYGS program because you'll be spending most of your time in class. You might have amazing debates and learn a lot, but so are many other students in their regular classes every day.
So, we recommend viewing Yale Young Global Scholars as a way to give your college application a small boost. Especially for top-tier schools, it likely won't make any difference in whether a school admits you or not. There are lots of potential reasons to attend YYGS (which we discuss later in the article), but thinking it's a guarantee to an Ivy League school shouldn't be one of them.
How Do You Apply to Yale Young Global Scholars?
You can access the YYGS application on their website. The YYGS application opens in September. The early action deadline is in early November, and the regular decision deadline is in mid-January. Those who apply early action will get their admission decision by mid-December and must decide if they want to attend by early January. Those who apply regular decision will get their admission decision by mid-March and need to make a decision to attend by mid-March as well. When you accept, you must pay the (non-refundable) tuition deposit. Here are the current deadlines:
|Early Action||Regular Decision|
|Application Deadline||November 3, 2021||January 10, 2022|
|Application Fee||$60 USD||$75 USD|
|Admission Decision||December 17, 2021||March 10, 2022|
|Deadline to Accept/Decline||January 5, 2022||March 15, 2022|
If you decide to apply, first make sure you meet their eligibility criteria, which is mainly that, by the start of the program, you'll be at least 16 years old, a current high school sophomore or junior (or the international equivalent), have fluent or nearly-fluent English skills, and haven't participated in previous YYGS sessions.
You'll then complete the YYGS application, which is very similar to college applications. You'll need to submit:
- High school transcript
- List of extracurriculars
- 4 written responses (one 400 words, one 200 words, and two "fast take" responses of 280 characters) to Yale Young Global Scholars essay questions
- 2 letters of recommendation
- Application fee ($60 for Early Action, $75 for Regular Decision)
You can also choose to submit English fluency test scores and/or need-based financial aid. Submit your application, and you'll hear back from YYGS by the notification deadline (and often sooner).
Should You Attend a Yale Global Scholars Program? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself
Now you know quite a bit more about Yale Global Scholars, but is it the best choice for you? Below are three questions to ask yourself before deciding.
#1: Why Do You Want to Attend?
This is the most important question to ask, and you need to make sure your expectations are realistic. As we mentioned earlier, if you want to attend a YYGS program because you think it's your ticket into Ivy League schools, then you'll be disappointed. Attending the program is not much more prestigious than any other extracurricular you have on your resume. Here are some strong reasons to attend the program, as well as weak reasons.
Strong Reasons to Attend YYGS:
- You want to get a taste of college life
- You want to learn more about a particular subject or career path
- You want to meet new people
Any of the above are strong, accomplishable goals for YYGS. Because the program is held on Yale's campus, it'll give you a great way to learn about college life, particularly American college life. The programs are high-quality and will teach you a lot, and because you can choose the focus of your program and your capstone project, you can tailor the experience to learn more about your intended career path and subjects of deep interest to you. And finally, students in YYGS come from over 100 different countries, and many mention the friends they made as one of the best parts of YYGS.
Weak Reasons to Attend YYGS:
- You think it'll help your college applications
- You think it's incredibly prestigious
- You want to network with Yale professors
If you attend YYGS with any of the above goals as your main reason for attending, you'll likely be disappointed. As we mentioned, YYGS isn't seen as a particularly prestigious thing to have on college applications. It's nice to have, but it certainly won't guarantee you admission anywhere.
Additionally, some people think that, because YYGS programs are held on Yale's campus, you'll be able to network with Yale professors and potentially get a connection to help you get admitted/get a research project when you're a student there. This is highly unlikely. Much of the program is run by YYGS, not Yale professors, so while you will hear some Yale professors give talks and have the opportunity to ask them questions, you won't have the time to develop a one-on-one relationship with them.
#2: Can You Afford It?
YYGS does offer a significant number of scholarships, but competition for them is high, and you shouldn't assume you'll receive one. That means it's important to consider the cost of the program.
YYGS isn't cheap; attending the residential program costs $6,500 for tuition, room, and board, and the online program costs $3,500. For most families, that's quite a bit of money for a short summer program, and you shouldn't feel like you need to scramble to come up with the money.
As we mentioned above, YYGS can be a great experience, but there are many experiences just as rewarding that are free or cost much less. If you can afford the YYGS program, go for it, but don't think you need to pay thousands of dollars in order to have strong extracurriculars to put on your college application.
#3: What Are Your Other Options for the Summer?
Before you agree to attend a YYGS program, make sure it's the best way for you to spend your summer. The programs are quite short, but because they occur in the middle of summer, they can prevent you from other summer opportunities, such as jobs, classes, or other extracurricular activities.
We've discussed that YYGS can be a solid opportunity, but it's not the only opportunity or even necessarily the best opportunity for you. You might decide that taking classes at a community or local college is better because those classes are longer and offer the option for college credit.
You may also decide to work a summer job to earn money and show colleges you have a strong work ethic and desire to learn new skills. If you have existing extracurriculars, career goals, or academic interests that you’re passionate about, you might decide to spend your summer working on those instead.
At the end of the day, you might feel like these other summer opportunities will better show your leadership skills, initiative, and passion to colleges. The point is to not feel like you need to attend YYGS to impress colleges. You have lots of options; be sure to make the right decision for you.
Want your extracurriculars to really stand out? Check out our guide of three amazing extracurricular examples that are sure to impress colleges.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.