A most important puzzle piece to your application are the supplemental essays, and the use of Yale supplemental essay examples is one of the best ways to prepare for writing your own perfect piece.

Don’t let the term “supplemental” fool you into thinking that these are throwaway or optional – supplemental college application essays contribute to your chances of being accepted into a program at one of the top schools in the world, so treat them as absolutely required.

Learning how to write a college essay can be done with tips and instructions, but there are excellent insights to be gained from reading sample college essays as well.

This article will give you sample essays for all of Yale’s supplemental essay prompts, as well as a small overview of additional writing and essay requirements in the supplemental section of Yale’s application – short answer questions and additional requirements for the coalition application.

>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free initial consultation here <<

Article Contents
11 min read

Yale Supplemental Essay #1 Yale Supplemental Essay #2a Yale Supplemental Essay #2b Conclusion FAQs

Yale Supplemental Essay #1

For: Coalition Application or Common Application

Prompt: Yale’s extensive course offerings and vibrant conversations beyond the classroom encourage students to follow their developing intellectual interests wherever they lead. Tell us about your engagement with a topic or idea that excites you. Why are you drawn to it?

Word Count: 250 words, or fewer

Sample Essay #1:

Programming is a language I longed to learn and understand, so I bought the C++ programming language when I was fourteen to program my own video games. My lofty aspirations were stymied quickly: I couldn’t program a window with a button that closed the window.

Computer science classes in high school helped me progress. As I continued to learn coding, I began to become interested in AI. Artificial intelligence has kindled human imagination since before we even had the word “robot”, the Golem, for instance, or Frankenstein’s monster.

Computers think very differently than we do. An AI will go about accomplishing tasks very differently from a human. Machines are, unsurprisingly, more linear thinkers than we are. So, it is unsurprising that speaking with them is still impossible, if you’re looking for a real conversation.

But we have Siri and Alexa. Talking to machines has become an obsession of mine. I spent four hours in one session alone speaking with chatbots online. I believe that, within our lifetimes, we will take computers further, perhaps even to the point where we can “hang out” with them, and just chat. At that point, programming language will become “language”, and then the future will be now. As for me, C++ is only the beginning. Soon, we will be able to genuinely talk with artificial intelligences.

Want to learn more about Yale?

Sample Essay #2:

Triple threat performer is a term for a theatre artist who can sing, dance, and act. With all three skills on their resume, they can easily perform in any show and be an asset to any theatrical production. Right?

That’s only if we accept theatre as a static discipline with a confined set of rules and skills needed to perform it. I don’t think that it is static, or confined, and I don’t think it has rules, either. Any skill can be used.

We live in a world of ever-expanding technology, and we are also painfully aware of how the “rules” of social interaction can change – both in the positive sense, such as through communications media, and the negative sense, such as isolation.

In these strange times, I am exploring what I call integrated performance techniques: not just triple-threat, but how to integrate any skill into a performer’s art. Integrated performance combines live art with video technology and other disciplines, including fine art, technology, cooking, and anything else.

I have been trying, and mostly failing, to experiment with theatre performances that don’t look like normal theatre performances. Every attempt is basically a weird, messy showcase of a variety of skills and approaches that don’t work together. But I’m having fun and learning a lot while failing. And I think, if I fail enough, I’ll start to succeed, and maybe open up a whole new way of looking at what performance is.

Sample Essay #3:

I read an article, published in Nautilus by an astrophysicist, that scares, thrills, and excites me. It posited that the universe’s very laws of nature might be extremely advanced alien intelligence.

He cited Arthur C. Clarke, talked about dark matter, and opened up the idea that the cliché of the fabric of reality might be the real truth at the center of everything, or at least the next phase in discovering that truth.

We think of physics as “how” the world works and philosophy as “why” the world works. If the very laws of nature might be life forms, as per the article, it’s possible that the how and the why are the same.

Very few people are talking about this idea, but I formed a group at my school to talk about the limits of science – if there are any – and it has grown into a large collective. The most exciting day was when a couple of teachers at my school showed up to a meeting, having heard of the heady concepts we were tackling, and wanting to participate. We have started thinking of ourselves as a think-tank.

I believe that studying natural law can give us insight into moral law, and that we don’t have to think of intellectual achievement and moral advancement as separate. I think a lot of our troubles as a species have arisen from this separation.

Questions are all I have at this point, but they are exciting questions that could change the world.

Yale Supplemental Essay #2a

For: Coalition Application or Common Application – respond to either 2a or 2b.

Prompt: Reflect on a community to which you feel connected. Why is it meaningful to you? You may define community however you like.

Word Count: 250 words or fewer

Sample Essay #1:

I play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons, or D&D. Thanks to popular shows like Stranger Things, it’s a more accepted hobby than it used to be, but it’s still seen as pretty niche, and I’ve been called some pretty unflattering words as a result.

Every year, I go to as many conventions as I can. These fan conventions, or cons, are places where people who play D&D, watch anime, read Lord of the Rings, and debate the philosophical implications of video games go to, meet their sci-fi-fantasy heroes, and “geek out” as much as possible.

This community is so welcoming, and I can’t describe it any better than seeing a person dressed in a demon monster costume talking with a middle-aged man dressed as Sailor Moon like it was the most natural thing in the world.

It’s a place for the outliers to go and realize that we aren’t so strange after all. Through connections I’ve made at cons, I have built an online community that I can go to for help, for answers, for support, and for friendship. We’re all very into online connectivity, so staying in touch is a breeze, and always fun.

Through this community’s support, I have increased my self-confidence, made some contacts in industries that I’m interested in, such as gaming and comics, and learned how to be more accepting of myself and others.

Sample Essay #2:

The smells of cinnamon and nutmeg come along every holiday season for a lot of people. They are associated with autumn’s apple pies and Christmastime’s hot chocolate. I associate it with Three King’s Day in January, because my family are Latvian Orthodox. But I also associate it with chilis and molasses, because my family are also Jamaican and we eat jerk chicken on Three King’s Day. My family are weird, and I love them.

As my mother told me, she was on Spring break down in Jamaica, and came back raving about her new boyfriend – the man she would marry, bring to the US, and start a family with. She said the two families came from radically different places, but none of that mattered; they were brought together through my parents’ love.

The world outside of my family is often full of animosity, hate, and fear of “other people”, but we have formed a pan-cultural oasis of Latvian-Jamaican-US people who eat jerk chicken in January, and exchange cultures with one another. I try to bring my oasis-family's loving spirit everywhere.

I'm talking about finding space for everyone, understanding each other, accepting each other, and sharing food and music. My family is a community – two communities in one, really – and they give me an example of how to be multicultural in a world that often fails to be so. To me, blending different “tribes” of people is like blending cinnamon and nutmeg and chili peppers, and savoring all peoples together.

Sample Essay #3:

.... . .-.. .-.. ---

I’m saying “Hello”.

My father owns a HAM radio set and frequently communicates with other amateur radio enthusiasts. I wanted to know what all the beeping was about, and dad started to teach me. I knew how to send messages in Morse code by the time I was a teenager.

There is a whole group of people who communicate with each other only by Morse code over HAM radio, who have never seen each other’s faces or heard each other’s voices, only a constant series of long-and-short bursts of beeps.

I’ve started talking to them and gotten to know some of the other HAM operators on my dad’s network, and it’s such a warm, friendly group of aural tones.

To me, this is such a brilliant, shining microcosm of humanity and our achievements. We are the animals with tools, who have abstract reasoning, and can find a friend in a series of beep-beep-beep-beeps. Very few people choose to communicate this way these days, and there is a specialness in sharing something so unusual with people. It’s like a secret club.

To be able to reach out with a signal and interpret that signal as a strange friendship is what is so special about our technological place. We live in the communication era. These days we’re all firing signals into the dark, whether as a series of tweets, or Morse code beeps, or texts.

--. --- --- -.. -... -.-- .

Yale Supplemental Essay #2b

For: Coalition Application or Common Application – respond to either 2a or 2b.

Prompt: Reflect on something that has given you great satisfaction. Why has it been important to you?

Word Count: 250 words or fewer

Sample Essay #1:

I’ve never considered myself to be a very physical guy – I'm the classic tech-dweeb type – and I mostly spend my time studying mathematics and statistics. I stay indoors, I’m sedentary, and I have no sports or athletics in my hobbies.

Or, at least, I didn’t use to. My buddy Rod got sick about three years ago, and a lot of it had to do with malnutrition. I didn’t realize that you could get that sick with poor diet and exercise. I knew it was bad for you, but I never pictured it.

That’s when I read up on how to be healthier and started jogging. Of course, I continued to do calculations. “If I jog at 6 m/ph for 30 minutes, I’ll have covered 3 miles, and over the course of four weeks…” and on and on like that.

I found my love of statistics could fuel my jogging, letting me keep track of achievements and set goals.

Last summer I ran my first marathon. Well, by “ran” I mean I mostly walked it or jogged, but I completed it. I’m not going to the Olympics, but I finished a marathon. It’s important to me because it represents perseverance and attaining goals, and because I broke out of a set path to become somebody new. I don’t have to stop being a tech-dweeb to love athletics, or vice-versa, and opening up my world means a bigger horizon – one I’m jogging towards right now.

Sample Essay #2:

I was lying in my coffin, waiting for the beginning, and I had to keep quiet or those in attendance would hear me. The problem was that I was so excited to have made it there.

We were performing my first self-made show at an outdoor theatre festival. How did I end up here with so little experience?

In theatre class at school, a guest speaker once advised, “Book a space,” meaning that if you spend money and book a space for your show, you commit; there’s no backing down. I signed up for a theatre festival the next day.

Time seemed to warp over the next months as I tried to fit in the challenge of self-producing, writing, casting, and rehearsing the show, and building a prop coffin that I was going to be mock-buried in.

Nothing went smoothly. A cast member dropped out and had to be replaced, we couldn’t afford rehearsal space, so backyards and garages were used instead. Every challenge seemed too much, but we had to keep going. Learning to produce a show has taught me about administration, scheduling, creativity, and management, and grew my confidence and artistic ability.

Getting to hear and see the crowd reaction once I was out of the coffin made all the problems go away. I got to tell a story and learn about all aspects of theatrical production, and my love of this art form was taken further than ever before. I wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere else.

Need more tips for navigating your college apps?

Sample Essay #3:

My father is a professor of English literature. I am somebody who doesn’t consider herself to be particularly “bookish”. I read non-fiction, and I’ve always felt like there’s a chasm between my father and myself – we have had a hard time bonding.

Last year, I set a goal to read James Joyce’s Ulysses – one of my father’s favorite books, and one of the most infamously-difficult books in the English language.

At 730 pages, I figured I could read Joyce’s monolith in a little over a week – 100 pages a day, two weeks if it was hard going.

I read 100 pages quickly before realizing that just reciting the words in my head would mean nothing; I had to understand it. So, I started again, slowed way down, and tried to crack the tome.

Two months in and I wasn’t half-way through – frustrated, almost to the point of tears. I chewed onwards, studying it for almost five months. That in itself was an accomplishment, but that’s not why I’m proud of this. Punishing myself with reading isn’t the treasure.

The next week, dad was talking about a student struggling with Ulysses in his class, and I said, “Cut him some slack, it’s a hard book.”

“You’ve read it?” he asked me.

When I nodded and started talking to him about the plot points and themes – the stuff of the book that I had struggled with – we had a great conversation.

I didn’t read a book – I built a bridge across a chasm.


Supplemental essays are a great way to stand out in the application committee’s minds, so put extra effort into them; you’ll never regret doing your best.

Note that, in addition to these prompts, those submitting under the Coalition Application are required to upload an audio file (mp3), video (mov), image (jpeg), or document file (word or pdf) of their own creation. Whichever method chosen, this file should complement one of the prompt response essays. Only the indicated file types are accepted. Yale’s application says that “advanced editing is not necessary”.

Furthermore, all applicants, whether applying through the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application, will respond to short answer questions – three in total. These questions are:


1. What is the difference between the Coalition Application, the Common Application, and the QuestBridge Application?

These are the three ways to apply to Yale as a first-year applicant. No preference is given between the three, so the choice of which application type to undertake is left with the prospective student to decide for themselves.

The Coalition Application is an application platform, allowing prospective students to create an application that is used by 100 colleges and universities in the US. The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is geared to give needs-based financial aid, and grants access to other resources: an online “locker”, a collaboration space, and a MyCoalition Counselor. Coalition applicants through Yale are required to send in an additional supplemental file (document, audio file, video, or image file) which is meant to directly relate to one of their essay prompt responses.

The Common Application, or Common App, is an application platform, used by 600 colleges and universities worldwide. This allows you to upload applications to up to 20 of those institutions. It is a central platform, but Yale still requires the Yale-specific supplemental questions and essays answered.

The QuestBridge Application is for low-income applicants and is designed to help those applicants through the process of application as well as with navigating the procurement of financial aid at Yale. It is used by 42 partner institutions (including Yale).

2. Are supplemental essays required or optional?

They are required at Yale.

Applicants have the option of choosing between writing essay 2a or 2b, but they must write one of them.

We also encourage applicants to consider no essay to be truly optional. If the form says you have a choice, the only real choice is to give yourself every point in your favor possible: write the essay.

The only exception is if essays are optional with specific conditions. For example, if a school requires an essay from international students and you are not international, you won’t write that essay.

Anything that applies to you, whether it is officially optional or not, you should do.

3. How should I answer the short answer questions?

With such low word-counts, brevity is required, so get immediately to the point.

The first question is about what you want to study. Yale asks you to select up to three from the list provided.

The second question asks why the areas of study, those you picked in the first question, appeal to you. Focus on why you’re passionate about that subject. Connect it to you on a personal level, show why it’s imperative that you study it, and maybe site some aspirations of what you’re going to achieve by entering that particular field.

The third question is about why you want to study at Yale. What you want to do is look up faculty of note in your field(s) of choice, any interesting research being done, specific courses offered that are unique to Yale, and information on syllabi that you can site to show that Yale, above all others, is the place for you. If you have clearly researched course offerings and Yale’s research, the committee will understand that you know about the school and value its uniqueness.

You can also highlight values that the school holds – their core, foundational principles.

Don’t site its prestigious status. Don’t site its location or how beautiful the campus is.

While this is only a short answer question, reading up on why this college essay will give you some good insights into how to create your own answer.

4. What should I highlight in my essays?

The main subject is yourself, and what makes you unique.

You should choose to accentuate your best traits, but also how those traits will relate to Yale and the courses you would like to take.

Good qualities include perseverance, growth, skillsets, and unusual experiences that helped you grow (positive or negative).

If you can mention an area of research or a particular, singular aspect of Yale while you do so – so much the better.

5. I’ve written an essay shorter than the word limit. Is that okay?

It depends on how much shorter. You don’t have to hit the word limit exactly, but if you’ve only written fifty words out of two-hundred and fifty, you’re likely not going in-depth enough on your topics.

Concise writing is good, but you also need to make sure you’re accomplishing your goals of showing your abilities and standing out for the admissions committee.

If you have any doubt, it’s good to use college essay advisors to check your work. In fact, to ensure optimal results, essay advisors are a good idea anyway.

6. How important are my supplemental essays?

They are very important.

Every aspect of your application should be treated as though it is of utmost importance. You want only your best work to be submitted, because that’s your best chance for admission.

Essays let you show yourself off in ways that pure numbers won’t, so take extra advantage of the opportunity.

7. I’m an international student. What do I need to know as an applicant?

Yale’s international applicants follow the same procedures and forms as a US student, for the most part.

You do need to make sure that any transcripts or documents that are not in English are translated, and if you are a non-native English speaker, you will be required to take an English language test.

Getting college admissions counselling for international students is a great way to make sure you haven’t missed anything and you application is the best it can be.

8. Can I reapply to Yale if I don’t get in?

Up to three times, yes, but three is the limit. This includes first-year applicants, transfer students, non-degree applicants, and students who are applying through the Eli Whitney students’ program.

Studying up on Yale university can prevent you from needing to reapply at all, of course.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

Want more free tips? Subscribe to our channels for more free and useful content!




Apple Podcasts