On Aug. 22, 1,361 new freshmen arrived at Yale as the members of the Class of 2018. President Peter Salovey, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, and Dean of Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan joined masters, deans, and upperclassmen from all 12 residential colleges in greeting the newest members of the Yale community.
The new freshmen represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and a record 56 foreign countries. For the first time in Yale’s history, California is the home state with the greatest representation in the freshman class; 14% of the members of the Class of 2018 call the Golden State home. Over 13% of the freshman class attended high school outside of the United States, more than from any U.S. state except California, and 37% of freshmen speak a language other than English as their first language, or the language primarily spoken in their home.
The class also includes a record number of students from Africa — 20, hailing from 12 African countries (including a first from Tunisia). Since Salovey announced the university’s commitment to strengthening ties and relations in Africa, Yale has launched the Young African Scholars program, a program committed to empowering talented African high school students to think about an education in the United States, particularly at Yale .
“I am excited and humbled to welcome some of the strongest students from America and around the world to campus today,” said Quinlan, who has just finished his first year as dean of admissions. “I look forward to seeing their intellectual promise, character, resilience, resourcefulness, imagination, and passion at work here at Yale in the years ahead.”
Hailing from more than 1,000 high schools
The class includes students from a wide variety of backgrounds. The 1,361 incoming freshmen attended more than 1,000 different high schools; 57% of students graduated from a public school, and 8% from a parochial or other religious school. Yale also is also welcoming 37 new students who were admitted through the transfer program and Eli Whitney Students Program for non-traditional students. Before coming to Yale, these students attended 35 different colleges, including 11 two-year colleges.
Largest-ever group of Latino students
The new class comprises 38% who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as a member of a minority ethnic group. More than 10% identify as Latino, the largest group of Latino students ever to matriculate at Yale. Fourteen percent of the class will be the first members of their families to graduate with a four-year degree, and 16% of American students in the class received a federal Pell grant for low-income college students. A record 79 freshmen were named QuestBridge National College Match Finalists, a program that serves high-achieving low-income students. Twelve percent of the freshmen are daughters or sons of Yale alumni.
40% potential STEM majors
Members of the Class of 2018 have expressed a wide range of academic interests, selecting 68 different Yale College academic programs as their intended majors when completing their Yale applications. The most popular selections were in Yale’s STEM disciplines, with 40% of freshman class choosing a STEM major as their top academic interest; 31% listed a social science field as their top choice; 17% choose a major in the humanities; and 12% indicated that they are undecided. Yale College students formally declare a major at the end of sophomore year.
Jiu-jitsu breakdancer and more
The Class of 2018 was selected from a record applicant pool of over 30,000 students. Members of the class – the most selective in Yale’s history – include (among many others) a student who helped construct the launch system for an unmanned research drone who also enjoys woodworking and building his own skis; a world champion jiu-jitsu practitioner who breakdances on the streets of San Diego; an award-winning competitive surfer whose rock band has played for more than 30,000 people; the first student from Tunisia ever to attend Yale; a lead performer in the Orlando Shakespeare festival who has conducted solar cell research and plans to major in chemical engineering at Yale; and the daughter of a Sherpa from Kathmandu.
Salovey and Holloway will formally welcome the freshman in Woolsey Hall on Saturday, Aug. 23. The event will be streamed live at 9 a.m. on the Yale YouTube channel.