Yale welcomes Class of 2023

Students on Cross Campus
(Photo credit: Jack Devlin)

This week, 1,554 new first-year students traveled from across the country and around the globe to officially join the Yale Class of 2023.

The class is the third to matriculate in an expanded undergraduate student body with 14 residential colleges. Also joining Yale College are 34 students admitted through the transfer program and the Eli Whitney program for nontraditional students. Yale’s newest undergraduates represent all 50 states and 57 countries and graduated from more than 1,100 high schools. Of the students who are continuing their undergraduate education, 14 began their experience at a community college. Twenty-one students earned ROTC scholarships and will join Yale’s Air Force and Navy ROTC units, and seven new students are U.S. military veterans.

Exceptional scholars with wide-ranging experiences

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan reported that the Class of 2023 was selected from the largest-ever group of applicants to Yale College, and that its members have already demonstrated a remarkable record of achievement and service.

The first-year class is filled with exceptionally bright young people who have made meaningful contributions to their secondary schools and communities around the globe,” Quinlan said. “The class includes accomplished writers, entrepreneurs, scientific researchers, musicians, athletes, artists, and organizers. The Admissions Committee has selected a group of students who have all excelled academically and whose interests and ambitions make them well suited to thrive in the College’s rigorous liberal arts curriculum.” Quinlan noted that incoming students speak more than 60 foreign languages, and 46% of the class speak a language other than English as their first language or in their home. 

Sustaining a commitment to accessibility and socio-economic diversity

For a second year, 20% of students in the first-year class qualified for federal Pell Grants for low-income students. More than 300 students qualified for the grants — nearly double the number in the class that entered Yale six years ago. More than 17% of the class will be the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college — a 75% increase in the number of first-generation students compared with the class that matriculated six years ago. For the second year, the class includes more than 100 QuestBridge Finalists. Yale has partnered with QuestBridge, a national nonprofit organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students with selective colleges, since 2007.  

Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes said that 257 students in the class qualify for a $2,000 Yale College Startup Grant, which assists with the purchase of typical college expenses, such as a computer or winter clothing. These students, whose parents earn less than $65,000 annually, benefit from financial aid awards with a $0 parental contribution, hospitalization insurance coverage, and additional $600 allowances for sophomore, junior, and senior years. Last academic year, Yale awarded nearly than $165 million in need-based financial aid to undergraduates, and the average scholarship was more than $52,000. 

Yale students who identify as first-generation and/or low-income will have the opportunity to connect with the new FGLI Community Initiative. With coordination and support from the Yale College Dean’s Office and the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning, the Community Initiative provides students with financial, academic, and social support, and empowers them to pursue leadership opportunities on campus.

Diverse interests and identities

The Class of 2023 arrives at Yale with a broad range of academic interests and goals. When applying, students were invited to list up to three Yale majors that fit their academic interests. More than 97% of students chose to list multiple majors, and 73% of students listed majors that spanned two or more of the following academic categories: humanities & arts, life sciences, physical sciences & engineering, and social sciences. Of Yale’s 80 undergraduate majors, incoming students selected 75 as a first choice. The 10 most popular majors among incoming first-year students are (in alphabetical order): biomedical engineering; chemistry; computer science; economics; English; ethics, politics, and economics; global affairs; molecular, cellular, and developmental biology; neuroscience; and political science.

A record 51% of the class are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group, including the largest-ever numbers of African American, Asian American, Mexican American/Chicano, and Native American students in a Yale class. An additional 10% of the class are international students. A complete profile of the class is available on the website of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions (PDF).

Members of the Class of 2023 began moving into their rooms in Timothy Dwight, Silliman, Pauli Murray, Benjamin Franklin, and the Old Campus Friday, Aug. 23.


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