Class of 2025 sets new marks for achievement and diversity

Yale College welcomes a record-setting 1,789 students this fall — the largest group of first-years since immediately after World War II.
Photo of courtyard.

(Photo by Dan Renzetti)

A record-setting 1,789 new first-year students this week arrived in New Haven as members of the Yale College Class of 2025. The especially large class includes 335 students who accepted Yale’s offer of admission in the summer of 2020 but opted to postpone matriculation until this fall. The new students will be welcomed into the 14 residential college communities, which are operating at full capacity for in-person learning this fall.

Also joining the new first-year class are 26 students admitted through the transfer program and Eli Whitney program for nontraditional students. Among this group are 8 U.S. military veterans and 14 students who began their undergraduate education at a community college. Thirty new students earned ROTC scholarships and will join Yale’s Air Force and Navy ROTC units.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan said more than 49,000 students applied for admission as first-year, transfer, or Eli Whitney students, setting new record highs for interest in each program.

The members of the Admissions Committee were blown away by the level of academic strength, extracurricular accomplishment, social commitment, and personal resilience our applicants displayed this year, despite the countless pandemic-related hardships and disruptions they experienced,” said Quinlan. “Selecting the class from such a large group of applicants was daunting, but we maintained our commitment to thoughtful, whole-person review, and I am confident that this group of new students is exceptionally well prepared to thrive at Yale.”

Last spring, Quinlan expressed his gratitude to Yale leadership for approving a plan to admit to a standard number of students for the Class of 2025, despite the unusually high number of students admitted for the Class of 2024 who deferred their start for a year. As a result, Yale College will welcome a class that is 15 percent bigger than a typical first-year class and the largest group of first-years since immediately after World War II.

Over the past 18 months, the faculty and staff of Yale College have shown ingenuity, perseverance, and commitment to providing a Yale undergraduate education in challenging circumstances,” said Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun. “They are all looking forward, as I am, to welcoming this large and diverse group of new students to campus. With in-person instruction now reinstated, students will be able to bring their experiences, backgrounds, intelligences, and ambitions back into the classroom.”

Global diversity, varied interests

The extra-large Class of 2025 is also remarkable for its diversity. Students in the first-year class represent 48 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 67 foreign countries.  The 1,789 students are graduates of 1,221 different high schools around the world, and 14% attended high school outside the United States.

As applicants, students in the first-year class were invited to list up to three Yale majors that fit their academic interests. Collectively, they expressed interest in pursuing 79 Yale College majors. More than a quarter (26%) of the students listed an arts & humanities major as their first interest. A similar proportion (25%) listed a physical sciences or engineering major. Nearly a third of new students (32%) listed a social science major first, and one sixth (17%) selected one Yale’s five undergraduate life science majors. More than 96% of incoming students listed multiple majors of interest, and 84% selected majors spanning two or more academic categories.

For a third year, a majority (51%) of incoming first-year students are US citizens or permanent residents who self-identified as a member of a minority racial or ethnic group when applying. More than 44% reported speaking a language other than English as their first language or in their home.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has complied a complete profile of the Class of 2025. Recognizing that the 335 students who postponed their matriculation were not a representative subset of the Class of 2024 or 2025, the admissions office has also produced a combined profile of the Classes of 2024 and 2025 to provide a clearer snapshot of those students beginning at Yale in fall 2020 and fall 2021.

Accessibility and socio-economic diversity

Despite the disruptions of the pandemic, Yale has maintained its extraordinary commitment to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all students, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Director of Undergraduate Financial Aid Scott Wallace-Juedes reported that more than half of new students received a need-based Yale Scholarship. The average award for the 2021–22 academic year was $61,500.

The Class of 2025 includes a record-high 131 students who applied to Yale through QuestBridge, a national non-profit organization that connects high-achieving, low-income students with selective colleges. More than 100 QuestBridge Finalists have enrolled in each of the last four first-year classes.

Yale’s undergraduate financial aid policies meet 100% of every family’s financial need without requiring loans. Families with incomes below $75,000 and typical assets will qualify for financial aid awards with a “$0 parent share.” Nearly 300 members of the Class of 2025 qualified for one of these awards, which cover the full cost of tuition, on-campus housing, the meal plan, and health insurance through scholarship grants, and include an extra $2,000 startup grant for a student’s first year.

President Salovey and Dean Chun formally welcomed new students at Opening Assembly Aug. 28 in an outdoor ceremony on Cross Campus.

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