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Yale Affirms Holistic Admissions

March 26, 2020

Today, Yale University clarified its admissions policy to emphasize that applicants who opt for a pass/fail grading option instead of a letter grade for coursework in Spring 2020 will be considered on an equal footing with those who do not.

The provost and deans of the university’s schools released a statement assuring potential applicants to Yale’s undergraduate, graduate and professional schools that applications will be evaluated “holistically and will take the significant disruptions of COVID-19 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials relating to Spring 2020. In particular, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Credit/Fail and other grading options during this unprecedented period, whether they are made by institutions or by individual students.”

Many educational institutions have shifted to a pass/fail grading model to address the challenges COVID-19 has presented. In some cases, students are given the option to accept a specific letter grade or a generalized pass/fail in consideration of pandemic-related disruption.

“We wish to reassure potential applicants that we will take the need for sudden transitions to online teaching and other COVID-19 response measures into consideration during the upcoming admissions cycles,” said Pericles Lewis, vice president for global strategy and vice provost for academic initiatives. “We recognize that students will be working under very different conditions this semester.”

Yale’s deans are unified behind this statement, and it extends to undergraduate, graduate and professional schools.  Yale is a leader in holistic admissions.

“I am grateful that the deans and provosts have adopted this principle, which will help undergraduate applicants manage their studies and grades through the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that other graduate schools and professional schools consider taking a similar approach,” said Yale College Dean Marvin Chun.