Facts About Yale College


Newcomers to Yale University may not realize that the venerable institution was called Yale College until 1887. The name has been retained for the undergraduate school to preserve Yale University's rich history. Yale College boasts one of the most respected undergraduate programs in the country, with 5,247 undergraduate students registered in fall 2008.


  • Yale College was named after businessman Elihu Yale in 1718 based on Yale's financial gift to the school, though the school was first chartered in 1701. The school changed its name to Yale University in 1887 to recognize a growing roster of graduate and professional programs. The name Yale College was kept to distinguish the undergraduate program from the master's and doctoral programs. Yale College is notable for graduating the first Chinese citizen from an American college in 1850.

Residential Colleges

  • Each freshman admitted to Yale College is assigned to a residential college. Yale has 12 residential colleges named for early American luminaries like Jonathan Edwards, John C. Calhoun and Samuel Morse. Alumnus Edward Harkness provided funds for the residential colleges in 1933 in the hopes of emulating the campus environments of European universities. Each college features dormitories, lecture halls, cafeterias and playing fields for its students. Yale's residential colleges compete against each other for high grades in the classroom and victories in intramural sports.


  • The U.S. News and World Report National Universities Ranking for 2007 found that Yale College accepted only 9.9 percent of applicants in fall 2007. The school requires each student to have an exemplary list of accomplishments in high school as well as well-defined goals after college graduation. Yale College uses a need-blind application review that does not consider ability to pay. The university's endowment, which was $22.6 billion in 2008, provides aid to outstanding students who cannot afford tuition, room and board, which are listed at $47,500 for the 2009-2010 academic year.


  • Yale is one of eight members of the Ivy League, which has been a competitive athletic league since 1902. Its team is the Bulldogs. Yale College student-athletes are not offered scholarships for any of the school's 35 varsity athletic teams, as the school awards scholarships for only academic endeavors. The Harvard-Yale rivalry in football, basketball and rowing resonates through Yale College with each match. Yale's Corinthian Yacht Club plays host to a successful sailing team as well as plenty of competitions among intramural and club rowers.

Sample Academic Programs

  • Yale College's STARS Program helps underrepresented groups like women and minorities succeed in math and applied sciences courses. The Eli Whitney Students Program, created in 1977, offers undergraduate courses to nontraditional students living outside the residential college system. The Yale College Fellowship Program provides funding for a handful of students each semester to intern, research and serve people around the world.

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  • Photo Credit Photo by Ragesoss (Wikipedia)
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