Do you wonder how we evaluate applications?

The F&ES Admissions Committee consists of 2 staff members and 10 faculty members, and we all actively review application files.  Our goal is to select students from a wide variety of backgrounds – academically, geographically and professionally.  We do not want our students to look alike, think alike, dream alike or sound alike.  We want a class that, when taken together, has a sum greater than all of its individual parts. So what does this mean for you?

First and foremost, we conduct holistic application reviews looking at your 1) academic preparation, 2) your commitment to the “environment” (whatever your specific area of interest), and 3) your experience/leadership/maturity.

The “academic” portion of the admissions file consists of:

  • transcripts – types of courses taken, trends over time, overall GPA, major GPA, and number of institutions attended. (Most people have transcripts from 2-4 universities, but I have seen up to 8 different universities for one applicant!)
  • GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores (we do not average scores and we take the highest score in each section for the GRE and GMAT)
  • academic letters of reference

Roughly speaking, the “academic” portion of the review process is more important for students coming directly from their undergraduate degree program because they do not have much work experience.

Your commitment to the environmental field is reflected through paid employment, research, internships, and/or volunteer work.  Feel free to include all of these categories on your resume/CV.  However, we do not need to see jobs or volunteer activities from your high school days.  For most of you, high school was a long time ago and your activities probably don’t have much relevancy to what you are planning to study in graduate school.  The following items will be considered in this section of the review:

  • personal statement – a bit of background information, goals/why F&ES, and how F&ES will help you in your near-future career goals and plans.
  • resume/CV – Most people will submit a 2-paged resume, but you can submit something a little longer if necessary.  However, I caution you against 5-paged CVs unless you have extensive research experience or publications, especially if you have not even graduated from college yet.  Most faculty members will roll their eyes when they see a senior in college submit a 5-paged resume/CV!
  • letters of reference

The final area of consideration, experience/leadership/maturity, is much harder to define and is also evaluated through your personal statement, resume/CV, and letters of reference.  Here, we are looking to see what types of responsibilities you have undertaken.  Do you work well in a team?  Can you interact with others?  How do you handle constructive criticism or difficult situations?  Do others look to you for leadership and direction?  Are you enthusiastic and positive?  Do other people like to be around you?  Are you respected for your ethics?  Does your resume/CV demonstrate an increase in responsibilities over time?

These softer qualities cannot be emphasized enough.  The core values and passion of the F&ES student body is something we take seriously.  Individually, our students come from all over the world and have amazing experiences.  But collectively, they are something truly wonderful and inspiring.  Sometimes, I stand in awe of the things students tackle while here and then after graduation.

In contrast to students coming directly from undergraduate programs, experience/leadership/maturity will be more heavily weighed the longer a student has been out of college.  Most of our applicants fall someplace in the middle, with about 2-4 years of work experience, so we balance these two categories.

The Review Process

We have a two-stage review process.  Initially, all applications completed by the December 15th application deadline will be reviewed by 2-6 people depending upon competitiveness in the applicant pool.  Late applications or files completed after Dec 15th will be considered if space permits.  Ten faculty members sit on the admissions committee and application files are randomly assigned to committee members.  We work hard to ensure fairness in the review process by ensuring that our faculty members are from a variety of F&ES backgrounds.

Applicants to the 1-year mid-career program, the Yale College 5-year program, and the MESc/MFS programs have an additional admissions step.  1-year applicants must be forwarded to the chair of the program to ensure that they meet the “7 years of relevant work experience” criteria.  Upon completion of the regular admissions process, MESc/MFS applicants will be forwarded to the potential research advisors listed on their application form for review.  If no F&ES faculty member is able to serve as the researcher advisor, then MESc/MFS applicants will be admitted to the MEM or MF program instead.  5-year applicants are reviewed by a separate admissions sub-committee comprised of the chair of the 5-year program, the chair of the admissions committee, the Director of Admissions, and a third faculty member.

The application review process is confidential and we are not able to provide detailed feedback about your admissions file, nor are we able to comment as to “why” you were not admitted to the program.  In many cases, it comes down to making a difficult decision because we just do not have enough spots to invite all of our applicants to attend F&ES.  Admissions decisions are final and will not be re-evaluated.

We currently do not utilize rolling admissions.  All applicants are notified concerning admissions decisions in mid-March.  Notifications are electronic and will be available through the admissions application system.