SEWcurious--From the time I visited Yale it had always struck me as an incredible school, and virtually everyone I talked to was really excited to be there. I loved the liberal atmosphere, the size, and the residential college system definitely appealed to me. That said, Yale has it's flaws and while right now I love it there and couldn't imagine myself anywhere else, I'm not 100% confident I would still choose Yale if I had to make the choice again.
rizing--I have verizon, and everyone else I know who has it agrees that it generally gets really good reception almost everywhere.
Yale is the only school I've actually attended, so having no reference for comparison I can't actually say I wouldn't choose Yale again. There is no perfect school, and anywhere you go you will find flaws; I just happen to be intimately acquainted with Yale's.
Case in point: New Haven. Yale is basically the only redeeming part of the city. While the area immediately around campus (by which I mean literally a 2 to 3-block radius) is fairly nice and safe even at night, there is no escaping the fact that it is a boring city. There are a few restaurants, a Blockbuster, and Urban Outfitters, all of which get really old really quickly. If you go to Yale, be prepared for much (if not most) of your life to take place on-campus. (A lot of people will tell you that if you just took time to explore New Haven you'd appreciate it more; this is categorically not true. I made a point my first few weeks to venture out around town on the bus, and take long walks away from campus. My job & volunteering also takes me into the city, and I still maintain that while there are definitely some pretty areas, New Haven is not generally a nice place to live). Now, of course this must be taken with a grain of salt. While there isn't much going for New Haven, chances are that between classes, ECs, etc. there won't be a lot of time to venture into the city, even if there were a reason to. However, campus can still start to feel claustraphobic at times.
...which brings me to point two: the Yale bubble. Given that students are more or less contained to Yale's campus, there definitely starts to develop the mentality (consciously or not) that Yale is the world. A lot of kids grew up in bubbles, then are shuttled of to the microcosm that is Yale, I am floored sometimes at how uninformed (and unINTERESTED) people can be about the world. Although political parties are fairly active on campus, to me it seems mostly like theater and I don't find that people are particularly passionate about issues, let alone engage in activism of any kind. What does take place is generally muted by the overwhelming sense of apathy around the campus. Personally, I wish I had gone to school in a bigger city both because it provides outlets off of campus and because it forces students to become more aware of the real world. But again, a grain of salt. There are plenty of opportunities to get off campus (volunteering in the community, day or weekend trips to New York, etc), to discuss real issues and not to let yourself get dragged into the bubble.
Yale is definitely not a perfect school, and (for me anyway) it has some major flaws that I didn't necessarily anticipate beforehand, which sort of surprised me when I got there. However, like I said, all schools have flaws and life is what you make it. For everything I hate about Yale, there are 20 things that I love about it to make up for it, so it's all a trade-off.
I hope I haven't scared anyone off. Congrats again for getting in--if you choose to come I really don't think you'll be disappointed!
Bulldog Days is April 18 and 19, Tuesday and Wednesday, I believe. Good post there, ctrain. Just wondering though, since I'm having some second thoughts on Yale too, but how is the whole grade inflation thing viewed there, how cutthroat/laid back are the students, how good are the professors (I think I'm going to major in cognitive sciences but focus on the pre-med path), and how difficult is it to keep a GPA around 3.5?
1) I think grade inflation is viewed pretty indifferently. Whether or not it actually applies will depend on the professor and the class (it's not going to happen as much in science classes), but in general while it is fairly uncommon to get below a B, you're probably going to have to work hard to get an A.
2) I have found people to be very laid-back in terms of classes. There are definitely those who are really anal and intense about their work, but I don't feel any kind of sense of competition between students.
3) It really depends on the class. Some professors are amazing, some stink, some have an awful teaching style but are incredibly engaging when you speak to them one-on-one. This semester I personally had a lot in category 3; I wasn't totally blown away by my classes, but my professors were always available and when I talked to them individually their brilliance really started to shine through. I think the general consensus is that professors are much more available to undergrads than at a lot of other peer institutions.
One aspect of Yale that is really convenient is the shopping period. Because you get to try out classes & professors before you actually commit, you can avoid those that you just KNOW you won't like.
The cog sci department here has a really good reputation; the intro class in particular is very popular, and I've heard that a lot of people have changed their major to cog sci after taking it.
4) You'll have to work, but it's definitely doable.
ctrain890- in terms of proximity to a city- do students travel to NYC/Boston frequently? Or does it become burdensome to make the trip? I know that I would love to travel into NY as much as possible on weekends but would like to know how realistic that is as an option, and if any students regularly do this.