Surely but would they be hanging out at a site to help applicants?
But more to your point: there were just masses of content and happy folks when I was there. If there were those who weren't happy, they just weren't very visible. Think about your HS. Do you really KNOW the discontented folks? They aren't going to your Saturday study groups or sitting in the front row of the Senior Breakfast, you know...
There are going to be people unsatisfied with their university at EVERY university. It's inevitable. I personally love Yale, and I feel that most students here also feel the same way. Of course you'll find the exceptions from time to time.
In olden days, I knew four people who were unhappy at Yale, three of whom left. While my experience is very outdated, I suspect that some of the same factors may still apply, so it's worth thinking about whether you recognize yourself in any of these profiles:
1. Working-class gay woman really hated the sense of privilege, elitism, and wealth. It bothered her all the time. She transferred to her (academically first-rate) in-state public flagship, where she felt a lot more comfortable.
2. One of my freshman roommates was a guy from the Anacostia neighborhood in D.C. He had a very "ghetto" background -- never knew his father, brother in prison, family on welfare. In 8th grade he basically got kidnapped to a fancy New England prep school by his guidance counselor and the A Better Chance program. There, he was a house proctor, football team captain, and developed a taste for still-life black-and-white photography and the Grateful Dead. Over the course of our freshman year, he got progressively more and more depressed. He felt like most of the African-Americans at Yale came from more privileged backgrounds than he. (He believed Harvard was different, and never really got over not being accepted there.) And he felt like there just weren't enough African-Americans to form a real community -- after two weeks, he knew all the girls, and if he didn't connect with them there was nowhere else to look for women to date, etc. He also found the classes tougher than he expected, and he developed a pretty serious drug problem. Sophomore year, he switched to another residential college that had more Blacks, but he felt increasingly isolated, and he never came back for the second semester. He wound up doing blue-collar work in Texas, and I haven't had news about him in over 25 years.
I would take this story with a grain of salt. I think the situation for African-American students is much better now -- more of them, from more diverse backgrounds. Also, it's hard to separate his rationalizations of his feelings from his drug addiction, which he beat himself up about a lot, and which made both academics and connecting with other people a lot harder.
3. A girl from suburban Northern California, who was very close to her mother, especially, just never liked being in the East, and felt cut off from her roots and from her high-school boyfriend (who was at Harvard, and who was starting to drift away from her). She hated the weather, hated the city, hated how intense and ambitious everyone seemed. She transferred to Stanford after her sophomore year, and loved it there, and became intense and ambitious in a Cali sort of way.
4. A boy whose grandfather was a Fellow of the Yale Corporation, came from a top prep school as an athlete in a preppie sport. He really struggled academically, and felt horribly embarrassed about that all the time. Developed serious (and lifelong) drug/alcohol issues, which sure didn't help the academics, and caused his sports ability to deteriorate to the point where he wasn't getting anything positive from that, either. So he was just really, really miserable most of the time. I don't think he would have gotten into Yale today. He wasn't dumb, but he really wasn't strong academically, and even then his older brother (who had stayed back a year in school) got rejected the same year he was accepted, despite their grandfather (and father, and uncle, and some serious, serious financial contributions). I knew a couple of other recruited athletes who had academic struggles, but they handled things much better and generally had a great time.
I have a similar story to what JHS posted. I arrived August of my Freshman year for a orientation pgm for students of color. Mostly we were just hyped up and glad to be there at Yale. We got to know one another, hung out, went out on some dates, even went to a rap concert at the old coliseum downtown -- all before classes started! Amongst us was one hispanic girl from TX who was extremely extremely quiet. She happened even to be in my own residential college. After about a week into classes, she withdrew. Culture shock? Missing home? I dunno. She never seemed to click with anyone. I guess any large population will have examples like that.
Think about your HS. Do you really KNOW the discontented folks?
uhhh yes. I'm very vocal about how much I despise my high school.
They aren't going to your Saturday study groups or sitting in the front row of the Senior Breakfast, you know...
and i was a member of enough activities/study groups that I was able to get in... so ya knowwwww <3
He felt like most of the African-Americans at Yale came from more privileged backgrounds than he. (He believed Harvard was different, and never really got over not being accepted there.) And he felt like there just weren't enough African-Americans to form a real community
My dad said he felt almost the complete opposite about Harvard/Yale. Apparently during his time at Yale (in the eighties) there were sooooo many efforts to cater to the needs of all these black kids from the inner city. Most of my dad's friends were from similar inner city backgrounds and he said that he loved his experience. He said that he thought princeton/harvard/brown (which he was also accepted to) were not nearly as welcoming to him (as far as being a black kid from the inner city goes).
Last edited by eating food; 02-28-2009 at 06:04 PM.
I feel like Yale has worked very hard to dispel that elitist, WASP atmosphere in the past few decades. There is a lot more diversity here now than there was in the 80s. That being said: some people aren't made out for the academic rigor, or being so far away from home. I know that I really missed home for awhile, but you get used to it and eventually find yourself wanting to return when you're back home on vacation.
I'm glad for the kids who transferred to schools where they were happier. It must have been a hard thing for them to do. How often did they have to answer "how could you walk away from Yale?"
A similar scenario, but third-hand and without details-- son of a friend of a co-worker left Yale for Rice, where he was very happy. It might have been something about (introductory) class sizes in the sciences or lack of attention to undergrads. I don't have the impression he was miserable, rather just dissatisfied with his first choice.
I don't know if I would use the word 'regret'. Even if someone does transfer away from a school, it's usually the first school that they went to that taught them who they really were and where they should be. Even if to others may seem like it was a semester or year wasted, I think its helpful in many ways.
kinda late but i found this and was horrified... please tell none of what this guy is saying is true...
Yale has alot of problems. If not for its prestige, it wouldn't be nearly as high-ranked as it is in all of those college books, or at least it shouldn't be. Read on for the details.
1. The weather here is horrible. Blazing hot at the very beginning of the year and at end of the year exams, freezing cold from Nov.-March and the other months are so dreary/filled with rain that they too are awful. I read a study that indicates people's happiness are influenced by weather (i.e. better weather, happier person). No wonder everyone at Yale is rude/unhappy/unapproachable/etc.
2. The about 9/1 student teacher ratio in all the college books is basically a lie. While there may be that many teachers, I most of my class have been 40-60 students, just big enough so the teacher doesn't know your name or care if you're there. a close second for most common class size was 60+ students, and I hardly had any less than 30-40 kids. so, the stats they present about class size are misleading, and all the classes are much bigger than you may anticipate.
3. The TAs were very bad. Their English was bad (meaning difficult to understand) and made little effort in getting to know you personally or help you. The assignments that they grade (most assignments) are unfairly and seemingly arbitrarily graded.
4. Professors are too wrapped up in their own work to care about undergrads. Many are arrogant and unhelpful and all are self-absorbed. THERE IS NOT AN UNDERGRADUATE FOCUS IN THIS SCHOOL!! If you attempt to talk to them, they'll end up promoting their research and how 'awesome' they are and never get around to your question. many aren't that smart, as you find out when you take a class from a prof who just reads off notes from his computer...every class for the entire thing.
5. Grading here is often ridiculous. Classes may be graded by only a exam or two, both of which have a majority of questions as topics that were never covered. you don't have anywhere to turn for help. The comptetive (actually cut-throat) enviroment really wears you down. One kid I knew actually had all his notes and books stolen on time, several days before an exam. Despite his frantic attempts to borrow notes from others, nobody let him. He ending up failing the final and getting a D in the class. TAs can't grade, because they often don't even grasp English, and seemingly slap down a grade with no explanation (for written stuff). even if you go to them they won't explain it.
6. Despite so many libraries/books, good luck finding one because right after any assigned project several kids will just take out all books on the topic so other can't get them.
7. The social scene here is sad. EVERYONE is social-inept. people will stare at you wordlessly if you say hi to them for a minute before muttering (everyone here mumbles) something, because nobody speaks to each other here, especially to people they don't initially know. The girls here are the ugliest out of any college...period. But besides, everyone is too busy studying to ever relax or drink, or get with someone of the opposite gender. I know of several kids personally that graduated that have never even kissed a girl. Everyone here is unkempt (Yale sweatshirts are worn by everypne 24/7 and nobody bothers washing theirs), smells bad (nobody has heard of deodorant), is unattractive, and mumbles incoherently.
8. PEOPLE HERE ARE DUMB! You may be thinking, what? How can that be? But here, people have books smarts but literally no street smarts or social skills, which are more important kids of smarts, at least by me.
9. New Haven is awful. New Haven is dirty, too expensive, unfriendly, and worst of all, downright dangerous. About 3 out of 5 kids here get mugged. My roomate was robbed at knife-point. I was fortunate enough to not get mugged (my closest time was when I knew this guy right behind me was about to try so I started sprinting...not stopping until I got back to my room and locked the door. No wonder you don't see fat people in the college catologue). Plus, you can't leave New Haven for any decent city that's close. harvard has cambridge plus boston right nearly. Yale doesn't have that.
10. The food is tastless and cyclic, meaning that places won't really vary their serving day by day. Food is expensive, but has really bad quality. Sadly, nowhere in New Haven is there a decent place to eat that isn't too expensive, sketchy, or in a dangerous section (while every section is dangerous, several places are deadly).
11. The campus is overrated. While is may initially impress you, throughout the year parts of it aren't kept up, and parts tours will see are given lavish attention. The building don't have AC and their heating system are very bad.
12. You have to take 36 credits, unlike most colleges which have 30-32. Another reason why you never sleep. The core curriculum is often cumbersome and forced me to take classes I didn't want to take. The foreign language requirement, 4 semesters worth, was deadly to me especially. How I hate that.... Somewhere in Sophmore years you'll have a similar realization about how the glossy life at Yale isn't real, and that in reality it stinks.
13. 'Yale' on your resume doesn't help much. People who succeeded didn't do it because of Yale (i.e. the Bushs, Kerry, some Rockefellers, etc.) but because of who they were. Many of my peers had difficultly landing jobs (which i was rather happy about though, because most of them were self-absorbed and had never tasted failure). I couldn't land a job for over a year, and it wasn't even related to my major. at graduation, some of my friends and a bunch of other people were handing out their business cards like some students do...only it said their name and that they were unemployed. I was handed 4 of those cards for every real one, meaning that perhaps only 1 of 5 kids can immediately land a job.
14. Sporting events are sparsely attending except for several football and hockey games. Girls sports basically don't exist, to the common student. There is little school spirit generally. Its better to go to games to laugh at the cheerleaders, who are a joke, than to watch our sad teams be perptually defeated.
14. The housing system (residential colleges) is highly overrated at over-touted. Nobody even hangs out in the common rooms, so what's the purpose? plus, instead of being stuck with only 1 roomate who may or not be normal, you're stuck with several, and at least 1-3 of them aren't. So instead of taking you chances, you loses everytime. The rooms are small and stuffy to.
16. The price. What else needs to be said about this highly expensive, overrated education? I wasted my parent's money, period. Because of that waste, they have to work until they're 60 and then get by on what little they've saved.
17. Most people here are conformists to Yale, but claim they are liberal. Most people are liberal because their conforming to the majority of students than because they truly are liberal. ironic, isn't it?
So, please make your own decision about Yale. this is info I wish I had known as a high school student! I was once in your shoes, and so excited about attending Yale. I was proud and happy. Oh how life has changed...