I haven't posted here for some time, but I thought that there seems to be a dearth of Yale posters on this forum, so I'd provide a little window into some of my first few days at Yale. Certainly I'm not authoritative voice, but I can tell you a little bit about my own experience here so far if it's of any use to those of you who are looking at Yale, then that's great.</p>
<pre><code>Housing - Yale housing is great. I'm a freshman with a single in a suite of six, with a spacious, high-ceilinged common room. It's a pretty fantastic living situation. Not everyone is so fortunate, but even those in Lanman Wright (L-Dub), which is generally considered the worst freshman housing at Yale, seem to be living well. Plus, they then get to go on to Saybrook and Pierson, to lovely, renovated colleges for their next three years.
I'm in the Directed Studies program, one of Yale's signature freshmen programs. I'll tell you more about the program in a moment, but I suppose I'll tell you about how I got into it. I was always very interested in DS - it was one of my primary reasons for applying early to Yale, and once being accepted, not applying anywhere else. I wasn't preadmitted to the program, however, and upon applying, was waitlisted. Once I got to campus and explained my to my freshman counselor (a senior who lives in freshman housing and who helps us out throughout the year - distinct from an RA) my predicament, she set me up with her friend who had taken DS and was beloved by the faculty. The friend met me for coffee to talk about the program, and, after talking with me for well over an hour, wrote a recommendation to the director of the program on my behalf. She then referred me to a graduate fellow who was tied to DS as well. After talking with me, he mentioned me to the director of the program as well. All this took place within my first few days of arriving on campus. I went to the DS orientation meeting, spoke with the director (I had emailed her previously), and that very same day, I was called off the waitlist. I relate this story not to tell you that you need remarkable connection to get into any programs (several others who used far less elaborate tactics got in as well), but to give you all some idea of how people I've never even met before have been willing to take their time to go to bat on my behalf.
This willingness to help out underclassmen has extended to extracurriculars as well. Upperclassmen have helped me get involved with every organization I want to be a part of, and have offered to meet me for coffee, lunch, and dinner to talk about their organizations or just shoot the breeze. It's great.
DS has astounded me so far. It's 3 full-year courses in Literature, Philosophy, and History and Politics. Each course has 1 lecture/week, and 2 seminars/week. The seminars are taught by full professors, many of them Yale's best. Charles Hill (google him, or something) teaches one of my seminars, and the chair of Yale's Comp Lit department teaches another. My third section is taught by an apparently fabulous philosophy professor. I'd never imagined having this kind of access to professors as a freshman at anything but a liberal arts school.
I suppose I'll close on this note - I've been trying to articulate why I'm so happy at Yale, and I think I've figured out at least part of it. Everything about Yale reminds you that you're at Yale - except for the people. I don't mean to say they aren't brilliant or extremely talented. They are, and remarkably so. But they'd never tell you that. The humility, sociability, and general warmth that surrounds my peers, and seemingly Yale itself, is just exceptional. And so you can move from Woolsey Hall, where you look at the names of Yalies who gave their lives in wars past, to your wood-paneled, ornate dining hall (with plenty of organic food!), where an a capella group is staging an impromptu performance. And it all feels so... Yale, I guess. And then you sit at your table with your classmates, and you realize that, amdist all this pomp, they have so little pretense.
<p>I guess my only piece of practical advice is that if you're interested in Yale, apply. If you're really interested, apply early. The admissions process is crazy and unpredictable - I personally think they could've replaced all of us with a totally different class, and no one would've known the difference- but you'll never get in if you don't try</p>
<p>All the best, and goodluck,