Yale: Not Just an Ivy League School
by Amulya Aluru
When thinking of Yale, Northsiders often associate it with Harvard, the Ivy League, intelligence, and Rory Gilmore. Coming into the presentation with this mindset, some harbored low expectations for what was to come. However, over the course of two hours, the audience learned something very valuable: Rory’s experience at Yale is unique to herself, and does not show the entirety of a Yale education. The opportunities provided to students are effective only if one makes use of them, so Rory’s time at Yale could be leagues different than another student’s.
As parents and students strolled into Northside’s auditorium, the hilariously fresh music video titled, “Why Yale?” featuring a diverse student body passionately singing about their love for Yale, was playing onstage. It was a sharp contrast to the sophisticated and refined light that top schools like Yale are normally portrayed in.
The general course distribution of a Yale education is one-third dedicated to one’s major, and the remaining two-thirds of the course load set aside to fulfill the requirements. The latter can be fulfilled by taking any number of classes (generally based on personal preference) in the required subject matter. This method of higher education results in a more well-rounded graduate, who may be skilled not only in computer engineering, but in Spanish as well.
Committing to its promise of encouraging exploration and curiosity, Yale has a special fund set aside for student grants. If a student has a feasible idea to research an area of study they are interested in, Yale will try its best to cover the monetary costs. These can be centered around one’s major, or in a completely different field. An example includes a former student who traveled out of the country to study what she had learned in one of her social science classes. However, this does not apply to the gap year many incoming freshman take before starting at Yale. The university supports these endeavors, but does not have any programs or funding set aside for it.
Although Yale is not known for its student life, it is an important facet to a student’s education. The university consists of 14 residential colleges that are designed to be microcosms of the university’s diversity. Often times, undergraduates see renowned professors eating lunch in the same cafeteria as they eat, or walking around the gardens. Demonstrative of Yale’s dedication to undergraduates is the fact that most graduate professors and researchers are expected to teach an undergraduate class or hire undergraduates to work in their labs.
The presentation ended with Ms. Moira Poe, the speaker, giving prospective students in the audience some college application advice. She emphasized that Yale might not be the best fit for everyone, and students should focus on applying to colleges they are really interested in rather than applying simply because it is an Ivy League school. Yale accepts the Common Application, Coalition Application, and the Questbridge application. The first application deadline, single choice early action, is in early November. This is non-binding, but it means that Yale is the only private school the student applies to during early action. The regular deadline is in early January, and does not have any requirements. Poe advised students to apply to their first choice school early action, even if that is not Yale, because the university does not favor one over the other. Poe also gave the audience an overview of what happens after the application leaves the student’s hands. Since Northside is in Illinois, all applications from the school will be reviewed by Poe and her team. They will analyze each one individually, and take into account what the student provides. Poe confirmed that it is indeed a myth that applications that do not have straight A’s are immediately discarded, stressing that extracurriculars and students’ interests matter just as much, if not more, than their academic standing. Lastly, Poe reflected on her own college application experience as a moment of growth, maturity, and self-reflection.