Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Admitted Students Consider Yale

Current Yale students addressed Westchester admitted students at the annual YWAA, ASC reception in Bronxville, April 10. (YWAA photos)
Yale's Class of '22 is in formation.  After yet another hectic season of sifting through 35,306 applications (a Yale record) and making difficult decisions about the next four years for 17- and 18-year-olds around the world, the Yale Admissions Office becomes a marketing office. The 2,229 students admitted in late March must now make a decision about Yale. Yale is planning for 1,550 to enroll this fall (70 percent yield).

"Bulldog Days," a Yale-sponsored extravaganza inviting parents and admitted students to explore Yale in person before the May 1 deadline, is the culmination of the marketing effort. About 1,500 admitted students will attend one of two sessions.

Before prospective students invade New Haven, they may be invited to admissions events around the country. In Westchester, YWAA and the Yale Alumni Schools Committee promote Yale to admitted Westchester students, who reside just 60 miles down the parkway from New Haven, but are still seeking to learn as much as they can in three weeks about Yale's culture and academic offerings .

Yale Westchester's effort to promote Yale is the annual Admitted Students Reception in Bronxville. Debra Johns, a Yale admissions official, returned to Bronxville April 10 for the annual reception, accompanied by three current Yale students, all from Westchester. Admitted students, their parents, and Yale Westchester alumni interviewers attended the reception.

Once again, with the tide turned, Johns and her Yale student panelists happily explained how some of the Westchester applicants wowed admissions officials with not only glowing scores and GPA's, but with dazzling essays and unforgettable responses to "Why Yale?" or "What would you bring to a Yale suite?" or "What inspires you?"

Johns highlighted some of the clever Westchester-applicant replies to the question about individual contributions to a Yale suite, including one admitted applicant who claimed to have expertise in preparing sushi for suitemates. Johns also read short passages from impressive essays.

Admitted students, introducing themselves during the program, are graduating from such Westchester high schools as Edgemont, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Stepinac, White Plains, Scarsdale, and others. They also had a chance to hear about the experiences (good and bad, memorable and unforgettable) from current Yale students and ask questions about even some of the most mundane moments of college life.

David Shimer '19, a Chappaqua native and Horace Greeley graduate, shared stories and experiences of being the Editor-in-Chief at the Yale Daily News and of graduating in May with B.A. and M.A. degrees in history, but wishing he had taken the time to take more courses in the arts. Affiliated with Davenport College, he has also interned at the New York Times.

Johns reminded Shimer he forgot to mention another accomplishment.  In December, he was awarded a Marshall scholarship and will study international relations at Oxford next year.

Kaitlin Cardon '20, a White Plains graduate and current Timothy Dwight resident, talked about her study-abroad stint in Morocco last summer and her experience as a R.O.T.C student, which requires her to rise at 5 a.m. on some days. She recounted her extensive travels as a Yale student in Europe (from Denmark to Spain) and on the West Coast. She lavished praise on T.D.'s cheeseburgers.

The student panelists, at the urging of Johns and in response to admitted students' questions, debated (as they always do) which residential college was the best and discussed how they planned their days and strategized on getting appropriate amounts of sleep. 

With a rising trend among seniors in living off campus, the students rigorously argued the pros and cons of the off-campus experience. But they all concurred on the virtues and quality of Yale dining-hall food.  They reflected on the living experiences of first-year students. (With the construction of two new colleges, first-year students from four residential colleges now live away from Old Campus.)

The prospective students, attentive and on seat edges, asked questions not necessarily addressed thoroughly on websites and in social networks.  Many of them have already decided to attend Yale. One was already sporting a Yale sweatshirt. Some have tough decisions to make in three weeks.

Several Yale alumni interviewers attended the event. Bill Primps '71, head of the Yale Westchester Alumni Schools Committee, and Tim Mattison '73, YWAA president, greeted the guests.

Yale admissions official Debra Johns recounted some of the memorable passages from the applications of admitted Westchester students (YWAA photos).

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