After the inaugural Yale Engineering and Science Weekend (YES-W) drew more than 100 students to campus last February, the program is set to continue later this month.
YES-W, which will occur between Feb. 18 and Feb. 20, invites targeted applicants from Yale’s regular admissions pool to campus so that they can see the University’s science and engineering resources, Deputy Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said. The admissions office is recruiting past YES-W attendees who matriculated to Yale to advise prospective students at this year’s event, Deputy Dean Vincent Wilczynski said, but otherwise only small changes have been made to the program.
“We’re hoping to build and improve on last year’s event,” Quinlan said Monday. “We want to make students feel like [YES-W] is becoming part of the whole recruitment experience. Everyone has Bulldog Days memories — we want students to have YES-W memories too.”
The 2011 program received largely positive feedback from attendees, Quinlan said, and the upcoming YES-W will operate similarly and invite a comparable number of attendees. He added that the program is running on a trial basis, and that administrators plan to expand YES-W if it generates positive feedback again.
Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry professor Michael Koelle, who helped coordinate YES-W in 2011, said the weekend benefited both Yale applicants and enrolled students because it brought together a community of people interested in science and engineering. He added that Yale currently does not have enough undergraduates interested in these fields to use all of the University’s undergraduate resources.
“There are more labs that we’d love for undergrads to use than there are undergrads to use them, which is really a rare situation among Yale’s peer institutions,” Koelle said. “This program is by far the biggest thing Yale has done to try to recruit science and engineering students. It’s a quantum leap compared to anything done before.”
As in 2011, this year’s weekend will include tours of Yale’s science facilities, a symposium of undergraduate student research, lunches and master classes with professors, and a forum on student research opportunities. Events last February also included a science-oriented extracurricular bazaar and a game called “Yale Junk Wars” in which participants built machines out of random objects.
Quinlan said the Admissions Office has tried to space out YES-W events this year, after students who participated in the 2011 program said they found it slightly overscheduled.
While the prospective students invited to YES-W have not formally been admitted, Quinlan said those applicants later receive “likely letters” from Yale, indicating that they will likely be admitted if they remain in good academic standing.
“In the past five years, both the size and strength of STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] students has increased,” Quinlan said. “Stronger students from those fields are coming in and we want to encourage them to attend Yale. [YES-W] is part of that effort.”
Osama Zayyad ’12, president of Yale’s Biomedical Engineering Society, said YES-W both showcases Yale’s science and engineering resources and combats the perception that the University is primarily focused on the humanities and social sciences.
Regular decision applicants to Yale College will be notified of their admissions decisions in April.