YES-W draws prospective science students

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Photo by Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Organizers of the second annual Yale Engineering and Science Weekend (YES-W) solicited involvement from alumni of the program and slightly modified the schedule of events to help showcase the University’s resources to over 100 prospective students interested in science and engineering.

YES-W, which started Saturday and continues through Monday afternoon, has remained largely similar to last year’s program, and forms part of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions’ attempt to recruit top engineering and science students, Deputy Dean of Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said. Though none of 10 participants interviewed, who have all received “likely letters” indicating their probable admission to Yale, said they were completely sure whether they would matriculate, eight said the weekend increased the likelihood they would attend Yale next fall.

“I think it’s a little early on to tell if they’re set on coming to Yale, but they’re really excited about being here,” said John Lor ’15, who hosted two students from his high school this weekend.

Quinlan said the organizers tweaked the 2012 schedule to give students more free time after receiving feedback from last year’s participants that number of activities prevented students from exploring the campus on their own. He added that the student hosts who were alumni of the program were able to connect with the prefrosh since they had attended the inaugural program last year.

Activities over the weekend included tours of Yale’s science facilities, eight “master classes” taught by science and engineering professors, a symposium on undergraduate research and a science-themed extracurricular bazaar. Shortly after arriving on campus Saturday, students participated in a competition called “Yale Junk Wars,” in which teams used an assortment of materials to build machines that could control a small ball and make noise at regular intervals — all while listening to music played by a student DJ.

Quinlan said since the program is still relatively new, the Admissions Office will evaluate it in May to determine whether to make any further changes.

Prospective students interviewed said YES-W aided them in learning about Yale’s science and engineering resources as well as student life. Five students interviewed said prior to YES-W, they had perceived Yale as a humanities-oriented school, and that the weekend helped convince them that the University provides undergraduates with accessible science and engineering resources.

Nithin Tumma, who attends Port Huron Northern High School in Michigan, said he felt the weekend’s events demonstrated that Yale focuses more on undergraduates in the sciences than do other universities that he has applied to and visited, including Harvard, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Louis Gaudet, another YES-W attendee, said the weekend exposed him to aspects of Yale that apply to his interest in mathematics more than orientation events offered by other universities. Still, Gaudet said the program may not necessarily influence his decision to matriculate to Yale, adding that he believes many of the Ivy League universities have similarly high academic standards in the sciences.

Gabriele Savaneviciute, a senior at Riverhead High School in Long Island who is also considering MIT and Stanford, said she was impressed by what she perceived to be Yale’s emphasis on liberal arts education, even for students focusing on science and engineering.

“You can tell Yale is putting its best foot forward this weekend, and it’s nice that they’re taking such a personal approach,” she said. “I like how a lot of the professors here teach undergraduates. What’s the point of having all these Nobel Prize winners if they just sit in their offices?”

The concluding reception for YES-W will be held today at 5 p.m. in Luce Hall.

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