Fair aims to recruit students to Yale graduate programs

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Photo by Kathryn Crandall.

After several years without a Yale Graduate Programs Admissions Fair, the University revived the fair Monday at the Yale Law School.

The fair presented eight of Yale’s graduate and professional schools: the School of Drama, the School of Medicine, the School of Management, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Law School, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the Yale Divinity School and the Nursing School. Undergraduates were free to visit the different booths and ask various admissions representatives questions about applications and student life at the schools. Admissions officers from the participating schools said that they took part in the fair to expand recruitment within Yale College, to demonstrate the accessibility of the admissions offices and to encourage students to consider paths that they had not previously envisioned. Still, the fair, which lasted from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., was lightly attended — at times, there were as few as 10 students mingling with the admissions officers.

“Some of us recruit heavily on the road, but we have incredible students in our own backyard who may also not be familiar with our programs,” said Danielle Curtis, director of enrollment management at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

She added that students do not have “easy access” to admissions officers for Yale’s graduate programs. Though some schools organize additional events on campus, the fair is a “good first point of contact” between students and graduate programs, Curtis said.

Likewise, Melissa Pucci, who serves as admissions director at the Nursing School and spearheaded the event’s organization, said that the fair helps open lines of communication between students and the lesser-known schools.

The fair is particularly important for schools like the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Nursing School, Curtis said. Students may be misinformed about the areas of study and career paths associated with these schools, and the fair gives the schools the opportunity to present their programs in detail.

But Bruce del Monico, admissions director at the SOM, said he also wants to recruit more students from Yale College as the SOM class size expands over the years.

“Yale students are strong students but not just that — they also share the values of the University, which are also the same values the School of Management upholds,” Del Monico said.

The SOM Associate Dean Anjani Jain said in a Monday email that although Yale College is already the largest “feeder” to the MBA program, the SOM is always eager to attract a larger pool of applicants from Yale. Divinity School admissions director Sean McAvoy said that there is a trend of continuation from the Religious Studies major to the Divinity School, because these students are already exposed to and aware of a lot of the school’s resources. But Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Herdt said in a Monday email that Yale College students regularly go on to the Divinity School from a series of different majors.

Pucci said that the biggest challenge in recruiting Yale College students, especially for schools that do not have corresponding majors like the Divinity School or the School of Drama, is that undergraduates do not reach out to the admissions offices on their own.

“When you’re an undergraduate, you’re not sure who to approach first,” Pucci said. “We’re hoping to really open the lines and allow students to contact admissions officers freely.”

All eight students interviewed at the fair said that they thought the fair was a useful event because they would not have contacted admissions officers independently.

“I probably should have already talked to some people in admissions, but I knew I was not actually going to do it,” Zachary Schloss ’15 said.

Pucci said that the committee reached out to Undergraduate Career Services and to the residential college deans to advertise the fair along with publishing an ad in the News on Monday.

But Pedro Rolón ’14 said that because the fair is such a good opportunity for undergraduates, more publicity efforts should be made in future years.

Thirty percent of the class of 2010 was attending a graduate or professional school one year after graduation, compared to 60 percent of the class of 1975.

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