Last spring Joseph Fleury ’03 anticipated that the summer session of Yale-in-London would be the perfect way to study abroad and receive Yale credit.
But his summer plans never materialized. For the 2001 summer session, the program would reject more students than it would accept, and Fleury — then a sophomore economics major — was declined along with 22 other Yale students.
Due to this high demand, Yale-in-London will be offering two summer sessions starting in 2002, so students like Fleury who didn’t get in last year will now have a much better chance. Yale will also eliminate the fall London session due to low demand.
Yale-in-London allows students to take courses for Yale credit at the Paul Mellon Centre in London. The program has traditionally offered separate semester-long sessions in the fall and spring as well as one six-week summer section.
David Mills, associate director of the British Art Center, said the fall program is traditionally under-filled and that the new session will give deserving students the opportunity to participate in the program.
In the fall of 2000, Yale-in-London only enrolled seven participants. The spring session, which averages 15 Yale students for the maximum 18 spots, will remain unchanged.
Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead agreed with Mills that it is not in Yale’s best interest to run an underutilized program.
But Ciara Lacy ’02, a 2000 fall Yale-in-London participant, said the small class size during her semester was an advantage and that Yale students will lose out without the fall program.
“I really don’t think you can get a feel for a place in six weeks,” Lacy said. “To be anything more than a tourist, you need to actually live there.”
The addition of a new summer session will allow 36 students to participate instead of only 18. The two summer sessions will overlap slightly in time, but the exact dates are still being worked out, said Diane Rixon, administrative assistant for the program. Sessions will run from mid-June through July and mid-July to late-August.
Rixon feels confident that the decision to add a new summer session is the right one.
“Students find summer sessions more appealing because they can take it in addition to classes at Yale,” she said. “This will help them by not interfering with their Yale plans.”
Now, the summer program will not have to turn away nearly as many students.
Mills said students are chosen for Yale-in-London based on their academic standing, their year and the relevance of their majors to the courses being offered.
Sophomores like Fleury last year, for example, did not stand much of a chance in a pool of juniors. Mills said the program gives preference to people whose majors have more relevance to the program’s course of study, namely art history and history.
The reason for capping the group at 18 is that the program incorporates many museum visits, theater productions and other excursions that would be difficult for a large group to manage, Mills said.
And now the summer program admission will be a little less competitive.
“While we struggled to fill the fall session, we would always get about 40 applicants for the 18 spots in the summer,” Mills said. “We have some very qualified students who deserve to do a program in London but get turned down because we have to split hairs and choose.”