Despite the pouring rain and thunder, more than 1,000 high school seniors armed with azule ponchos stormed Yale’s campus on Monday.
The students came for Bulldog Days, an annual three-day program held to introduce admitted students and their parents to the University, which formally ended yesterday with its traditional Old Campus pizza party. Over the course of Bulldog Days, prospective students — often referred to as “prefrosh” — attend a wide range of Yale College events and student extracurricular activities hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions while staying in on-campus housing with current undergraduates. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan said roughly 1,100 admitted students attended this year’s Bulldog Days along with 900 parents and family members, roughly the same number that attended last year.
“For admissions folks like myself, Bulldog Days is the high point of our work,” Quinlan said. “During these three days, I actually meet the students and families my colleagues and I have been reading about, hearing about and discussing for the past six months. It is a great feeling.”
Prefrosh were greeted on Monday not only by stormy conditions, but also by the Welcome Showcase in Woolsey Hall. The showcase featured various student groups, including the Whiffenpoofs and Rhythmic Blue, and was followed by a welcome dessert, DJ and photo booth. Though the less than favorable weather conditions remained until Tuesday, Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trip leaders held icebreaker games on Old Campus on Monday with dozens of prefrosh in ponchos. Tuesday afternoon, the Extracurricular Bazaar at Payne Whitney Gymnasium — which included over 300 student groups — drew hundreds of prefrosh.
Director of Outreach and Recruitment Mark Dunn ’07 said more than 20 tour guides helped lead large groups around campus despite of the downpour, adding that the Admissions Office distributed close to 1,800 Yale ponchos on Monday.
During registration on Monday, admitted students dragged their suitcases out of Dwight Hall and mingled on Old Campus. Quinlan said students traveled from 48 states and 20 countries — including Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and South Africa — to attend Bulldog Days.
Similarly to last year, prefrosh were outfitted with a blue drawstring bag, Bulldog Days water bottle and program of events. Of 15 students interviewed, 11 said they either have already committed or will commit to Yale and four said they are still deciding.
“I toured Yale and Princeton and they’re both schools with incredible resources and are at an incredible level, but the personalities of the people at Yale — that’s what got me,” said Brett Greene, a prefrosh from Florida. “People at Yale are diverse not just ethnically or culturally, but broadly in every way possible.”
Other members of the class of 2019 also cited Yale’s wide array of interests as very appealing.
Charles Kenney, a prefrosh from Connecticut, said Yale would allow him to explore any career path he desired. Nick Indorf, another prefrosh also from Connecticut, highlighted the Undergraduate Jazz Collective and said he enjoyed listening to the Yale Precision Marching Band even before he was admitted.
Still, not everyone shared the same positive sentiments.
While Glenn Yu, a prefrosh from New York, said he thinks the environment at Yale is more conducive to collaboration and learning, he added that he believes Stanford has stronger science departments and also noted that they offered him more financial aid.
“I’m still undecided because I haven’t visited Harvard yet, but I’m heavily leaning towards Yale,” said Rishi Mirchandani, a prefrosh from Pennsylvania. “What I don’t like though is that I get the sense that Yale is sort of isolated, not because it’s in an isolated suburban place like Princeton, but mostly because of the urban environment that students don’t really venture into.”
Despite the large numbers of prefrosh, finding space to house them was not a problem for the Admissions Office. Quinlan said more than 500 Yale College students had signed up to house prefrosh.
“Despite the rain [on Monday], the Yale community welcomed our Bulldog Days visitors with open arms,” Dunn said.
More than 300 pizzas from eight different local pizzerias were ordered for the Old Campus pizza party.