This week saw the descent of over 1,000 prefrosh on campus for a three-day extravaganza meant to seduce prospective students, but Bulldog Days represents only a sliver of Yale’s attempts to woo admitted students.
Bulldog Days, which is held annually in April, welcomes the incoming members of Yale College. For those admitted to Yale’s graduate and professional schools, however, the opportunities to familiarize themselves with New Haven differ widely. Each school, and often each department within those schools, has its own conventions and methods of enticing the world’s brightest to study at Yale for their post-undergraduate experiences.
“Each professional school takes a different approach but [is] similar in that a day or several days, depending on the school, are set aside for prospective students to get to know current students, faculty and the school’s culture,” Graduate and Professional Student Senate President Elizabeth Mo GRD ’18 said.
The graduate and professional schools do not offer one weekend or opportunity that correlates exactly to Bulldog Days; rather, there are a few elements scattered throughout the year that serve a similar purpose. Most departments at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences host an admitted-student weekend of their own, though each department has control over the guest list: Some invite only admitted students, while others invite those in whom the department has serious interest, before acceptance letters are even sent out.
Mo said these weekends are a casual opportunity for prospective students to get to know each other and explore what Yale and New Haven have to offer. Those considering Yale have the opportunity to visit Gryphon’s Pub at GPSCY — normally restricted to just the current graduate and professional student population — for drinks and entertainment, Mo said.
Mo explained that these weekends serve both a social and academic purpose. Potential students can acquaint themselves with the social scenes and community at the graduate school through the occasional house party or game night. And they can also engage with Yale’s faculty members about their research. These two factors are essential to helping students find the right graduate school for their work, Mo noted.
“Graduate students are looking at faculty and the research in a more critical way [than undergraduates are],” Mo said. “A major decision factor is where there is a faculty member at the school performing the research they are interested in pursuing.”
Graduate Student Association Chair Elizabeth Salm GRD ’18 echoed Mo’s points regarding what future graduate students are looking for in their school. Professors and research opportunities can be a big draw, especially for those future graduate students looking to matriculate in a scientific department, Salm said. Often, students will reach out to a potential research partner or mentor before they accept a position at the graduate school, she added.
Salm added that the Office for Graduate Student Development & Diversity will also hold a few “second look” opportunities meant to showcase diversity at the graduate school and offer minority students a glimpse at the resources and communities available, should they decide to enroll at Yale.
The professional schools often host their own visitation opportunities, like the Yale Law School’s Admitted Students Weekend. This year’s event took place from April 14 to 16, just a few days before the undergraduate Bulldog Days. The Yale School of Management’s Welcome Weekend for accepted applicants starts today and continues through Saturday.
The Yale School of Medicine’s program is perhaps the most unique. Held this year from April 7 to 9, the School of Medicine’s Second Look — which Director of Admissions Richard Silverman called a “long tradition” — is designed to aggressively court prospective students who are simultaneously doing “revisit programs” at other medical schools. Because medical schools often compete fiercely for admitted students, Yale’s program goes to extra lengths to give students individual attention. Admitted students receive phone calls from current students and a personal congratulatory letter from School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern. The school also organizes a group of service dogs to meet and greet prospective and current students.
“One of my most important things when choosing a medical school was the culture,” Medical Student Council President Carrie Flynn MED ’23 said. “Yale is very collaborative; there’s no incentive to be competitive so people are not. People work together. It’s one of the healthiest medical environments I’ve ever seen.”
Flynn noted that this sort of collaboration and healthy environment is one of the biggest draws of the School of Medicine over other medical programs across the country.
This year’s Second Look had a few unexpected guests in the form of a bed bug infestation in the dorm where prospective students were supposed to be housed. The medical school put up the displaced visitors in a hotel and offered shuttles as well as reimbursed transportation costs.
This year, 120 admitted medical students attended Second Look.