Freshman Scholars at Yale, a summer program for incoming students from underresourced high schools, expanded this past summer to accommodate 12 more students for a total of 60.
The five-week program provides a full scholarship for a select group of students, such as those with limited access to mentorship, to study and live at Yale before the start of freshman year. It is designed to help these students transition into the Yale environment, according to the program description. About 60 students were invited to the program this past summer, and academic advisors, writing tutors and cultural house representatives were all on site to provide mentorship.
“FSY helped quell my anxieties on what college would be like, and created this microcosm of what Yale would be like academically and socially,” said Minh Vu ’20, a participant in the program.
Five sections of the English 114 course were offered this summer, with topics ranging from classic American Hollywood to modern race, class and gender inequality. Past participants interviewed said their writing has improved thanks to the course’s focus on strategy, clarity, research processes and thorough analysis of course themes. Students also received a full course credit for the class.
While the diversity of the applicant pool has increased in the last few decades, Yale hopes to set a higher standard and make the campus a welcoming space to all students, according to a December 2014 Yale News article.
Xavier Washington ’20, who said he came from “predominantly black neighborhoods and black schools,” praised FSY for helping his transition to Yale. He added that many participants come from low-income families and are first-generation college students. Others came from high schools lacking in resources.
Christian Olivier ’20 said FSY helped him refine his writing skills and connected him to campus resources, adding that it brought together Yalies from similar backgrounds who were both “motivated” and “nervous” to start their Yale career.
“Being able to make friends that understand exactly where I come from is great. We all came from bad schools, but schools were diverse in size as well,” said Karli Cecil ’20, a participant in the program.
Vu said the program could be improved by streamlining workshops that overlap extensively in content with Camp Yale activities.
Other freshmen who did not participate in the invitation-only program said they would have appreciated the chance to acclimate to Yale prior to the fall semester.
Non-FSY participants interviewed, who come from similar, low-income backgrounds attending schools with fewer resources, said the Camp Yale programming was not substantial enough in aiding their transition to college. Many of these students shared the same apprehension about Yale residential and academic life as the FSY participants.
“Looking back, I wish we were there all summer,” said Seth Anderson ’20, a past participant in the program.
Correction Nov. 5: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that FSY would expand next summer. In fact, it expanded this past summer. It also stated that FSY was implemented as part of Yale’s commitment to the College Transition Collaborate. The two initiatives are unrelated.