Office of Undergraduate Admissions

In a seemingly continuous 10-minute shot, Sam Tsui ’11 and Simone Policano ’16 lead a group of people on a tour of Yale’s campus. The video, titled, “That’s Why I Toured Yale” is set to replace the University’s 2010 admissions video and YouTube phenomenon “That’s Why I Chose Yale.”

The original video, which portrays life at Yale through singing and dancing, has amassed more than 1.9 million views in the almost eight years since it was created. Still, Director of Outreach and Communications Mark Dunn ’07, who co-wrote and co-produced the new video, said the Admissions Office felt it was time to update the video both to showcase new campus spaces and feature more prominently the themes that did not make the cut in 2010, such as Yale’s affordability.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions will host a campuswide premiere of the new video on Friday Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Davies Auditorium.

“The video showcases both the beautiful Yale campus and a unique Yale wit in a way that will resonate with prospective students,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan said. “Regardless of how popular the new video proves to be online, I am confident it will make a strong impression on our campus visitors, who will watch the video before their information session or tour. I am also optimistic that the video online will reach a diverse group of prospective students from around the world who are unable to visit campus.”

The new video highlights not just campus locations, but also Yale’s resources, extracurriculars and other Yale-specific quirks, such as the existence of first-year counselors. It features more than a dozen spaces, including some that had not been built in 2010, such as the new residential colleges and the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design.

The video was largely created by the same team that worked on the 2010 project. Andrew Johnson ’06, a professional composer and a former assistant director of undergraduate admissions, who co-wrote and co-produced the new video together with Dunn and composed the music, was one of the writers, producers and composers on the original project. Kurt Schneider ’10, who has one of the most popular YouTube music channels with more than 9.4 million subscribers, produced the music and edited the sound of the original video and served as the director of the new one.

In addition to Policano and Tsui, who was an actor in the original production and has more than 2.8 million subscribers on his YouTube music channel, the new video also features current Yale students.

Dunn said when he started thinking of options for the new video, his instinct was to reach out to Yale students and alumni. Luckily for him, he added, Johnson and Schneider offered their help on the new production.

“I was on a cross-country flight with Kurt when I told him Yale wanted to replace the admissions musical,” Johnson said. “We both still felt so much sentiment about the original that neither of us wanted someone else making its replacement. We ended up brainstorming ideas for the rest of the flight, and when I got off the plane, I called Mark and said if Yale would have us back, we had a new concept.”

Schneider said because he was a senior at Yale when he worked on the original video, he felt nostalgic being back on campus and talking about shots while sharing meals with the same team in the dining halls.

Unlike the previous music-driven video, Johnson said the new one focuses more on visuals. Dunn said the team thinks the new fast-paced video “will make an impression” even with the sound off.

The video is supposed to look like one continuous shot, Schneider said, and he enjoyed coming up with the numerous transitions used to stitch the shots together, such as the move from the Yale University Art Gallery to the Branford College courtyard, which involves a picture “coming to life.”

Dunn and Quinlan both expressed particular excitement that the new video prominently features Yale’s affordability for any student. For a while, Dunn said, he and Johnson could not come up with a way to incorporate the message, but soon Johnson suggested a great solution: More than 100 students in the Ezra Stiles College dining hall freeze in a 45-second mannequin challenge-style shot as Policano stops discussing Yale’s facilities and instead walks around the dining hall and goes into an in-depth explanation of Yale’s financial aid.

Because both Dunn and Johnson are alumni of Stiles and because the college’s dining hall features so prominently in the new production, the Admissions Office hosted a sneak preview of the project in the college on Thursday night. The students that made it to the showing told the News that they enjoyed the new video.

Faith Tomlin ’21 said that she liked that, unlike many other admissions videos she has seen, the production focused more on extracurricular activities — something many applicants focus on when choosing which college to attend.

Logan Howard ’21 said she was impressed with how the creators managed to stitch so many campus locations together in a cohesive video.

Yale’s Office of Public Affairs and Communication will release a behind-the-scenes video on “That’s Why I Toured Yale” later this month.

Anastasiia Posnova | anastasiia.posnova@yale.edu