On Saturday, herds of prefrosh will arrive at Yale, marking the start of Bulldog Saturday. For many, this is a time to get a first glimpse of their future home (shoutout to prefrosh who already committed). For others, this is a time to evaluate Yale and get a better sense of their college decision. When I visited Yale during Bulldog Days, I was in the latter group. There are a couple of things I would suggest to you, the admitted class of 2022, regardless of which group you find yourselves in.
The first of these suggestions is related to use of time while at Yale. During Bulldog Days, it seems that Yale has an unlimited amount of events going on. You are probably going to have make tough decisions regarding which events you will attend. To help, maximize the amount of hours you have in the day. Wake up early and take advantage of early events. Make a schedule the day before so that you know your game plan when you wake up.
For frosh that are coming in with friends from high school, leave that clique. Don’t get me wrong, I think that having someone from high school during your visit has some advantages, but it also can hurt your experience. If you stick with the same people, you are not really meeting fellow frosh and current students that can give you insight as to how you feel about Yale. Frankly, another reason to avoid this is that once you are at Yale as a student, you really don’t stick to your high school friends too much. The residential college system is structured in a way that makes you being with your high school friends highly unlikely. Sure, you’ll still talk to them and be friends, but most of your college friendships will be other people.
Similarly, don’t focus on meeting prefrosh only. Remember, many of these students might not decide to attend Yale. But also remember that you have the ability to meet current students who will likely be happy to talk to you. We can give you an objective standpoint about how Yale really is and detail its benefits and drawbacks. Also, we know how classes are here and will be honest about them. Even if you ask faculty here about classes, asking students, primarily upper-level students, will give you a different perspective about the Yale academic experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your host if they know anyone in your planned major. Often, they will know someone and can connect you with them. My point here is to do more than just meet frosh and actually engage with students here.
Furthermore, make sure to have some time to really appreciate the campus. With you running around all day to get to events, it’s not hard to forget that you are at a historic, beautiful campus. Make sure you can really savor its features and its architecture. Visit facilities related to your major. For example, if you are interested in art visit the Yale University Art Gallery and the School of Art. If you like engineering, go to the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design and talk to students who are working there. But most importantly, ask yourself if you envision spending the next four years of your life here. Also, if you are a student of color, visit the cultural houses. You will not only meet people from similar backgrounds attending Yale but also learn about resources available to you on campus.
My last piece of advice is probably my most controversial as well. Don’t just focus on partying during your time here. Don’t get it twisted. Parties can be a lot of fun and be a good way to meet people. But these aren’t the best places to actually meet people. For one, these places tend to be super crowded during frosh visits, and people aren’t exactly at their most presentable. On the other hand, parties are an important part of Yale social life, but because of that, missing a party during your visit won’t be the end of the world if you decide to attend Yale.
All things considered, it is completely up to you as to how to make the best decisions during your Yale visit. My suggestions are simply suggestions. I am not an expert in this. In fact, I don’t know anyone who is. Yet, as someone who was in your position last year, some of my advice could be of help to you. The most important thing is to remember that you are at a point in your life where a decision will have long-term effects. This decision should be well thought out and be taken seriously. For me, that meant coming to Yale. I hope that will be the case for you as well.
Carlos Rodriguez Cortez | firstname.lastname@example.org