With the cancellation of Bulldog Days due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is replacing the three days of on-campus programming designed to introduce admitted students held each April with a month-long, virtual version of the event.
The virtual event — called “30 Bulldog Days of April” — began April 1 and will run through the entirety of the month. While prefrosh will not be able to see the campus in person, they will get to see what Yale is like for students through online videos. Admitted students will be able to connect via chat and video in a new online Admitted Students Network, attend online master classes taught by Yale faculty, participate in live-streamed video panels about different elements of campus life and explore virtual content from student organizations.
“While this is not the ideal situation, we’re very fortunate to work in a community of creative, innovative and welcoming people who are eager to help,” Associate Director of Admissions Hannah Mendlowitz ’12 said. “We can only imagine how tough it will be for some admitted students, who haven’t had the benefit of visiting campus, to make such an important decision over the next month — so we’ll do everything we can to help students feel comfortable committing to Yale.”
The Office will host one or more virtual events every day, inviting all of the 2,304 recently admitted students to participate. On April 1, admitted students were able to attend master classes taught by Francis Writer in Residence Anne Fadiman and Sterling Professor of Law Akhil Reed Amar. Both classes drew in hundreds of live viewers who were able to engage in the class through Zoom and YouTube.
The Calendar of Events also features master classes taught by the likes of Dean
of Yale College Marvin Chun, physics professor Ramamurti Shankar and psychology professor Laurie Santos. Admitted students are also able to join live online student forums with current Yale undergraduates, connect with the team of student bloggers and participate in an “Ask Me Anything” with Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan.
A public admitted students’ webpage will include a full list of virtual events, and an Instagram account and YouTube channel will post updates and recordings of talks and panels.
While disappointed, Cass Ng, an admitted student, told the News she was grateful for the virtual Bulldog Days.
“Obviously I was disappointed because there’s something different from going to like a campus in person versus seeing it online,” Ng said. “But I do appreciate the effort, they’re going to try to make this as immersive and comprehensive as possible.”
According to Mendlowitz, while the Office usually plans for approximately 65 percent of admitted students who are able to make it to campus to attend Bulldog Days, this virtual setup allows them to plan for 100 percent of admitted students to attend at least one event.
To replicate admitted students meeting one another during Bulldog Days, admitted students are able to use the Admitted Student Network and the 2024 Facebook group. These online spaces are closed and specifically for members of the Class of 2024, Mendlowitz said.
According to Mendlowitz, the Admitted Student Network is a new platform that allows students to create profiles, search for classmates based on interests and geography, and join discussion forums based on various academic and extracurricular interests. Many alumni interviewing networks around the world are also hosting local virtual events for admitted students and parents in their area — allowing admits to connect with others in their local area, Mendlowitz said.
Prior to the cancellation of Bulldog Days, the Office planned a new “Yale and You” program, a day dedicated to first-generation, low-income admitted students. The new virtual programming will also include content tailored toward FGLI students, mainly available through the new Admitted Students Network.
“The cool thing is, whereas the original Yale and You programming was only going to be for an invite-only group of students who qualified for funds to visit campus, the virtual programming will be available to any admitted student who is interested,” Mendlowitz said. “It was really disappointing to have to cancel this brand-new event, especially after all of the planning work that went into it, but that team is working on virtual content for this population of students that will address all of their questions about being FGLI at Yale, and welcome them to the community.”
Ng said she’s most looking forward to these student forums since they “incorporate a lot of different types of students,” like students who are FGLI or majoring in both STEM and humanities.
Bernice Wang, another admitted student, said she is most looking forward to the showcase from student performance groups, one that usually takes place during Bulldog Days each year.
“While it won’t be like the original, I think seeing it online will be really cool … to see all of the different student groups Yale has to offer,” Wang said.
The event will also source 60-second videos from student groups and compile them into a virtual extracurricular bazaar. The most creative videos will be offered a cash prize, Mendlowitz said.
After the month-long virtual Bulldog Days event, admitted students have until May 1 to respond to their offers of admission.
Kelly Wei | firstname.lastname@example.org