Annie Lin, Staff Illustrator
As the pandemic continues to prevent safe travel to campus, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions is planning a second iteration of virtual Bulldog Days for admitted students. Although the event will take a similar form, its timeline has shifted slightly due to a delayed admissions process.
Last year, Yale College quickly shifted to a virtual program after in-person Bulldog Days was canceled in March. The ensuing “30 Bulldog Days of April” featured video panels, master classes and virtual extracurricular presentations. This year’s monthlong event will be similar but will begin on April 7 rather than at the beginning of the month — as Yale, along with all of its Ivy League counterparts, pushed back its admissions notification date to April 6 due to a significant increase in applications. The 2021 virtual Bulldog Days will look similar, featuring live and pre-recorded content about academic and on-campus life, and last through the end of April.
“We know this pandemic makes it difficult for admitted students to weigh their college options since on-campus programming is limited,” Ashleigh Corvi, director of recruitment and senior assistant director of admissions wrote in an email to the News. “Our primary goal is to help the admitted students envision themselves as future Yalies. With help from current undergraduates and many campus partners, we hope virtual Bulldog Days helps our admits experience the inclusivity of our campus community and the quality and diversity of our academic offerings.”
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan announced the delayed admissions notification date in an email to Yale College applicants on Jan. 21. The email also announced that the response deadline for admitted students would be extended from May 1 to May 3, and that students still waiting on financial aid offers by the response deadline can request an extension.
“The change reflects a significant increase in applications for first-year admission to Yale College and our continued commitment to consider every applicant through a careful whole-person review process,” the email read. “We do not make this change lightly, and I recognize that it prolongs a process you are likely eager to conclude. We believe the change is necessary to ensure that every applicant receives an appropriately full and thoughtful evaluation.”
Corvi told the News that the biggest unknown in the Bulldog Days planning process is what to call the event, as “30 Bulldog Days of April” is no longer accurate — this year’s event is not 30 days long. When it comes to the programming that will be offered, Corvi said that there will not be any drastic changes from last year, but that they are making “incremental improvements” to the programming based on a January survey sent out to current first-year students about their experience last year.
Corvi cited master classes from Yale professors, an “Ask Me Anything” session with Quinlan and an admitted student talent show as events that students enjoyed last year that will feature in this year’s programming as well.
In addition to Bulldog Days programming, the admissions office is using tools such as the Prefrosh Advisors program and the Admitted Student Network in their recruitment efforts. The Prefrosh Advisors program matches current students with admitted students for outreach, and the Admitted Student Network is an online space meant to allow admitted members of the class of 2025 to meet and interact with one another. The Admitted Student Network was created last year after the pandemic began but expanded this year to allow early action admitted students to use it right away.
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Jill Carrera, who is in charge of the Admitted Students Network, told the News that the network allows students to join groups based on shared interests, participate in discussion forums and connect via online chats or video calls. There are also a number of current Yale students on the platform who can answer questions and share their Yale experience.
“A consistent piece of feedback that we receive from our matriculants year after year is that one of the main reasons Yale stood out to them is because of the people, and that includes the other admitted students they met during Bulldogs Day,” Carrera wrote in an email to the News. “In a very basic sense, [interacting with other students] allows students to ask themselves the question, ‘Are these my people?’ And our hope is that they’ll realize, yes, they are.”
Carrera added that the admissions office hopes to continue to use the Admitted Student Network in future years, even after COVID-19, as it provides an opportunity for admitted students to connect year-round, even if they are not able to attend in-person Bulldog Days.
Corvi told the News that for now, the admissions office is still engaged in conversation about how to make the Yale community “come alive” in a virtual space, and that as April comes near, the office will shift its attention to ironing out a concrete schedule of events and finally settling on a name.
“There’s really nothing quite like being on Yale’s campus in-person for Bulldog Days, but we are hopeful that the virtual version captures as much of the energy and spirit of Yale as possible,” Corvi wrote to the News. “Though we all miss events like the pizza party on Old Campus, we’re elated that virtual Bulldog Days allows us to reach 100% of our admitted students rather than just the students who were able to make it to campus. We are also able to engage families and student supporters in ways that just were not possible before.”
Typically, Yale notifies regular applicants of their admissions decision in late March, along with the rest of the Ivy League.
Amelia Davidson | firstname.lastname@example.org