Annie Lin, Staff Illustrator
To welcome the 2,169 students admitted during the 2020-2021 application season, the University kicked off this year’s Bulldog Days on April 7 and is planning for the inaugural launch of the Yale & You program on April 17.
Similar to last year’s Bulldog Days, the nearly month-long list of virtual activities includes a mix of master classes, academic panels and the signature “Ask Me Anything” session with Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan. Other notable events include the Admitted Student Talent Show, the cultural centers’ open houses, the LGBTQ resource center’s panels and activities led by student organizations. Admitted students can access the different activities through the Admitted Students Network.
“Even in a virtual environment, Bulldog Days is a campus-wide project that incorporates the efforts of hundreds of Yale community members,” Quinlan wrote in an email to the News. “I am extremely grateful to the countless Yale students, faculty, and staff who volunteered their time to connect with our newly-admitted students … Yale’s greatest resource is the people who study and work here, and we have found that admitted students value the opportunity to make personal connections and connect around shared interests more than anything else.”
Quinlan added that while he looks forward to hosting admitted students on campus again when public health conditions permit, he is “proud the Yale community has answered the call to provide the newest Yalies with a warm welcome in a virtual environment.”
In January, the admissions office sent out a survey asking first-year students for feedback on their Bulldog Days experience, which was also virtual last year but spanned the entire month of April. Before receiving the results, the Director of Recruitment and Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions Ashleigh Corvi and her team contemplated shortening the timeline for Bulldog Days to a couple of weeks. After seeing how many students responded to the survey saying that the vast number of Bulldog Days activities offered a key insight into the Yale community, it was decided that Bulldog Days would remain as a month-long program.
Another piece of survey feedback regarded the timing of the events, as there are international students from vastly different time zones. Unfortunately, due to the time differences, Corvi said that it is difficult to “get the timing of the events just right” but noted that most of the events are recorded in case students cannot attend the live sessions.
Due to scheduling conflicts, admitted student Claudia Chang was unable to tune in to Adjunct Professor of English, Creative Writing Anne Fadiman’s master class titled “Writing from the Inside Out and Outside In.” However, listening to the recording of the session still allowed Chang to gain a new perspective on writing in college.
“I’m probably not going to be a writer, that’s not going to be my career, but I still found it really interesting to listen to [Fadiman’s] talk,” Chang told the News. “She also brought in some students that have taken her classes, so I thought it was really interesting to get both perspectives … I think I’m more encouraged to take some sort of writing class at Yale. Even though I’m not always into writing, I still really enjoyed it.”
While Corvi understood that the virtual Bulldog Days cannot fully replicate the experience of attending in person, she said that she hopes that the virtual program can replicate the “energy and spirit” of Yale.
In addition to Bulldog Days, the University is also planning on kickstarting Yale & You, a post-admission program offered only to students who qualified for the financial aid award that includes the $0 parent share and $2,000 startup grant for first-year expenses, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Eduard Ciobanu wrote in an email to the News. Although the program was initially created last year, it was canceled due to COVID-19.
As part of Yale & You, there are four distinct panels taking place between April 17 and April 19, which will offer students information on student life, financial resources, family support and academic support. The Yale & You ambassador team has also organized a series of social events for the students outside of the panels, including virtual get-to-know-you events and trivia night.
“The purpose of this program is to showcase even more facets of Yale’s diverse community and will provide direct access to Yale undergraduates and future classmates from lower-income backgrounds,”
Ciobanu wrote. “The strength of the Yale community shines during Bulldog Days, so we’ve tried to replicate this throughout Yale & You.”
Ciobanu added that Yale & You has 26 ambassadors who serve as mentors for admitted students. This mentorship, he said, “gives admits a chance to pick the brain of a current Yalie while also forming deep meaningful friendships with their future classmates.”
The deadline for admitted students to confirm their spot is May 3.
Kerui Yang | firstname.lastname@example.org