On Tuesday afternoon, December 15, 2009, I took the bus home from school, ate a quick snack, and thought about my homework. Two chapters of reading from D. H. Lawrence’s novel “Sons and Lovers,” a chemistry lab report, a reflection on “Don Quixote” for my Spanish literature course, and a few math problems were on my mind.
Although I would have liked to start all of my homework, I had a lot on my mind. A few months before, I applied to Yale through the Single Choice Early Action program, knowing that it was a place that I could thrive for the next four years of my academic journey. So what did I decide to do first? I headed to the couch and let my mind doze for a bit. My nap may have lasted a bit too long, because when my mother opened the door and saw me lounging, she was in disbelief. “How could you be so calm when your decision from Yale will be coming so soon?” she questioned.
Surprisingly, I was at peace with the outcome, even though I did not know what the outcome would be. To tell you the truth, it was a pretty weird feeling. I had no idea what would happen when Yale released their decisions. Whether I was denied, deferred, or accepted, I knew that if Yale were the place for me, the admissions committee would recognize that. If not, then I would receive a blessing in disguise.
At about 5:30 PM, I headed upstairs to my computer to check my decision. With my mother and father by my side, I remember anxiously typing my username and password into the login screen. The next thing I remember was my mother screaming and running out of the room. My father and I looked at each other, unaware of what had just taken place. Then we saw the blue “Welcome to Yale” screen, which faded into a congratulatory letter from the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Jeff Brenzel. That was a day that I will never forget.
But you’re probably wondering, what does this mean for me? I can tell you one thing for certain: these decisions are not made lightly. There are committees of officers that sit down to read every application, no matter what your SAT scores or your transcript looks like. The admissions office takes every application seriously and tries to gain a better understanding of you as an individual through your application. After all, Yale does not admit a student on the basis of a 4.0 or a 2400: the admissions office accepts students that have a passion for knowledge and learning. Students at Yale take advantage of the abundant resources provided to every undergraduate on our campus and are eager to engage in discussion about almost anything. Yalies are open minded and come to this university with a sense to better understand themselves and better understand the world.
The admissions office accepts students who are active members of their communities and individuals who are dedicated to the future. There is no official “minimum” grade requirements because each applicant is evaluated on a very individual level based on their individual achievements within the structure of their particular education system. More than anything else, the admissions office is looking to see that you have challenged yourself within the context and resources at your high school and in your community.
Community is a big word here at Yale. It’s the reason why we live in residential colleges and in suites. At Yale, students are not individual identities that attend class, head back to their rooms to complete their homework, grab three meals in between, and then go to bed. Yalies are ambitious individuals that are citizens of something much greater than themselves: our campus community.
In this [stressful] time of year, remember that this is a journey, and regardless of the name of the school you attend, it is your duty to create your own happiness. Be an active participant in that journey, because what you put into that journey is what you will get out of it. And enjoy it along the way too!