Why I chose Yale over engineering school

If you’re anything like I was as a junior or senior in high school, you’re probably contemplating an engineering major. And, let’s be honest–Yale is probably not the first school that comes to your mind as a top place to study engineering.

So why did I choose Yale? Well, it turns out that Yale’s liberal arts focus makes it a great place to study any academic discipline. And more importantly, the curriculum is designed to help you actually figure out the best major for you (spoiler alert: it might not be what you think it will be when you’re applying!).

When looking at schools, I was intrigued by the idea of “Y-Shaped” engineers, which is how Yale coins students in the engineering program. The bifurcated Y shape represents the two prongs of a Yale engineer–they are well-versed in their field of study, yet equipped with a nuanced understanding of the world into which they will graduate and the problems it faces.

Because all undergraduate majors fall within Yale College (rather than in separate schools for engineering and arts and sciences), Yalies get to take classes with students from all sorts of backgrounds and academic fields. This exposure is a super important learning experience for engineers. They don’t solve problems in a vacuum! While engineering majors at most schools are surrounded by students with similar majors from day one of college, my intro engineering classes also welcomed people from majors like economics and physics. I’ve found this academic diversity to be very enriching.

Now if you’ve seen my blogger bio, you may or may not have noticed that I am no longer an engineering major–I’m actually a Computer Science major (stay tuned for more posts about this!). This is because, after a few semesters at Yale, I realized that engineering wasn’t quite right for me, and that there are other fields that suited me better. I don’t know if I would have realized this if I wasn’t encouraged (and required) to take classes outside of my major. And even if I had, it could have been really difficult to switch out of an engineering school. I really appreciate that Yale emphasizes taking academic risks and exploring many fields, especially in your first couple of years. College is important for learning about yourself in addition to learning academic material.

There are so many paths available to you in college, and Yale really believes in helping you find your fit by forcing you to explore outside of your major. You might end up falling in love with another field, or you might end up with a renewed confidence that the major you originally chose is the best fit. Either way, Yale will help you find your path.