Why I chose Yale then

If you’ve been admitted to Yale’s class of 2026: Congratulations! My next two posts are for you. In light of the big decision you’ll be making over the next few weeks, I thought I might share some thoughts about why I chose Yale when I was in your shoes. And, being the ~wise senior~ I am now, I’d also like to share the reasons I’d choose Yale now, if I could go back in time with all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained.

When I was a senior in high school, the decision to attend Yale came down to four main factors (in no particular order): resources, musical opportunities, academic flexibility, and the people I met. I’ll go into each of these in greater depth below:

“Resources” is a broad term that I’d use to describe the wealth of centers, museums, libraries, funding opportunities, events, and more that Yale offers its undergraduates. I came in to college pretty undecided on what exactly I wanted to do, but I knew that I would be able to study anything at a really high level given the support Yale provides. I knew I would be able to secure funding for research that would otherwise go unpaid during the summer. With Yale’s amazing librarians, library collections, and subscriptions to practically every journal under the sun, I knew I’d have the resources to fully engage in assignments ranging from term papers to presentations to group projects. I would get to attend free performances, talks, and panels featuring some of the most talented, intelligent people of our era. I was really excited to take advantages of opportunities like these that few other places could provide, all on one campus. 

As a violinist, I was also looking for a school with a rich musical culture. The Yale Symphony Orchestra provided an opportunity to grow by leaps and bounds as an orchestral musician and find a community of like-minded people. With the graduate School of Music just a stone’s throw from residential colleges, I would have access to noncredit lessons from talented graduate students and credit lessons from professors. Plus, there would be performances to attend nearly every night of the week, ranging from faculty chamber music concerts to guest artist performances to full orchestra programs.

Academic flexibility was another key factor for me, as a student who was interested in a lot of subjects and unsure what I wanted to major in. Not having to declare my major until my sophomore year gave me a bit of breathing room and time to explore a lot of different classes. At the same time, distributional requirements provided some structure that would help prevent me from feeling overwhelmed by all the options. 

Last, but certainly not least: the people. This is probably something you’ll hear at every school, because it’s true. Perhaps more than any other single factor, the people you meet will play a huge factor in your learning, your sense of belonging, and your enjoyment of college. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the community of people at Yale felt like a good fit for me, but I loved the energy, enthusiasm, and personalities of the people I met at Bulldog Days. I could picture myself at Yale. If you are able to make it to New Haven this year for Bulldog Days (in person for the first time since 2019!) I highly recommend attending. At the end of the day, only you can answer the question, “can I see myself at Yale?”

I hope these thoughts can be helpful for framing your own decision process. Stay tuned for more, coming from the vantage point of four years later.