In Retrospect…

Looking back at this time last year, I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking. As fall rolled around and the time came to make serious progress on my college applications, I realized that applying to schools takes considerable effort. On top of swimming, student council, and all my other commitments, I didn’t have time to apply to the dozens of schools I thought were interesting (pro-tip: neither do you), and I needed to narrow down my list. I successfully shrunk the pool of colleges and universities to a short list… but Yale wasn’t on it.

Author Tobias rubbing the "good luck foot" of the Theodore Dwight Woolsey statue.

I considered a lot of factors when deciding where to apply: school size, costs, available majors, and that intangible “fit.” However, before I even allowed myself to learn about Yale, my first instinct was that it couldn’t be the school for me. I thought there was no way a middle-class, African-American guy from the Deep South like myself could ever find a place at Yale. Looking back on it now, I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I wish I could go back and tell myself,

“Self, it will happen. During your visit to Yale, strangers will invite you to watch Game of Thrones with them, and become your best friends. Students you just met will walk with you to get a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich at 3:00am. The professor of that class you sit in on will chat with you for 20 minutes after lecture. So don’t count it out just yet! Apply!”

College-freshman-me and high-school-senior-me never got to have that conversation, but somehow I still found my way to Yale. How? I took advantage of all the information that exists for prospective applicants to learn what life at Yale is really like. I read every email and viewbook Yale sent. I checked out the Yale College Admissions website, and attended an info session at my school. Finally (and most importantly), I drove 14 hours to New Haven and visited. So feel free to explore any of those resources and get a feel for Yale, and if that’s not enough you can email me to have your questions answered. Just do what you have to do to find out if Yale’s for you.