Dearest Yale Prefrosh of 2015

Dearest Yale Pre-frosh of the class of 2015,

As you walk around Yale’s campus today and meet some of the undergraduates who define campus-life here, you should find solace in the fact that we were all in your shoes once.

Many of us struggled to figure out whether Yale was right for us, whether the experiences that this campus offered would enable us to mature and grow over the next four, crucial years. We thought about the residential college system, the professors, the majors, the alumni, the support-network and the risks associated with New Haven. Although I was in your shoes exactly four years ago, which seems like forever-ago, I am sure that these same issues are floating around in your mind today.

This blog post is my attempt to help you make that college decision, but it has little to do with Yale, except for my one digression about the risks associated with New Haven. If this New Haven’s crime rate issue is an important factor to you, then your decision has already been made. If you are too scared to live in a city that mind you, is like most cities in America, where you are required to take precaution against street crimes—then New Haven is not for you and neither is Yale.

For those who are still considering Yale despite its location, I hope to offer some general advice.

There is this general wisdom of “following your heart” that has probably reached your ears by now. This wisdom probably told you that these issues like student life, academics, and networks are not going to help you decide. The logic goes, if you are unsure of whether to go to Yale or another school, then you are probably facing a choice between two schools of equally high quality, schools that can boast equally great statistics and anecdotes on student life, academics, and networks. As a result, if you want to decide on your college, you just have to wait for that quintessential moment of clarity when a school just “feels right.” That is when you will know.

This is nonsense.

You should be approaching this college decision with strategic questions and honesty, instead of waiting for an A-ha moment to hit you. This is the time to be honest with yourself about who you are, what is important to you and what your interests are. You should be asking yourself a lot of questions. What kind of weather and culture do you thrive in? What kind of social circles do you prefer? What kind of people can you just not stand? Most important of all, seek out those upperclassmen, professors, advisors, and programs that are related to your interests and judge them. Visit each campus. Seek out the communities on those campuses that are the hubs of your interests. You will spend the next four years incubating in these hubs. Their quality and fit should be the tipping point of your college decision.

You can find solace in the fact that we have all survived the decision you are about to make, but I am not going to lie to you: the pressure’s on. I just hope you will find your hubs at Yale. =)


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