How to Get Into Yale: My Admissions Journey
Learn how to get into Yale from Senior Advisor Marisa. She’ll share her admissions journey, as well as tips and tricks for admissions success.
2022-02-02 How to Get Into Yale – My Admissions Journey
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to How to Get Into Yale – My Admissions Journey. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
All right. Hi everyone. I’m Marisa. Um, I’m a senior advisor and advisor team lead with college advisor. Um, I graduated from Yale in may, uh, so really weird to consider myself an alum. Um, but I suppose I am these days. Um, I studied biology and, um, yells scientists, um, and was pre-med while at Yale, um, did a lot of journalism stuff as well.
Um, so got a really nice blend of, um, stem and the humanities. Which I really liked. And I’m super excited to tell you more about Yale and my journey to, um, [00:01:00] acceptance. All right. So we have a poll of, um, what grade are you all in? And I’m going to start the poll right now, so you can start submitting, uh, what grade you are in parents.
We have a parent section if, uh, if you are a parent in here today. Um, so Marissa, while we’re waiting to get the results for that, um, I’m curious, what was your fate, where was your favorite place to study at Yale? Oh, okay. That’s that’s an interesting question. Um, I would say there was several spots. Yellow has a lot of, well, I guess new Haven has a lot of really, um, kind of cute cafes that I was a huge fan of.
I study. Um, I also would study a lot at, um, our campus paper that I worked at. We have like this whole building to ourselves and on like Saturday mornings, I would like make my way there and just like camp out for the entire day and just have like alone time, which was very nice. But, um, each of the residential colleges has their own [00:02:00] library too, and those were also, um, really beautiful to study in.
Um, so lots of study spaces at Yale, um, very picturesque, um, as you know, one might imagine. Um, and, uh, but I would say those are my top ones. Very cool. Um, I know that, uh, study spots are very personal to a lot of folks, so it was curious to hear. Awesome. So, um, we have one eighth grader in the room today. Uh, six ninth graders, 18 10th graders, 46 11th graders.
Six 12th graders, um, and around 10 parents. Um, so looking like a really good mix of folks you’re in the right space right now. Awesome. So I’m going to close the poll and we’ll continue with presentation.
Okay. Um, so thinking about, um, college admissions and sort of my process for doing that, um, I think it definitely is a [00:03:00] process and I didn’t start off high school having a ton of direction. Um, I think important context for my situation is that, um, I was a first generation college student. Um, I came from a low income family.
Um, you know, I had the privilege to attend, um, a private school on a scholarship that helped kind of push me toward, um, toward college and point me towards resources as well. Um, but freshman and sophomore year, I, um, I had a brother who had recently applied to college and so I’d kind of seen from him, but still.
For myself, it seemed very nebulous. And I really just focused on building up my passions, um, developing good study habits, um, making sure that I was getting the experiences I needed to figure out what I wanted to do in college. Um, but also making sure I succeed succeeding in my classes, doing well, getting good grades, um, all that good stuff junior year is when I really became focused on college.
Um, at that point I had [00:04:00] gotten some really cool experiences in medicine and science that had put me on that pre-med track for, you know, when I would matriculate. Um, so at that point I kind of just started assembling a college list from all my databases. I really focused on my act score. Um, that landscape is kind of different now because.
Schools going test optional because of COVID. Um, so that looks a little bit different for students these days. Um, but I, in my advising, I at least tell students it’s good to have, you know, a solid score in your back pocket. Um, you know, if you’re able to, to take the exam. Um, so focusing on my act score, and then also, um, I, in my free time, I would just like watch videos and try to understand different schools and what they offered and, um, their campuses, different things like that.
Um, senior year is when I went a little bit more neurotic. I think, um, I took every opportunity I could to meet with admissions officers. Um, my school, I think in junior year as well, maybe, um, admissions [00:05:00] officers would visit us in, um, uh, admissions officers would visit us in, um, our, our guidance office. And I would go to those ask questions.
Um, and there was an either there was like this afterschool forum that, uh, these admissions officers. Um, and there were like AOS from like duke, maybe Yale and some other top schools. And I got there like two hours early, like cam Dow to like network a little bit. Um, so I think that’s like insight into like who I was as a student.
Um, but really just doing what I could to learn more about these schools and refined by my school list. I’m also just going to pause my, um, my video, um, just to make sure I’m coming across clearly. Um, but that is a little bit about my kind of timeline in a nutshell. So, um, factors that were important to me in the college process.
So I think the biggest thing for myself, and I think like families should also consider this as well is, [00:06:00] um, the amount of financial and merit aid schools were going to give to me, especially as, um, a student coming from a low-income family. Um, and so I really need schools who would provide what I needed by.
I will say that Yale and other top rate schools often are very, um, are some of the most affordable schools for students who have high need, because you do end up getting a large financial aid package, um, as a pre-med student as well. I was also looking for strong pre-professional support. Um, somehow applying to med school is more convoluted and bizarre then than applying to college.
So having that support and knowing that, um, I would have, that was, was important to me. Um, I was super into neuroscience and doing research and I wanted a school that also would reflect that as well. I think one thing, a lot of high school students overlook is, um, you know, if you are, uh, interested in the sciences, interested in medicine, um, it, it, I think it’s a huge benefit to go through an undergrad that [00:07:00] offers, uh, research fellowships to underclassmen, to help get you into a lab over the summer and do that.
Um, and help, you know, start to build up, you know, your research experience, which is really beneficial, again, not only for your personal development, but also thinking about applying to med schools, grad schools, um, it’s, it’s a good thing to have in, in a good resource to take advantage of. And then the last, I think is just being happy on campus.
Um, you know, as much as academics, uh, are, are important, I don’t think any of it is a substitute for feeling happy and you’re spending four years at a place you want to make sure that, uh, the fit is good, um, and that you will actually be happy and thrive on that campus. And awesome. So, um, how I felt like I stood out in the application process, so I think passion and depth were two really big things for me.
Um, I’m mentioned I was really into neuroscience and medicine and I really did anything I could to, um, gain work experience in, in both of those. [00:08:00] Um, I emailed it maybe like 30 or 40 professors in my hometown Syracuse to try and find, um, you know, at least one professor who would let me into their lab do volunteering with them.
Um, and I actually ended up with two professors I worked with, um, throughout high school, um, who, you know, let me be in their labs over the summer, um, during the school year. And I think that was really crucial to me, not only understanding why I was so interested in these fields, but also showing the admissions committee that I will do the same thing while I am on your campus.
Um, same thing with shadowing doctors, um, shadowing other researchers. Um, I started a neuroscience club too, which was kind of a fun project, but, um, I, I think the passionate adapt is, is, is huge for any students. So, you know, allow yourself to be curious and find things that make you really excited about learning.
I think that’s huge. Same thing with narrative. Um, there’s the whole [00:09:00] debate about being well-rounded in the admissions process. And that’s not a bad thing either. Uh, for me personally, I was kind of like spite, I guess I had this like really big point with neuroscience and medicine. Um, but I was also able to weave in personal reasons for why I was interested in those things in a really unique way.
Um, and that just added to the cohesiveness of, uh, of my application. The other thing is voice. Um, I did not edit myself out of the essays. I think reading them back now as someone who’s, I guess, like five years older and has a lot more writing experience. There’s a lot of things I probably would change, but I do really appreciate that.
I kind of was just my unfiltered, passionate self in these essays and it sounds like a high school senior wrote them. Um, and I, I just included two lines from my common app essay that I thought really kind of demonstrated, um, uh, this. Um, and I think I’ll read this shorter one, the first to turn the lights on and the last to turn the [00:10:00] lights off, I can spend more time in the lab than I did at home.
Um, it’s those little details. I think that really just show, like, I was crazy about this and, and it just felt genuine. Um, and I think that really made a difference in sort of convincing admissions committees that, um, this was, you know, my authentic self. So I think that was a big plus for me. So application strategy, I, and this is all in hindsight, I think in the process, I didn’t really have much strategy.
What was important to me was just emphasizing my most transformational experiences in high school. I think I did a really good job of just reflecting in identifying what things helped me transition into who I was at that time. Um, I was really candid about the barriers that I faced as a first gen and low-income student.
Um, I didn’t filter that experience as well, and I was really candid about, um, how I still [00:11:00] faced these struggles. I was disadvantaged, but I also overcame those and still put together a very competitive application. So I was, um, actually really proud to say that in, in writing my essays, the other thing was, um, I was really involved in my school community and, you know, I got to know all of my teachers, but the people who wrote my recommendation letters, um, really got to know me well in the classroom and outside of the classroom too.
And I think what they, um, I think what was in their letters ultimately reflected. Uh, who I was on paper as well, but in my application. So I think that was a good cohesion. And, um, and that was a good, uh, plus my application too. Um, and then I tried not to take myself too seriously. I had fun while writing.
I also was a huge writer in high school too. So I think that probably helps a little bit, but I think students get really stressed out about the writing and that’s completely understandable, but, um, you have to remember to, you know, have some fun with it as well. Um, and so I really enjoyed that and all right, we have [00:12:00] another poll about where you are at in the college application process.
Awesome. So I am going to start the poll right now. You can enter in your responses, um, as soon as possible, and then while we’re waiting to get those results, I’m curious, Marissa, when in high school, did you realize you wanted to explore neuroscience and medicine in college? I think it was probably I’m it was actually probably early on in like eighth or ninth grade.
I like had checked it up out a book in the library that, um, like just on a whim about neuroscience and like, I remember reading it and just like being really, just excited about it. And so I ended up just checking out all the books in my school library about neuroscience, and then it just kind of spit balled from there.
So, um, it started really early on for me. And then I kind of just went crazy in high school, trying to figure out all the experiences I could get with it. Um, and yeah, I guess that’s kind of how [00:13:00] it started. Um, Awesome. Um, so with regards to the poll, 30, 28% of our attendees haven’t started yet. Um, 59% of our attendees are currently researching schools.
5% are working on their essays. 5% are getting their application materials together, and 5% are almost done. Awesome. So I’m going to close the poll and we can’t continue on. Okay. Um, so successful aspects of, um, of my application. I, the biggest thing in a mistake I often see students make in my advising is, um, I is, they’re just telling their story.
They’re not providing specific details of, um, transformational experiences and placing the reader into what, um, you were experiencing and feeling in particular moments. [00:14:00] Um, I, I think I did that really well in my essays, providing specific examples of details, demonstrating the idea I wanted to get across, um, and makes for a more immersive writing and stronger writing and it’s more persuasive.
Um, so I think that was a really big thing. Um, again, this cohesiveness between the tone of my essays, what I was writing about, and then also how my recommendation letters viewed me or recommendation letter writers. You’d me. Um, I really put together this picture of myself as like the scrappy, like young woman scientist.
And, um, my teachers definitely picked up on that and reflected the same things and you know, what they were writing to the admissions committee. Um, I also had, you know, really strong grades and test scores. Uh, certainly those aren’t the only things admissions committee admissions committees looked at.
That’s the whole idea of holistic admissions. It’s not just about your grades and test scores. It’s also about who you are outside of the classroom, but doing well in your classes, taking challenging courses, those are all really important [00:15:00] things. Um, same with, you know, high test scores as well, though, that is kind of, you know, different in this test, optional world Britain.
Um, and then also thoughtful reflections on the challenges I had faced. Um, if you’re a student who struggles to look back on the experiences you’ve had and extract meaningful, um, meaningful details from them or just how they influenced you. I think now’s a really good time to do that, especially if you are a junior so that when it comes time to write your essays, you have this list or you have just a backlog of things you can point to, to say, you know, this was really important to me.
And in showing that to, um, the admissions committee I think is, is really.
And then I’ll raise, it makes for a successful Yale application. I would say the biggest thing is passion. Um, you know, show yourself as curious, show yourself, you know, doing what you love, um, and devote time in high school to gain transformative experiences in those fields. It doesn’t [00:16:00] necessarily have to be academic, um, but just do what you love and do it really well.
I think that’s the biggest advice I can give, um, honing your writing skills as well. Um, it’s it’s so I think it’s pretty advisable for students to, you know, journal a little bit, or maybe do a little bit of creative writing. It’s not like you have, you don’t have to share it with anyone, but getting in that mindset of talking about yourself or writing creatively really goes a long way in this process.
And the earlier you hone those skills, the better, you know, your essays will, you know, turn it. Um, the last thing I think is just a good fit. I think a lot of Yale students have these interdisciplinary interests that, um, aren’t pertained to just one area of study. Um, you know, a lot of the students that I know and myself even from, from campus, you know, they’re not just, you know, they’re not just coders, they’re not just researchers.
Um, there are people who have all these facets themselves and they bring together their interests in academic fields and really unique ways. And I think the more you can do that, the better off you, you [00:17:00] know, you may fair. Um, you know, when I work with students, especially students who are pre-med and they tell them, you know, I love medicine.
I love helping people. Um, you know, the next step is okay, so what do you want to do with that? Like, what else can you do? What else can, what else informs that? Um, that can also be really important. And in something I suggesting this thing. And then, um, my personal college experience. So it went completely differently than I expected.
I had very one, a one track idea of, you know, what I was going to do at Yale. Um, you know, I was so steadfast. Everyone told me, oh, you’ll change your major. You’ll change your mind. I told them, no, not going to be me. Um, and it definitely was me. I think yellow is really good at letting you explore things and letting you change your mind and, um, in really interesting ways.
Um, so again, started as really pre-med. Um, and then I kind of discovered journalism, uh, completely on a whim my, my first year at Yale. Um, and it caused me to change my major twice. Um, it made me rethink [00:18:00] being pre-med for a little bit. Um, but then I decided to pick that back up. Um, I did a lot of science reporting and medical reporting as well.
Um, and that really, um, I informed how I viewed medicine, um, and why I actually wanted to become a physician. I think it was the most important thing I did in, in college. And I’m really thankful for y’all giving me the opportunity to explore that. Um, so I ended up leaving Yale with interdisciplinary interests that still today, like informed how I view medicine.
And, um, and, and I, you know, I, I picked up science history, which was very interesting and gave me another look at medicine as well. So I’m, I’m really grateful for those opportunities. And so over here, you’ll see me with a front page story ad row for my campus paper. Um, and then also, um, me on assignment, I was also a photographer for my campus paper as well.
Um, that’s me at a gymnastics meet. I was taking photos, um, and the handsome Dan, our, um, our bulldog [00:19:00] mascot, um, uh, up on me. So, um, lots of really fun experiences. And I think Yale really gave me permission to explore in a way I didn’t expect. So I’m super grateful for that. And all right. Um, questions and answers.
Awesome. So, um, that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information super helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab. So for this part of the live Q and a I’ll read through the questions you submit in the Q and a tab, um, publish them in the public chat so that you all can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives us an answer, um, as a heads up, if you’re having a hard time submitting questions in the Q and a tab, um, be sure to double check that you join the webinars through the custom link in your email and not just from the webinar page.
So our first question that we have, um, is from one, um, who asks, I’m going to participate in the Y Y G S [00:20:00] program, the Yale young global scholars program at Yale. Does that give me a better chance of being accepted into Yale? Um, I think what happens in the missions committee is kind of, you know, it’s a big black box a little bit, but, um, I would say, you know, it shows.
Some demonstrated interest in the school, which is always good, you know, is it gonna make or break being accepted in TL? Absolutely not. Um, but it’s, um, you know, it’s an experience in everything is what you kind of extract from it. Right. Um, so does it guarantee you an acceptance to yell? No. Um, but you know, maybe it shows, um, you know, the yellow admissions committee, you know, you’re, you’re pretty serious about, you know, your intent to, you know, wants to apply and, um, perhaps ultimately attend the school.
Awesome. So our next question that we got was you mentioned that you had internships with professors in labs. When was that? Do they accept freshmen or sophomores? And how do I find these types of internships? Yeah, [00:21:00] so this was the summer going into my junior year, uh, the academic year, the summer going into my senior year and then continuing out through the academic year.
Um, and then into the summer before college, um, And I think with, with those, it’s a matter of, I did a ton of cold emailing and you have to become comfortable with just putting yourself out there, being okay with being told no, um, you know, just to, you know, find a chance to potentially, um, to have a really great opportunity.
Um, that’s how I, um, found summer research. Um, and it was a beneficial route for me. There’s also summer programs as well through, um, perhaps your local college, but I think, you know, finding opportunities for yourself can go a long way in this process. Um, and kind of showed me, um, show a initiative to the admissions committee, which I think is also kind of valuable to you.
So, um, basically, [00:22:00] you know, email call, um, you know, do what you can to put yourself out there and find those experiences that are good. And to just quickly add onto that. Um, you know, as a high school student, I participated in a, some in a research opportunities program and I was really nervous about cold emailing, um, you know, researchers and professors in the field across colleges.
Um, but they were really wonderful and super excited. You know, sometimes I didn’t hear back, but super excited to hear from high school students. So if you find a researcher who’s doing really cool work and you want to learn a little more or get connected with them, um, shoot them an email and you never know, maybe there’s a space on their team to intern, or maybe it’s just a coffee chat that you’re able to get.
But, um, reaching out to the folks at the colleges, um, near you is always a good first step. Awesome. So then another question that we received, um, is, is there any real advantage in being from [00:23:00] Connecticut in terms of getting into. Um, I don’t think so. So yells a private school, right? So in w with private school admissions, there’s no, um, there’s typically no preference for in-state versus out-of-state applicants.
Um, so I couldn’t imagine there’s a bias towards, uh, Connecticut residents. Um, I don’t know the exact answer, but I couldn’t imagine it, um, gives you a clustering, um, committee meetings. Yeah. Awesome. Um, next question is, does it matter how many AP classes you take? How many did you take and when? Yeah, so my school only allowed, um, I mean, this was also quite a few years ago.
My school only allow juniors and seniors to take AP classes. Um, I took the, the most like advanced, um, course of study. I could, my freshmen and sophomore year, um, I took five APS, junior year and five APS senior year as well. So I guess 10 total. [00:24:00] And I would say take the most advanced course, look you can, without compromising your GPA or your mental health, because that’s also very, very important in this process.
Um, so, uh, taking AP classes or advanced classes, you know, those matter, um, it shows that you can handle, you know, the rigorous yell curriculum. Um, and it’s certainly very tough. So, um, you know, the admissions committee is certainly going to be looking out for how you fared in those advanced classes. Um, so performing well is, is really important.
Awesome. So then our next question that we received is how long did it take you to put together your entire yield application? And what if you don’t know what area of study you want to focus on when you’re applying? So my process is one that I never recommend to the students that I advise. Um, I had applied early action to a different school.
Um, And my line of [00:25:00] reasoning was if I get into this school, I won’t have to apply to any other schools. And I received my decision December 15 and was promptly deferred to a regular decision. So I had two weeks to do, to do all of my other applications. That is not something I would ever advise a student to do.
However, it was the reality I, I, I was in, um, so I, I did yell and all my other applications in two weeks during the winter holiday, um, and got everything in on time. Um, but that is not something I would advise any students.
Yes, that sounds like a very stressful way to approach what is already a, uh, a stressful process, but kudos to you on getting it all completed and in on time. Um, so then another great question we got was, if you could give advice about how to better improve one’s writing, what would it be? I think the biggest thing is just [00:26:00] writing and getting that practice.
Um, it, it seems like a counterintuitive thing, but the more like, right, if you’re not used to writing, actually putting words on paper, just feel so unnatural and could feel, um, just kind of awkward a little bit. I think the more opportunity you give yourself to practice and just let words flow the better you end up becoming, um, the more you read as well.
I think you can pick up on different writer’s style. Um, in techniques too. So, um, I recommend students read, um, long form journalism actually, because I think it’s a really good way to see how you can write about things that, you know, happened to you, um, or that you’ve seen or experienced, um, in really vivid ways, but still get your point across.
Um, so things like the Atlantic, the new Yorker, um, those are all really good examples of things you could read to, um, uh, see if you can emulate a little bit in your own writing. [00:27:00] Um, awesome. Another question we received, um, which I think is a really strong one, is how, um, how did you develop a good relationship with your, um, recommenders?
Um, and how did you get to kind of know them more without it seeming like you’re only getting to know them more for, um, to get a letter of recommendation. Yeah. So I, I got to know my teachers just because I, you know, I love my school community. I love the teachers who taught me. They were all amazing people.
Um, and I was just happy to be at my school and happy to like be in classes, um, you know, learning from these teachers. So I think for me, it was really easy to just like, get so engrossed in like what we were learning in class. And like always participate, always give a hundred percent on the homeworks, um, stay after class, if I needed extra help go in early.
Um, I was also a really big standout in my community. I mean, I had the benefit of going to a [00:28:00] small school. My class size was only like a hundred, 130 kids, maybe. Um, so, you know, everyone knew who I was and everyone kind of knew this like Schick I had about myself of being like super, super, super into science.
So, um, I think all of those things really helped. And I guess like to answer the. I think the biggest thing is just to be passionate and to like let your passions be known and to just be genuinely interested in what you’re learning in class. Um, I think that really goes a long way. Um, and, um, I would never recommend a student gets to know their teachers just because of a recommendation letter.
I don’t think that’s a good way to go about it. Awesome. And kind of bouncing off of that, um, you know, do you have to have perfect grades to get into Yale? Can you get in with average grades, have strong extracurriculars and essays and still get in? Yeah. So are you, I think this is a difficult question because everyone is coming [00:29:00] at this process from a different situation.
Um, you know, the point of holistic admissions is that it’s not just about your. Test scores and your grades upward trend is also really important in this process. So, um, where you started in high school versus, you know, where you are, you know, your senior fall. So showing that good improvement in your grades is also important taking the rigorous courses.
Um, but that’s not to say that you can slack in your classes significantly and still get into a place like Yale. It’s a very, very competitive process. Um, so I, I would say do your best to give as well as you can in your classes, um, while still maintaining your own mental health. Um, but, um, but the, at the end of the day, the, the best you can do is again, just giving it all you can and cracking this application that you feel best [00:30:00] represents yourself and your situation.
And kind of hoping for the best, um, I think with admissions into top schools, you know, some of it does come down to luck a little bit when there are so many really high, highly qualified applicants. So, um, yeah, and I think the other big thing is that it, at the end of the day, like Yale is just a school.
It is not essential to go to Yale to be successful or any top school. So, um, having a good, uh, college list as well, I think is very, very important in this process. Um, so having good safety schools, having good math schools and, you know, if you reaches with like Yale, um, that’s going to be really important too.
So yeah, it was not the end all be all. Um, but I think have grade, you know, help you fare better in the process, but, um, certainly having a slip up in a class or two is not the end of the world. Um, and, um, yeah, I, I think this what I would say. Great advice. [00:31:00] Um, so I’m going to combine two questions. So the first being, how many extracurriculars were you involved in and what extracurriculars did you do in high school that you believed helped your college admissions?
Yeah, I think the things that, um, at least helped me the most were, um, the depth of research I had. I had, um, I had, I guess a year and a half of research, I think when I applied, um, which is a lot for a high school student and it was clear that it wasn’t something where I was just like washing like beakers or something like that.
Like I had really gotten my hands dirty with it. Um, I think that helped, I had a ton of shadowing experience as well. I have the benefit. I grew up in Syracuse. Um, and we have, um, Syracuse university right there, but then we also have SUNY upstate, which is our, um, statement school. Um, and the, uh, the, the doctors in the professors I interacted with at that [00:32:00] university work some of the most profoundly impactful, I think, in my life, um, because they were just so willing to let me as a high school student who was clearly very passionate, just come into, um, their clinic or their lab.
Um, and just, you know, have me give, give me the space to explore my passion and I I’m eternally grateful for that. Um, so I think the shadowing, the research really helped, I think all the initiative that I had on my application, where it was very clear. I, you know, I didn’t have like a parent who had gone gotten me those opportunities.
Like I had gotten them for myself. Um, but also, you know, I started the club in, in my high school. Um, I had a lot of leadership as well in my school and elsewhere. Um, and then I also had, um, I actually don’t know if I put this on my application, but I had two part-time jobs throughout high school too. I, I worked at Chipotle Wade and I worked as a hostess in a, in a, in a restaurant.
[00:33:00] And, um, those I thought were pretty cool experiences too, but, um, I would say this broadly, what I did in high school, I honestly can’t remember much beyond like the, the research in the, in the shadowing. Um, cause it’s been quite a few years now, but, um, I think the biggest takeaway is just like find what you love, do it well, um, and really get comfortable putting yourself out there because it can lead to some amazing experiences that really help you refine your passions and your outlook on your life, your career.
Um, and I can’t recommend it enough. High school is the time when you generally that you genuinely. Like free range to just explore and have fun. So, you know, definitely take advantage of it while you can. Awesome. So kind of bouncing off of that, um, for our ninth and 10th graders and maybe even 11th graders in the room who aren’t sure what they want to do career wise, or aren’t sure what major to put on their applications, what recommendations do you [00:34:00] have?
How can somebody best, uh, discover their passions? Yeah, I think a big thing is, um, I remember also in high school, um, I would be on YouTube alive just like watching, um, like videos that were kind of just like deep dives into random things. I did a ton of reading in high school too. Um, was super like invested in the news and different things like that.
And I actually think that’s a good way to at least flesh out things that peak your interest and get you excited to maybe learn a little bit more. I was really invested in like this channel called the sauce, which was like this guy who would just come up with these random, like scientific things and just go like really deep into them.
Um, and so I love that, and that really helped me think through what I was passionate about. I also listened to a lot of Ted talks too, in high school. Those were like more of a thing back then, I guess, but I guess they’re still pretty popular too. Um, I, I, so I guess [00:35:00] I probably the best thing is just exploring resources that are available to you online.
So you, where your curiosity leads you and then let that guide you into what fields you would potentially see yourself, um, going into, I think also things that you found interesting in your classes can be helpful. You know, if you hate every second of your English class, you know, maybe going into the humanities, isn’t quite for you.
Um, but if you love, you know, doing labs in physics, you know, maybe considering engineering is great as well. Um, and I think that’s probably a good place to. Awesome. Um, so this question is about, uh, kind of affording Yale. So outside of, um, scholarships or, um, financial aid packages, um, how did you afford your time at Yale?
Right. So I was, um, I was really lucky in the sense that the financial aid package that Yale [00:36:00] offered me was extremely generous. Um, it was the most generous offer that I had gotten from any of the schools I was accepted into. Um, Yale. I can’t remember if I mentioned this during the presentation, but yell only offers need based aid.
Um, so if you don’t qualify for need-based aid, then you know, you’re not offered merit aid on, on, on top of the full tuition. Um, so let’s just something to keep in mind, but, um, I paid. Single digits in like the thousands, um, like yearly for my tuition at Yale, like it was extremely generous. Um, and that was a product of, you know, my family’s financial situation, but, um, uh, I, I paid for that out of pocket.
Um, I, you know, worked throughout college, um, and was extremely lucky in that I didn’t have to take out student loans, um, and that has benefited, benefited, benefited me, um, in the sense that, um, I, you know, feel that I’m able to take some [00:37:00] time off before applying to med school and to get more experience, um, and just kind of relax a little bit, um, because Yale is an extremely stressful place.
It’s a wonderful place, but, um, the academic environment is, um, very unique in that. Um, while it’s supportive, it’s also extremely competitive and you really have to be on top of your studies and, uh, Um, cause you know, everyone sitting with you in class is, you know, for the top of their high school classes.
Right. So it’s another level that is very much unlike high school. Um, so yeah. Um, so I feel very lucky with my financial situation and um, what Yale was able to offer me. Um, I think it gave me more opportunities, um, post grad, like I’m not tied down in debt. Um, and it was minimal enough where I could have a part-time job during school, um, and, and work during the summer and like internships and, um, pay off that, that tuition.[00:38:00]
Awesome. And just a reminder to everyone in the room. Um, you know, Yale does, uh, is currently one of the schools that meets a hundred percent of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students, regardless of, um, citizenship or immigration status. And that also includes undocumented students living in the U S and there are a number of schools that are, you know, a number of top schools that are like this, where a hundred percent of demonstrated financial need is met.
Um, so it’s definitely worth kind of doing a little more research into, um, the ways different schools look at financial aid and how, um, how to kind of include that in your process when building your school list. Um, so onto the next question, how well, this is kind of building off of what you just mentioned, but really how rigorous would you say the workload you were given at Yale is compared to what you might’ve received in 19.[00:39:00]
Uh, I don’t think it’s comparable at all. It was, um, it, it, I, I mean, I had no, absolutely no concept for kind of like what a weighted mean at Yale. Um, I mean, I attended a very competitive high school, but Yale felt like a completely other level. Um, I made the mistake of thinking I had to take, you know, all of the stem classes I could, you know, from the moment I stepped on campus.
Um, that’s certainly not the case, you know, with a school like Yale, you definitely want to ease yourself into, you know, what is expected of you. Um, because again, like in high school, you know, it’s pretty relaxed. Um, teachers are fairly understanding, um, and you know, a lot of that is expected of you. Um, but in, in college you’re dealing with an extremely competitive landscape, extremely talented students and professors who are experts in their field.
And, you know, [00:40:00] Um, you know, at least sometimes like at that level. Um, so it’s very competitive. Um, and that’s something students should consider, you know, if you are considering, um, education, post college, um, you know, you, you, it, you come out the other end of far better student in more able to handle what is thrown at you.
But if you are thinking about going into a profession or like looking for post-college education, where your GPA really, really matters, um, it is something to consider is, you know, will you be able to keep your GPA up, um, during your four years of college? Um, I think that’s a huge thing that not enough students really consider, um, and that all ties into finding your best fit school.
Um, you know, med schools, grad schools, um, law schools, you know, they don’t care where you went to college. They. Going to a school like yell can afford you amazing opera hearing these outside of the [00:41:00] classroom, but you know, you can get a great education at, you know, a lot of universities across the country.
So, um, it’s, it really comes down to finding your best fit. But, um, my advice is to, you know, do as well as you can in your high school classes, learn as much as you can build up those good, good study habits, because that’s going to set you up for success at, you know, if you do matriculate into a really competitive college, like, yeah, I’m just going to say set you up for success in the class.
Awesome. We’re going to take a real quick break from the Q and a and then returned to that. So, real quick, I just wanted to talk a little more about college advisor.com. Um, so for those in the room who aren’t already working with us, you know, we know how overwhelming the college admissions process is both for parents.
So we have a team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts like Marissa, um, who are ready to help you and your family navigated all in one-on-one advising sessions. So in last year’s admission cycle, our students [00:42:00] were accepted into Harvard at three times, the national rate and accepted into Stanford at 4.4 times the national rate among other really top colleges at a higher rate.
So you can sign up for a free consultation with us, um, by filling out the brief form that’s going to auto-populate on your screen once the webinar concludes. So once we, uh, you know, once you leave the webinar or once we close out the webinar, um, I will auto-populate that we’ll ask you for really brief, um, your name, email, really brief information.
And then from there, a member of our team will reach out to you. Don’t forget to, you know, fill out that form. If you are interested in getting a free consultation with us, you should also register for, for our free web [email protected] advisor.com and at our free web platform, students and their families can explore webinars, keep track of their application deadlines, research schools, um, and more [00:43:00] all right on our website.
So back to the Q and a, um, next question we have is what would you say separates Yale from Harvard brown and the other Ivy leagues? Okay. That’s a good question. I think, um, it can be really difficult to distinguish between those schools. Um, I think to some extent the campus culture is different between.
All of those schools, um, and how people find community on those campuses. Um, at Yale, I guess Harvard has this as well. I don’t know what Brown’s situation is, but we have, um, what’s called residential colleges. So they’re kind of like Hogwarts houses a little bit, um, where you’re like randomly assorted into one, um, upon matriculation and it kind of becomes like your home base while on campus.
Um, it’s sort of yell, calls it like a [00:44:00] microcosm of the Yale community. That’s sort of like the way people talk about it, but it really is true. It’s like a mini community within Yale, um, that has a dining hall, um, a common room, a game room. Something called a buttery, which is like a wait night, Yuri, that’s a student run, which is a big hangout spot.
It’s where you live as a sophomore, junior and senior. And then there’s also a Dean of the college and then a head of college. So the Dean sort of handles academic affairs and then the head of college handles sort of like the cultural stuff of, of the college. Um, and that’s just a really unique and special way to feel at home.
Um, for me personally, my I Dean had, had kind of felt like my parents at college, but in a really like nice and supportive way. Um, like you always had someone to go to if you needed to talk something out. Um, and I think that that is one thing that like distinguishes yellow from other schools as a heartbreak, like [00:45:00] those tests had something kind of similar.
Um, and I, I think. Other things, at least that were important to me was the feel of campus. Um, how I felt actually like walking through the courtyards and, you know, could I actually see myself here for four years, that’s different for every person, but I think that is also big. Um, and I think the schools are like pretty similar and the opportunities that you have to, um, you know, feel supported in finding internships and, um, having fun to do research, but Yale does offer a ton of that.
And, um, when I was a freshman, they had resources to help students feel comfortable getting into research as underclassmen that I, I, I don’t know what the other schools offer, but, um, I think that’s a really special thing about Yale, um, amongst other schools. So, um, I think long [00:46:00] story short. I think it comes down to lots of culture and feel, I think that’s the biggest difference from all the schools.
Um, cause I mean, you can get a great education wherever you go. Um, I, I don’t think it’s necessarily the education that distinguishes one school from the other, but, um, I think it’s what happens outside the classroom that is really important. And, um, I think the answer is different for every student, but for me, I think it was, um, how much I felt at home and how much I actually felt like I was enjoying myself on campus.
Sorry. My mic was made at for a second. Awesome. So kind of bouncing off of that. Um, why did you choose Yale? What, how, how did you come to the final decision to, uh, spend four years at Yale? Yeah, that’s a good question. I. I when thinking back to when I was actually applying to schools, I don’t really remember how or why yell was on my list, um, which maybe isn’t the [00:47:00] best thing to say in this webinar, but it’s a hundred percent true.
Um, but I ended up getting in, which is amazing. Um, and at the end of, you know, having all my, my acceptances, I was really choosing between, you know, duke and U Penn, all three amazing schools. And I was like, how the heck am I going to decide between all of these amazing places? Um, what it really came down to for me was financial aid.
Um, Danielle was my, my cheap this option. Um, and then I eliminated, I eliminated duke for that reason. So it’s between you kind of kneel. Um, and on the same weekend, my parents and I, we drove down to, um, to U Penn and we walk around on campus. Um, I had met with a student in, in chatted. And then we ended up going to new Haven and I remember just like walking down the sidewalk and getting my first look at it, Sterling, like our big sort of like centerpiece of campus is beautiful.
Um, it was like, yep, this is it. This, this is where I want to go. [00:48:00] Um, so I, um, for me, it came down to just like how I felt on campus and also, um, financial aid as well. Um, because I knew I would get what I needed education wise from, from all of those schools. Awesome. So we have someone in the room who, um, has very distinct interests, um, eh, with they’re passionate about two very different topics and are wondering, um, is there, how, how is the best way to share that in their admissions package?
Should they, um, focus on one weave the both in, is there, do you have any recommendations on how to write about, um, two very different, um, interests in different fields? Um, but very. Very strong passions of this individual. Yeah. I think this would come down to student by student basis. Um, one thing I would say [00:49:00] is don’t try to force a connection if there isn’t one.
Um, I think that could come off as, um, not genuine. Um, however, if you know, you see yourself combining those passions in college, like say you are super into neuroscience, but you’re also super into computer science as well. Um, you know, maybe you have like this big vision to create the first, I don’t know, like first app to, um, help patients with Alzheimer’s or like something like that.
Um, you know, that could be an easy thing to write about in a college essay that lets you talk about things you’re passionate about and like what your end goal is with, you know, those two things. If it’s something like an academic interest and a hobby, um, I don’t think it’s super necessary to find ways where.
Um, meshed perfectly well. Um, you know, maybe if you’re like interested in medicine, like music or something like that, you know, there’s a way where, you know, maybe you could see yourself. Um, I like doing music therapy [00:50:00] for patients in the hospital, or I don’t know, something like that. Um, that can be kind of cool or even like finding ways in high school to mesh those past passions together.
If, um, if you have that opportunity, I think that also can be pretty cool as well and help add that cohesion to the application. Um, so I, I think like Raleigh answering that question, it depends on the student and it depends on the situation and where you are at in this process. Um, if you have two separate interests and you’re early on and you have time to, um, you know, build up opportunities that like.
Work at the intersection of both of those things, I would say do it. And if you don’t, if you can’t find that opportunity, you don’t make it yourself form a passion project. Um, if you are in the writing stages of your application, um, which I guess is kind of late in the game for seniors, but, um, I think, um, uh, don’t force a connection if it isn’t there, but if you could see [00:51:00] yourself meshing both in college, I would say, you know, feel free to articulate that as well.
Awesome. So something, a question that we received is, you know, you mentioned a lot of different activities that you did in high school. And so the question was, how did you manage your time? Do you have any tips on how, um, to kind of navigate all the pressures of trying to do everything, um, while your high school student?
Yeah, I would say, um, so school, I think is always the number one priority. I think. GPA is the hardest thing to fix. If you take a big hit and your studies and really understanding the material that’s, um, you know, very crucial. So I think for me, that always came first, um, as far as time management, um, I think it really started in the classroom in making sure during lectures.
I was really understanding [00:52:00] what I was listening and if I didn’t what I was hearing and if I didn’t understand something, um, feeling comfortable, raising my hand and asking questions for clarification or working with teachers after school or like during lunch. Um, I think it started there. Um, and then at home, um, I try to do everything as proactively as I could, um, even studying, you know, a week, week and a half in advance for, for exams.
Um, so I didn’t have to, you know, pile everything up into one night. I think that was very essential. Um, And making most of the weekends too. I think the biggest thing comes down to like, it’s not how long you study, it’s how efficiently you study. Um, so identifying what works, what doesn’t work. Um, and if you feel like something isn’t working, being quick to identify that and rectify that situation, I think those were the biggest things.
Great. So another question we received, um, was [00:53:00] what were your favorite extracurricular activities at ELL? And did you join any societies? Yeah, my favorite extracurricular activity was definitely writing for my campus paper. Um, I covered, uh, the Yale school of medicine and then Yale new Haven hospital. And it kind of was just free rein to ask questions and to, um, talk with so many amazing, interesting professors, students and doctors.
And I. I think it was the most transformative experience I had at Yale. Um, because it, again, it made me reevaluate my interest for medicine, um, in a way I would have never expected. Um, it also made me feel part of the Yale community being at, um, events. I was also, uh, a photographer, a photo journalist, I guess.
Um, so I would be, you know, courtside at basketball games, taking [00:54:00] photos, um, which was crazy. I was at, um, I would take photos at the Harvard, um, football game as well. Um, you know, I was there for student protests and student performances, taking photos and, um, it, it was just a really wonderful and unique way to again, feel part of the community and also give back in a really important way too.
So, um, I think that was, that was by far my favorite. Uh, extracurricular that, that I did at Yale, um, and that’s really accessible for a lot of yellow students. I had no journalism experience before. Um, I, I had joined the campus paper, um, uh, societies, um, uh, nothing like formal. Um, y’all also has what’s called like secret societies, which are like senior kind of like roots, um, as kind of like very cloak and dagger.
Um, although like it’s kind of like, not really, um, but I, I did not do that. Um, and I think all of that was kind of really, uh, impacted by, by COVID, um, my senior year too, but, [00:55:00] um, definitely reporting was my biggest thing. Very cool. Um, so great question. We got in that echoes a few thoughts that other folks have asked.
How do you write about not knowing what you want to major in yet, but you still have strong passions in a few areas. Yeah, I think it’s fair to be open with the admissions committee. Um, you’re not exactly decided, but are open to exploring. Um, I think finding schools that give students free reign to explore your first year, um, would be important if you’re in that situation.
So schools who have broad, like, um, general education curriculums, who make it easy for you to switch your major, um, who don’t make you declare your major until maybe your second year of college, those could all be really important. And, um, as far as writing about it in an essay though, I think it’s [00:56:00] completely fair to say, you know, these are my, um, this is, you know, what I’m very passionate about, and this is why, um, and you know, at the high school level, I’m unsure if I want to major in this or this, but I’m excited for the opportunity, um, to explore that, you know, during college, I think that’s completely valid.
Awesome. So another question we got was, um, what was the college interview like if you did want, oh, okay. My interview situation was very bizarre in that I, um, I had a Yale, um, so it was like a Saturday morning and I had gotten an email from an alumni in my area requesting that we meet that weekend, um, because there was a new request from admissions.
Um, and it was like days before regular decision, um, uh, results were, were released. Um, so [00:57:00] definitely not typical. Um, and it seems like this is completely speculation, but it just seems like there was, um, some decisions that had to be made in the, the admissions committee, which is why they kind of requested this interview.
Um, but who knows that’s again, speculation, but, um, Yeah. And we met in a coffee shop, which is definitely not the goal in this like COVID world we’re living in, but, um, we met for coffee and had just a really nice conversation and, um, college interviews in general and, you know, while they are interviews, they’re also just nice conversations with alumni.
And, um, we chatted for at least from what I remember, maybe like an hour and a half. And, um, and it went very positively. So I think, you know, over email afterward, which is definitely something you should do if you get a college interview. And, um, she responded that, you know, she thought it went really well.
And, um, that was, um, uh, overall a very positive experience. Awesome. [00:58:00] So we have time for one more question. I’m gonna pick one at random, um, many places that I’ve reached out to have said that they are not doing internships due to COVID. What is your advice for students? Uh, high school students in this COVID.
I would try to propose something that can be done virtually. I’m just choosing like research as an example, you know, asking if there’s any sort of, um, virtual thing you can help the professor do in their research. Um, some professors work on what are called, like review papers, where you kind of compiled data existing in a particular like sub field or like on a research question and kind of synthesize it and make those connections, um, between like a large kind of cohort of papers.
Um, and that can all be done virtually, or maybe like data analysis or interviewing for a clinical study or something like that. Those could all be things you could perhaps work, amend and see if are available and that [00:59:00] applies to, you know, any other internship. Um, so I think thinking creatively. What you could do virtually that could potentially lead to some, um, I knew avenues, um, but then also potentially reaching out to even more people, um, to see if there’s anything you can kind of put together, um, in person.
Awesome. Um, well, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much to Marissa for a awesome webinar. Um, you know, this is the end of the webinar. Thank you for everyone who came out tonight. Um, if we didn’t answer your question, do please, um, fill out your information, um, at the webinars and in the form that will auto-populate and you can get those questions answered, um, during our college advisor consultation.
So again, Merissa thank you so much for your time. Um, and thank you for everybody who is here today. Um, you know, have a great rest of your evening. Thank you so much.[01:00:00]