If you’re freaking out about choosing which university you’re going to attend, you’re not crazy, you just really care about where you’ll spend the next four years of your life. And that’s perfectly normal. I’m sure you’ve got this really elaborate list comparing each school. This school is located in New York while the other is in Cali, this one has 3 dining halls while the other only has 2, this one is ranked #5 in physics, while the other is ranked only #6. Lots of us, including me, have struggled with this decision and, honestly, it’s a nice problem to have.
College admissions staff are quite aware that it can be tough deciding which school you want to attend solely based off of information you found online or heard from someone else. They know that the best way to get a first-hand experience of what a college is like is to visit that college. That’s why many schools, like Yale, have admit weekends, like Bulldog Days, where all of the admitted students stay on campus and get to be college students, without the burdens of being college students.
There’s only one problem. From personal experience, I can tell you that admit weekends like Bulldog Days can be very overwhelming. Basically, someone is trying to cram the college experience into the span of three days. Thousands of people descend upon campus and you’ll meet lots of people, see cool student groups perform, and go to a Master’s Class. Now there’s nothing wrong with all of that, but sometimes you just need to sit down, relax, and talk to current students about their college experience. That’s exactly the experience that our Quest chapter at Yale strives to provide for prospective students.
During Bulldog Days we host two events: one is a breakfast with our Admissions Department and the other is a late night hangout with current Quest students.
We’ve been honored to have Amin Gonzalez, an Admissions Officer and a supporter of QuestBridge, host a breakfast where many “prefrosh” can come meet with an Admissions officer with any questions they may have regarding Yale. This provides students with the opportunity to ask questions specific to their situation as Quest Scholars. High-achieving, low-income students have many questions that their wealthier counterparts don’t even consider. These can include questions related to work-study on campus, how to shop for textbooks, and how to navigate financial aid. Knowing the answers to these questions provides clarity and helps students have more credible information to justify their college decisions.
By day, we provide the administrative perspective of Yale. By night, we give you the student’s version of life at Yale. Our signature event involves a late night gathering in a student kitchen at one of our residential dining halls, Silliman. As prefrosh pour in, current Quest Scholars welcome them to Yale and, together, make the best grilled cheese sandwiches with the best bread, cheeses, and meats! Recently, we’ve added a chocolate fondue fountain to the mix and who doesn’t love five pounds of flowing chocolate? For me and many other Questies at Yale, this event has been one of the highlights of Bulldog Days. Although you get to meet many future classmates during other events, now you get to meet future classmates with whom you can really relate. I’ve met some of my closest friends through Quest and Bulldog Days helped bring us together.
Another benefit of bringing together prefrosh and current Questies is that prefrosh really get to learn what life at Yale is really like. They get to learn what it’s like being a low-income student on a generally wealthy campus. Current Questies get to pass down advice that they’ve found to be very helpful while they’ve been at Yale. Although every student’s college experience is different, their experiences can really paint an accurate image of what college life is like, especially for a Quest Scholar.
For all the current and future Quest Scholars who are currently deciding what school will be their home for the next four years, take that opportunity to visit each school and see if you can imagine yourself living there. To those who will be visiting Yale during Bulldog Days, welcome to the family and we hope to see you at our events!
By David Elias
Yale University, Class of 2016