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Yale University

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Yale is the best...relative to Princeton and Harvard. Because instead of having a polo shirt uniform, people mostly just wear Yale shirts. I think that's an improvement. I definitely wish I didn't have to take fill so many requirements, and think maybe I should have gone to Brown. But the size is perfect; I always run into people I know, but I definitely don't know everybody. And it's near NYC which is perfect for when campus feels too stuffy. When I tell people I go to Yale, they usually just say "oh, cool." I'm the one who blushes. Living off campus is ideal for me, because I like feeling like I have a home away from the school. But you can't move out of the dorms until you're a junior. New Haven is definitely the best part of Yale; amazing restaurants, diversity, people who aren't between the years of 18 and 22...basically, actual culture. Not just college culture. And we have a dance club/concert hall that attracts a lot of great performers. The biggest complaint I hear from my friends is that the environment is so claustrophobic and competitive that it's unhealthy for your self-esteem. You lose sight of why you're actually learning. But on the up-side, a lot of alumni make a lot of money and then give it to us, so Yale can subsidize just about any project you're interested in doing while you're here. I just got back from an internet-themed dance interpretation of Alice In Wonderland, written directed and performed by Yale students, but payed for by Yale. School pride generally comes in the form of, "Well, this IS Yale..." which gets really tiring. But the student body is split into 12 residential colleges,which are assigned randomly to Freshmen, so there's some lighthearted fun rivalries and intramural games between the colleges.

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Well, I love New Haven, personally- and I say that hailing from New York. Tons of restaurants of all varieties (many with late hours: two within a 5 minute walk of my room are open 24 hours); lots of interesting (if expensive) shops, independently-owned cafes, many, many bookstores... it's a small city, but really a nice one. Also, our food is really phenomenal compared to what my friends at other colleges eat. They're astonished at what we have when they come to visit. Those who complain are dreadfully spoiled. The beauty of this campus still gets to me, even after living here for so long. The architecture and the history isn't anything to be brushed aside; absolutely everything, from our libraries to our dining halls to our gymnasium, is gorgeous. Everything is so damn convenient, too- there's internet access everywhere, and many computer kiosks available if you can't be arsed to bring a laptop about- always a nice, comfortable place to sit and read, common rooms never locked, security not an issue... it's damned lovely here. There are stupid people here- there are people who, in my opinion, do not appreciate or deserve the education they're receiving. They're not legacies or minorities or sports recruits- I'm sure they had very good grades in high school, and a list of extra-curriculars six pages long (didn't we all?)... but they are not what men and women of Yale should be. Still, there are some whose brilliance, passion, and dedication amaze me greatly, and it is because of them, and those like them in decades and centuries past, that I am a fiercely proud Eli.

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Yale is amazing, at least for me it is. I love Yale because of many aspects and even the city of New Haven itself has become dear to my heart. The reason I initially chose Yale was because it is not a small school <2000 students and it is not a large school >10,000 students. For me at least, it was right in between with about 6,000 students. I wanted a campus where I would be able to see familiar faces as I walked down the block, but not know everyone as I walked down that same block, and that is exactly what I got. Moreover, Yale is in the city of New Haven, which, in my opinion, is an average-sized city. It has all the benefits and downsides to being in a city. Some of the benefits include: night clubs like toads, lots of amazing restaurants, a rich community to get involved in, and so much more. One of the major downsides is the crime, but generally if you have some common sense you'll be fine. Besides, Yale does a fantastic job of having tons of security and security escorts/cars if you need to get around at night. I, nor has anyone I have known in my time at school, ever felt unsafe here. More than anything though, Yale is a school of tradition. The traditions that students take part in here will stay with them forever. I wanted a school that had an amazing academic program, but also a fun social atmosphere as well, and I got the whole package in Yale.

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Yale has been a great fit for me. I love the variety of experiences available here that I wouldn't necessarily find anywhere else. There's diversity everywhere - from class sizes, to course topics, to teaching styles, to extracurriculars...even to the students themselves (ethnicity, religion, home country, out-of-the-box abilities). I absolutely love the chaotic harmony of different thoughts, opinions, and backgrounds. The campus is small enough where I will never feel lost in a sea of people, but big enough where I will always discover something new and make new friends. I spent most of my time running around on campus - from Science Hill laboratories, to our dozen coffee shops to meet with friends, to our English department seminar rooms. The change in scenery everywhere I go is wonderful - there are different types of people and thinkers in every niche on campus. To me, the biggest issues on campus have been the Title IX complaints (on sexual harassment) and campus security (New Haven is has often been labeled as one of the most violent cities in the US). Personally, I have been informed enough by administration, student groups, and the police department enough times when incidents have cropped up that I feel pretty safe. These issues shouldn't happen, but they do - and the best way to avoid getting hurt is to stay alert and think smart.

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I think Yale is a good school. I think. When I first started, I thought it was great, but now I'm not so sure... you have to know what you're getting into. Even though it is not as intense academically as some of its peer institutions—Harvard, Reed, Chicago, Swarthmore are all probably more difficult in that sense—there is a certain intensity and unrelentingness about the school that isn't initially apparent. During Finals Week, everyone is "SO STRESSED OUT." During The Game, everyone is "SO EXCITED." On Spring Fling, everyone is "SO DRUNK." And even though that seems like a great thing, there's a certain boring performativeness to it all... there are few people here who don't sometimes wish they went to Brown or Wesleyan, where it's much more relaxed and laid back and there isn't the same kind of pressure and drive. It doesn't help that New Haven is so dirty and, if not actually super-dangerous, dangerous feeling. There's just nothing relaxing about life at Yale. It's bad for the mind. That said, there are some amazing, fantastic people here, there are good parties, an absolutely incredible art and theatre scene, some awesome classes and professors... most things, taken individually, seem like they could not be improved. It's just that the whole picture taken together is somewhat unsatisfying.

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Yale is wealthy, old, and well-known. That means a Yale student always gets a reaction when she tells people she goes here. Sometimes that's a good thing, since the school has a reputation for academic rigor, but it can be awkward as well. The nice part is that the school doesn't hoard its money to itself. It spends, lavishly, on its students. We have every organization you can imagine, and the school makes an effort to provide everyone with funding, even individuals with project ideas of their own. The food is good - my friends who visit without exception prefer it to that of their own colleges - and a large and growing portion of it is sustainable. The campus is gorgeous, and it blends into the city of New Haven, so there's no exact division between the two. That being said, New Haven can get a bit sketchy, even close to campus, so it's important to take safety precautions. Size is a flexible issue here: the student body is large enough to provide some anonymity to those who crave it, but the division into residential colleges gives students that small community support too. In general, Yale is simply a happy place. Seniors are still as excited about the school as freshmen. And there is always so much to do.

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All in all, I have had a great experience at Yale - I've met so many interesting people that I really identify with and I have have so many ridiculously fun experiences here and I have grown so much as a person here. Obviously, since Yale is a top tier school, so many great academic and career opportunities exist here as well. That was my overview. Now, to take a step back. August and September and the beginning of October at Yale, it's really warm and nice-weathered. Campus is beautiful at that time. Perhaps during late October it starts getting colder, and rainy, but a lot of people really enjoy the snow. It actually snows until about mid-March, but many people enjoy playing out in the snow (you'll see so many people having snow ball fights organized by student clubs and such.) During the warmer days, you'll see everyone lounging on the grass, reading and studying and just socializing. It's amazing. Freshman year, most of the freshman live together, so there's a really great spirit of community within the class, so DEFINITELY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT AND MAKE FRIENDS OUTSIDE OF YOUR RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE.

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One of my favorite things about Yale is the residential college system. When you are accepted , you are sent your residential college assignment along with your acceptance letter. Each freshman is randomly placed into one of 12 residential colleges: Silliman, Timothy Dwight, Trumbull, Saybrook, Ezra Stiles, Morse, Berkeley, Branford, Jonathan Edwards, Davenport, Calhoun, and Pierson. This becomes your community for the next four years. You get to know the approximately 120 students in your class in your college (for example, Silliman class of 2010) extremely well, and they are your support group through the good and the bad. For a girl from an incredibly small town, like myself, it made going to college a lot less scary than it could have been. In fact, the frat scene here is much smaller than in other colleges, in part because we get that brother-sister feel in our residential colleges. Plus, there is layer upon layer of administrative support in the colleges for all you academic and social problems. The system makes it easy to make friends, and everyone is so wonderful-- how could you not??

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I think the best thing about Yale is that it definitely is a place for people to discover new things about the world as well as themselves. If I were to change one thing about Yale it would be the security. I have never felt threatened or in danger, however, I know of a ton of incidents that are very unsettling. I think that Yale is just right. When I tell people I go to Yale they usually say things like, "Wow, you must be really smart," or "What were your SAT scores?" I think that the biggest controversy on campus is racial diversity and hate crimes. I, personally, do not see racial diversity as a problem. If anything, I see a lot of self-segregation. I am Chinese-American, but I do not choose my friends based on their ethnicity. I have met people through activities that I enjoy. I am not trying to say that there isn't a problem, but I think that it is sometimes over-exaggerated. I do not think that there is a lot of school pride in the same way that there is at a big football school, but I do believe that most of the students at Yale love this school and love being part of life here.

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Best thing: The Beautiful Minds and progessive, creative vibe. The can-do attitude. The positivity. The spirit. One thing I'd change: it's a bit of an unreality; sometimes I want to shake these Beautiful Minds into the real world from whence I came. Such is the plight of the international student. School: TOO SMALL in TOO CONFINED A SPACE. "I go to Yale": Really? (Haha yes, really, surprise!) Wow. Most common Campus haunts: Suites, class, fencing room. College town? What college town? New Haven is it's own thing, for sure - I love it. Yale's admin? It tries, props, but no cigar. Recent controversy? Zeta Phi running outside the women's centre screaming "I LOVE YALE SLUTS!" and the ensuing failed lawsuit. Swastikas of packed snow on trees. School pride? Like no other. We heart Yale more than you heart your college and we'll prove it by wearing all the merchandise we can buy. Unusual? The people are STRANGE, but beautiful. BUT STRANGE! One experience I'll always remember? Taking a poor freshman's virginity. Most frequent student complaints? No money, no time, no real life.

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