it is very hard academically but the effort it takes to do all the academic work and to partake in a varsity sport is worth the large amount it takes
Yale is a wonderful place to go to school- I honestly could not be happier. There is definitely a lot of pressure and a lot of work, but it is also incredibly fun. The people are the best thing about the school- I never stop meeting fascinating people who have accomplished amazing things and yet are very down-to-earth. New Haven gets a bad reputation, but personally, I love it (I'm actually staying here over the summer). The clothing stores are mostly expensive, but there are tons of great restaurants, coffee shops, clubs, galleries, theater, etc. It is a city with a lot of history and character. Yalies are all basically in love with their school- it's just a very happy place to be. I would describe it as a "work hard, play hard" kind of place:" people are driven and devoted to their schoolwork (obviously...we all got into Yale after all), but there is also a huge party scene and for those not into that, tons of other fun things to do on weekends. Sports may not be as big as at state schools, but most people go out to support the football team and we are very proud of our bulldogs. The residential college system is one of the most unique and special things about Yale. It provides the perfect balance- you get all the resources of a huge university, but also get the familial feel of a smaller community. I am constantly amazed by the opportunities available at Yale, in everything from speakers coming here to visit to professors I can study with to summer programs/internships.
Yale is forever. It becomes part of your identity, your sense of self. And you only have to pay for those first four years. If alumni are quick to mention they went to Yale, it's usually out of a lingering awe, like the ultimate brush with greatness, like being able to say you went to the original Woodstock or the party at Ben Franklin's house right after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. You get a seat at the table. Any table you want. Often, it's a dining hall table. There, dinnertime conversation can be like a capstone seminar in any topic - especially if you join different tables and even eat in different dining halls. One night the folks at the table could include a playwright beginning his journey toward a Pulitzer prize; a football player/theater studies major destined to metamorphose into a quadriplegic motivational speaker; an art major later listed and thriving in New York; a Hollywood insider trying on the very large shoes of her literary giant father (and soon walking very gracefully in her own shoes); and some soft-spoken history major eager to see her dad - your childhood idol - when he visits later that week. To stay in earshot of these conversations, next thing you know, you've offered to sew together little spermlike dance costumes for an upcoming production of Cabaret whose costume designer, too, goes into the business.
Yale has no real campus but there is a Yale bubble within New Haven so if you only like the idea of a gated community, the campus is not for you. There is a lot of school pride against Harvard and among the sports people, but other than that there is more residential college pride that is merely light hearted fun. This is not a school full of spirit like the other very large athletic schools. There are no real advisors during the first year which makes the experience difficult, especially as a freshman faces his or her first "shopping period." Although all of the food is sustainable and Yale tries to offer vegetarian options at every meal, the students certainly do get tired of the food and the only option is to go to one of New Haven's many fine restaurants that cost an arm and a leg. The school is a university focused school so if you do not plan to go into a profession in which research is important, Yale may not be the place for you.
I love Yale. It's the perfect size (about 5 thousand undergrads and 11 thousand total), and it's made to feel like home with the residential college system (think Hogwarts, except 12 colleges and there's no magic). New Haven is a wonderful city to live in because there are so many cool things to do and see (night clubs, restaurants, parks, museums, etc.), but it is also very close to New York City (easy train-ride away). There are definitely impoverished areas, but these provide great ways to help out and improve the world around you- I love it! When you are on the Yale campus or in New Haven it is great, but when you're somewhere else and somebody asks you where you go to school, I often feel like a tool when I say "Yale". Many people tell strangers that they go to Pierson College, or Calhoun College, etc. - whichever residential college they are in. That way, people don't assume anything about you for going to Yale.
The people. Generally really chill. All amazing. Actually, the best thing are the opportunities and resources that are available. If you want to do something cool, ANYTHING, Yale will probably let you do it and FUND it for you. You just need to pay attention to the things that are offered, the projects other students are doing, and make a little effort to get whatever you want started. Seriously any random cool projects are very possible. There are ALWAYS things to do. In fact, there are so many things to do, it's overwhelming. It is such an accepting school--on many levels. New Haven is really not bad. I love it actually. Lots of different kinds of restaurants. Just don't go out too late alone or else you might get mugged. You know, common sense. I'd say there is a good amount of school pride. Yale itself is unusual. Unsually fantastic. And the people who go there are mind-blowingly unusual in the best way possible.
The best thing about Yale is, to put it broadly, the people. Going to Yale was hands-down the best choice I've ever made. All of my closest friends are people that I met during college, and while I get a range of responses from "I'm impressed" to "So you think you're so great, huh?" when I tell people I went to Yale, I can't possibly imagine myself having gone anywhere else and being as happy. It was perfectly sized, the "shopping period" method of classes was a really interesting and effective way to make sure that you were going to take classes that you like and allowed you exposure to all sorts of academic topics. Honestly, one of the best things about Yale when I was there was the administration's lax approach to drinking on campus. The residential college system worked better on paper than it did in reality, especially for those of us who were stuck in Morse.
The best thing about Yale are the people you meet and the opportunities presented, both always things you are enriched by. Telling people one goes to Yale is context specific - for the most part, it is a well recognized name, but not always something easy or useful to give away. While on campus, I like to split my time among class areas, the many wonderful libraries, the dining halls, my college Berkeley and running errands around the remainder of the place. As much as Yale is split among different social circles, it is surprising and comforting to see how these overlap through several people, and how no matter what, Yalies look out for and love other Yalies. Unusual to people who visit, are the many resources we have available to us here.
Yale is an unparalleled institution. For the first time in my life, I feel as if school administrators are actually on my side and trying to make all of our lives better. The school is willing to help you accomplish almost anything you can dream of. They will back you on almost any issue. It is really amazing to see the things that students create at Yale. The mindset on campus is one of sheer possibility. Although there is a tendency for Yalies to overload themselves, it is part of the fun. As soon as I get on campus, I can feel the energy of the place. It is not just a place for learning in classrooms; it is a place where you are constantly learning.
Most people have the idea that Yale is some sort of exclusive gentleman's club. This is completely true, in a way: Mory's, the Yale Club, secret societies – they all exist. And of course, when you graduate, there are tons of successful Yalies who would be happy to give you a job or put you in contact with a colleague. Yet people seem to think that only rich white legacy kids have access to this, when the truth is that it is available to anyone who works hard enough to get in. Yale goes out of its way to let in a completely diverse group of students, both racially and economically. Now, anyone can be part of the Yale legacy.