Yale is the most superb institution of learning I can imagine. If I could change one thing, it would be the number of requirements. Regardless of how many 5s one receives on AP exams, one still must take not only pre-requisites in humanities, social science and science, but also a year of foreign language plus quantitative reasoning courses. This is all wonderful for a true liberal arts education, but makes it tough for those of us who are either double majors or for those with majors outside the science fields who are also on a pre-med track.
The school atmosphere is vibrant and stimulating, yes; but it can also cross the line into frenetic and overwhelming. Since everyone's involved in so many activities on top of a full course load, sleep has a tendency to go by the wayside. And you get the sense that you're not delving deep enough into any one thing to really appreciate its full value. Yale students need to learn how to slow down, create time for reflection, and invest in learning experiences outside the classroom, club, or athletic field--real life experiences.
There are so many resources available to undergraduates- books, artwork, professors, student groups- and it is impossible to take advantage of everything that is offered. I wish I had more time to immerse myself in journalism, politics and other interests with which I didn't immediately fill my time.
It can be overwhelming at times -- everyone is brilliant (and amazingly kind), there are so many things to do, and class can be intense. So, between class, sports, extracurriculars and social stuff , it can get hard to balance. Underclassmen, in particular, sometimes struggle to prioritize.
The career services!!!!!!!!!!!! At such a great school, they are very outdated if you want a career in anything outside the norm. If you want med/law/biz school, I-banking or consulting, you're set. Other than that, they need a serious overhaul.
It is hard to balance social life, academic life, extra-curriculars, etc. There's a saying that you can only have two of five things: sleep, romantic relationships, academics, extra-curriculars, frienships.
Everyone seems to do something cooler that me during the summers or doing better than me in classes. It's what you get for going to school with a bunch of perfectionists and over-achievers.
It's hard to anything new like a new club or sport or instrument because everyone else participating was pretty much an expert in it in high school.
The most frustrating aspect of my freshman year at Yale was the limited dining hall hours on the weekends.
The student body is very intense and entitled, which makes for a weirdly stressful environment.