Applying to U.S. Universities: Tips from Yale Undergraduate Students



hi I'm Diana I'm from Brooklyn New York my name is Jane Darby Minton I'm from Tallahassee Florida my name is Mathew Finney I'm from Richmond Virginia but most recently I lived in Brussels Belgium I guess for me the first thing that I won the most was definitely a really strong sense of community and I think that especially one of the top institutions academics you can sort of get what you need from a lot of different institutions but I think what really makes the difference is how do you feel in terms of the institutions and the organization's of actually yeah and when I was looking at schools it was kind of similar I wanted a place that would be really academically challenging but I also wanted a place where everyone loved being there and when I visited Yale I realized everyone was just happy and really engaged and I wanted to be a part of that yeah I had a very similar experience I I just knew that I want to be in the United States and that I what I went to school I want to be someplace where it was a small community within a much larger community so that there would be people that you knew and people that knew you within all of the resources of a bigger school so I took the SAT I took it once and I remember it was a really nerve-wracking process I think all I understand by now everyone understand it's really important but I think what's really important to remember is that the sh e doesn't really test for your intelligence all the time obviously for smarter that helps but something I was really important for me was to take a lot of practice tests um and I think that just familiarizing yourself with the test really helps and that's interesting um I also took the SAT and I think that when you're going into that it's easy to think that oh this is going to make or break me but I think that the best way to really go in is realize it's only one part of your application and a lot of other things matter too and with the SAT if you go in not being scared by the test you're just going to do better when I took the SAT for the first time I got to the testing center in the morning and it was just so crowded I thought all of Belgium was there taking that test um and it made me a little nervous but you know I wouldn't find out it's a long test I think the best thing is to make sure you get a good night's sleep the night before and that you know you're up at least an hour out half before the test and you get a good breakfast and you just make sure brain is working correctly before you take it because uh cramming really doesn't work the time I crammed was the time I got the low score I got on the SAT so yeah that's my advice so I think the thing that's really important to keep in mind throughout this whole process is that if you're applying to sort of the elite institutions what ends up happening is that a lot of people aren't class president a lot of people are president of a team et cetera cetera toward newspaper but what you really need to do is show why those things matter to you and that's what I try to do in my essay I heard about debate was a really fun activity for me all throughout high school and I tried to talk about why specifically debate was important to me so I wrote about both debate and my family what 'mentally personally to be able to compete in different countries and sort of express myself and I think that's what was that was the type of strategy I tried shaking my ass a yeah um with the Yale application at least and I think this is true of a lot of different applications or a lot of different applications I sent I had two big essays there's the common app essay and then there's also a supplement essay and for my common app essay I did kind of enter the similar about this Diana I was really involved with Latin competitions in high school which is kind of a weird thing so I wrote about a specific moment and really tried to capture in that moment why I had spent five years working these classics competitions instead of just saying oh you know these are the things I want this is what I've accomplished but with my other essay I took a very different route um I just tried to show who I was and I think that's a really important thing you've got to remember that they want to know who you are as a person so I kind of view my essay as like a hologram like projecting myself into the admissions room seeing it I would fit kind of personality-wise and showing them who I was and you know if they decided that that's what they wanted in my common FSA for Yale I really wrote about an experience that just defined my life as I know it which was moving to Belgium when I was 10 um and so I wrote about that experience living abroad getting to live in a new country learn a new language just immerse yourself in the name culture um and through that I really was able to show you know what made me me I talked about all that sort of the most defining experiences of my time in Belgium and how that changed me as a person how that made me sort of I guess who I am today as cliche as that sounds um and then in Maya Maya supplement essay a specific to Yale I wrote about an internship experience I had in Brussels um just demonstrating a some of the things I was able to learn and the things I hope to learn in college to to hopefully get more experiences like that I think something that was really helpful for me is definitely use the resources you have around you which means definitely talk to older people that have already gone through the process and I think it's true experience the most important thing in this and obviously everyone only really goes to this one time so you can't really ask your peers around you they are going through the same thing but it is especially helpful to talk to someone who can maybe give you specific tips about any you know any questions you have about any particular part of the process or if someone is as everyone's at the school that you're applying to that's also really helpful because they can explain to you how they went to the process and I think for me that was helpful um I'm going to say kind of the piece of advice I think everyone says but everyone ignores you really want to make sure that you be yourself in your application and you want to present yourself for who you are first of all because that's what the admissions office wants to see I'm sure that it's very refreshing to get an application that's candid and honest and on the other hand you also really want the school to choose you for who you are not for who you're presenting yourself to be because when you get there they're going to be choosing you based on what they see on your application and to make it a good fit you got to show yourself I think it's really great at at some point you have a chance to go and visit these schools that you're thinking of applying to but if you're looking in Belgium that's maybe not always the most practical thing if you're applying to schools in the United States so I would really suggest that you keep in touch with the admissions officers are responsible for international missions at that school ah because if you let them know that hey I'm considering applying firm from Belgium I'm really interested interested in the school at some point you're going to get a phone call from a current student and this student is probably going to be someone who's from your country from Belgium who can really tell you about the school tell you what it's like to go to that school having been in the Belgian education system having lived in Belgium having had similar life experience to you um and that's really something that's incredibly valuable um so yeah definitely keep in touch take advantage of all the resources that have with the international admissions offices with students that you might know who from your school have gone to schools the United States and with your local Fulbright coordinators

28 Comments

  1. SAT is nowhere nerve wracking considered to LYS. lys is turkish university exam and the only criteria for getting into universities is your lys score. people study for two fucking years. Btw i don't know why i am telling this here. it was a rough year last year

  2. these kids are weird…..do they really genuinely care about Latin competitions? or is that just a front to get into these Universities?

    What if youre just an ordinary dude who works hard at school but doesn't give a shit about pointless debate teams or Latin clubs or the water polo team or whatever pretentious shit you need to pretend to care about to get in?

  3. Apply time is right around the corner for me . I'm nervous though because I'm aiming for full ride . I scored a perfect score on my SAT the first time but I scored 34 on my ACT. My weigh in GPA is 4.02 however nothing traumatic has ever took place in my life that I could say truly defines me .

  4. I'm only 14 hope to go to Yale I can do it and achieve it i am going to set this goal to one day I find myself on the front lawn around many smart unique people who I will meet and greet with

  5. Okay, maybe the guy talks about Belgium a lot but these three obviously volunteered to provide free advice for anyone that need it so instead of criticizing the poor dude, let him be and soak up the good stuff.

  6. A new book/ebook: "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” Endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it paints a revealing picture of complex America to help those who will benefit from a better understanding, including international students. It also has chapters that identify the most common English grammar and speech problems foreigners have. Good luck to all!

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