BackgroundInterview Date:March 2019
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: East Asian
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public high school in Southern California with a graduating class of about 880 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Majors: Statistics and Data Science and Math and Philosophy double Major
Minor: There are no minors at Yale.
Extracurricular Activities: I play Club Soccer, I’m in a fraternity, I’m in Yale Undergraduate Diversified Investments (YUDI), and Yale Net Impact.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Club Soccer and Greek life have changed my social atmosphere. Club Soccer was the first club that I joined and it allowed me to play soccer and also have a social scene because we had mixers. Greek life started this fall and that also expanded my social atmosphere. YUDI and Yale Net Impact have been more so supplementary, they just get me working more and help prepare professionally.
Did your business-oriented clubs have application processes?
Yes, both had applications. YUDI was a little bit more relaxed while Net Impact was stricter.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
This semester has been all problem sets. I have four problem sets a week, which is rough. Next semester will be lighter and I’ll only have two or three problem sets per week. For Statistics and Data Science classes I only have exams. For the Philosophy classes in Math and Philosophy, I have 1-2 papers per semester and reading.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
Statistics and Data Science is growing pretty quickly so they’re adjusting to having a lot more students than they’re used to. But, I think they’re adjusting pretty well. Math and Philosophy is a pretty small major and is cool because it’s a combination of STEM majors and Philosophy majors.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s pretty collaborative. Most classes are curved pretty generously, which leads to grade inflation. A lot of classes encourage collaboration in work. It’s definitely not a cutthroat environment.
How accessible are your professors?
For the most part, they’re pretty accessible. Some professors will not respond to emails and some will respond consistently up until midnight before the midterm, which is awesome. A lot of professors will hold regular office hours. In general, if you chat with them they will be responsive.
Do you feel people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yale is a pretty liberal and progressive environment, but, at the same time, I don’t think students are open-minded in how they view things. I haven’t been in any classes where people discuss these topics, but the general atmosphere seems like it’s hard for people to be open to new ideas. I don’t think that’s just Yale, I think that’s most colleges and is reflective of the U.S. in general nowadays.
How has being a first-generation student impacted you academically? Were there systems in place to help you?
I was lucky that my high school had a good track record academically and most students went to top University of California schools. We were well prepared for college academically and I didn’t feel out of place at Yale at all. The academics portion wasn’t an issue for me.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I came in undeclared, as most students do. I thought I would be an Economics major because I want to go into finance after college, but I didn’t like Intro to Microeconomics and that the Economics department is really big. I also thought Statistics and Data Science would be more flexible because I would learn skills that would let me possibly pivot to look at jobs in tech if I want to. I thought it allowed for more career flexibility. [In 2015-2016, Economics was the most popular major with 13% of undergraduates majoring in it.]
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Farnam Hall in a suite of four people.
Sophomore: In my residential college, Jonathan Edwards, with three suitemates.
How was transitioning from Southern California to New Haven, CT?
Transitioning from Southern California to New Haven has taken a bit to adjust to but I really like it. I think it has been smoother than I expected.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I personally feel very safe. I’m a guy, so I have never felt threatened by anyone on campus. There is always security around and we have the blue light system. I don’t go out alone late at night, so I have never felt a reason to feel alarmed.
Pros and cons of being located in New Haven, CT?
1) It’s right between Boston and New York City, which are two hubs for career-oriented things. Companies will let us visit their offices. It’s also very easy to visit [as a tourist].
2) It’s a city, but at the same time, it’s a small town. It’s not a college town, but it’s not a massive city.
3) The food around campus is diverse and accessible. You can walk to a lot of places.
I think all the cons are very light cons and I don’t necessarily see them as negatives.
1) New Haven needs to take care of its people. There are a lot of homeless people near the school. [New Haven has the second highest homeless population in Connecticut.]
2) Some people might not like the weather. It can be cold at times and there is snow.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Yale?
My fraternity is one of the more socially active fraternities on campus, so there will be brothers hanging out on any given night depending on their work. The big nights for going out are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. On Wednesdays, I’ll finish my work, get dinner, and then go to a party at the frat house or go to Toad’s Place. Toad’s Place on Wednesdays are sometimes really big and sometimes not, I only go unless it’s a big one. Friday and Saturday nights, I’ll go to the fraternity house and stay until whenever. I’ll also have mixers either with my Club Soccer team or my fraternity on the weekends.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
There is currently a lawsuit on this topic. It’s a major social outlet, but I don’t think it’s the only one. There are registered events in residential colleges, people have suite parties, and different organizations will have parties and events. Greek life is a major social outlet I think because it’s the most convenient. You can walk over, everybody is welcome, and you can hop from house to house.
What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
My suitemates and I will stay in and play video games or board games.
How happy are you with the nightlife at Yale? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m very satisfied with it and I probably wouldn’t change anything. Other people might want to change things and I can see why, but I personally wouldn’t.
How did you meet your closest friends?
They happened to be my suitemates freshman year. We bonded very closely there. Two friends I’ve kept in touch with I met through our orientation, Bulldog Day.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
Yale’s not very exclusive and there are a lot of options. It’s very vibrant and I think it can feel similar to some of the bigger schools I’ve visited.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Very well. Yale’s a very liberal campus. Even the most conservative people I know aren’t socially conservative, they’re just fiscally and idealistically conservative. It doesn’t come out in racism or homophobia.
How would you describe the East Asian community on campus? How strong is it?
I’ve gone to a couple of events but am not that involved. I feel fine not being part of the community as much because all of my friends at home are Asian and I felt that I needed a change of pace. At Yale, we have the Asian American Cultural Center which is a house that’s there for the Asian American community. If you’re seeking that community out, it’s definitely there.
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek mix socially?
A lot. I bring my friends who aren’t in my fraternity to the house and it’s fine. At least in my fraternity, we don’t look at people like, “You’re not cool because you’re not in the fraternity.” The only times we don’t let people in is because of liability issues. Most guys in the fraternity have friends who aren’t in it.
How do you like the size of Yale in terms of undergraduate enrollment? [Yale has about 5,500 undergraduates.]
I really like the size because it’s big enough where you’re meeting new people every day and small enough where the people you don’t know have a familiar face. You can meet new people but everybody still feels familiar. It was about 50% larger than my high school, so that was a nice transition for me.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yale alumni have helped me gain experience in networking and asking for help because I’ve gotten interviews from connecting and networking with them. I’ll cold email or cold LinkedIn connect people in the Yale network and they’ve gone out of their way to help me prepare for interviews and look for internships.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful are they?
I have never been to the physical career office, but we have a website called Simplicity where jobs are posted and I’m there all the time looking at internship openings. It helps that it’s super accessible.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages through your coursework that will be helpful professionally?
One of the early classes I took taught R and a class I’m currently taking also teaches R. I’m also currently taking an Intro to Programming class that teaches Java.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how helpful and responsive is the office?
They’ve been great. I have had no issues with them. My study abroad was basically fully funded.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Yale before entering as a freshman?
I think everything I’ve learned about Yale has been positive and have enjoyed. There is nothing I wish I knew because there’s still a lot I don’t know and nothing I haven’t known has impacted me negatively.
What is something a prospective student interested in Greek life may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
We don’t have the typical “frat bros” in our fraternity. It’s important to get to know the brothers personally and, if you vibe with them, you’ll probably get a bid. We have people of different races and the president last semester was openly gay. It’s a very non-judgmental place.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Bulldog Day is really good. It was the reason I chose Yale. You also might miss how long you may have to walk to get to classes if you have a building that’s far away. I don’t think there is anything major you’ll miss.
Reasons to attend Yale:
1) The brand name of Yale will get you places. Having an @yale.edu email address is huge. My emails are read and responded to much more now that I have that.
2) The alumni network will help so much. People who I’ve cold connected with on LinkedIn have helped me so much with interview prep and looking for internships.
3) I really like the residential college system. It’s a smaller community that’s representative of the Yale community, so you have people of different majors and backgrounds living in the same dorm together.
4) People you meet at Yale are extremely intelligent and have very interesting and cool backgrounds. People here are some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. There are people here who are unbelievably wealthy and they won’t treat you differently, they’re also very genuine. [Socioeconomically, 3.7% of students come from the top 0.1%.]
Reasons to not attend Yale:
1) The weather might be a factor if you really don’t like the cold.