Yale college

School Notes: Yale College
September/October 2006

Admissions in the twenty-first century

This past spring, Yale’s admissions rate for college applicants was the lowest in the history of the Ivy League: 8.9 percent of the 21,100 total applications were approved. The entering freshman class this fall numbers 1,315, including students from all 50 states and 44 foreign countries. As of press time the yield (the percentage of admitted students who accept) was not final, but it is expected to be approximately 71 percent.

With new dean Jeffrey Brenzel '75 at the helm, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions moved this past year to convert applications from paper folders to online files. The office also strongly encouraged applicants to file online, and succeeded in moving the number who apply online from 50 percent for the class of 2009 to 76 percent for the class of 2010. Dean Brenzel’s priorities for the coming year include: close attention to the recruitment of top science and engineering students, a strategic review of international admissions, and continued development of Yale’s financial-aid strategies and outreach to low-income students.  

The bulldog days of summer

The Yale campus is anything but sleepy during the summer months. Last summer 1,200 students enrolled in summer academic programs, about half of them Yalies, with Yale Summer Session contributing over $500,000 to Yale students for summer tuition assistance, and the Shafer Family Summer Fellowship fully funding seven New Haven public school students. The English Language Institute brought students from partner universities in China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and Mexico to attend courses. The creative writing program packed lecture halls with readings by such writers as Sharon Olds and Pete Hamill. Conference Services hosted programs for more than 3,000 people, including four programs for high school students: the Exploration Senior Program, which offers a wide array of courses; the Junior Statesmen Program, for students interested in politics and leadership; the SCHOLAR program sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the Yale School of Medicine; and the Ivy Scholars Grand Strategy debate and leadership program. At the same time the National Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs met, ringing bells in Harkness from noon to night for five days in June; and the faculty hosted conferences, such as the Mannes Institute for Advanced Study in Music Theory and the International Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature. All this activity kept a campus filled with renovations also filled with people.

A new dean for freshmen

Last year Yale College appointed a new assistant dean to focus entirely on freshman affairs. George Levesque, former dean of Berkeley College, assumed the mantle, and has since been providing direction, support, and nurture for students during a challenging transitional year. He also has begun helping faculty, deans, admissions officers, and others to enrich advising opportunities, add adult presence to the Old Campus, create better handbooks and websites, train counselors and advisers, and in general be strong advocates for entering students. He is expanding the Freshman Seminar program, which this year offers 35 small seminars taught by some of Yale’s most distinguished faculty, including: Stem Cells, Science, and Politics; The Court of Louis XIV; An Introduction to Nanoscience; and American Religion, American Life. This last one is taught by Jon Butler, the dean of the Yale Graduate School, who in this seminar is also teaching Yale’s youngest students.

Yale and the world

As Dean Peter Salovey heads to Peking University this month to help inaugurate a joint undergraduate program in which Yale College students and Peking University students will study and live together, Yale welcomes a new appointment in the international area: Jane Edwards has joined Yale as associate dean for international affairs in Yale College. Edwards, formerly the director of the Office of International Programs at Harvard, comes to Yale to coordinate and provide strategic planning for the various offices administering international programs for undergraduates. She joins several other assistant deans who are now devoting a great deal of time to international initiatives in areas such as career services and fellowship programs.

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