Dear Uh, Artie?,
Hello. My daughter is interested in attending Yale. We were wondering how soon is too soon to begin preparing for the process. She is a freshman in high school. Is there someone who could give her pointers on what classes could best prepare her, extracurriculars, what Yale is looking for, share memories of his/her Yale years, etc.? We would appreciate it greatly.Thank you.
— "Parent Who Cares"
I'm glad for your and your daughter's interest in Yale. I'm glad when anyone cares about education at all.
My response is strictly my own perspective as a teacher and parent. It is not based on some official Yale policy or recommendation.
I have no idea what advice to give you, this early in your daughter's high school life. Perhaps her high school college counselor might have useful advice.
I believe that the best thing to do is encourage your daughter to live fully now — for the sake of a rich life today, rather than in pursuit of acceptance to a college. If she nourishes her interests, develops her strengths, finds passion in some of her academic and extracurricular life, then she will be doing everything she can.
At my 25th Yale reunion, I learned of classmates who had moved halfway around the world to increase their chances of acceptance to Yale (as international candidates). Hard to believe. I don't know if it worked. I don't recommend it.
My own perspective on what Yale is looking for...
Again this is just one guy's intuition. I don't have any inside information. Just perspective based on applying in 1978 and watching casually ever since. I've also interviewed Yale applicants during the years and seen Admissions make choices that I could not predict.
The Admission Committee isn't making individual acceptance decisions, so much as they are convening a class. The pool is so rich — they could easily double or triple the class without diminishing quality — that they are more focused on assembling a tremendous community. The right mix of people. Just combine in New Haven and stir.This means it's hard for any of us to predict what qualities Yale seeks when then come through Ohio or Osaka. That can be frustrating, because we're all working one-on-one with our wonderful children. Yale understands that. But Yale needs to make sure they have one of each of the best, so there is enormous diversity and, well, collegiality. So, all too often, a tremendous individual is passed over.
But all this is far too early.
There is life to be lived in the meantime. And not lived for Yale.
Come what may, the best is yet to be.
Wishing you every delight,