Founded in 1701, Yale University is the third oldest university in the USA and boasts of over 12,000 students pursuing their undergraduate and graduate studies on its campus. One of the largest research universities in the country, nearly 19% of the students at Yale are from overseas.


In this series of #Admissions ConnectJeremiah Quinlan, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Yale University, spoke to Rajaram Sukumar on the university’s selection processes


Below are the excerpts:


Admission ConnectQ. A Liberal Arts Education seems to be the flavor of Yale. Why do you focus so much on Liberal Arts?

A. We really feel that with the future, with so much change, there needs to be a real broad thinking group of leaders that can help us solve the world’s problems. There we need to have students with broad liberal arts education. They can certainly focus on particular areas of expertise, in certain fields; they also can also make the connection in a wide range of subject materials. They can write well, they can communicate effectively, and can do data analytics. They may have a specific expertise but they still need to have all these skills, they need to be familiar with foreign languages, they need all these skills to be prepared to be leaders in the years to come.


Q. So the focus is on creating well-rounded personalities?

A. Of course, our students learn as much in the classroom, as they do outside of the classroom, in working with extracurricular activities and other things like that they learn how to be leaders, they know how to influence others, they know how to get tasks done, and it goes on.


Q. The Yale College Programs of Study or ‘Blue Book’ refers to some 2000 programs of study. Which are the most popular programs on offer?

A. We have 80 different majors that the student can take. The most popular majors are Political Science, Economics and Biology.


Q. Do you have any undergraduate programmes in Management?

A. No. We don’t have undergraduate programmes in Management. We have a Graduate School of Management. Students who are undergraduates in Economics go to Management programmes. Many of our undergraduate students can take classes at the Business School and that is really a great way students can get into Management.


Q. What are the general principles to keep in mind while selecting a course at Yale?

A. We want students who have an interest in one area but also a variety of interests. You know how it is difficult to select a specific major because they come here with so many interests and they can take classes from the 2000 on offer that they wouldn’t have in India or any other country that they have come. So they have so many interests, they may want a double major or they may want a major and take a lot of interests in other areas. We wand them to go in depth in one area but we always want to remember that it is all about getting that well-rounded education that is going to make you a leader for the next generation.


Q. What are the parameters for choosing a course at a proper level?

A. We have many advisors who help us do this, so every student gets a 4-year academic advisor, called their Dean, they also get a faculty advisor and freshmen have seniors who are called Freshmen Counsellors as their advisors. So they get a lot of advice on how to choose their courses. We recommend students to take one or two courses in a major before they choose a major and they can use their words with their advisors to do this.


Q. What about the diversity of the campuses?  

A. About 11 percent of our undergraduates are international and that has increased over the last two years. We have a very diverse campus; students from over a hundred countries a year come here for their undergraduate studies.


Q. What are the qualifications needed for a student from India to get admission there? Any qualifying tests like SAT?

A. You need to take SAT or ACT, you need to take a very rigorous high school programme, very well prepared for college, whether it is Indian national exams or IB Diploma, you need to write an essay or two, you need to do various letters of recommendation. Many students get to talk to the alumni of the university, we have alumni here in Delhi. They need to touch base and talk it out with the alumni. We look at extracurricular activities of students. All these things go into our consideration.


Q. Do you have a number of Indian students at Yale?

A. The number has certainly increased over the years. For the last 15 years we found from one or two Indian students a year increasing to 12 to 15 students a year. These numbers are for the undergraduate studies.


Q. How do Indian students fare on the campus?

A. When we look back at them, we find the Indian students do very well during the four years they are there. They do very well academically, they do very well socially.


Q. Freshmen can conduct original research from the first year at Yale. How do you inspire freshmen to undertake research?

A. We give them the opportunity, we fund them. We actually have funding in place for students to do research with faculty in between their first and second years. So they are paid for and we fund the entire sum for research that a student takes.


Q. Apart from the quality of education, what other factors prompt Indian students to flock to the West? Is it because they want to stay back there, get jobs?

A. No. Most of our Indian students come back to India. They come here because they want a four-year degree, they want a curriculum that focuses on broad concepts, fresh sort of thinking, they have multiple interests, they are not that interested in pre-professional, pre-university model. They want something that has breadth and depth.


Q. The government is mulling a legislation to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India in partnership with local universities. What’s your take on this? 

A. We did that in Singapore with National University of Singapore, we created a joint venture; it was an incredibly difficult but rewarding experience. So I think it will be dependent on how India wants to do this without outside help. I think there is already a lot of success, especially with Ashoka University; theirs is a successful model of private universities being built without outside help. But another university might  feel if it needs expertise that a partner can provide.


Q. Every year, THE, ARWU and QS come out with university ranking and the results are not that identical. Parameters to rank the universities too differ. How does Yale look at this?

A. We take rankings with a grain of salt because they are completely subjective on what a person’s criteria are. See, you get so many different rankings across magazines; across different articles, their values are different. Are the students’ values same as that of the magazines? There might be specific factors that are really important for the students than they are for the magazines. So I think, the students aren’t looking for the rankings. Otherwise, they might be making limited choices based on the information that may not live up with their own values.


Q. Your expectation is that when a student leaves Yale, he will have come to a deeper understanding of the continuing joy of disciplined learning. Do you achieve this?


A. These are the things we look for in our students. But then Yale really does try to put these things in the place, both for education in the classroom and also outside the classroom. We really want to find students who have a joy for learning and obviously gain them hands-on because we have an amazing faculty and amazing programmes. You can live to be a lifelong learner that is what we want you to be because with people having so many jobs these days in today’s modern world, you know it’s not really about all the skills that you know, it’s how quickly you can learn what you need to learn when you start a new job. That’s what a lot of consultancies are saying, a lot of the companies are saying, they don’t need a functional expert, they need to see someone who is really interested in joyful learning.


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Questions related to United States of America

Showing 36 out of 36 Questions

I wish to become a Neurosurgeon, but first I wish to practice in the United States or Singapore for half of my career and to spend last half of my career in India. Whether my wish is a good one? Is it possible? Is my decision is correct? Kindly commend on my wish?

Priyaanka Sarkar Student Expert 7th Apr, 2020

Raja, we have been discussing your career and aspirations for a while now and we appreciate that you want to take Career360's opinion on the matter of your career. So by now, you are aware of the fact what it takes to become a neurosurgeon and what it is to clear USMLE, practise as a resident in the US. We also have discussed the life style and the salary part. Now regarding the first half and later half of the career, we only wish we could predict our timeline on this planet. We do not which might be the first half or which might be the later part. But no wish is bad. If you want to achieve something, you should lest you regret for the rest of your lofe. Now to practise in the US, you may have to appear for USMLE, clear the step 1 and then practise as a resident before you can get the license to practise as a full time neurosurgeon. That is a long process that might take good 4-5 years. You study MBBS in India for 50 months and then complete the 1 year rotational internship and it takes you as many as 5 years. And appearing for USMLE and then working as a resident take another 4 years and so 10 years of your life are spent getting a valid license to practise in the US. And then lets say after 5 years you want to move to Singapore, that takes a whole different processing because you need to appear for their license exam. And you work in Singapore for lets say another 5 years and you come back to India. 15 years of your life are spent studying and getting licenses. But the beauty is within 15 years you can actually get license to practise in 3 countries. So you need to take a call. Or how about you finish MBBS in India, move to Singapore to study your MD/MS and plan on moving to the US? That way the transition is going to be smoother.


Is there any age limit to take admission into Ph.D in USA?

lakshita shaan 3rd Apr, 2020
Hey vasu,
The age limit which almost every University demands is 35 years. If anybody is above that they can might miss the chance to get enroll theirselves for phd.
This age is decided because phd is all about researching and writing ,they usually demand people who is also iinvolved in academics and departmental works.
Good luck!

Are Neurosurgeons happy in San Francisco?

Animesh Vats Student Expert 5th Apr, 2020


Well I guess they are because they get very good six figure salary and have a great job security although it's stressing but still they like their job cause they got into it knowing the stress it may carry. Neurosurgery is very much in demand and is a very great speciality in medical field.

I hope my answer helps.

All the best.


Are Neurosurgeons happy in New York?

Manish Singh 2nd Apr, 2020

It will all depend upon the lifestyle and the office hours you put in the work. The number of opd days, OT days and the visit to the wards for rounds. It all affect the free time period for a doctor. In USA,you have to pay tax for the services thus it can be little less than what you make in india


Are US Neurosurgeons rich enough to live a comfortable life in the United States?

Nikki Nair 2nd Apr, 2020

Hello Aspirant

It will totally depend where are you working and what are you getting paid.

As US is anyways costly ,there lifestyle tends to change.Neurosurgeons in Us are paid according to their qualification as well as where they work

According to research

The average income for a neurosurgeon is $775,968

The middle range income is approx $704,170

the lowest paid are $350,000

And the top 10 % of the neurosurgeon get a pay of $1,229,881 per year!

So it totally depends upon your qualification and the place you work if you can have a comfortable life or not


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