College Life / College Resources / Forthcoming / Religion

Yale FAQs: outside of class, churches, and essay help

It’s college application season again which means I’m getting emails from students asking about Yale. In an attempt to democratize this information and give students a jumping off point for their application essays, I’m collecting some of my answers here. 

If you’d like to know more or have further questions, please feel free to get in touch, check out my previous FAQs about Yale, or see what others have to say in the Forthcoming series. 

What’s your favorite non-academic part about Yale?

It’s cheesy to say “the people,” but after a year away from school. It’s definitely the people. I go to school with some of the funniest, most amazing, and talented people. I’m always learning new things from them.

We get to do so many interesting things because Yale has resources to fund them: I’ve been to see Broadway shows in New York (pre pandemic), talked to famous authors/artists , and taken field trips to places like the New York Times office. Yale is situated 2 hours by train from both Boston and New York. I’ve been to both places to visit friends and to attend lectures at different universities.

I’ve also really enjoyed Christian community at Yale. I’m in YSC (Yale Students for Christ), and it’s been really cool to walk through life with them. It’s definitely helped me grow a lot in my faith. 

What are the churches like in the area?

There are several really great ones! I go to Trinity Baptist Church which is about a 15 minute walk from campus. I liked Trinity because they go chapter by chapter, verse by verse through books of the Bible, and I appreciate being plugged into the New Haven community more generally.

YSC has this nifty page with some of the churches’ websites and walking groups for people who may want a buddy during the first few weeks of school each year. 

What are college teas? 

This isn’t necessarily a question I get often. But it’s one I think people should ask because Yale’s application asks the following question:

Yale’s residential colleges regularly host conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What would you ask them to discuss?

YAle Admissions Essay topics

This question is about college teas! And having the context of what actually happens at Yale might help. College teas are events hosted by the residential colleges where someone gives a short public talk, takes questions, and then often goes to dinner with a small group of students. Each of the 14 residential colleges at Yale has a Head of College who invites guest speakers. They could be anyone: journalists, actors, non-profit organizers, scientists, and more. You can find a list of speakers my residential college has hosted here

This month, I went to a college tea with Kathy Lu and Julia Chang Wang, the founders of the Immigrant History Initiative. I was also randomly selected to go to dinner with them afterward at the Head of College House. After hearing about their work, I got to talk to them about my interests and get their perspective on a story I’m interested in writing. 

If you’re writing answering the question about who to invite, I’d think about who you’d be interested in having a conversation with that you might not get to otherwise. Is there a writer you really admire? An inventor whose genius you’d love to bask in for a few hours? Do you have a favorite singer who you’d love to talk to? You might actually get to do that here. 

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