Dear parents and guardians of students in Yale College,
Hello from the Office of First-Year Affairs; below is a copy of this week’s email to the Class of 2026.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean of First-Year Affairs
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Dear Members of Class of 2026,
This is the last of the messages for this summer from our office introducing you to academics in the College. Today, we write to share with you some thoughts on selecting your courses both for the term ahead, and in the longer run, but please keep in mind the important dates and deadlines listed below, especially the Preference Selection round of course registration from August 9-15.
Yale College offers nearly 1,000 courses per term in subjects ranging from astronomy and anthropology to English and engineering and beyond. Some of these subjects you will have studied in high school, and you may wish to deepen and expand your knowledge by pursuing them further now. Others will be new to you, but do not let their unfamiliarity hinder your exploration, particularly as you begin your studies. Take courses that genuinely spark your intellectual curiosity and pull you out of your comfort zone. You will benefit from the stretch.
Introductory courses are often offered in lecture format, and you will likely find yourself in several such courses in each of your first two terms. Many large lectures are Yale staples that offer a learning experience that spans class years and build intellectual community. But be sure to take at least one seminar or small course, too, so that you can engage with your peers and begin to get to know our spectacular faculty. Similarly, distribute the kind of work each course will expect of you. If one course requires the writing of papers, take another that focuses on data analysis. If the requirements you must fulfill weight your activity towards problem sets, take another course that engages your interpretive capacities. You may find additional advice about principles to keep in mind here.
Lastly, remember that your coursework is much more than the navigation of requirements. Yes, there are practical considerations that will guide your selection, such as distributional requirements, choosing courses at the proper level, particularly in disciplines that organize knowledge sequentially, and preparing for potential majors that should be started in the first year. But the courses you choose now and in the next few years will do more than fulfill requirements and earn you a degree. They will shape your experience of the world for many years to come, not just within the discipline you ultimately choose as a major, but maybe especially in the areas most distant from your major.
Perhaps your interests tend towards the social sciences, but a single course in the history of art or film can develop your visual literacy and enhance everything that you see. Or perhaps you find science courses intimidating, but it will be to your benefit to develop your scientific literacy so that you can critically evaluate scientific information that appears in the media. Every discipline brings its own perspective and bears on our larger understanding the world. Use your time at Yale to broaden your own.
The Office of Undergraduate Education