Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jacqueline Van De Velde ’17

I decided to attend Yale Law School because I have a very specific, sort of rare public interest job that I would love to have someday. And I thought that Yale was the best suited to help me get there, but beyond that, the faculty are absolutely incredible. Having the chance to learn from them was something I didn’t want to pass up. And then the student body…to have people who have come from working with ambassadors in Afghanistan, people who have just come off of their Rhodes Scholarships, people who have been working in community development, grassroots organizing…It’s just an incredible group of people to get to know. And I’m really grateful that I get to be part of that community here.

I wasn’t sure if taken on a substantial amount of debt to go into a public interest job was something that was feasible. When I came for my admitted students weekend, I spent a great deal of time in the financial aid office with Jill Stone and her colleagues walking through every permutation of what my life could be like—whether I took a public interest job, whether I ultimately went to the private sector, whether I was married, whether I was single, whether I had children, whether I didn’t. To make sure that no matter what I chose this was something that I not only could afford but I could have a good life after doing. So it was really her making me feel comfortable with that decision that ultimately made me feel that I could attend here.

I do give tours of the Law School and help out with admissions. When I was going through the admitted students process, it was a really intimidating experience for me because I was a straight-through student from a public institution. And there weren’t a lot of us. I didn’t have any mentors or friends here that could really guide me through the process. I thought that was something that I’d like to be sort of active in fixing. So I enjoy being able to be here and help people coming straight from their undergrad, people who are coming from not Ivy League backgrounds, letting them know that Yale Law School is a place for them as well because it is a place for me.

A student perspective on admissions and financial aid