Light & Verity

Singing Yale’s Praises. Literally.

Streeter Phillips ’10

Streeter Phillips ’10

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Brochures are so twentieth century. Yale’s newest recruiting tool is a video—featuring students who spontaneously break into song in dining halls, common rooms, classrooms, and labs. That’s Why I Chose Yale, 15 minutes inspired by High School Musical and its ilk, was written, produced, and performed by students and recent alums for the Yale College admissions office. It premiered in January and in less than a month had surpassed 380,000 views on YouTube—and gathered both accolades and brickbats online. “This video made me reply ‘yes’ online last night. How awesome is Yale!” read one comment on the Yale Daily News website. Just below it, another commenter wrote, “If I had seen this video last year, I would never have applied. How humiliating.”

Producer and co-writer Andrew Johnson ’06, who works for the admissions office, says the idea is to reach students outside the usual Yale orbit and let them know that “Yale’s a fun place.” Rachel Toor ’84, a former admissions officer at Duke and author of Admissions Confidential, says she was “enchanted” by the video and admired its innovation: “Those clever Yalies—how can you not love them?” But Toor thinks it’s too long to be effective. “They were trying to make a feature film, when what they needed was a Super Bowl commercial.”  

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