From Wildcats to Bulldogs: an acceptance story

Webber and Davies.
Webber (left) and Davies. Photo by Mary Campbell/Photographer .

Two Linfield seniors have been accepted into Yale University graduate programs, some of the most prestigious in the world, beginning in the fall.

According to the university’s Web site, Yale, a private research university founded in 1701, and the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States, is home to more than 2,000 annually offered courses and jaw-dropping assets, including a $16.3 billion endowment; the second largest of any academic institution; and the second largest academic library in the world, with about 12.5 million volumes held in more than two dozen libraries. But, beginning in the fall, Yale will also be home to some familiar faces: two Linfield seniors, Matt Davies and Andrew Webber.
Both Davies and Webber will attend the world-renowned university this fall. Davies will study the history of Christianity. Webber, however, has yet to decide between studying the philosophy of religion or the Hebrew bible.
Davies and Webber had been talking about becoming professors for almost two years before applying.
“We thought, ‘Let’s give it a shot and see what happens,’” Davies said. “It would be a great opportunity.”
Both seniors received e-mail notices on a Thursday afternoon, alerting them that Yale had finished sifting through applications, that decisions were made and to expect a letter before the following Monday. However, that same day, both were notified that acceptance and rejection letters had been mailed out early (that day, in fact) and that they could check their statuses online.
Webber checked his status first, where he discovered that he had been accepted into the program.
“I read the letter several times,” he said. “I didn’t want to get excited and then realize I had read it wrong.”
When he realized his good fortune, Webber, in a fit of joyous excitement, ran across campus, telling friends of his acceptance, but not before he called his family with the news.
Davies, on the other hand, was left in suspense, as accessing his status link proved to be more complicated than the application process.
“The link wasn’t working for me,” he said. “It was really frustrating, especially after Andrew was able to check his.”
But, once the link decided to play ball, Davies was more than pleased to discover that he, too, was accepted.
“I think I also read the letter, like, five times,” he said.
However, applying to the graduate program was no walk in the park.
The Graduate Record Examination, both men said, was a difficult part of the application process. However, they added that it wasn’t everything.
“The GREs were nerve-wracking, yes, but I just as nervous about getting in all together,” Davies said. “However, the rest of the process was fairly normal. It all came down to trying to formulate my personal statement.”
Entry into Yale graduate programs, similar to Fulbrights and other graduate schools, requires recommendations and personal statements.
As back-ups, Davies applied to Claremont Graduate and Princeton universities. He also applied to a safety school, to which he was also accepted.
Webber applied to Harvard University and the University of Chicago, which he admitted was risky. All three, including Yale, are prestigious institutions, and gaining entry can prove difficult.
Neither senior requested help from Linfield; for them, it was a process they undertook on their own. However, both said they spoke to Linfield professors, which aided them both tremendously.
Davies said finance was one of the major reasons for choosing Yale in the end. Besides “knowing that Yale is Yale,” Davies said, Yale has one of the most generous financial aid packages available, normally about $40,000.
“It made a huge difference between Yale and Claremont for me,” he said. “It came down to academics and finances.”
Yale was Webber’s top choice from the get-go. However, Harvard was a viable choice as he said he has friends who attend the university.
In addition to academics and finances, community aspects played a significant role in the seniors’ decision. For Webber, the large Jewish community will offer a social sphere that is unavailable at Linfield.
Because of what Yale offers, both men aim their aspirations high.
“I want to publish,” Davies said. “I just really want to see that side of academia.”
Webber agreed, saying that he wants to work under a scholar.
If you are interested in applying for graduate school, Davies and Webber, through their own endeavors, have procured some valuable advice:
“Shoot for the stars,” Davies said. “Certain people might not even apply to a place like Yale because they don’t think they would get in. The worse thing they can do is say no.”
Both emphasized that grades and GREs, while important, aren’t make-or-break when applying.
“My GPA is average, and my GRE was average,” Davies said. “But I put stock into my recommendations and personal statement. Shape your personal statement so that you stand out among the crowd, so you set yourself apart.”
“Be creative,” Webber added, “and contact professors from the school you are applying to.”

Story by Dominic Baez
Editor-in-chief Dominic Baez can be reached at [email protected]