Giving to Yale

Financial Aid Profile: Allen Zhang ’11

Allan Zhang '11When Allen Zhang ’11 first came to visit Yale, he met students so passionate about their experience he couldn’t wait to become an Eli himself. “All of the people were fantastic,” Allen said. “They were so helpful I immediately fell in love with the school.”

Joining the Class of 2011, Allen moved to New Haven from Potomac, Maryland, and settled into his new home in Trumbull College. Now a sophomore, he is taking courses in psychology and economics and working his way through a rigorous fall semester. But this year, as one of Yale’s many students receiving scholarship support, Allen is quick to credit recent changes in the financial aid policy for his ability to spend even more time studying and taking advantage of extracurricular opportunities.  The new policy has reduced his family’s tuition contribution by nearly 50 percent, and his own requirement has decreased significantly as well.  These changes minimize the need for part-time employment, leaving more time for Allen to enjoy his Yale experience both inside and outside of the classroom.

Below, Allen shares his thoughts about Yale.

I chose to attend Yale because:

Definitely the people.

My favorite class this semester:

This is a tough choice. It’s a close call between Strategy, Technology, and War with Paul Bracken and Psychology, Biology, and Politics of Food with Kelly Brownell, but I think Professor Brownell’s class wins out. Through the material we cover, we learn about the myriad dimensions of food (from production to long-term impacts) and gain insight into the thinking patterns that influence how we eat. The assignments are very thought-provoking and enjoyable to complete.

The professor who has taught me the most:

This is pretty difficult question, since I’ve learned a lot from all of my professors.  However, I’d probably have to say Robert Dunne, the late professor for Computers and the Law. It was in part due to his class that I’m now interested in law. He was a great lecturer, and I feel that I learned a lot from him, not just on the material, but also on how to think like a lawyer.

The best book I’ve read at Yale:

The greatest book that I’ve finished reading is Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer. It’s not for a class, but I saw it in my advisor’s office, and he let me borrow it.

My favorite place to study:

Usually I like to study in my room, but when I have a slew of exams lined up, such as during reading week, I like to go to the Bass Library—they have awesome chairs!

My preferred extracurricular activity:

I love playing volleyball. There are close seconds, but I have to say volleyball takes the prize.

My plans for study or work abroad:

I haven’t selected a destination yet, but I know that both study and work abroad are in my future. Yale encourages everyone to travel, and there are funds available when it’s my time to go.

My plans for after graduation:

I’ll probably work for a couple years and then apply to law school.

Something I’ve learned at Yale that I will always remember:

These two sort of go together: I’ve learned how to better manage my time and prioritize the things I do.

(October 29, 2009)