Erin Schutte, Director of Yale Young Global Scholars, says embracing her upbringing has helped her to take the initiative to become a leader at Yale and beyond.
For Erin Schutte, opportunities did not come easy. Growing up on a small farm that faced lots of setbacks, she has, by her own confession, thought that studying at Yale University was not something to be easily achieved. Yet, she was accepted and soon enough excelled in her academics to become a leader of student groups at the university.
I grew up on a small farm in the Great Plains of Minnesota where all you see are miles and miles of corn fields. No one from my high school had ever gone to Yale, and I had never met anyone who could tell me first-hand experience of this world-famous university. For me, coming to Yale as a student back in 2008 was like traveling to a different planet. When I first arrived to campus, I arrived by myself and without my checked luggage, which had somehow gotten wrongly routed to San Diego, over 3,000 miles away. I showed up to campus for a pre-orientation backpacking trip without a backpack and without hiking shoes, not really sure if I would be able to join my future classmates on this exciting journey. But, I was greeted with open arms and friendly faces – someone even found an old pair of hiking shoes in a gym closet, and with extra thick socks I hiked with a group of newfound friends up the Appalachian Trail and had a blast. Attending college at Yale was an opportunity of a lifetime. Yale opened my eyes to the breadth and depth of international initiatives that I could get involved in during college and beyond – says Erin.
After graduation in 2012, Erin Schutte started off working as a Woodbridge Fellow in the Office of International Affairs at Yale University. After the conclusion of the fellowship, instead of exploring new opportunities outside of Yale like the rest of her fellow cohort, she accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program. This September, she has been promoted into Director of the Yale Young Global Scholars where she is continuing to make a difference in empowering the generations of young global leaders to become inquisitive and accomplish their academic dreams.
A Global Network of Young Leaders
The Yale Young Global Scholars program is an official Yale University program, for outstanding high school students around the world.Participants can expect an amazing summer experience studying in beautiful campus lecture halls and classrooms, living in Yale’s historic residential colleges, eating in award-winning dining halls, meeting a talented community of fellow students, engaging with world-renowned professors, and interacting with extraordinary visiting practitioners.Yale Young Global Scholars aims to provide high achieving students a pre-collegiate experience at an American institution while creating a network of student changemakers from around the world. Participants attend lectures, discussion sections, seminars, and workshops, all aimed to help develop students’ critical thinking skills, writing skills, and confidence to be a leader inside and outside the classroom.
Last year, a group of eight YYGS participants founded the Young Global Initiative, an online network that has since involved hundreds of young people around the world and raised thousands of dollars in effort to empower youth towards their future through education and the building of a global network. The International Youth Institute, another organization founded by students during YYGS in 2014, connects young voices from around the world by providing an online platform for international debates and thoughtful discussions.
We look for students who demonstrate academic excellence in their high schools, but on top of that, we seek students who show interest in the academic content of YYGS and are leaders within their community. We want for students to create friendships to last for years to come. To discover new academic passions. But hopefully they might also start something that will have a larger impact in the world than they can imagine right now. All students will be alumni of Yale Young Global Scholars and join a network of students who are doing amazing things, from being founders of social nonprofits, youth representatives of the United Nations, and innovative caregivers to those in need – says Erin Schutte.
Do not be afraid to ask questions
The pace of the academics in Yale Young Global Scholars is probably more rigorous than most of the students have experienced in their high schools. The approach the program takes can be embedded in triple formula for success: There are 3 S’s – studying, sleeping, and socializing – that when done in a balanced way will lead to success in Yale Young Global Scholars. One of the things Erin thinks the participants should take a note of is not to be afraid of asking questions.
When I was in college, one thing I wish I did more of was to ask more questions and to visit my professors during office hours. I didn’t do this very often in college because I felt that I should just try to figure it out myself, or that I didn’t have time, or that I thought the professor might think my questions were silly. Well, Yale Young Global Scholars is a great time for students to practice asking questions in an academic setting. It’s always good to think before asking a question in front of a large group, but it’s also important for students not to be afraid to ask a question that is relevant to the academic material, even if they think it might be a stupid question. No questions are stupid – she said.
Apply for the Yale Young Global Scholars program 2016
In 2016, Yale Young Global Scholars program is expanding its sessions at Yale to include six sessions, each with unique academic content. The program is also hosting inaugural sessions in 2016 in Beijing and Singapore and is continuing to expand the Yale Young African Scholars Program.
The application for a new generation of Global Scholars has been recently posted online and this is a great opportunity for the talented youth worldwide to apply for this inspiring program. The essays and letters of recommendation are the most important parts of the application.
The YYGS application requires:
- resume / activity list
- official school transcript
- two letters of recommendation
- unofficial standardized test scores, if available (these are not required)
- one 500 word essay and three 100-200 word responses
The program accepts applications from current high school sophomores (US grade 10) or juniors (US Grade 11) only, or international equivalents. YYGS does not accept applications from current junior high school students (US grade 8), current high school freshmen (US grade 9), or from students who are under 15 years old. The program also does not accept applications from students who are current high school seniors (US grade 12), high school graduates, or college/university undergraduate students.
Finally, I asked Erin what is her best advice for students who dream big?
Prepare and focus – plan ahead to be sure that you put your best foot forward in each component of the application process (essays, standardized tests, extra curricular, etc.). Be genuine – everyone has a unique story to tell, so be sure to be yourself and share your story. Sometimes it can be hard coming out of your shell in front of all strangers. But in Yale Young Global Scholars, we want you to share your story and what makes you you – concludes Schutte.