New Students Look Forward to Unique Opportunities—and Success—at Yeshiva University
This fall, hundreds of new students will begin their academic careers at Yeshiva University, where they will learn to balance a rich and vibrant range of academic, extracurricular and spiritual pursuits, dedicate themselves to rigorous Torah and secular study, discover their passions, champion their beliefs and form lasting friendships.
The incoming class is made up of men and women from across the United States, Europe, Canada, Israel and Latin America. Many are starting their first year on campus following a year of Torah study in Israel, but others are beginning their college careers right after graduating high school this spring, and still others are joining YU from other colleges or universities. Daniel Amar, of Dimona, Israel, is one of the latter. After two years on an athletic scholarship for soccer at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, he is excited to start his coursework in business and marketing at YU’s Sy Syms School of Business this fall—a place he describes as “the perfect fit.”
“To be able to combine my spiritual aspirations with a great education at one of the top 50 universities in the U.S., to be able to study economics on the one hand and talk about Maimonides or gemara on the other hand, is extremely fulfilling to me,” said Amar, who is also looking forward to building rapport with his new teammates on the YU Maccabees men’s soccer team. “I come from a small town that is known for its violence and high crime rate, so it’s also important to me to be able to lead by example—to inspire my friends and youth in my hometown by showing them that this way out exists. I know that in any field I choose, the tools I’ll develop from my spiritual and academic pursuits here will help me.”
The most recent survey by YU’s Career Center bears testimony to that: more than 90 percent of the graduates landed jobs, were enrolled in graduate school, or both within 6 months of graduation. The one-on-one attention and mentoring students receive at YU is just one contributing factor to that high rate. For example, at Sy Syms, students like Amar can bring their business ideas to Associate Dean and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Michael Strauss, who guides them through every step necessary to make their dream a reality: navigating patent law, identifying a management team, raising capital and more. But the rigorous academic courses and challenging dual curriculum also give YU students a unique edge after graduation, according to Strauss.
“The whole dual curriculum, where they study and work 12 to 15 hours a day, is a tremendous plus for employers—the Morgan Stanleys and Goldman Sachses out there,” he said. “Our students graduate ready to roll up their sleeves and fit in with the work culture in these environments, with a tremendous work ethic.”
For Michal Segall, of New York City, Stern College for Women’s outstanding research contributions to cutting-edge scientific fields was a major draw. “I was hugely interested in medicine and knew that Stern had both a strong premed major and a great connection to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where Stern students are eligible to receive up to full-tuition scholarships,” she said.
Segall chose wisely. While the national average of medical school acceptance rates is just 45 percent, 91 percent of applicants from Stern College and 78 percent of applicants from Yeshiva College were accepted to at least one medical school last year, including highly competitive and prestigious programs such as Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College, and YU’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“Nationally there are a very large number of college freshmen who declare themselves pre-med majors but, generally, only a few make it,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern College. “At Stern College, the story is quite different. Here motivated and talented women find not only a supportive faculty but also a culture of high achievement and grand expectations that ensures success.”
Stern’s strong liberal arts program was equally important to Segall. “In high school, I did dance, art, theater and anything in the humanities I could—English was one of my favorite classes,” she said. “I’m excited to continue pursuing those passions in the extracurricular clubs here and I’ve heard great things about Stern’s English department. Living in Midtown Manhattan, I’m also excited to have all the resources of the New York arts scene right at my fingertips.”
Her first step when the semester kicks off? “I’m going to get involved in Stern’s Environmental Club to promote awareness of issues like climate change and other topics the modern world needs to be dealing with.”
Eliyahu Yampel, of Monsey, New York, decided to attend Yeshiva College after being taught by a YU alumnus in high school. “I wanted to continue on after high school to a place where I could study Torah, but also attend a university where I could be confident in my own development, my knowledge and my skills,” said Yampel. “The YU alumni that I knew perfectly embodied that, and I thought, ‘That’s who I want to be, from the place I want to go.’ ”
With so many fields of study open to him, Yampel isn’t sure yet exactly which he’d like to major in—but he’s looking forward to sampling them all. “I plan on studying a little bit of everything and seeing what calls to me, but English literature is a definite and I’m obsessed with economics,” he said. “The faculty at YU are simply amazing. I sat in on a few classes when I applied and every single teacher introduced themselves, allowed me to answer questions—or at least attempt to, in the honors lit course—and just made me feel like I belong to something. I know that if I need anything, I can just ask.”
That feeling of belonging has been one of the best parts of Amanda Esraelian’s experience at Stern College. “During Chanukah of my freshmen year, a big group of us lit candles and sang together in the lounge of Brookdale Residence Hall,” she recalled. “After that we started singing outside in the streets of Midtown Manhattan, which was also incredible—some people randomly walking by joined in and told us later it was the first time in 25 years they had ever done anything remotely Jewish.”
The double-major in English communications and education from Roslyn, New York, has loved getting involved with clubs on campus that range from The YU Observer, one of YU’s official undergraduate newspapers, to Stern’s student government, to College Edge and Music Vs., groups that enable students to give back to the wider community. She has been an organizing member or leader of many of the activities she enjoys. “I chose to go to YU because it allowed me to take advantage of leadership opportunities I know I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere,” Esraelian said.
Her advice to new students: “Meet people on your floor, in your classes, during orientation, through clubs, and build connections with them. Find what you’re passionate about and invest time in that.”
This year at YU, there will be plenty of opportunities for newcomers to do just that.