YYAS Program

Please check back in October, 2020 for an updated content section.

The demanding academic content is designed to improve students’ analytical thinking, intellectual flexibility, and written and oral communication skills.

 Past YYAS programming has included:

Lectures & Discussion Section

Lectures take place with Yale faculty members as well as local scholars and practitioners. Lectures are intended to expose students to a wide array of new ideas and perspectives and exciting new research, as well as to challenge them with first-year university level material. Past topics have included public health, financial markets in Africa, African languages in a globalizing world, and ethics and civic engagement.

Discussion sections follow each lecture and are led by a Yale student instructor. The instructors facilitate a conversation on the day’s lecture in smaller groups. Students are encouraged to voice their opinions, share their experiences, and defend their arguments.


Seminars are interdisclipinary, stand-alone classes that are designed and taught by Yale undergraduate and graduate students on various academic topics related to the African continent. The seminar style classroom gives students a taste of what they will experience in a university learning environment. Students will select their preferences for seminars in advance, and are expected to come to YYAS having closely read and analyze their assigned material, which will be made available to participants ahead of their arrival at the program. Past seminar topics have included:

  • The Art and Science of Engineering Design
  • Why Do We Sleep?
  • Foreign Aid in Africa
  • Religion and Politics in the 21st Century
  • The Dark World of ‘White Gold’
  • Renewable Energy
  • Understanding HIV/AIDS Today
  • African Identity and the Classroom
  • The Ethics of Stem Cell Research
  • Linguistics and Your Brain
  • An Introduction to Moral Philosophy
  • Gender in Africa


Workshops are held every evening of the YYAS program. Students are placed into groups of 6-8 students with a Yale student instructor to guide them through specific components of a standard university application, such as standardized testing, selecting schools, and extracurriculars. Students are expected to write a draft personal essay during the course of the program, and will get individual feedback and guidance on additional resources from their workshop leader.

Standardized Test Preparation

Throughout the program students receive individual and group tutoring lessons for standardized tests, designed specifically for African test-takers new to exams like the SAT. Lessons are focused on writing, math, and reading comprehension. Students will leave the YYAS program with access to additional practice material and resources that they can use to continue enhancing their test-taking skills.

Admissions Day

University representatives spend a day with YYAS students and present on the liberal arts curriculum, financial aid, and their individual institutions. The university representatives then facilitate a case studies activity, in which participants form mock admissions committees and review two real university applications from Yale College.


At the end of the program, each participant is paired with a mentor, based on school context or academic interest, who will serve as one of the many resources available to YYAS alumni throughout the university admissions process. YYAS volunteer mentors are current or recently graduated university students who provide the necessary post-program support that will make YYAS participants stronger university applicants. Mentors are on-hand to help YYAS students in several areas such as identifying extracurricular activities, selecting universities, writing essays, and test preparation strategies.