Yale University is a large research university chartered in 1701 and famous for its secret societies. Before their freshman year, all students are randomly divided up into twelve residential colleges where they will live and socialize for the next four years. Yale is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the US and also ranked as the 3rd best college among US national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Admission to Yale is considered “most selective.”
Yale offers everything that I wanted in a school. It has a beautiful campus, wonderful faculty and incredible residential college system. The students here are super motivated and driven, but the atmosphere isn't competitive so even though you are pushing yourself really hard, you don't feel intimidated by what everyone else is doing--everyone is brilliant at something, be it academics, an extracurricular or in the personality and social life.
Yale is a great place for an academic challenge and usually great socially, but it can be isolating for students from lower-income families due to the large number of extremely wealthy, boarding school/magnet school kids. The residential college system gives you a group of people to associate with, but is basically luck of the draw, and because the dorms are organized by entryway, there are few people on one floor, which keeps groups fairly small and close-knit. STEM majors are often discouraged due to harder courses and a lack of well-taught intro classes, especially in mathematics, but tend to bond over the walks to science hill, the never-ending stream of midterms, and the eccentric lecturers.