Thomas Dolan (’05) and the Future of “Y-Apply”

Thomas Dolan (MC ’05), Secretary/Treasurer of Y-Apply

Thomas Dolan (MC ’05) is currently based in Manhattan as he completes his PhD in American Studies from George Washington University. He serves in a volunteer capacity as Member of the Board and Secretary/Treasurer of Y-Apply, an organization focused on college access for under-served communities. We asked Thomas to tell us more about Y-Apply, why he believes in it, and where the organization is headed.

What is the mission of Y-Apply?

Y-Apply is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating high-achieving public school students from diverse backgrounds and their families about financial aid options and the application process to top-tier colleges and universities.

Do you have a personal connection to the mission?

Understanding the degree of chance, privilege and expertise that allowed me to cobble together my Yale education by virtue of scholarships and loans, I am determined to help others earn admission to their dream schools and feel empowered to matriculate and put the system to work.

What makes Y-Apply unique?

Among other organizations in this sector, Y-Apply is unique in that it provides workshops and support for parents as well as students in the hopes of creating systemic change. Thus, rather than pluck the best and brightest from their communities, our goal is to empower students and parents to advocate for themselves and cooperate as the team most essential for success in the college application process.

How do you perceive the issues impacting your organization will change in the next 10 years?

Unfortunately, I don't see trends toward economic inequality or the further corporatization of the university lessening in the coming decade, so I think top-tier institutions (and Y-Apply) must remain committed to attracting gifted students of all backgrounds as well as insisting on the value of liberal arts curricula in addition to pre-professional programs.

What non-profit activities were you involved with at Yale?

At Yale, I was a founding member and later President of SNAPS (Special Needs Awareness and Peer Services) an organization focused on serving students on campus with special needs.

How can folks get involved with Y-Apply?

We are always looking for volunteers who might facilitate our programming across the country through donations of space, time or financial contributions. Please be in touch if you'd like to get involved and would like to see Y-Apply in your community! Visit

In addition, we have recently partnered with the My Luu Memorial Fund to honor My's legacy, incredible story and extraordinary commitment to education.

What advice would you give recent grads?

Compare and despair. Worry about how to be excellent in whatever you're choosing to pursue as opposed to getting caught up in your peers' achievements or expectations. (Especially if you're pursuing anything in the creative industries.)

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