Yale is one of the very few universities that allows students to try out their classes before they register.
Toward that end, the first 10 days of class each semester is known as the "Shopping Period."
Students can visit dozens of classes that interest them to decide what they want to take.
They sit in on lectures or seminars to get a feel for the teaching styles, syllabi, class dynamics, and subject matter that best match their intellectual tastes and goals for a given semester.
These students are in Professor Paul Bloom's "Intro to Psychology" course in the Yale University Art Gallery auditorium.
A student chats with Professor Shelly Kagan after his class on "Death" in Linsly-Chittenden Hall.
Shopping period is part of Yale's commitment to encouraging students to challenge themselves and expand their horizons.
Even whittling down the many classes Yale offers to a "shopping list" can be a daunting task.
Students will consult with academic advisors and with each other at "Blue Book" parties — named after Yale's massive course catalogue.
At the end of Shopping Period, students finalize their schedules. Those who haven't already must catch up on the first two weeks of homework in their chosen courses.
While students have been back on campus for several days, the 2012-2013 academic year truly began on Aug. 29, with the first day of classes