campus encounters

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Search Results for: “northeastern

Northeastern University

Northeastern University (visited 3/24/14)

NEU 2 While waiting to be taken to the info session, I chatted with a freshman Computer Science major from Brooklyn. He was wonderfully enthusiastic about Northeastern, saying he picked the school because “unlike the school across town that has a long street of ugly buildings,” Northeastern combines an urban campus with big green spaces. I didn’t have time to take the full tour and therefore couldn’t verify this; there were some grassy areas, but definitely not the large quads that people might associate with a traditional college campus.

NEU 1~NE sign and pathNormally, the info sessions are held in the beautiful new Welcome Center. However, they were throwing a dinner in that building for a Marine Biology professor who had been named as a Nobel Laureate. They moved us to a church that the university has converted to a large open stage space. There were over 100 people who fit in comfortably for the presentation. Unfortunately, it was a canned speech with very little originality from the rep, who also spoke so fast that we could barely understand what she was saying, and she moved through slides too quickly to take many notes. The good news is that much of the information was the type of stuff we could get from the website.

NEU 4NE 1Northeastern pushes their global, experiential education. They are looking for “students who are willing to engage the world and are willing to pursue their passions. We have energetic, creative, focused students. They have a fire in the belly” (according to the admissions video). The Co-op program is highly popular, and they spend a great deal of time talking about it. Students can spend 6 months completing a job placement at a company in their major area; companies such as HSBC, Vogue, Apple, Google, Patriots, White House, Hose, EMC, PWC, and Pixar regularly employ Northeastern students. This is not a guaranteed program and students do have to interview for the jobs, but they boast a 90% placement rate for students seeking co-ops. Those seeking to participate in this program complete a pre co-op class in the semester just before going in order to help prepare them for interviews, resume writing, job skills, etc. Co-ops can be done all over the world, but if they do one in Boston, they can still live on campus and only pay room and board to the university. No one ever pays tuition during their co-op, and in fact, they often get paid. The student I spoke to said that the Computer Science people often get paid up to $22 an hour. There are some places like DC, NY, and LA where Northeastern has some properties where students can live. More than 50% of students get a job offer from a previous co-op employer.

NEU 3

A T stop is located right on campus.

Northeastern is located on a residential campus in an urban environment. All first and second year students must live on campus, and Living-Learning Centers are an option for any interested student. They just built a new dorm, and housing is available for anyone who wants it. Boston is a great college town with 250,000 college students in the metro area. 16,000 of those are NEU undergraduates (5,000 more are full-time graduate and law students). They keep a 13:1 student-to-teacher ratio allowing for “lively discussion and debate” in the classroom. The average class size is 24; the freshman I talked to had classes ranging from 9 (Intro to Linguistics) to 70 (Computer Science 1). There are 140 majors and concentrations across 8 schools, making it easy to create a major, double major, and more. There’s a PlusOne Accelerated Master’s Program as well as a 3+3 Social Sciences and Humanities + Law degree, but it sounds like that’s only for people majoring in History, Sociology, and Philosophy. The school attracts big name faculty, including Michael Dukakis in the Political Science Department.

NE 2This year, they had a new record number of applications (49,700), and they admitted 32% of those. In addition to good grades, they’re looking for personal traits of adaptability, diversity, engagement, experiential learning, and global perspective. They judge these through letters of rec, activities, and essays. Placement in the Honors College was offered to the top 10% of admitted students.

© 2014

Kettering University

Kettering University (visited 11/19/19)

Kettering 1This is a small school that is relatively well-known for engineering and its innovative, mandatory Co-op program operating on 3-month class/co-op rotation that differentiates it from other co-ops such as those at Drexel and Northeastern. One of the reps said, “The kids here are geeks. They thrive off of each other. Just based on conversations, they find a home here they never got in high school. They’re surrounded my like-minded people who challenge them.”

Kettering 3d factoryThe co-op program is one of the big reasons people pick Kettering. Students come in on either the A or B cohort; A starts classes at the traditional time in the fall; B does their first co-op before taking any classes at all. Placement into A and B is totally random but it’s easy enough to switch sections. If incoming students do want to switch, they’re often asked to wait until after the job fair to decide since some companies will only hire for certain sections. These job fairs are open to all students, and the incoming students are encouraged to attend, particularly those in the B cohort who go directly into co-op.

Kettering bioeng research

Bioengineering research lab

I asked both the tour guide and the Co-op Coordinator about how this could possible work and how students would be qualified to do more than make copies or coffee without having some classes under their belts. The coordinator said, “Many companies hire 3 students at a time. They figure maybe one won’t work out, and they hope that one will be given a job offer. They’re grooming their future talent. They’ll take a chance on high school graduates.”

Kettering women engo

Although Kettering is still heavily male (it is a STEM-based school), they do have organizations, including dorm options, to help the females feel more included.

Students need to complete at least 5 co-op terms; most do 7-9 before they graduate. They partner with over 500 employers, many of which are in SE Michigan (the Detroit metro area). It’s rare to get a co-op in Flint. All majors must do co-ops; they have a freshman bio major with the Medical Examiner this year. Students earn an average of $15.50/hour; they often use this towards tuition.

I had high hopes for Kettering. However, the other counselor and I were both a little reluctant to recommend this school. The vibe was a little off. I think that it’s difficult to build community here. There seems to be very little going on around campus other than classes; even the tour guide was hard-pressed to give some examples of things that were happening around campus for fun. There might be a couple reasons for this – first, several people said they were “self-proclaimed geeks.” Second, classes are condensed from 15 to 11 weeks so they’re getting more done in less time (the tour guide estimates that he does 2-4 hours of homework/studying a night to keep up with the academics). Third, when students are coming and going every 3 months, it’s hard to sustain any meaningful clubs or extra-curricular activities. Students don’t do that much other than classes.

Kettering dorm lounge

The dorm lounge decorated for Christmas

However, there are some things going on: they have lots of automotive engineering competitions (which operates as a club). There’s some Greek life, some intramural sports, etc. Greek life does play a large part towards blowing off steam; about 40% of students participate. There are dorms the run activities; the lounge was already decorated for Christmas when we were there; “there’s a big push to do things in the dorms to get students out of their rooms. We’re nerdy. We tend to hold up in our rooms,” said the tour guide. They’re located in a sort-of residential area of Flint; some areas nearby are not in the best of conditions, but the immediate area seems ok. The tour guide also said he felt safe around campus.

Kettering lobby

A mascot decorating competition between Greek organizations in the lobby of one of the main buildings

They have a limited choice of majors, all STEM based except for the Management option. There are 5 engineering options (including Industrial Engineering) plus Engineering Physics. They have a more extensive choice of minors, including History, Literature, Business, and International Studies. The others are STEM based such as Gaming, Acoustics, Applied Optics, manufacturing Engineering, Medical Physics, System and Data Security, and Materials Science. The labs are some of them best I’ve seen – very well stocked with great equipment, allowing for a lot of hands-on experience and practical applications. The tour guide showed us one where they had to simulate production lines (on a very small scale) to figure out not only how to put things together but how to communicate that out. Kettering is also the only place with a crash-test lab for undergrads.

Kettering lab 4

Lab space simulating production lines

Everything they do here is Calc based. Students have to have some trig coming in (but that’s often tagged onto Alg 2 or PreCalc). A 3.0 GPA and 24 ACT will earn students scholarship money. They also have fixed-rate tuition: what you pay the first year is what you pay for 5 years.

Retention is 97% but the graduation rate is about 60%. Disparity comes because of the co-ops; grad rates are based off of 6 years and some students go longer. The thesis project can trip them up sometimes; it takes them a little longer to do the program. It’s also such a niche program that there isn’t much to fall back on. Most graduates go right into the job force, but ¾ eventually get an advanced degree.

© 2019

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth Institute of Technology (visited 9/13/17)

Wentworth student projects

Students doing a class project on the quad

WIT, unfortunately, often gets overlooked when students are looking for the type of education it offers. This is a hidden gem that offers intensive hands-on education and excellent job preparation. This, combined with its location (the Fenway area of Boston) and its membership in the Colleges of the Fenway consortium, provides a plethora of opportunities not available at many other places.

EWentworth hammocksnrollment hovers around 4,000 students, but as a member of the Consortium, there are approximately 12,000 college students in the immediate area. Not surprisingly, the student body at WIT is skewed overwhelming male (a little over 80%) – but Simmons, a women’s college, is literally across the street. A student there said, “We tend to balance each other out!”

Wentworth classroom

One of the many labs

WIT is best known for their Engineering programs, but that is not all they do:

Wentworth signWentworth is one of a handful of universities nationally that offer Co-op placements for their students (keeping company with places like Northeastern, Drexel, and Cincinnati). Co-ops last at least 12 weeks with students working at least 32 hours per week. These can be completed anywhere, but the earliest a student can register for a co-op is the summer sophomore year, a little later than some other schools. Students didn’t seem to mind this, but it does limit the opportunities to explore areas and quickly “reset” the track they’re on if they discover that their major might not be exactly what they want. Students are advised to complete 2 co-ops at different locations, and they tend to get really creative and work at great places. For example, one student majoring in Applied Math did her co-op in Data Analytics at a biomed company.

Wentworth engo bldgWIT’s graduates have a 98% grad placement rate, and the Brookings Institution has ranked them in the top 7 for occupational earnings power with a perfect score of 100, putting them in good company with schools like Harvey Mudd, NJIT, and CalTech! This is far from the only high ranking they’ve earned for job placement and earnings.

A large majority of students come from Massachusetts, so there are a decent number of commuters. Students not living at home must live on campus for the first two years, and housing is guaranteed for all 4. Just over 75% of first year students live in the dorms with about half of all students living on campus. There are a lot of suites and some single rooms available. The student health center is shared with MassArt and MCPHS and is located on the 2nd floor of one of the new MassArt dorms next door to WIT. Parking is not readily available because of the urban environment, but public transportation, including T stops, are immediately off campus, and there is a lot within walking distance. Because of the location in Boston, there are plenty of things for students to do at a reduced (or no) cost, including free tickets to the MFA and Isabella Stewart Gardner museum.

© 2017

Boston University

Boston University (visited 9/16/17)

BU boathouse

The Boathouse on the Charles with the sailing team taking the boats out

BU is located in a beautiful section of town next to the Charles River; while waiting for the info session to start, I saw kayakers paddling by. They were smart to offer a 1:30 session on a Saturday afternoon; not surprisingly, it was crowded. As people settled into the lecture room, they had a PowerPoint running with standard pretty pictures and statistics/information such as, “What’s your chance of being called on in class? 1 in 27” and “First university to open all divisions to women in 1872” and “In 1876, a BU professor developed a telephone in a BU lab.”

BU ArchHowever, I was highly disappointed in the info session. It could not have been more canned. They had a student there to help with the presentation which initially I was pleased to see, but it was so rehearsed and “game-showy” that it was hard to take them seriously. They said all the right things – accessibility to professors (“They’re more than happy to talk to you and they really want to know you!”), research opportunities, “You’re using a text book that the prof wrote,” … but it sounded like they were jumping through hoops and trying to check off the things families wanted to hear rather than being authentic and giving a sense of what it was really like to be a student on campus.

BP Hillel sign

Hillel sign with Shabbat activities

Luckily, the tour guide was a more personable and less scripted. I had a chance to talk to her a bit one-on-one as we walked back to the admissions office after the tour. I asked her for some of her insights into who would thrive at BU. Her answer was thoughtful: “People here get called out for hate. Gay people are welcomed here. Homophobes are not. People won’t put up with the bigotry. Also, there was a very vocal Trump supporter who went down to Charlottesville to march there. People absolutely weren’t putting up with that. He ended up transferring. If you’re going to openly hate on people, you won’t fit in here.”

BU beach 2

The “Beach” – in warm weather, there are students out here studying and socializing

She loves her education here as well the diversity. They have a huge international population (about 25%). Another 25% come from New England. “I chose BU because I wanted to get to know a lot of different types of people. However, it’s kind of hard to connect between colleges. I love my college (she’s in education), but I’m in the classes with the same 15 people! I came here because of the diversity, but the classes don’t always reflect that.”

BU T and bldg

An academic building with a T running along the main street in front of it

BU is a large private research institution; UROP dedicates $1million in funding for undergrad research. “Everyone is passionate and empower each other to do bigger and better things,” said the student in the info session. “They’re similar in that they’re bright, ambitious, driven. It opened my eyes that I’m not the smartest kid in the room.” As a major university, it’s no surprise that there are a myriad of academic colleges to choose from, and students can double major or complete a Dual Degree in which they earn 2 bachelors in 4 years (and attend 2 graduations).

BU academicSet right in the heart of Boston, it offers the best of both worlds: a residential campus in an urban environment. Campus is spread out: it’s only a couple blocks “deep” at its widest point, but goes a long way. Shuttles run up and down campus and to the medical campus. Off-campus, students have access to many discounted or free events such as $5 tics to Fenway. “They don’t go to Boston. They’re IN Boston,” said one of the reps. A tour guide said, “I live in Boston. I tell incoming students to have fun. Go to the games. Go eat in the North End. Enjoy it.”

BU townhouses

One row of townhouses

Housing is guaranteed all 4 years. Freshmen are often housed in large towers of traditional-style dorms. There are lots of brownstones with 20-30 students, mostly upperclassmen. All dining halls, kosher included, offer vegan meals. There’s no shortage of things to do with 450 clubs on campus (including a Beekeeping society!). A favorite campus tradition (according the tour guide) was Lobster Night: students get a ticket for a lobster with every meal swipe. The Beanpot Hockey Competition is a huge yearly event when the team takes on BC, Harvard, and Northeastern. NE and BC are the 2 big rivals. Bubble Soccer (in hamster balls) bring out lots of people as does the annual Pumpkin Drop run by the Physics Department. Students fill pumpkins with paint, dry ice, flour, and more, then shove them off a plank on the top of a 10-story building.

BU stained glassStudy abroad is an integral part of the university, and they have programs for all majors to study abroad. One of the Earth Science professors is a leading expert on the oldest ice on earth and takes people with him to Antarctica. There’s a freezer on campus with the oldest ice in the world! There are also Internships abroad, many of which offer courses for 3-5 weeks before students are sent out to work. The Global Medic Brigades is a club. Students can go work with that. “It was amazing and humbling” The Hospitality majors must complete 2 internships, 1 of which must be abroad.

BU unionWithin the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, they offer an option to join The Core, an integrated course that crosses disciplines by looking at the world’s great works of thinking and writing. It is designed so students take 2 classes per semester for the first two years, looking at humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. These classes fulfill several of the required distribution requirements, and those choosing to complete the entire sequence will have notations on their transcripts.

To be considered for their Presidential Scholarship, students must apply before 12/1, but no additional paperwork. About 1/3 of their class is admitted under the Early Decision round. The average unweighted GPA coming in last year was a 3.8.

© 2017

Boston College

Boston College (visited 9/14/17)

BC quad 3

Quad on Middle Campus

BC’s architecture, at least in Middle Campus, consists of beautiful stone buildings. The campus tour focused mainly in this part of campus which houses most of the academics. Lower Campus houses the athletics facilities, and most of the upperclassmen live there. Upper Campus has freshmen housing. “There are a lot of steps here,” said the tour guide. “They don’t go away!”

BC bell tower

One of the iconic buildings

This Jesuit college sits in Chestnut Hill on the outskirts of Boston; the last stop of the T’s red line gets students easily in and out of the city (it’s about a 25 minute ride to downtown). The tour guide said that he “didn’t come here because it’s Jesuit. I’m not even Catholic, but I’ve come to appreciate the culture and values here.” This is a highly residential and involved campus. Almost all freshmen (~99%) and 85% of students overall live on campus. Housing is so good that seniors tend to move BACK to campus if they moved off in junior year. Food is also great, according to the tour guide. They have a pastry chef who used to work at the Four Seasons, and the dining hall makes a New York Times rated steak sandwich!

BC sculptureThis campus falls on the “smaller size of Tier 1 Research Institutions” but it’s still a liberal arts institution at heart. “We’re trained to think in different ways,” said one of the students. There are 15 core requirements but with at least 30 choices within each one. Complex Problems is a 6-credit core co-taught classes: topics include Race, Gender, and Violence and Global Implications of Climate Change. Students are ask to grapple with critical questions of global significance, looking at where they fit into those issues and what steps they may be able to take to address them. Enduring Questions classes are similar, but are paired, thematically linked 3-credit classes such as Epidemic and Disease. This used to be a small program; now they save 1000 seats for First Year students.

BC walkwayStudents must take 2 theology courses as part of their core requirements There are plenty of options including Person and Social Responsibility Perspectives on Western Civilization. Students can enroll in the Pulse Program to fulfill this. Classes has15-20 students who do service-learning work in Boston in their choice from one of 15 or so placements. These range from GED tutoring at a Correctional Facility to suicide prevention to working in a nursing home. They connect to social justice issues and to life outside the university.

BC interior

Interior of one of the Academic buildings

Some academics worth noting:

BC library reading room

A reading room in the library

There are 2 traditions that bring all members of a class together: at Convocation (during orientation), students come together for the Common Read (the 2017-18 book is A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka). Students group together by Res Hall with banners and march down to the hockey arena where they hear the Common Read author speak. To book-end things, students come together again at commencement: they stay up all night and watch the sun rise from the top of the parking garage. After changing to cap and gown, they march together through the rotunda to graduation.

There is a lot of school spirit when it comes to athletics, and the teams don’t disappoint. The yearly “Holy War” football rivalry against Notre Dame draws a huge crowd. Hockey is particularly huge here: “It gets cold and dark here in the winter. What else are you going to do?” said the tour guide. They also play in the Hockey Round Robin with Northeastern, BU, and Harvard. Last year they lost in overtime to Harvard.

© 2017

University of New Haven

University of New Haven (visited 10/12/16)

new-haven-sealUNH has their act together. They know who they are and what they expect from the kids. Their tag line is “Leader in Experiential Education,” and having seen their resources and talking to several of their kids, I believe it! One of the students I spoke to said, “There are so many resources and opportunities. I’m really proud to be here.”

Internships are required for about 80% of majors (all majors encourage it); most research is available in the sciences, but some companies hire business and engineering students to work on projects. Employers mention the passion and knowledge that UNH students bring to the job; they are mature and well-spoken, and employers keep coming back knowing that they’re going to get quality students. Additionally, the alumni network is strong; they’re willing to employ graduates or interns. “Wildcats look out for wildcats.”

new-haven-4

The Kaplan building with no 90 degree angles (except where it meets the ground and on the roof).

I had no idea that UNH was founded conjunction with Northeastern and Yale. Now, the campus is in a safe suburban area of West Haven (not in its original location downtown). This great college town has music, theater, and a world-class restaurant scene (including Peppi’s Pizza, ranked #1 in the world). When students get sick of New Haven, the are 2 train stations within 10 minutes will get students into NYC (1.5 hours on MetroNorth) or Boston (2 hours on Amtrak). The beaches are only a few miles away.

 

new-haven-bikesThe 4,600 undergrads are evenly split between men and women. Sixty percent come from outside of Connecticut with 41 states and 22 foreign countries represented. Diversity in all its forms is getting better. “A couple years ago, it wasn’t so good. It’s a lot more inclusive now,” said the tour guide in response to my question about how well different groups were represented on campus.

new-haven-lower-quad

Lower Quad where many of the dorms are located

About 2/3 of students live on campus; this will rise when the new building opens in fall 2017 with 67 suites, parking, and retail space (Starbucks and a burger place are confirmed; the rest is still in negotiation). The freshman dorm opened that in 2014 has bathrooms attached to each room. There are still some forced triples, but students in those get $500 off R&B. First-year students can choose an LLC (Army ROTC, honors, arts, marine bio, engineering, forensic science, criminal justice) filled on a first come, first served basis. The tour guides encouraged students to look into these: “They can help a lot in the first year, particularly in more competitive majors or those with lots of projects and late nights such as engineering; if you’re up at 2 am working on something, it’s nice to have others around doing the same things.”

 

One of the tour guides said that he was surprised at how good the food was on campus. The Dairy Bar is the first 3-star certified green restaurant in New Haven.

new-haven-galleryAnother student said he was surprised at how much there was to do outside the classroom. “I was never bored.” The Juggling and Hammock clubs are particularly popular. Students get free tickets to sporting events; the only game that might be difficult to get tickets for is the one against U Maine, their big rival. “We’ll camp out for tickets – that’s half the fun!” Intramurals are a big draw, particularly Broomball.

With 100 majors (and growing) and 70 minors/concentrations, students have no shortage of options. Many programs are hands-on and/or professionally-focused. Students start early doing real work in the field.

  • new-haven-crime-scene-bldg

    Crime Scene Building

    Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences: This is their claim to fame. Henry C. Lee, a nationally known forensic scientist (and still consults for shows and agencies), runs the program.

    • CJ has 7 concentrations: Corrections, Crime Analysis, Law Enforcement Admin, Victim Services Admin, International Justice and Security, Juvenile and Family Justice, Forensic Psych, Investigative Services
      • There’s a crime scene house (“My friends have done 11 hour labs there!” said a tour guide) and a building with crime scene rooms for labwork.
      • new-haven-crime-scene-room

        one of the crime scene lab rooms

        The National Cold Case Center sends information to campus; students and faculty get to work on these.

      • “The forensics floor smells pretty funky, but you’ll get used to it. A professor does research on Forensic Entymology up there,” said a tour guide.
      • One student studied in Australia and worked at a body farm.
    • Fire Science (Arson Investigation or Fire Admin)
    • Fire Protection Engineering
    • National Security Studies: Most students in this major will minor in a language (Chinese, Russian, Arabic are encouraged)
    • Paramedicine
  • Arts and Sciences
  • new-haven-6Business
    • Economics: Students can specialize in General, Behavioral, or Economic Sustainability
    • PACE program: individualized major within the school
    • Hospitality and Tourism Management: students run the campus café and restaurant on campus from top to bottom (marketing, scheduling, food service, purchasing, hiring and firing, etc)
    • The 3+1 Fast-Track allows students to get the Bachelor’s in 3 years. Although not required, it is helpful if students have AP or dual-enrolment credits coming into this program. 4+1 is also an option.
  • Engineering: This school puts a big focus on leadership, communication/presentation skills, and team building.
    • Cyber Systems, Cyber Forensics, and Cybersecurity
    • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • New Lyme College of Fine Arts: When Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts closed, UNH acquired them and merged the programs into the university.

new-haven-1If students can’t (or don’t want to) spend a semester or year abroad, they have several 2-week intensive study abroad options or can spend first semester freshman year in Prato (Tuscany). A cohort is sent with bio and engineering professors to teach the same classes they’d take here. Music students go to Nashville, working in studios during the day and take classes at night.

New Haven is strict about application deadlines: EVERYTHING has to be in by those dates, not just the student applications. They only require 1 letter, and they will superscore both tests. Interviews are required for Early Decision only. The rep said, “Send things in early! We have the most money to give out and there’s space in all our programs. Applying early means that you have the best chance to be placed in the major you want.” The Priority App deadline is March 1, but if there is space available, apps will be evaluated on a rolling basis after that.

© 2016

University of Rochester

University of Rochester (visited 10/19/15)

~UR main quad

Main quad with the library at the far end

“We’re fundamentally a research university,” said the V-P of Enrollment. “Faculty are hired because they’re doing good work.” Rochester is nationally ranked in the top 10 for faculty research. Because of this, they’re looking for students who are, first and foremost, curious. “They aren’t asking what they should do – they’re asking why they should do it. We do a lot of things well, and all of them have some research component. We’re looking for students who are prepared – and hopefully excited – about that. If they don’t take advantage of this part of the university, if they aren’t connecting to at least one professor, they aren’t getting what they’re paying for.”

~UR students“We want quirky kids who will push the boundaries and ask probing questions – but not so out-there weird that they can’t live with a roommate.” Teachers go really fast; classes are full of highly motivated students. Rigor is the thing that unifies the entire community. The professors make great teachers because as researchers, they also know what it is to be a learner. They’re guiding the students on the journey, not worrying on Sunday night about that they’re going to say on Monday morning.

~UR walkway 3Because of Rochester’s curricular flexibility and no required subjects, they tend to have a lot of cross-apps with Brown “but we don’t have a wide open curriculum. We aren’t Brown or Hamilton.” Students still have to graduate with a broad curriculum, but it’s an education they come up with for themselves. “That’s part of the reason people need to be willing to self-advocate and ask questions. What’s going to make them a consummate scholar and professional in that field?” They build their curriculum around their interests: they must take 3-course clusters in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences (their major requirements fulfill the cluster in 1 division).

UR acad bldg 1Partly stemming from the fact that students are interested in so many areas, it’s not surprising that Rochetser offers some unusual majors such as:

~UR statue5,100 undergraduates study on the main River Campus (500 students study at Eastman School of Music: see separate write-up), making this one of the smallest research schools in the country. Almost 20% of students are international, one of the highest among research institutions. There’s also a great deal of other diversity: 20% receiving Pell Grants, and “We’re a majority minority institution. When I started here, we were 80% white northeastern students. That’s not the case anymore.”

Admissions is test-flexible: students need to provide some evidence that they can hold their own in high-stakes testing: AP, IB, SAT/ACT, or Subject Tests. They can upload a link to a creative or research project for supplemental materials. Every application is double-read. When the readers disagree, the app goes to committee. Last year, almost 1/3 of applications were sent: “I’m not aiming for agreement,” said the VP of Enrollment. “The most interesting discussions come out of this disagreement. Students who received one of the Rochester awards as a HS Junior have their application fee waived.

~UR frat house

Greek housing

About 90% of students live on campus. Dorms are pre-wired for Cable and students get a pass for HBOgo. If students move off-campus, someone from the Office of Off-Campus Housing will help check places out and read over leases. Students are thrilled with the events on campus. “I was really overwhelmed with the number of extra-curriculars. It’s a ridiculous amount of stuff you can do.” Almost 25% of students go Greek. Sports are popular both to play and watch; they’re DIII except Squash (which can only compete at a DI level). There are several big activity weekends or events:

  • Meloria Weekend (Alumni Weekend).
  • Winter weekend: the school brings in huskies; gives away gloves, hats, or scarves; sets up bonfire and students roast smores, etc.
  • Boar’s Head Dinner is a Medieval-themed dinner (not unique to Rochester but rare enough!). A different professor tells the myth of the student and the Boar, putting their own theme on it. There’s singing, juggling, etc.

~UR shuttle mapWhen students want to get off campus, they can take one of the city buses that stop on campus and cost $1. The school buses are free.

For people worried about winters in Upstate NY, don’t worry too much: a great deal of campus is connected through tunnels. The academic buildings on the main quad are connected, as are several of the science buildings. Dorms are not connected due to security issues.

~UR chapel

Rochester’s non-denominational chapel

Students are happy with Rochester and were hard-pressed to find anything to change – a couple seemed almost offended that we’d even suggest that improvements needed to be made. A senior said, “Currently, I’d say food, but it’s because I’ve been eating it for 4 years. Maybe they could have a bit more international food??” A Junior said, “Parking was an issue, but they’ve built a new complex, revamped how people get parking passes, etc. We used to pay for laundry, now it’s free. They’ve added all-gender bathrooms. They have options to check off male, female, transgender, and other on the application.”

UR atriumThe school does seem to be responsive to needs and things that students want. They’ve added study spaces to keep up with the increased enrollment. There are even sleeping pods in the library; these were last year’s 5K Challenge winner: every year, students proposals ideas to improve campus. Winners are determined by student vote and are given $5,000 to implement the idea.

One of the students left us with this thought: “You’re bound to be successful here. If you want it, you’re going to get it.”

© 2015

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