Jessica Cohen

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Academic Interests:

Extracurricular Activities:

What were some of your favorite activities prior to arriving at University of Rochester?

I was very involved with music at my high school—I played in orchestra, marching band, and the pit for musicals. I enjoyed spending time doing something I loved with other people who loved it too.

What was your favorite class in high school and why?

Probably AP Physics. It was a challenging class, but its small size gave it a fun, informal atmosphere, and at the end of the year we got to build life-size cardboard boats and race them in the pool.

What do you think best prepared you for life at University of Rochester?

Taking AP and IB courses. When teachers and counselors say that classes in college are different than they are in high school, they’re telling the truth. There may be less homework in college, but having effective study skills is really important in order to balance success in class and fun outside of it (especially in the sciences). AP and IB classes helped me to develop the basis for these skills.

When you applied for admission, what accomplishments did you hope would be recognized by the Admissions Office?

Musically, I was proud to be the leader of my section in band and to be the manager of the musical’s pit my senior year. Academically, I maintained a 5.0 (out of 5.0) throughout high school and was one of the valedictorians of my class. I had completed the National Novel Writing Month challenge (50,000-word novel in 30 days) four times by the time I started applying. These were all accomplishments I’d worked hard for, and I hoped I’d communicated that effectively to the Admissions Office.

What challenges did you face prior to enrolling at University of Rochester?

I chose to take AP Calculus and AP Chemistry during my sophomore year of high school, which definitely challenged me both mentally and socially. I had to learn to study difficult material in a much more focused way than I had the year prior, and I also had to learn how to adapt and fit in with the juniors and seniors who were taking the classes. Resisting the urge to fall into senioritis when the seniors did was a challenge!

Why did you choose the University of Rochester?

Rochester is a very strong school academically, but the main feature that stood out to me was the cluster system. Not having to design my schedule around some unwanted history credit and instead being able to take an interesting psych class instead is great. Additionally, I like the size of the school — it’s small enough to provide a much more personal feel than a campus of 40,000 students, but not so small as to be claustrophobic. Plus, the campus is beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossom trees start to bloom.

What is your favorite…?

UR tradition?
Dandelion Day (D-Day) — classes are almost over, spring is coming, and it’s a day to just relax and have fun with your friends before the semester ends with the help of a Ferris wheel, a petting zoo, and a concert.

UR professor?
Professor Krugh — Chemistry 131 is a big, introductory chemistry course, but he kept it interesting with demonstrations and personal stories.

UR class?
Writing 105 — I’ve mostly taken introductory pre-med courses so far, which can get a little overwhelming; so I enjoyed the discussion-based format of my writing class, “Science Fiction and Society”.

Place to eat on campus?
Danforth. If you can get past the hassle of waiting in line, the food is pretty good and the cookies are awesome!

Thing to do in the city of Rochester?
Concerts in the city: Andrew Bird, .fun, Bassnectar, and Avicii all came through Rochester this past year. There’s a lot of diversity in the music scene.

“Thing” about the University of Rochester?
There’s always something going on: a concert, a dance performance, a comedian that the school brings in. There are just a lot of fun things to do on campus.

What unique opportunities have you taken advantage of at UR?

UR’s connection with the Eastman School of Music means that there are a lot of very talented musicians at the school and thus, a lot of excellent performances (both vocal and instrumental). Although I do not currently take lessons at the Eastman School of Music, it is an option open to any UR students who choose to audition for them. Personally, I’ve taken advantage of the cluster system to design a schedule that allows me to pursue my interests in science and music while also permitting me to spend a semester abroad before I graduate, which is something I have always been interested in doing.

What are your future plans at UR and beyond?

I am a pre-med student, so while at UR, I plan to get involved in research that will hopefully give me some experience for medical school and life beyond it if I become a doctor. Additionally, I would like to spend a semester abroad in Denmark during my junior year.

When you graduate, what will you miss the most about the University of Rochester?

I’ll miss the ease of life around campus. Everything you need (food, mail, learning, the gym, entertainment) is close by and accessible. Mostly, I’ll miss the easy camaraderie that comes from attending a medium-sized university (you always have something in common to talk to classmates about!) and the strong friendships that result from living with or near all sorts of fascinating people.