A Real-Life Taste of College

Hi all! My name is Caitlyn. I’m part of the Class of 2017, and I’m a psychology major and dance minor at the University of Rochester. Here at UR, I’m the costume manager for Sihir Bellydance Ensemble, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and a student supervisor at the campus Starbucks.

I always loved to challenge myself academically and keep my mind sharp, so I was constantly on the lookout for summer programs that were fun yet scholastic. My first experience with UR’s Pre-College program was a Rochester Scholar’s Session B class in 2011 (Photography), and I enjoyed the program that year so much that I made sure to come back the next year, too. After some research, I decided to apply to the Introduction to Philosophy course offered through Taste of College. Taking this college course, to me, was more than challenging myself academically; I wanted to see how I fared taking a real-life college course at an institution such as Rochester.

In my class, I had an enthusiastic and funny professor who (shockingly to me at the time) had us call him by his first name. We were a small class, with only myself and one or two other students in attendance from Pre-College; the rest of the students were students of the university. While the course was introductory in nature, we read each essay in the textbook for homework and discussed each one in depth together the next day. I felt challenged by the other minds in the room, and that excited me about coming to class every day. In the evenings, I looked forward to reading the text, which I often read ahead in. I felt like I belonged in the student body, like I could see myself every day going to Starbucks to grab a latte and read in one of the comfortable chairs in the café. Talking to the Pre-College Counselors was like talking with a group I was already a part of. I felt like I was home.

When I returned home to Florida for senior year, I was eager to share my experiences and new knowledge with my classmates and teachers. I felt more prepared for the start of the year than any year before it, and I felt even more ready to start college. I knew I needed to be challenged in a college like I had over the summer. As soon as I could, I applied Early Decision to UR.

When I think about my Taste of College experience, I think about the challenge. I think about how I rose to do something with which I had been entirely unfamiliar and succeeded in doing it. I think about how I felt prepared to finish my senior year strong and ready to tackle my freshman year of college. I recommend the program to anyone desiring a challenge like I did and to anyone who’s ready for the next step.

caitlyn taste of college

A few of the members of our TOC group at Eastman in Summer 2012


About the author

Ursula Balent

I'm the assistant director for Pre-College Programs. I’m a Rochester native and currently live in Hilton, NY. Pre-College Programs are designed for high school students in grades 9–12 to get a taste of the college experience through rigorous coursework and life-changing experiences. From this blog, you will hear from faculty, students, and staff directly involved with Pre-College Programs.

One Comment

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  • Reading your blog, I remember how it had been for me when I changed subjects in my second year. Because it had been my choice, it was a little easy for me to go through with it.

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