With the deadlines for college applications approaching, many of you must be wondering, “Which colleges should I apply to?” So, to help guide your thought process, I’m going to count down my personal list of college must-haves, which I considered while applying.
5. Distance from home and/or weather
For me, while neither of these factors had a huge impact, they did somewhat contribute to my final decision. Coming from New Delhi, India, the distance from home is too far no matter what (approximately 9,000 miles), and the weather, mostly snow, is a novelty still. However, I knew I wanted to live in a smaller town or metropolitan area instead of a large-scale metropolitan city while still being able to conveniently travel back home, so Rochester was the perfect choice.
Moreover, for most of my domestic friends, these factors played a huge role in their college decision process. While one of my friends wanted to experience a colder climate instead of the usual, hot weather of her home state, California, another wished to stay close to her parents, who live in Rochester. In the end, it was their personal choices and experiences that led them to choose their new home.
4. Financial aid and/or scholarships
It is a fact universally acknowledged that college tuition is expensive. Thus, the prospect of receiving financial help was an important factor that helped me decide on universities. I applied to colleges that were more likely to help their students pay for their tuition, or simlarly, to award merit scholarships. Fortunately, the University of Rochester is extremely generous with scholarships and aid, which is evident from the sheer number of students you will have the pleasure of meeting who are on some form of University-sponsored or funded grants. Honestly, Rochester is extremely supportive of its student population, going beyond areas such as financial aid, and that is something I’m really grateful for!
3. Non-academic interests
Looking at my major (biomedical engineering), you would think that I have absolutely no time to indulge myself and do something other than rigorous math, science, and engineering work. However, this is not the case; I make it a point to take breaks more than once-in-a-while so I don’t over-stress myself. Thus, it was important for me that the university I was applying to would give me a chance to explore my extra-curricular hobbies. With Rochester being a major musically-inclined University (we have five a cappella groups and the Eastman School of Music) and essentially a “nerdy” school, there’s a good chance that you will find people who are interested in the same things you are. For example, a lot of my new friends share my enthusiasm for instrumental music, Harry Potter, and Minions, which I find awesome!
2. Academic interests
As a prospective biomedical engineer, I knew I had to apply to colleges that offered my major. With an amazing program and an adjoining Medical Center, the University of Rochester turned out to be perfect for my chosen field of interest. On a similar note, it is extremely well-suited for all kinds of areas, be it the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, or engineering. As a matter of fact, I have met so many people who are planning on majoring in such diverse fields as audio and music engineering, epidemiology, archaeology, optics, music, and theater. Moreover, students here have the freedom and the opportunity to double major, or even double minor, which is something that makes me happy. Now, I can explore subjects like international relations, French, or even poetry.
1. That one unique thing
Every college or university has that one thing that makes it unique, and which, by extension, becomes a soft spot for a prospective student. For me, it was the overall atmosphere and sense of belonging that Rochester represented, as a small community of passionate learners and inherent nerds-at-heart. Here, I’ve met people who are extremely excited by the prospect of doing something that makes them happy and who are not afraid to show this enthusiasm (my roommate loves Star Wars, and is currently working toward winning an Oscar for film scoring for the following sequels)!
So, these are my top five things I think you should consider while applying to college. I hope this helps!
Bonus: The best thing about the University of Rochester, for me, is that it is so easy for students to fit in well here and constantly become ever better!