Research Rochester, Admission Interviews, and Campus Growth

To any high school seniors considering attending the University of Rochester, I strongly encourage taking part in a Research Rochester event. My first visit—and my experiences with students and faculty alike—cemented my decision to enroll here. In that one day, I was exposed to the main facets of life on the River Campus that I would come to enjoy once I was finally a student here.


As cliché as it sounds, I knew that I was meant to go here the moment I stepped on campus. The sight of Rush Rhees Library in person was wholly breathtaking. I had seen photos of the River Campus before, but I was only able to fully appreciate its beauty when visiting in person.

Something that I’ve grown to enjoy as a student here is witnessing the constant growth of the University. Since my Research Rochester visit when I was a prospective student, our campus has experienced tremendous growth. The Science & Engineering Quad has been greatly enhanced with the addition of both Wegmans Hall for data science and a botanical garden. Douglass Hall has been completely redesigned, both its dining hall and beautiful study rooms in the floors above. (I must add that Douglass now has these delicious chocolate cakes that I devour more often than I should.) Grab & Go has a nice little area for quick snacks.

A reality of attending Rochester is that it will continue to grow well beyond my time (and hopefully yours) here. In just two years, the River Campus’s facilities have experienced tremendously successful renovations. Next year, a new freshman residence hall will be complete. As a prospective student at a Research Rochester event, you should know that, by the time you arrive, this campus will have undergone additional renovations.

One thing that has not changed since my Research Rochester event is the accessibility of our faculty. When I myself was a prospective student, I sat in college classes, and remained after class to speak with the professor. I find myself doing the exact same thing as a sophomore. Just a little over a year in, I have been invited to my professors’ houses, gone out to dinner with them, and been recommended to summer conferences that I would ultimately enroll in. Research Rochester offered me my first and earliest assurance that I would have constant access to my professors.

One of the most important parts of my visit was my admissions interview. It was less an interview and more a conversation. I fondly recall speaking for over a half-hour with an international relations graduate. We discussed future courses that I would eventually take, and professors that I would eventually get close to. My interview was a preview of the 5 am conversations that I would have with friends on subjects that interested me.

I must admit that I came into the interview a little nervous, rehearsing some of the lines I thought I would use to impress the interviewer. But as I sat down, and as we began to talk, I found myself in a discussion of my passions. Almost two years later, my conversation with my admissions interviewer offered me lessons that I am now seeing as a sophomore.

Research Rochester offers a great opportunity to prospective students. In just one day, you will find yourself exposed to the many things that make Rochester great. Yet, one fact that I find encouraging, and one that I continue to remember today, is that many of the things you will grow to love about this campus will be things you discover throughout your four years here. Research Rochester will offer an introduction to your college career that you will likely remember for the duration of your time here.

About the author

Jose Fernandez

I'm Jose Fernandez, but I go by @JoseTheBae. I spend my days debating politics and economics, eating Blimpies, and stalking groundhogs at the University of Rochester. You can usually find me at Danforth, or in the lounge of Hoeing 3 praising free markets.

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