Take Five at Rochester: Once More, With Feeling!

For many students, choosing a major is a tough decision. Sometimes it’s the easiest choice in the world, but other times it can be difficult to pick just one thing to study. In my case, it was the latter. I eventually decided to study mathematics, but I still had a passion for biology. It seemed like I would just have to give up on it, as there was no room in my schedule for any biology courses. 

What is Take Five?

This is where the Take Five Program comes in. Unique to the University of Rochester, it allows students to spend one or two semesters past their original graduation date studying whatever they want, tuition-free. The extra year is for personal and academic enrichment, so it’s a great opportunity to study something that you haven’t had the chance to. I’m using my extra time to study conservation biology. The only caveat is that you must have some courses for your major that you can push back into the fifth year.

For me, instead of taking the last few required math classes this semester, I’ll push them into my extra year. In their place, I’ll take the classes that fit my Take Five topic. A Take Five program is structured around a central topic, like conservation biology, with classes from multiple departments. For my program specifically, I’ll be taking classes from the biology department and the department of earth and environmental science. Every program is interdisciplinary, so it is unique to each student.

Why Do Take Five?

Take Five is great opportunity to study something completely new. A close friend of mine is an engineering student that is completing a Take Five in fantasy literature and writing. Another friend is majoring in molecular biology and using her Take Five to study theater performance. The only limitation to a Take Five program is your imagination and passion.

I love the University of Rochester, and I’m so excited to be spending another year here. The prospect of a Take Five year  influenced my decision to attend Rochester in the first place, and now I can take advantage of this opportunity. Additionally, there is no limit to how many Take Five scholars are accepted each year. This means that the only competition during the application process is your own passion for the subject. 

Whether or not you are a student here, I encourage everyone to look into this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

About the author

Nicole Sammartino

Hi! My name is Nicole, and I'm a math major in the class of 2020. Currently, I'm studying conservation biology for my Take Five program. I'm originally from Fairfax, Virginia and I love the cold Rochester weather! On campus, I'm a member of the Music Interest Floor and the University of Rochester Pep Band. When I'm not in class, you can usually find me trying out new tofu recipes or playing the trumpet.


Leave a comment
  • Dear Sirs,
    I would like to know if international students are eligible for the Take Five Scholar Program.
    Best regards,
    Marina Bernardes

    • Hi Marina!
      International students are eligible to apply to the Take Five Program! The only requirement is that you be officially accepted into a major program and have at least one semester remaining before graduating.
      – Nicole

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