Why I Chose Rochester

As a senior interviewer and campus tour guide (Meridian) at the University of Rochester, “Why Rochester” is the question that parents and prospective students ask me most often. Thinking back to almost four years ago during my undergraduate application process and reflecting on the last three-and-a-half years here, I want to share why I chose Rochester with all of you during this application season:

1. The Rochester Curriculum
The Rochester Curriculum is the primary factor that motivated me to apply. When I was in high school, I was never too sure of what major I wanted to pursue in college. I loved foreign languages and literature, but I also thoroughly enjoyed AP Physics and Calculus BC, with the challenge of solving problems in a logical way. Therefore, when I heard about the flexible curriculum at Rochester (my high school guidance counselor, a Rochester alumnus, suggested I apply. Thank you, Mr. Daily!), I became very interested in the build-your-own curriculum system and eventually decided to give it a shot. My decision to apply to the University of Rochester was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far.

2. My interview
I had a great alumni interview during the application process and it further confirmed my decision to attend Rochester. Mr. Johnston, an alumnus, interviewed me in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in January 2013. From our conversation, I learned how Rochester shaped his point of view about the world, how many amazing friends he made during his time at Rochester, and his journey of finding his academic passion. After the interview, I thought if a Rochester education could shape my role model into who he is today, the same curriculum could help me grow too.

3. School size/campus structure
I also paid special attention to school size and campus structure. Coming from a small private Catholic high school with only 98 graduating seniors in my year, I knew that I would be totally overwhelmed if I chose a state university with thousands of undergraduates in my year. But I also don’t want to attend a tiny liberal arts college where I might know everyone in the school by the time I was a senior. So a medium-sized campus was perfect for me. I can see many of my friends every day but also keep meeting new people every semester. I also love the fact that Rochester has an actual campus, so I can take classes in academic buildings instead of inside a skyscraper. Whenever the weather is nice, I love to sit on the Rush Rhees Library balcony and watch students playing Frisbee or guitar on the quad. I truly appreciate my choice of attending a campus-based university.

I was reading a book on academic quad during summer 2014

Reading a book on the quad, Summer 2014

Choosing a university is one of the first big decisions for many people. Ask yourself what you want to study and what kind of college experience you are looking for. Make sure you visit the campus before making a final decision and talk to as many people as you can from the university to get a feel of student life there.

Rochester has given me the best college years that I could ever ask for: a solid technical degree on the way, lifelong friendships, and opportunities to grow and explore the world. I believe wherever you end up attending university, as long as you work hard, take as many opportunities as you can, you will be successful!

Good luck and as always, Meliora!

About the author

Sophie Zhang

I'm a member of Class of 2017 majoring in electrical and computer engineering and minoring in biomedical engineering. I'm originally from Chongqing, China, but I spent my junior and senior year of high school in Concord, New Hampshire. I am a campus tour guide, a brother of Alpha Phi Omega community service Fraternity and a contributing writer at Campus Times. I will also become a freshmen Resident Advisor and a senior interviewer next year. I am excited to meet all of you, Class of 2020 and 2021 in person!!!

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