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Choosing Your School: 4 Factors to Consider and How Rochester Excels

When I was applying to schools, I primarily looked for a couple major factors, and looking back, I didn't even fully understand their significance. In this blog post I'm going to help you to see why all of those statistics are important and how they help to make the University of Rochester an even greater school than it's given credit for.

1. High average test scores and cumulative GPAs
Everyone always wants to get the best scores so they can go to the best school, because they want the prestige of the institution to help propel their success. But even more so than that, you'll be able to learn so much from your colleagues, people who are as academic, or in my case, more academic than you. This is the best learning experience around. I've had many deep intellectual conversations with tons of people that I've met at UR, and it's unlike any experience I had at my high school (no disrespect, I still have love for HF-L <3). 
The ability to engage in critical conversation with pretty much every person you meet is completely underrated. My roommate, David Stark, is much smarter than I am and just by sharing a room with him, I've learned so much. Sometimes before I go to bed, my head is just full of ideas and having someone there to bounce your ideas off gives you an experience that is almost more valuable than being taught by world-class professors (which we have as well), and many of those professors are just as interested in your ideas as your genius roommate!
2. Diversity
I've looked over some of the schools I was considering applying to, and this statistic is completely underrated on a whole. Most of the schools I was applying to were composed of people who were from the same state and were Caucasian. The impact of diversity at the University of Rochester is unreal. I've already mentioned that everyone you meet here is pretty brilliant, and they're also from a completely different background, country, culture, state, you name it. 
This can give you perspective that can only be rivaled by study abroad, WHICH WE ALSO HAVE GREAT PROGRAMS IN. Having people with different life experiences living right down the hall from you makes life so much more interesting, and really shows you how small the world you've been living in is. It's a great feeling to know that you have friends from almost every state and know people from countries all over the world. 
3. Extracurriculars and full résumés
Everyone's parents throughout high school are always telling them to get involved because that's what colleges are looking for. And it's true they are, but you cannot fully comprehend the implications until you get here. Essentially, a résumé is just a list of amazing things you've become involved in. These experiences help to shape your view on the world, make you interesting, and help you to differentiate yourself from others. 
Now imagine that everyone you're going to school with was just as active and cool as you were in high school, and everyone has something they're passionate about, or some awesome experience to share. I've met people who make me look like I never left my house. These people not only keep the community active by engaging in many of the activities they participated in during high school, but they're really interesting to have conversations with and will become your most exciting friends. 
4. Artistic quality
Everyone knows how prestigious the Eastman School of Music is, and many students do enroll in the University of Rochester and take lessons there. However, not only do they take lessons, but they jam in their dorm rooms, start bands, and join existing on-campus musical groups. This creative atmosphere will make you wish you didn't quit learning how to play the guitar when you were 10 to play even more video games.
I've been sitting in my room and my roommate will pull out his bass guitar and start playing, and soon enough there's a jam session in my room, and I'm the only one who doesn't have a medium to participate in the action. It's a beautiful thing and I'm hoping to explore my own creativity more (I started drawing and am looking at possibly learning to play guitar or how to sing, but my voice is terrible). The creative atmosphere here is often overlooked and it definitely distinguishes us from other "competitor" schools.
These are just a couple of the factors that I feel are overlooked when people make their college decisions. I'm so happy that I made the choice to apply Early Decision to Rochester without even fully understanding these concepts. If you have any questions or want to learn more about any of these factors, feel free to email me at or tweet/follow me at @URGrant2016. I'm looking forward to engaging more with prospective students as the decision letters start coming in.
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