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First Impressions

As you start your college research journey, first impressions will play a significant role in whether or not you apply to the college. It was the fall of senior year when I first started researching Rochester. Green and Dark Academia were the phrases that popped into my mind as I stared at the picture of the Rush Rhees Library. As someone who attended a small high school in New York City, the beautiful nature surrounding the University drew my attention.

After getting accepted, I attended the UR 2026 Experience program which allowed me to visit the school before committing. I remember walking around with my dad and being amazed by the beautiful architecture of the Eastman Quad. As I talked to my tour guide about their experience, I realized that Rochester was where you created your own college experience. The flexible curriculum allows you to explore the fields you are interested in rather than be required to take classes in different disciplines. I am always surprised by the different approaches students are taking to advance their education. No matter if two people have the same major, their minors and clusters set them apart from each other. It’s so enlightening talking to people pursuing fields they are genuinely passionate about.

Before arriving on campus, orientation leaders reached out to me to support me with pre-orientation tasks. This gave me the impression that there was support available at Rochester, I just had to reach out and ask. The orientation leaders created a Discord server that allowed the entire class of 2026 to interact with each other. Coming from a school where all of my classmates lived in the surrounding neighborhood, it was intimidating talking to students from all over the world. As I interacted with them more, I realized that most people were very encouraging and supportive.

To get different perspectives, I interviewed current first-years and asked them about their first impression of Rochester.

Kashfia said, “Rochester was definitely bigger than high school and everything I’ve known. Meeting everyone was overwhelming in a sense but people were friendly.” Stepping foot on campus was a very different experience than what any of us were used to. However, she also mentioned as she continued to interact with the campus and people, it became familiar and less intimidating.

Dew mentioned one of his reasons for coming to Rochester was because of the people he saw here. “I think the way students collaborate with each other understandingly and openly is something not found at other institutions. Also, the diversity of people and the resulting diversity of thought drew me here. I’m from a small town, and for most of my life, I’ve known only that town and its people – it’s a fresh change and a fulfilling experience to come here to people from different backgrounds and to learn about their experiences.”

Another student named Earl said he found it very rejuvenating to learn about the open curriculum. “Prior to coming to Rochester, I was very familiar with the core curriculum system, but not having to take classes that I was not interested in made me feel very relieved.”

First impressions helped students realize that Rochester was the place for them. Now it is your time to find out if it is also the place for you!








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