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The University of Rochester Student Experience

Are you a high school senior finalizing your supplemental essays for college? Or are you an admitted student deciding on which college to attend? Whatever your case may be, I will tell you all about the University of Rochester student experience and what made students decide to attend.

As a prospective student, it can be difficult to understand what it’s like to be an actual student at the university, especially if you haven’t had the chance to visit the campus. I remember writing my supplemental essays in my senior year and wondering what my life would be like as a Yellowjacket. It wasn’t until I visited on Admitted Students’ Day that I had long conversations with current students about their experiences. Hearing about my political science major tour guide’s experiences gave me an image of what it’s like to be a student in my major – which excited me!

So, I interviewed students from different year levels to give you a feel of what it’s like to be a Yellowjacket through their experiences. 

Zakilya Brown (Zak) is a junior majoring in Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) and psychology. She conducts research on children with autism in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Spectrum Brain Lab. She is also a part of the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program which helps underrepresented students enter PhD programs after college. Zak hopes to conduct her own research in the future.

Despite being very involved in STEM, she does Mock Trial, Debate, and Speaking Fellows on campus. Zak enjoys public speaking and helping others with their public speaking skills. 

“I felt good about passing on the skills I learned as a Speaking Fellow to people on campus. Anyone can come for conversation practice, presentations, and interviews. Everyone on campus is invited to come to the Speaking Fellows!” Zak said.

Sophomore Noah Hubley is a business and history double major. On campus, he is involved in Hillel, Chabad, Students’ Association for Interfaith Cooperation (SAIC), and Students’ Association government. This fall, Noah was elected as a Senator-at-Large. As a senator, he has been working with administrators on multiple projects. He recently finished working on a project with the Interfaith Chapel.

“I worked on religious accommodations with the Interfaith Chapel. We make sure that students are being accommodated under New York State law. If they are not being accommodated, they can reach out to the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI). It’s been my favorite project so far!” Noah said.

Julia Dubey is an intended Environmental Science or Environmental Studies major. She is involved in the Campus Times, The Mindful University Project, and is an EcoRep. In her first few months as a first-year student, she felt very welcomed by the campus community from classes to clubs.

“I went to some of my first club meetings petrified because I was scared and didn’t know anyone. Everyone was appreciative of my presence, and it felt like I was a contributing member of every group I joined.” Julia said. 

I also asked students why they chose Rochester. 

Senior Sarah Knight is a Political Science and Language, Media, and Communications (LMC) double major. When I asked why she chose Rochester, her wide range of interests was a big factor.

“I had a lot of interests going in and didn’t know exactly what to study,” Sarah said, “The school basically had the open curriculum where I could take a lot of different classes.”

In her senior year, she is taking Audio and Music Engineering classes that don’t necessarily fit her major. When you have the time, definitely tune into Sarah’s The Sting radio show every Tuesday at 8 pm!

Sunahra Tanvir is a Political Science, English, and Digital Media Studies triple major. On campus, she is involved in Alpha Phi Omega, She’s The First, Campus Times, Mock Trial, Hartnett Gallery, and the Writing Fellows

“I liked how close to home the university is. I’m an only child and wanted to stay close to my parents. Plus, this is a really good school. I am so lucky to have a good school close to home!” Sunahra said, “There’s a lot of freedom here, which I really enjoy. You are not just stuck in a box.”

Sophomore Helena Shi is an international student from China who is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). She chose the University of Rochester for multiple reasons. She attended a high school in California and wanted to experience a new environment. She was also involved in high school orchestra and wanted to take music classes at the Eastman School of Music. 

“For the cluster system, you don’t have to dive too deep at something you’re not good at but still have a feel of it. For example, I’m not good at math, but if I’m taking a math cluster, there are not a lot of classes I have to take. I still learned about math though!” Helena said.

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