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Why Rochester?

As you all know, it’s application season! You must be wondering if Rochester is the right fit for you and application deadlines are getting closer every day.  Around this time, 2 years ago, I was in your shoes: stressed out about application deadlines, struggling with writer’s block during my personal statement, and having a difficult time narrowing down my list of colleges. However, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel so I know you will find your way out of it just like I did! To give you some reasons why you should choose Rochester, I interviewed some amazing students on campus and asked them the most common question in admissions interviews: “Why did you choose the University of Rochester?” 

Student 1: Yousra Awad, Sophomore, Computer Science & Business

“In the year I was applying, the University of Rochester selected the first-ever woman president in the school’s history. This was when I knew the University of Rochester was the right place for me: a community supportive of women. I had to deal with a sexist STEM teacher in high school and I didn’t want to go through the same experience in college.

The University of Rochester is a Tier 1 research school, and all professors in different departments do some sort of research. I was truly inspired by one of my Electrical Engineering professor’s research in Natural Language Processing, and it was related to one of my high school Robotics projects. 

Also, I love that we have clusters in areas not related to our majors. I’m a Computer Science and Business double major but I love Music so clustering in it has helped me take super fun music classes without feeling guilty that I’m wasting time not doing STEM.”

Student 2: Adel Fadhul, Sophomore, Chemical Engineering

“At first, I was exposed to the University of Rochester when I discovered what an open curriculum was. This piqued my interest because I’ve always wanted to integrate my hobbies and passion for the arts in a STEM field. I really did not want to grow up to be the cookie-cutter Chemical Engineering major, so I decided to minor in Digital Media Studies and be active in the artsy clubs on campus, such as the Creative Arts Club and the Design Club. So far, I’ve met so many lovely people on campus who do a bunch of cool art stuff through these clubs.

I am also an international student from Saudi Arabia, which as you may know, does not experience any season other than summer. So I had never seen snow before and it rains once in a blue moon. The University of Rochester looked mesmerizing throughout the four seasons and I’ve always been captivated by it.”

Student 3: Michael Prass, Sophomore, Microbiology

“The University of Rochester is very close to home, and it’s an excellent school for medicine, with plenty of labs to gain practical experience. Since it’s a research university, there are also many opportunities for research and the professors have high expertise in the medical field. The University of Rochester also had connections in the IB program which was a huge factor in why I wanted to study here. After getting accepted here, I realized I made the right choice because I loved the environment here, it had a lot of trees and animals around such as deer, squirrels, and groundhogs. You can occasionally see the quad fox around at night in the Eastman Quad. The dining staff is really nice, and the food is good too. The layout of the school is very aesthetically pleasing as well. All in all, I love this school.” 

Student 4: Andrew Ophardt, Sophomore, Environmental Health (Pre-med track)

“When I applied to the University of Rochester, I was particularly interested by the amount of undergraduates involved in research. I had never been involved much in research or labs before university, so it sounded like a great opportunity. 

It is also worth mentioning that I am local to Rochester, so it is a place that I already know and love. I feel that the University of Rochester provides a place here where I can create a bigger impact and help give back to my community, such as by having the opportunity to create new student organizations and explore the hundreds of clubs that this campus has to offer.”


From a personal perspective, I also had my own reasons for coming here. Small reasons such as the snow that everyone dreads each year– trust me, the heaters will keep you warm! Back then, the campus looked so magnificent in pictures but I can reassure you that it looks a thousand times better in person. Academically, it was the right choice because the University of Rochester is very lenient with its flexible curriculum– you can build your own major and program here. I also remember reading about the Rochester traditions before coming here but experiencing them for the first time was magical, especially the Candlelight Ceremony– something straight out of a Disney movie! I couldn’t see myself studying anywhere else so I’m extremely grateful to be a part of this community, and I hope you will join me soon!

Altogether, I loved interviewing these lovely students just as much as I loved sharing this post with you all today! For many students here like myself, home is thousands of miles away, but one thing that we all have in common is this “home away from home” that we share, which is the University of Rochester. I hope to see you soon, future Yellowjackets, Meliora! 

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