Ask any student at the University of Rochester and they will tell you why they came: the curriculum. There are not much in the way of curricular mandates here – students take courses in their major, add a minor and/or a certificate if they want, and then must take three courses that make up what Rochester calls a “cluster” of courses in a discipline that is different than their major and minor. So a political science student (me – social sciences) with an art history minor (humanities) would have to take an approved series of three courses in the natural sciences and/or engineering area. [Click on the “Try it Out – Build Your Own Curriculum” link at the bottom of this page and you can see what they mean – and you can also see how much space is left purely for elective courses in this system!]
Additionally, Rochester encourages students to dig into fields other than their major so much that they offer students the opportunity to stay an additional semester or year – tuition-free – just to continue to learn through the Take 5 program. [Note that this does NOT mean that it takes longer than four years to graduate – the four-year graduation rate at Rochester is 75% (20% higher than UC San Diego) and the six-year graduation rate is 84% (same as UC San Diego).]
A high percentage of Rochester students go on to get an advanced degree; 85% of students do some type of research and 20-25% of students are published before they graduate. Rochester is particularly strong in the sciences and the University of Rochester Medical Center complex is right across the street from the main River Campus. Rochester is also home to a laboratory for laser energetics, with the world’s second largest ultraviolet laser, and a hub for alternative energy study.
School spirit is here if you want it – students cheer on their Division III sports teams as well as their a cappella music ensembles! About a quarter of the students are involved in Greek organizations.
The students in this panel discussion turned down NYU, Georgetown and MIT to come to the University of Rochester – that should tell you the caliber of students who come here. Here they talk about why they chose Rochester:
The Eastman School of Music is a world-class music conservatory – up there with the ranks of Juilliard and Peabody. There are 1.2 million people in the greater Rochester area – it’s a major city with great opportunities for students, and the River Campus (adjacent to the Genessee River) is very close to downtown. Eastman is in downtown Rochester.
Rochester is test-flexible – meaning you can submit alternatives to the SAT or ACT (such as three AP test scores or three subject test scores). They will also SUPER-DUPER score if you submit both the SAT and ACT – they will give you credit for the highest score on any section of either test! Rochester also guarantees that they will meet your full demonstrated financial need – though they do use their own institutional method to determine what your need will be.
Rochester is a BEAUTIFUL campus – it really looks and feels the way you would expect college to look. Brick buildings with marble columns, a large grassy quad (all connected by underground tunnels!), a library with a beautiful balcony overlooking the main academic quad, and students bustling about on their way to and from class. If you’ve overlooked Rochester, look again. It’s ranked #33 on the national universities list and the 5,600 undergrads here are warm, friendly and smart.
Here’s tour guide Nick talking about the students at Rochester:
You can see all of my photos from my trip to the University of Rochester here.
Visit date: September, 2014