Are you one of the many
high-school students perplexed as to where to apply to college?
My sister is a
sophomore at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. Several weeks ago I visited her and
was curious how she perceived her school. The University of Richmond is a private suburban
university. It is very selective and has Division I sports teams. Not many are aware of the
university's prestige, and I decided that "ya'll" needed to be
What attracted you to the University of Richmond, and what
made you decide to apply?
The beauty of this school is unbelievable. It
is on 350 rolling acres with a lake, tall pine trees and flowers, and red-brick Georgian
architecture. The people are so nic eand friendly, and from all over the country. I love the idea of
Southern hospitality. When I took a campus tour, I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. My gut
feeling actually played a major role in my decision to apply. I felt I had to be here.
There are 2, 950 undergraduate students; 92 percent live on
campus all four years. How has that affected you as a
The school's small size has a positive effect mainly because
of the student to professor ratio. There are fewer students in classes, which means more
one-on-onetime with professors. At UR you are more than just a number to your professors, you are a
name. They know you and you know them. You can find your niche a lot easier with smaller numbers of
students. You know more people so you feel secure, and you know your surroundings.
The small number can also have a negative impact because people know a lot about
you. But the fact that almost everyone lives on campus is great. It's nice to be where everyone is
and be around your friends and acquaintances.
Richmond's best and worst qualities?
Richmond is beautiful, as I said.
And the interaction between professors and students is phenomenal. The dorm rooms are great:
spacious, comfortable and clean. Even eating at Richmond is good! The food is excellent compared to
other schools. Basically, student life is awesome. There is so much to get involved in including
intramural sports, clubs and Greek life.
The downside is that UR is pretty far
from a major city. Students sometimes feel secluded and joke around by saying we live in the
"Richmond bubble. "What I mean is, the college campus isn't the real world in the
sense that we seem to be untouched by what's happening off campus.
are in a sorority. How has that affected your college experience?
in a sorority has definitely added. Even though I consider myself an outgoing person, and am
convinced I would have met the girls in my sorority regardless, I definitely have a special bond
with them. My sorority interacts with the community through our work with charities like Habitat for
Humanity. And, my sorority is involved with UR through
How is college different from high
College is totally different from high school because you are
on your own. I cannot stress enough the idea of learning independence. You discover so much about
yourself. No one is there to walk you to class. You need to motivate yourself because there is no
one to make you do your schoolwork, set your schedule, get to class on time. You gain a better sense
of self and find yourself maturing when you are away from home. I have to say you truly find yourself
Tell me more about
The professors are absolutely brilliant! Most have been
published many times. Since I am majoring in business, I am aware that the professors have various
certificates including CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) MBA
(Masters in Business Administration), and PhDs. The professors have had careers in business before
teaching here. They are always trying to help you. They truly care about
How would you classify the University of Richmond?
For example, is it a "party school?"
hard and play hard" would be the Richmond motto. Academics are taken very seriously during
the week; everyone goes to class, studies and works really hard. By the time Thursday rolls around
everyone begins to relax and goes out and has a great time. The curriculum here is hard and requires
a lot of hours of study. You will receive an amazing education at the University of Richmond, but
you have to be willing to put in a lot of effort.
The social scene at this
school is great. People usually party Thursday through Saturday. I love this school because not only
do I study hard, but I party as well. It's a nice
What would you recommend to those still in high
school planning to attend a four-year college?
I would definitely
tour any schools you have in mind or, if possible, spend a weekend as a prospective student. At the
college, someone will host you, which means you will go to class with them, live in their dorm, and
eat with them. You can follow the student around as if you were his or her shadow. I believe this
is crucial in making your final decision because you can actually see what college life is like, as
opposed to a guided tour that you go on with your parents.
I am an advocate of
going with your gut feeling because it is usually right. Never think that you cannot get into a
certain school. Also, you don't always need to listen to your parents! Remember to work hard in
school; get involved in school activities, or involved in the community. Being an athlete helps, too.
What it comes down to is: be a well-rounded person. Grades are not everything; try to make yourself
a complete package.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.