A Day in the Life at the University of Rochester

Hayden is a current senior at  the University of Rochester. He is majoring in economics and film and media production. He specializes in computer science tutoring, SAT tutoring, and a number of other subjects. Below, he shares his experience at the University of Rochester:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Hayden: The University of Rochester is located in a mostly residential area of the city of Rochester, NY. It’s only a 10 minute drive to downtown, where there are plenty of restaurants, music venues, and shops. Campus itself is very safe, due to the excellent public safety team the university employs. Neighborhoods around the school, where many students live, range from fairly safe to high-density crime areas, but university public safety also has a good presence in some of the more dangerous places. Most students live on campus or within walking or biking distance. Therefore, a car isn’t really necessary, but can be nice if you want to explore all that Rochester has to offer. In addition, free buses provided by the school can be useful to get to popular destinations around the city.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Hayden: Professors and TAs are almost always willing to meet to discuss course material outside of the classroom. Professors are required to hold office hours every week, where students can ask questions regarding concepts, upcoming assignments, and tests or quizzes. Pre-major advisers are assigned by the school during orientation week for freshmen. Once a student declares a major, they are allowed to choose their adviser.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Hayden: The freshman dorm experience is very important at the University of Rochester. Students in their halls often grow very close and spend a lot of time together. Personally, I am still very close with many of my freshman-year friends. Dining halls are easily accessible from anywhere on campus and generally serve nutritious and good-tasting food.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Hayden: One of my favorite parts of the University of Rochester is the large variety of fields it offers students. Engineering fields, especially biomedical and chemical, are very highly represented at the University of Rochester, as is computer science. I am a double major in economics and film and media production with a minor in computer science.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Hayden: I had no problem making friends right away. A large part of that is the extensive orientation week, allowing freshmen to meet and become friends before the pressure of classes begins. Although orientation, at times, feels like summer camp, it is a very integral part of the college experience. Greek life is significant, and it is common for freshmen to pledge these organizations during their second semester.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?  

Hayden: The Gwen M. Greene Career Center is one of the most underrated facilities on campus, in my opinion. I found their advisers to be increasingly helpful in my career and internship searches as I developed my ideas of what I wanted to do upon graduation. There is a strong alumni network that connects past and present students. In addition, the career center hosts biannual career fairs on campus that many large companies attend. The university also takes part in nationwide fairs held in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., where the scope of companies is much larger than the Rochester fairs.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges? 

Hayden: There are many popular study locations on campus which are often overcrowded, especially during midterm and finals weeks. It is common for students to find their own obscure studying spots in order to prevent the massive crowds which flood the library. Dorms and personal rooms are always an option for more relaxed study environments.

Describe the surrounding town.  

Hayden: Rochester is a vibrant small city, though many students do not explore it. The concept known as the ‘Rochester Bubble’ describes how Rochester students have a tendency to remain on campus, only venturing into the city during university-sponsored concert nights. For adventurous students, there are many opportunities to be found. The Eastman School of Music provides many free concerts each week, and the East and Alexander neighborhood is filled with restaurants and shops. Concert venues such as Main Street Armory and Water Street Music Hall often bring in big-name artists for relatively inexpensive prices. Recently, the university has created the College Town neighborhood, which is a strip of shopping and restaurants easily accessible from campus.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Hayden: There are about 4,500 undergraduates at the University of Rochester, and that number is growing. Class sizes can range from three students to as large as 200, but professors do a good job of teaching to the size of their class. I never felt that I was in a class which was too large to learn the material effectively.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Hayden: My sophomore year I took a behavioral economics class and challenged my professor to a ping-pong match during finals week. I beat him, and he told me (jokingly) that I had just earned an A in his class.

Check out Hayden’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.