Rochester is a very unique city. It has a variety of things that you can do. There are clubs, bars, concert halls (classic and rock), historical things, nature trails, and so on and so forth. Basically if you wanted to get off campus and do something you should be able to find something to do. It's not a tiny city so big things like bands and big name performances do stop by in the town. It's not huge so you don't really have to worry about traffic or driving hours on ends to get from one side of the city to the other. I personally thing it's a nice balance of city / suburb / and rural. UR is fairly self sufficient. We have our own bus system a mini-store to buy groceries and that sort of things and various programs on campus throughout there year to entertain yourself. UR is expanding quickly, but as of now there is no defined college town. However plans have been drawn up to expand UR by twice or three times its current size and will occupy a larger portion of the area. The biggest issue at Rochester that, truly, affects UR undergraduates is the meal plan system. It recently has been tweaked so that you choose your meal plan based on your current dormitory. They say the calculation is based on the number of people using a single kitchen in a wing of a dormitory and the higher the number the more likely you will be using campus dining rather than you cooking yourself. This fundamentally screws up many upperclassman (and freshman) who live dorms on the residential quad as well as those who live in the freshman dormitory (Susan B. Anthony). Upperclassman who have volunteered their services to the university serving as Residential advisers (they're actually paid), Freshman Fellows (basically they are on hall academic support, unpaid), and D'lions (Upperclassman that live in the freshman building and help keep hall spirit up / provide events to keep people entertained and engaged in the university and Rochester community, also unpaid) are screwed over because previously they would have had meal plans that were much cheaper due to their upperclassman status. But now they must use the most expensive meal plan on campus. Also, and ironically enough, the hospital food (which you can use campus currency with) is better than many of the campus sites. If you like sports, UR isn't a bad place to be either. Unless you like football. we do have a reputation for losing at that particular sport very frequently. One last thing about Rochester, that I guess you have to talk about when you're looking into colleges. That is, of course, Alcohol. If you want to drink there are plenty of opportunities to, and if you don't you don't really have to and there are just as many people who don't drink / party like that. So like the weather, it's what you choose that will affect whether or not you like the atmosphere about that.
The size of Rochester is pretty amazing- small enough to give you personalized attention, but large enough to have decent resources and great aid. When I say I go to UR, most people, especially in academic circles, are really impressed. Alot of people not in academic circles think we're RIT. WE'RE NOT. We're way better. There's a lot of school pride- maybe not in the traditional sense of athletics, but in our school itself. Students wear a ton of UR clothes, and are really proud to be here. It gives us a great sense of community. On campus, I spend most of my time in Gleason, which is this awesome part of our library that was designed by students. It's technically a study area, but it's really more of a socializing/studying place. It's really fun, and really a great place to chill with friends and even maybe get some work done. There's not really a college town feeling, but there's plenty to do in Rochester. We're home of the original garbage plate (if you've never had one, they sound completely disgusting. If you've had one, you know they're amazing), and have a great music and theatre scene. There's lots of cute little diners and coffee shops in the city, but none are really within walking distance. However, the bus system here is really amazing. I go off campus quite a bit, and it's not difficult at all to find buses. They're a great resource. The only real complaint about Rochester (except maybe the price) is the meal plan. Our food is by no means great, and it's really expensive. But we do have some good places, and you learn where to go, and more importantly, where not to go pretty quickly. Hint: stay away from Danforth. Another hint: Douglass is pretty much the best place on campus to eat. Several people have told me we have the largest Starbuck's on a college campus- I'm not sure that's true, but it is a really nice one, and has pretty much all the options of a full Starbucks. Hillside, a little cafe in Sue B Residence Hall, now has panini's, which are delicious and made fresh when you order them, but because of that, there can sometimes be quite a line. That's new this year though, so maybe eventually they'll stop being so incredibly popular. One experience I'll always remember..... there are a million. But my first really great memory was Yellowjacket weekend, which is sort of a kickoff to the school year. You get a free "jersey", and there's a full fledge carnival. It was really fun, and msot of the school shows up. Like I said, everyone's really happy to be here.
One of the best things about Rochester is the way the curriculum is set up. The fact that you can take pretty much any class you want coming into the school is great, and really designed for most college students, who don't know what you're doing. Everyone is also really helpful, and there to make sure you're doing what you want to be doing. Another thing that really played a part in my decision to come to Rochester was the fact although the students with themselves, they don't bring that through to each other. Everyone is always studying together and helping everyone else. It's a really community-oriented environment. People seem impressed when I say that I go to Rochester, because the school is getting more popular and known around the country. It's becoming one of those "new ivys" i think. There is definitely a lot of school pride. As always we show it in sports, particularly basketball, but it's also really strong because the class presidents and administration work hard to make class activities where we can all get closer. One complaint, and a recent issue on campus was regarding housing and the mealplan. Up through my first year students at Rochester could pick a variety of meal plans, governed by what year you were. The administration made its best guess as to how to limit younger students new to college so that they would always have a sufficient mealplan. However they have recently changed the policy and it is now tied to where you are living. For me this has turned out not to be that big on an issue, but when I first heard about it I agreed with most of the school that this wasn't a very good idea. Peope who were planning to change to a certain mealplan couldn't, because of where they were living, and some living arrangements closer to eateries with one kind of payment style, are going to house a lot of people unable to buy a lot of the food there. This has been a big issue so far and it is great how the students have already petitioned together many times for it to be changed. There's a lot of school spirit and strong leadership skills in our school.
The best part about UR is the campus and the academics (later.) Other than a few months in the winter, the campus is absolutely beautiful and because the good weather is so scarce, when it is here everyone is outside either studying or throwing a football around or just hanging out and its a great dynamic. Obviously if I could change something it would be a shorter winter season. The campus size is perfect; about 15 minute walk from end to end. The student body could be a little bigger, but it's still ok. There still hasn't been a day where I walked around campus and recognized most of the people that I saw, which I think is very important coming from a high school class of 100. There are two distinct reactions when I tell people I'm at Rochester and the difference stems only from whether or not the person has heard of Rochester before. Those who have know what the school is about and respect it. Those who don't either think it is a state school or some terrible academic school that's in the middle of nowhere. Although some might not call this a college town I think I would and here is why: there are hundreds of quality restaurants within a short driving distance of campus as well as an area where there are about 15-20 bars/clubs where you can go on the weekends. Also, there are many other schools around here (St. John Fisher, MCC, Keuka, SUNY Brockport...) so interaction is not just limited to UR students. I don't have a strong opinion on the administration as I haven't had much contact with them, but there aren't many large events on campus that they have to deal with so their job is pretty hard to screw up. There is not much school pride and that is because there are many people who do have a problem with our horrible weather, or our large proportion of "nerdy" students or the fact that with the exception of a select few, our sports teams aren't very good.
Rochester doesn't have much of a "college town" but rochester is a pretty cool city, especially with Dinosaur BBQ about a 10 min drive from campus, and all kinds of other great ethnic food around as well. The best thing about U of R is probably the academic program called "clusters." but i guess i'll talk about that in the academics section. The school is a decent size of about 3000 kids. You see some people a lot, but i meet a good amount of new people a year. The fact that i see the same people a lot may just be because of my small major. Past first or second year subjects the class sizes are manageable and you can generally get e-mail responses or set up meetings with professors easily. Generally there isn't much school pride, with people always talking about how the administration is screwing them this time or things such as that. The newest upset is the HORRIBLE meal plan that they introduced to try to fix the one that wasn't NEARLY as bad. Of course, we now have to pay more money to get more food when almost no one could possibly finish their meal plans before. Also, they keep raising the price of college every year, and you arent locked in to a certain rate that was agreed upon in freshman year. Also, a yearly tradition called D-Day, which was about the only fun thing that the administration would put on, is about to be shut down for good because they dont want to pay for good bands to come and play anymore. Thanks a lot. When i tell my friends things like this they always say that their college is so much nicer about this kinda stuff. Oh yea, and ResLife constantly screws you. The housing system wouldn't be so bad if they stopped admitting too many freshman (eager for their money) and and constantly asking us upperclassmen to please live off campus.
I'l admit, U of R wasn't my first choice and I wasn't sure if it was the place for me when I sent in my deposit. But it has a really interesting dynamic, great academics, and I'm really glad I ended up here. I think UR's size is a real benefit. Some Intro classes do tend to be large, but are small enough where you can still develop a personal relationship with your professor. I had the opportunity to be in several discussion based classes as a freshman and this isn't really out of the ordinary. But UR also is a top-notch University with professors doing high level research in their fields. Its small undergrad size allows for amazing opportunities for undergrad research and independent study. Very few schools offer the same intimacy and research availability. While the city of Rochester gets a bad rap, I honestly think its an above average college town. Lots of music performances, a quaint independent theater and decent night life. Despite what outsiders might think having heard about kodak filing for bankruptcy protection, Rochester is doing fine economically---it was recently listed as one of 10 cities 'poised for greatness' and its really starting to flower. The worst thing about UR is that its name doesn't carry as much clout as its academics deserves. I think that the quality of education and caliber of students makes UR a peer school with WashU, Tufts, CMU, Emory, and JHU (I know a bunch of students that turned down all of these schools and many more) However, UR is practically unknown in many circles. Nevertheless, lots of UR students attend top grad schools and it is well known in academia. Ultimately, its name recognition is more annoying than anything else, and isn't something that will really hold you back in achieving your career goals.
Rochester is a great place to go to school. It's a small school in a big university, so it has a nice small school feel but not too small to make you claustrophobic. When I first got there, I thought I was going to hate it because I'm from a big city and Rochester is a small city. I was worried I wouldn't be able to relate to the students from upstate New York. But my freshman orientation was an unbelieveable experience and I quickly met friends that I will be friends with for my entire life. The people at Rochester are unique because they are kind and inviting rather than cold and snobby. The actual campus is easy to get around , except in the winter when it is freezing. Investing in a North Face down coat is essential for survival. There is a city, and having a car is necessary after freshman year to prevent dying of boredom. There are cute cafes and restaurants in the city and they're only about a 10-15 minute drive. The best part about the city is Wegman's, a huge supermarket open 24 hours a day. Since the food on campus is terrible, Wegman's will get you through those late night study hours. The administration has improved significantly since I was a freshman at Rochester. As a member of a sorority, I had to work with the administration often, and they sincerely care about the well being of the students. Our Greek life on campus is a large part of the extracurriculars on campus, including community outreach, philanthropy, social events, and public service. Four years at Rochester, while it can seem tough at times, is worthwhile in the end for the incredible education, the outstanding people, and the unforgettable memories.
University of Rochester is not a flawless school. No school is. People complain about Dining Services, the Rochester city area, etc., but as a senior in my final year here, what I notice most about the student experience at U of R is that everyone is happy. While everything may not be perfect, so many things have gotten so much better over the past four years. The admins are completely willing to revamp entire dining centers or build a new dorm (or two) if they need to--recession or no recession. Stay here long enough, and you'll see how hard they're working to make this campus a great place for students... even if they do mess things up now and again. Moreover, U of R is a beautiful campus filled with positive and talented people. There's a niche here for everyone, and you're sure to live a balanced life while still actively engaging in challenging classes with some of the best educators in the country. I've had dinner at professors' houses and even consider some of them personal friends. Plus, professors will not hesitate to put in a little extra work if it will do a student good. I can't tell you how many times professors have invited me to plays they thought I'd find interesting, offered me a job/research opportunity, or even nominated me for a student award. And they do all of this for me and for many others simply because they appreciate their students. U of R is a small school with a lot of resources, opportunities, and (most importantly) heart. You will have a great time here; you will make lifelong friends and connections; you will receive an education that you can proud of and that others will respect.
The city of Rochester is relatively boring with a few decent bars, a few mediocre clubs, mediocre weather, and a lot of old industry like Kodak that's slowly dying. At the same time there are a lot of college students in the area and there some areas like Corn hill and park ave that have a college lively feel to them. Overall the area is fairly liberal politically but varies by school somewhat. U of R is very open minded though decidedly left in political persuasion. There are a lot of cool events on campus but they get old because there's not as much variety as there should be so by junior and senior year you usually start looking off campus to local bars, clubs, etc for entertainment. The music scene in rochester isn't that great although you do have national bands come through but tickets are expensive. School pride isn't that big, although there is a certain rich private school feel on campus-but only from a minority of students who are stuck up and uber-rich. Basketball is probably the biggest sport and the only one where there is a large attendance at games. Basically Rochester is only a school to go to if you're really serious academically and willing to work hard pursuing your field of study. The freedom is nice but you also have enough rope to hang yourself if you don't work hard and stay on top of things. The career center sucks so hopefully you're ambition and good about applying for internships and jobs on your own. It's a good school but only for the smart, hard working student who is ok with only having one or two nights free all week for a little relaxing.
The main thing that I would change would be the location of the school, it would be much more popular if the weather didnt blow. The school seemed large when I first got here but now that I am a senior, it seems as though I know or know of everyone. When ever I tell anyone that I go to the UofR all they ever have to say is that its cold/snowy there, no one really knows much more than that. The way that the campus is positioned makes it almost impossible to walk anywhere, other than to the hood or a graveyard, so getting food other than what is offered on campus is very hard unless you have a car, and even then if you have a car its most likely parked very far away, in one of the many distant unsecured parking areas. The rochester administation is generally disinterested in the student population other than those who get caught drinking in their dorms, and the UR security spends most of their energy dispatching of people having fun and not alot of time preventing students/faculty from being jumped on campus. I know personally I have experienced crime on campus when one of my friends got his computer stolen from his room by a non-student and the only reason that the kid didnt get away with it was not because of UR security but because I chased the theif down myself(he was rather fat and slow so this wasnt too difficult) and got him to give it back, turns out he had an outstanding warrent out for his arrest, safe...