Washington University in St Louis Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?


focus on quality of life, people party hard everywhere so don't worry about that


Although I go to an excellent university that focuses on student success and happiness, I have found that your personal level of enjoyment depends on your openness to the campus. I have no regrets about choosing Washington University, and I have had only positive experiences here, but I also know that I could've been happy anywhere, as long as I put in the effort to find the right friends, and the right extracurriculars for myself. I am a firm believer that happiness depends on the individual and that if you want something, you have to make it happen yourself. A university can only do so much to make the transition from high school to college, and you can't rely on others to make you happy. So aim high, set goals, and make it happen, because in the end, what you succeed or fail in is a reflection of your personal effort, not external forces or organizations.


My best advice can be summed up in one simple, unparalleled word: faith. Parents must have faith in their children that they will make sound, fitting choices with regard to which college they wish to attend. They must have faith in themselves that they have raised their child to the best of their abilities and their child will become a contributing member of society in the best way he or she sees fit. Parents must also have faith in their ability to find a way to finance thier most important investment: their child?s education. It sounds so simple, but having a little faith makes difficult decisions a bit less daunting (and there will be many decisions in the months to come). This simple word can be extended to the college campus experience. To my fellow students: try new things, meet new people, take a leap of faith. Believe in your abilities and your capabilities and do not fear the unknown. This is the time in your life to make mistakes and make memories. Your support system has faith in you, and when you feel submerged under pressures of any nature, have faith in yourself. This will not fail you.


Find a college that will allow you to explore mulitple interests of yours and open up new oportunities to be involved. Choose a college where the degree plan allows for flexibility; where you can feel free to take a class on a whim. Something that might be a small interest now could turn out to be your major later. Understand that your interests will change in college, whether it's changing a major, discovering an interesting minor, or getting involved in student groups. Change is just part of the whole college process. It's normal to be undecided for a while. It's normal to not know what affect your education will have on your career or the rest of your life, but pursue what you're passionate about or interested in. You don't have to know what you are going to be for the rest of your life. Step outside your comfort zone often enough to be able to assess who your are and what you want college to be for you. Be studious in class but know how to relax yourself. Be open to new opportunities. Be adventurous. Be ambitious. Be involved.


One of the most important things to do before matriculating is visit all of the options. Although Newsweek may have a ranking or two that sounds interesting, be sure to check out those that may not be big on research but very supportive of undergrad. This decision is very relient on many factors.; I recommend figuring out what are the most important aspects to the prospective student's experience in undergrad and ranking potential schools based on that. I recommend looking at smaller/middle sized schools for a more personal touch from advisors and professors. Larger state schools are for those who are confident that they will not fall between the cracks. I repeat: visit your schools before deciding. There is something about the atmosphere and campus personal touch that could sway you one way or another.


Pick somewhere that you like, not where your friends or where your family want you to go.


Finding the right college takes time. Don't rush it and don't be afraid to visit schools that you visited earlier on again later in your college search process. As a person, you're changing all the time, but between junior, senior, and your first year of college you change considerably. A school that you disliked six months ago may very well be your first choice school now. Also, remember, if you don't get into your first choice school, it is not the end of the world. You will make friends with people who have a belief set similar to yours through clubs, your floor (if you're living on campus), and in your classes at the school you enroll at. And, reaching out to professors allows you to get to know them as the cool people they are, not just someone who stands up in front of the room and teaches. So, wherever you end up attending, your college experience depends solely on you - you make the experience you want to receive. Good luck and enjoy the journey!


Visiting schools is the best way to determine if a campus is "right" for you. No words or pictures can tell you how the people on a campus interact with each other. Go to classes, parties, and other on campus events to really get to know the school. Experience is everything in college, and it starts before you even get there.


Visit the campus and spend a day living there. Stay overnight with a current student and get to know a new friend, talk to a senior, go to a party, meet with a professor... but most importantly, see how well you can LIVE there. So many students become focused on available programs, degrees, and majors that they forget to find a place that sticks in their heart and lets them feel at home even thousands of miles away from where they spent their last 18 years, and even when college starts to feel overwhelming with work, due dates, extracurriculars, and all that college does best. The feeling that becoming a student at a particular institution gives you butterflies at the doors it opens and the personal enrichment and sense of belonging it will bring... that's the difference between surviving, and thriving. And perhaps the key to the best 4+ years of your life, even outside of all those classes, work, and GPA.