By Beth Anne Spacht
April 9, 2014
Congratulations Class of 2018! I know we say it every year, but it’s true. You have worked extremely hard to earn admission in the most competitive application cycle in University history. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You should feel very proud of your accomplishment.
For many months (depending on how long you’ve been on our contact list), we’ve hit you with a lot of reasons “why” you should consider our school; the positives and the praises, the ratings and the rankings. So for the sake of changing it up, we decided to highlight for once the “why nots.” And so, without ado, in honor of the Class of ’18, here are 18 phrases you’ll never hear at the University of Richmond. We hope that this helps your decision.
1.) You can’t study abroad with that major
Did you know that 55% of Richmond students study abroad at least once in their college career? I’ve known pre-med students to intern in Spanish hospitals, anthropology students to conduct research in Nepal, business students to trek through Maastricht winters, and humanities students who have done fieldwork in Ghana, Malaysia, and Taiwan. Believe us. It’s possible. Check out our “Hot Topics: Study Abroad” blog post to learn more!
2.) There’s nothing going on this weekend.
Well, that’s just not true. Whether it’s a night on the town in RVA, a fun activity through CA Alternatives, a casual movie night at The Pier, or a student showcase or performance, the problem is more often choosing which of the many activities you want to attend, than not being able to find something to do.
3.) I don’t know who to ask for a job/grad school recommendation.
Have no fear! Richmond students tout close relationships with faculty members as one of the top reasons why they love UR. With an 8:1 student to faculty ratio and zero teaching assistants, you can feel confident that you’ll furnish top-notch recommendations from the best of the best. The professors here are truly investing in getting to know you – not because they have to, but because they genuinely care. Oftentimes students ask faculty members or academic advisors with whom they have collaborated over the course of 3-4 years; not just one semester sitting in the far back corner of a lecture hall.
4.) I don’t own a Richmond t-shirt.
Problem solved. We’ll give you a Class of 2018 t-shirt if you visit campus! From there, the giveaways are plentiful. I always joke that Richmond taught me two very important life skills: how to navigate a free dessert buffet, and how to score free clothing. Rest assured you’ll be rockin’ some form of Richmond gear more often than not. Richmond Rowdies will make sure of that fact! Go Spiders!
5.) So many kids from my high school came here.
Herd mentality, this is not. In the Class of 2017 (a total of 810 students), there were 602 different high schools represented. Of those, 476 schools sent only one student. You’ll meet people from 46 U.S. states and more than 70 countries around the world. I’m willing to bet your first year hall will MAYBE have 2-3 students from the same state, at the very most. Either way, this is not high school 2.0.
6.) I’m scared of spiders.
The key here is immersion therapy. Spider mascots are emblazoned all around campus, from the walkway in the Commons to the waffle press in the dining hall. Our beloved mascot originated from a baseball pitcher who was all arms and legs, giving the appearance of a spindly spider. In 2011, the campus community voted to redesign our fierce but friendly mascot, WebstUR. Oh, and did we mention that his arm can be used to launch t-shirts at games like Spiderman? (See #4). Trust us. You’ll love him.
7.) You can’t take that class; it’s in a different school.
Let us introduce you to a Richmond phenomenon: unlimited double dipping. First off, you can take classes and double major across different schools; in fact, each of our 5 undergraduate and graduate-level schools are at your disposal. Best of all, if one class happens to be cross-listed between two majors, we let you count it twice! No re-dos necessary. (e.g. Russian History may count for International Studies, Political Science, and History). The interdisciplinary focus of our University is one of its most important defining features. So, although you will ultimately declare in Arts & Science, Jepson, or Business, we don’t limit or restrict students when it comes to course selection – even in your senior year. Explore away!
8.) We got 2 feet of snow yesterday.
Although I often feel that Richmond weather has a mind of its own, you see all four seasons, and spring/summer tends to last well into October. When the flowers are in bloom, there’s nothing better than going out to explore the city. Although the polar vortex threw us for a bit of a loop this year, you typically only get 1-2 “major” (I’m talking much less than a foot) snowstorms a year. At that, the snow typically melts by day 2.
9.) There’s nothing to do nearby.
Nothing to do…in Richmond? The sentence just doesn’t compute. Campus is located in the West End of the city, which is only a 15-minute drive to access all the great history, art, and culture offered by downtown RVA. I’ve seen Wicked off-Broadway at the Carpenter Theater, enjoyed First Fridays at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, toured the Virginia State Capitol, eaten and shopped more than I care to admit in Carytown, caught $2 movies at The Byrd, relaxed with a picnic in the Japanese Gardens at Maymont, and attended many of the countless festivals and events happening every weekend in town. And that’s just in one weekend.
10.) I need to meet with my TA to go over my test results.
False. Once again, we have no TA’s. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. You learn from professors; they read your work, they lead the class, they grade your papers. End of story. Need we say more?
11.) That’s an easy class to skip. You won’t miss anything.
Au contraire, mon frère. See, I wouldn’t have learned that if I skipped my French 101 class. (Okay, I never actually took French, but if I did I’m sure I would have loved it). Fact of the matter is; there is no bad class at Richmond. You WILL miss something if you aren’t there, especially with an average class size of 16. Whether you’re learning about sponges, space, or Shakespeare, the level of conversation in the classroom is intellectually stimulating and engaging. If you do miss class, your professors are accessible to help you to make up the work. But, why would you want to? My Spanish teacher used to sing Shakira to get the day going right; my journalism professor held class in the dining hall. Let’s just say they get it. They really, really do.
12.) My professor doesn’t know anything.
Rest assured, fellow Spiders, your professors are most definitely experts. 98% have terminal degrees in their field. In fact, they probably published in the past year or two, won multiple distinguished educator awards, wrote the textbook you’re learning from, and want YOU to research alongside them; and not just so they can mention you in a footnote.
13.) The dessert selection is lacking variety.
I pity the fool who thinks they can find a better dessert selection than the glorious island of caloric intake that is D-Hall desserts. Think chocolate ganache with a bit of panache; more flavors of pie than Baskin Robins has ice cream; cake creations that put Cupcake Wars to shame. “Frost your own cupcake day” is undoubtedly one of the favorite Richmond classics, second only to Midnight Munchies – a dance party and dessert extravaganza in the dining hall each and every finals week (they even bring in a DJ).
14.) The grad student in my lab let me run the experiment yesterday!
Put away the test tubes, my friends, and break out the multi-million dollar equipment! Save for our Law and MBA programs, Richmond does not have a graduate student population. Therefore, you can hit the ground running from day one with independent, original research. We even have $500,000 grant funded research dollars to help you out. No fighting grad students for the opportunity to get your feet wet.
15.) It’s so hard to break into the social scene here.
You know how in some schools, freshman are social pariahs compared to upperclassmen? Lunch tables function like a middle school cafeteria? Yeah, Richmond isn’t one of them. Richmond is home to about 3,000 undergraduates, so it’s small enough that no matter where you go you will see a friendly face, but large enough that you will always be able to make new friends. There are approximately 180 student organizations including 28 club sports, 6 honorary societies (including Phi Beta Kappa), 16 religious groups, 14 fraternities and sororities, a student newspaper, and a pretty amazing radio station to boot. Honestly, I think you’d have to actively try hard not to get involved. It really is that accessible.
16.) There’s no way I’m going to graduate in four years.
Almost 85% of our students graduate within 4 years, compared to the national average of approximately 46% in 6 years. Although we sometimes wish we could petition the University to let us stay for just one more year, we hold strong with the knowledge that Richmond is and always will be our second home. Between multiple majors, exotic travel abroad, original research, internships, and more, your 4 years will fly by in the most amazingly fulfilling way.
17.) All the internships in my field are unpaid.
Student, meet UR Summer Fellowships (URSF). URSF, meet student. You’ve just been introduced to up to $4,000 in funding to put towards your next big summer research or internship opportunity. Feel free to use it domestically or abroad. Over 350 students will already do so this summer!
18.) I can’t wait to graduate.
College will be some of the greatest years of your life, no disputing that, but why limit yourself to great years? Why not go for the best years? Richmond students generally do. Graduation is more often met with tears of nostalgia and pangs of longing to continue than it is with impatience. But not because students are unprepared; on the contrary, 95% of our students are employed just one year after graduation. Cliché though it may be, it’s because college goes by much faster than you think. Richmond is a place that will support you no matter what your goals. It is a place that makes finding your niche visible and accessible from day one. It is a place you can truly call “yours” for the rest of your life.
And so, even after graduation, the one phrase you’ll always continue to hear?
#0. Class of 2018, we can’t wait to welcome you home.
Senior Assistant Director of Admission
A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.
Beth Anne Spacht
Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.
The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.