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"How's Your Biology Program?" (And Other Not So Awesome Questions)

By Tom Nicholas

September 7, 2018

Guest Post by Rachel Ristow, Senior Assistant Director of Admission

We’re still awaiting cooler fall weather here in Richmond, but our students have returned to campus! That also means that our admission officers are gearing up to hit the road and visit your high school, the local college fair, or your neighborhood coffee shop for a quick Spider Chat. Whether you are a senior polishing your admission essay or a junior starting the college search process, fall is a great time to make connections with your admission officer at the University of Richmond and other colleges you might be applying to this fall.

You might have many questions, and it is our job to answer them all. We want to help you discover whether UR is the right fit. However, while there are no "silly" questions, not all questions are created equal. Some don’t answer what you really want to know. Here are some ways to turn that less-than-awesome question into one that will impress your admission officer this fall:

1) "How’s your biology program?"

"How’s your [insert intended major] program?" is not a good way to figure out how that program would be a good fit for you. Instead, try "What are chemistry professors currently researching?", "Do psychology students find that their professors are accessible outside of class time?", or "Do business students find internships after their first year?"

2) "What’s the average class size?"

In all fairness, this question is okay – and admission officers quote average class sizes all. the. time. – but let’s dive deeper. Average class size is typically reported as an average of all courses from first to senior year. Next time you are at a college fair try, "What is the student to faculty ratio?", "What is the largest class offered?", "How large is a typical first-year class?", or (especially if you are talking to a current student) "Do you feel like your professors get to know you?"

3) "What’s there to do on the weekend?"

What do you do now on the weekend? You will probably continue to do some of those things in college. You will meet friends with similar interests or friends that will push you to do new things! You might find out that you’re a clutch Seeker on the Quidditch field, or that you love riding the Class IV rapids that run through Richmond’s downtown. Think about asking, "How many students live on campus all four years?" On-campus residency greatly affects campus life. With about 85% of our students living on campus all four years at Richmond, involvement in clubs and organizations is high, ensuring a vibrant campus experience no matter what your interests are or will become.

I could go on, but will stop myself and leave you with this parting message: think about what you want to find out about a college or university and ask that question. Challenge us! We may have to follow up with you later, but we want to make sure we’re helping you understand how awesome UR can be for current and future Spiders.

Tags: Admission Tips College Search

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Associate 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.

Learn more about Tom

Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Senior Assistant Director of Admission

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.

Learn more about Beth Anne

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