University of Colorado at Boulder
BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
Graduation Year: 2020, transferred in fall of sophomore year
High School Experience: I went to an art magnet school in Denver, CO with a graduating class of about 120. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I participate in theater on campus.
What kind of time commitment is theater?
During a show, we have four-hour rehearsals a day, so 20 hours a week, and then over the weekend maybe 8 to 12 hours.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I would say it’s about one or two essays a week and a lot of reading. The way the major works is you pick your emphasis on something. My emphasis is on theater, so it’s a lot of reading and writing.
Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think they could do a better job of communicating graduation requirements and what courses you need to take to graduate. It’s a pretty new major, so I think a lot of times they don’t know the answers to things, and students don’t know the answer to things before it’s too late.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very collaborative. They encourage a lot of participation in class and the class sizes in that department, for the most part, are pretty small. It’s like 15 to 20 kids per class.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Humanities in Different Art, so it was the history of different music and art and how it shaped humans and different societies.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
I had to take a couple of Humanities in Literature classes and the first I didn’t like just because it was a lot of older stuff that was harder to get through.
Do you feel people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I think so. A lot of people are very liberal in this department, so if there are other opinions that can get tricky sometimes. A lot of people have very liberal and very democratic opinions, but, in my experience, people are open to listening to other people’s views.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I wanted to do something that was not very specific. I wanted to have a lot of options for different classes and learn in the broadest sense I could while still having a major. This covered a lot of things, literature, the arts, some sciences, history, and politics. So far, I’ve been very, very happy.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Sophomore: Creekside apartment with one roommate who had her own room. It was a two-bedroom one-bathroom apartment.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel very safe on campus. There’s good security. I always feel safe in my apartment building. I think the campus is really well lit and there would be times where I would have to be walking home from a rehearsal late at night and I never felt unsafe walking around campus or anything alone.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Chautauqua Park, which is like 10 minutes away from campus but is up in the mountains enough.
Pros and cons of being in Boulder, CO?
Pros: (1) It’s so close to the mountains and it’s also super close to Denver. You have the mountains and the city and it’s at most a half an hour to get anywhere you need. [Denver is about a 35-minute drive.]
(2) The people are really, really nice. The people are super happy and healthy.
Cons: There’s definitely a huge party culture so it gets loud around campus at night sometimes. Anywhere that you’re living would be pretty loud over the weekends.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them through theater, so we were all in different shows together.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Being in theater, I think that is a place where a lot of different people come to mix and it’s a very accepting environment. Freshman and sophomore year, you’re in a lot more general education classes, so you’re around a lot more people, then junior and senior is when you’re around people from your major more, so it might get more specific there. I think as far as school events and club stuff it’s pretty mixed
How would you describe the student body?
I would say it’s a very varied student body. For the most part, it’s people who have a lot of money, especially the kids who are coming from out of state, but, at the same time, there are a lot of people with financial aid and stuff. I think it’s a pretty accepting student body and is trying to make a lot of changes here and is excited to be here. I think it’s a very positive energy. [Socioeconomically, 26% of students are in the top 5%. About 17% of students are financial aid dependent and qualify for the Pell Grant.]
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating have they been to your needs?
They’ve been extremely helpful. Transferring was really hard because I had an experience where my last school thought that I had stopped going to school, so they were asking me to start paying back my loans. They were super helpful in sending them all the letters and information that they needed, as well as figuring out what I needed from them. I’ve had all the help that I needed. They’ve even helped with off-campus housing through scholarships and grants. They’ve gone above and beyond. The financial aid office is always open and everything is anonymous. It can be an awkward thing to talk about, but every time I went I felt super comfortable asking for any help that I needed.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about CU Boulder before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more of the major options I think. They have a few majors that they advertise, but I had to hunt for the Humanities major. After picking that, which I’m very happy with, I realized how many more options there were. So, I wish I had known all of my options.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Definitely check out the planetarium. Walk around Pearl Street and the little shops there. Talk to some of the students because that is the best way to get the vibe of any college.
What is something a prospective student interested in theater should know that we haven’t touched on?
I think getting to know the professors really early and figuring out the plan for that really early because to be a theater major you have to audition your sophomore year and get into the BFA program, which is a two-year program. I think getting close with the professors as early as possible and having your face known to the administration is a good thing.
Are you going into that program?
I am not. I am too late in the process, which is why I’m saying that because I didn’t know any of that before it was too late.
Reasons to attend CU Boulder:
1) The people are really great. I think the student body is really great.
2) There are lots of options with classes and clubs, so anybody can find something they like.
3) The professors are really good. Even though it’s such a big school, they’re really good about creating individual relationships with students.
4) Boulder is a beautiful place and everyone is super, super happy.
Reasons to not attend CU Boulder:
1) It is a very large school. There are a lot of people here. [There are about 35,000 undergraduate students.]
2) Things move pretty fast. As far as classes go, sometimes all of a sudden you need to do this or fill out this thing for the next day. You have to be on top of stuff a lot of the time.
3) It can get expensive. Clubs and extra stuff will cost more money. You have to plan ahead financially. Financial aid, as helpful as it is, fills up pretty quickly.
4) Some majors are a lot more difficult than others. I think a lot of the engineering, math, and science majors have a superiority complex to some of the arts and politics majors.