An Interview On
Denison University

Background

Interview Date:June 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: I went to a public school outside of Boston with a graduating class of about 350 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Communications
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I write for The Denisonian, I’m in a sorority, and I [have a leadership role] in the Women in Business club.

Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
My sorority allowed me to meet a lot of upperclassmen, especially when I was coming into Denison. It also let me meet a lot of guys. It connected me to people who I wouldn’t normally have been friends with, which was a really good experience. Women in Business has also let me meet some people. Women in Business helped me with the internship I have now because the woman who contacted me was the founder of the Women in Business club at her school.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s a lot of reading and interpreting them. Then you write essays on different societal issues and problems or class concepts.

What are your major graded assignments?
I’ve had tests, but, for the most part, they are essays.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I was undecided when I came in and took classes in a bunch of departments. The Communications classes were the only classes that I really enjoyed because I felt they were a really good mix of reading, writing, studying sociology, psychology, and society, and then using those studies to interpret problems and current events. I think they do a really good job of pulling from a lot of different disciplines.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s competitive. People are there to do well and want to get good grades. It’s also collaborative because in a lot of my classes I’ve had group projects and, if I’m in a class with friends, we’ll study together and help each other with homework.

What has been your favorite class in your major?
How We Communicate, which is basically a class that studies how technology has impacted the way people interact with each other in society. That was my absolute favorite class. I loved it.

What has been your least favorite class in your major?
My Research Communications class just because we had to switch professors halfway through because the professor got really sick. The professor who took the class on was inundated with her other classes’ work and didn’t have much time to plan the class.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
It was the only class that I took freshman year that I actually enjoyed learning about. I also am good at that type of learning and writing, that is just how my brain works. It was a good match of things I enjoy and am good at.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Shorney Hall with one roommate.

Sophomore: Crawford in East Quad in a double.

Junior: I lived in a Quad in Shepardson. Our quad was two bedrooms and one bath.

Senior: I’m living in the Sunset Apartments. I have my own room and there are four of us in the apartment.

What was your favorite living situation?
Definitely my sophomore year living in Crawford because a lot of my friends were on the same hall as me and then also a lot of girls that I didn’t know were on the same hall, so we all became best friends. Making friends with so many girls I didn’t already know made my year. We’re still best friends.

How was transitioning from living in a suburb of Boston to Granville, OH?
I’ve been really happy with that because my town is one of the most Irish towns in America, so everyone is super Irish and super Catholic. Everyone is kind of the same person and have the same family situations, so there isn’t much diversity. I loved going to Denison because it’s so diverse. There are kids from all over the country, kids from all different economic backgrounds, and religions. My friends are from all different states. I love how different it is and how it pulls a lot of different and really interesting people. [Denison has students from all 50 states. About 20% of students are first-generation college students.]

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Tokyo in Newark.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I don’t have a car so I can’t get off campus that often. I like going to Easton where there’s a lot of different restaurants, a mall, a movie theater, and some bars. It’s fun.

Pros and Cons of being in Granville, OH?
Pros: (1) It’s a very safe town. [Granville is safer than 92% of cities in the United States.]
(2) It’s close to Columbus so you can go there for weekends and get out of the really, really small-town vibe.
(3) It’s a really beautiful friendly town. It has a lot of cute activities, like Christmas fairs and farmers’ markets.

Cons: You’re in a bubble. When you’re up on the hill [on campus] you feel very much secluded from the world. On top of that, you’re surrounded by cornfields.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
My friends and I go out at least twice a week on Friday and Saturday. We go to fraternity parties in the [Sunset Apartments] (Sunnies) and then when we turned 21 we went to the bars. My first two years I went out Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. When I got older, I went out just on Friday and Saturday. Those nights I go to the Sunnies and, every once in a while, I end up at the bars. [In Fall 2018, Denison capped the number of people allowed in the Sunnies to 33 people due to structural damage.]

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I would say it’s very much a thing. I think it’s a lot harder for boys because frats throw most of the parties. I have friends who aren’t in sororities and they will still come to my sorority’s mixers with fraternities and, if not, they’ll just come when the mixer opens up at 10 or 11 o’clock. Greek life provides a place to have parties for girls and for guys it’s more intense. Girls can get into basically any party they want.

How happy were you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I loved it freshman year, but since then security has gotten a lot stricter and have been shutting down parties. They won’t let everyone have parties, which the makes the parties are allowed very crowded and harder to get into. It’s also crowded and hot, so it’s hard for anyone to actually have fun. I think they should let whoever wants to have a party have a party unless there was some severe reason why they shouldn’t be having a party. It gets kind of old by the time you’re a senior because it’s the same thing every weekend and you’ve done it so many times. But, honestly, I think it’s fun enough.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
My freshman year I met my closest friends through one of the first activities they had during orientation. Through her, I met some other friends and we developed a friend group. My other closest friends I met because we were all living together my sophomore year. Because we were living near each other we got to know each other and became really good friends.

How would you describe the social scene?
For the most part, a lot of kids that want to go out are part of Greek life and go to parties and bars. Some people will go to [parties or bars] two days a week and some way more. My roommate freshman year wasn’t someone who liked parties or was part of Greek life, but she kept herself busy doing other things, like going to the movies, going to plays, hanging out with friends, and going to different multicultural events. There’s something for everyone.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t know. There are debates about that on campus. I came from a town that was not diverse at all, so, for me, I think Denison does a great job of bringing different kids together. Socially, I think if you want to be involved in anything there isn’t kind of segregation stopping people from doing that stuff.

How would you describe the student body?
I think the student body is very diverse. There’s a really good mix of athletes who support their other friends in their sports. I go to all my friends’ games. There’s also a good mixture of academically driven people who study a lot and do their homework. [23% of students are domestic students of color and 16% are international students. Including intramural sports, about 75% of students participates in athletics.]

Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Denison by the time they graduate?
I think people start out loving it because it’s a culture that’s really easy to make friends because it’s a small school and you get to know everyone really, really fast. That’s really fun when you’re a freshman and you don’t know anyone. The older you get the more [frustration you have] with the system. You get sick of seeing the same people and it will become really, really small because you know everything that’s going on with everyone and everyone knows everything that’s going on with you. The older you get, because you’re there all the time, you find more problems with it. I think people will look back and think they had great times and enjoyed it, but during their senior year they get pretty sick of it. But, I think that’s the same at most schools.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yeah, the internship I have right now I didn’t even apply for. They were recruiting specifically from Denison because the president of the company is a Denison guy. The HR staff looked on Handshake, which is our job portal, for Denison kids. She liked my resume, [I think because I was part of Women in Business]. Denison people want to hire Denison people. If you reach out to alumni and network them, people are usually more than happy to pass your resume on or give you suggestions about what steps to take to get into an industry.

How helpful has the career office been?
I started using the career center in my sophomore year because I wanted an internship and I applied for a program through Denison and they paid me for my internship, let me live on campus for a month, and they connected me with a company that had to do with my major. This year I spent a good amount of time in the career office working on my resume, doing interview prep, and helping me figure out the type of companies I should apply to.

Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
No, I haven’t. I have actually been told by a couple different people in my internships that if you want skills that set you apart to learn Python and other coding. So, I think I’m going to take a Computer Science class next semester.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating have they been to your needs?
Most of my money comes from merit scholarships, which is great because that doesn’t change based on your family’s income. I get a small amount of financial aid and they’ve given me everything that I’ve needed. I do know that last year my dad got a bonus and my financial aid shrunk because of that bonus. A huge benefit of Denison is that most people do get some sort of merit scholarship. [Less than half of Denison students incur debt and the average amount of debt over four years is $28,000.]

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Denison before entering as a freshman?
I wish I had taken Communications classes freshman year just so I could have gotten my major done more quickly. That way I would have had more time my senior year to take the classes that interested me that I’ve never had time in my schedule to take.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
I love going to football games in the fall. The first home football game the whole student body will turn out and hang out with their friends. I think it just shows that even though it’s a small Division III school, it is still a supportive campus that has school spirit.

Reasons to attend Denison:
1) Denison does a really good job of bringing a different type of student in. It’s not a homogenous student body. There are a lot of people from different backgrounds and people that have different passions. [Denison has students from all 50 states. Socioeconomically, 4.7% of students come from the bottom 20%. The student body is made up of 23% domestic students of color and 16% international students.]
2) People are really friendly here. It’s a pretty welcoming culture and it’s pretty easy to make friends, especially as a freshman.
3) The classroom environment. Kids really care and are actually interested in the material. People want to participate in class and it’s not uncool to care about school, do your homework, or talk in class.
4) There is a good sense of school spirit. Kids are willing to support their friends in whatever they’re doing.
5) President Weinberg seems like he really cares about the students. It speaks volumes that he’s at every single sporting event and every single different school play. He talks to different kids about what they’re doing and what they like. I think that’s a big plus.
6) The alumni network is really dedicated to helping students. Because it’s a small school, people are really passionate about it and have a strong sense of community with the school after graduating.

Reasons to not attend Denison:
1) It can get very small for people. If you’re not aware of what a small school is like or if you want a small school, it could get very old for you by sophomore year. [There are about 2,300 undergraduate students.]
2) If you’re a boy and you want to have a social life and go out a good amount of the time, but don’t want to join a frat and are not on a sports team, it might be harder for you. That is because most of the parties are thrown by sports teams or frats and they can be a little limited. If you want to do it, you’ll most likely get into Greek life. If you don’t want to rush, it’s harder.
3) If you’re a city person and like city life, being in the middle of Ohio might be weird for you. I have a friend from New York City who wasn’t prepared Denison because of the small school vibe and transitioning from the city life to Ohio was weird.

Notice: Denison University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Denison University.

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