University of Richmond
BackgroundInterview Date:June 2017
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2017
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 100 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Business Administration with a dual concentration in Finance and Management
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on the club equestrian team, I’m in a sorority, and I work as a writing consultant.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your concentrations?
It was mostly problem sets, then maybe 2-3 tests a semester. I didn’t write a lot of papers.
Is there anything you feel your concentrations’ departments do especially well or poorly?
They do a really good job getting the alumni network up and running. I had lots of good resources to reach out to. They also do a good job of giving you a fundamental knowledge of finance before you start interviewing. Something they didn’t do well is that you only need four classes to complete the finance concentration, so it’s pretty small. I’d like them to have a more workplace-oriented class because my Excel skills weren’t as good as they could or should have been when I graduated.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s not competitive, but I wouldn’t say it was collaborative either. Within the business school at Richmond, you just do your own work and if you have questions you can reach out to people. We also didn’t do a lot of group projects.
How accessible were your professors?
Very accessible. Everyone knew your name and you could go in to see them whenever.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I went to school to do pre-med initially, but I was failing everything and wanted to switch over to something that had structure and was math-y. I ended up doing Finance and liking it.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Moore with one roommate
Sophomore: North Court with one roommate.
Junior: I lived in a house off campus with 9 other girls. It was stupidly large and like never happens but I did it [laughs].
Senior: I lived on campus in the University Forest Apartments.
What was your favorite living situation?
Junior year was definitely my favorite.
Can you describe the level of safety you have experienced on and around campus?
It’s a very high level of safety. I never felt unsafe walking at night. I was never in downtown Richmond at night alone, so I can’t really speak to that. But I never had a time of genuine unsafety.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The James River
Pros and cons of being in Richmond?
Pros: 1) You have the city really close to you, but you’re still on a campus.
2) It’s very mild weather. It’d got hot sometimes but not too hot. It was pretty perfect weather, honestly.
Cons: 1) They don’t know what to do with snow.
2) Sometimes I’d think there was a lot of divide between cultures and political parties. There are some very far right leaning people and far left leaning people. I’m not sure if this is a pro or con because you get to see both points of view.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I tend to go out on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Thursdays I’d go to clubs in downtown Richmond, Fridays I’d usually go to a house party at one of the frat houses on campus, Saturdays I’d either go to a house party at an off-campus house or a bar. Wednesday is also a big night where people will go to The Cellar on campus. The fraternities are pretty inclusive at the beginning of the year because they are rushing people.
What is an alternative option to going to a party or bar?
We have a good amount of sporting events that people go to, there are a lot of good restaurants around, and there are events on campus like karaoke and trivia nights.
How happy were you with the weekend options at Richmond? Is there anything you would change?
I was very happy overall. I really did go to a lot of frat parties, and what I didn’t like is that if you went you’d only see guys from that frat there. There could be a lot more events like mixers or have whole grade events so you could see more people in one setting.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through sorority recruitment.
How would you describe your social scene?
I think there’s a little animosity between the frats, but that does not exist as much with the sororities. The girls mix really well. I know there is a clan of people that aren’t Greek or on a sports team, but I didn’t see them that much. I saw the same people every day and you’d start to think that you knew everybody on campus but you didn’t.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think they do, but I’ve also heard of a lot of stories where kids that were gay or Black felt that they didn’t fit in. Richmond’s definitely very white and heteronormative. [In the 2017-2018 academic year, about 56% of students were White. See The Collegian article, “Diversity and exclusivity at UR: Part I.”]
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
From my perspective, it pretty much dominates the social scene, especially from the guys’ side. The only parties I went to were frat parties and when you go to those parties you’re only with that frat. From the sorority side, 90% of my friends are Greek. [About 54% of females are in sororities and there are eight fraternities on campus.]
Do people seem happy with Richmond by senior year? Do you think people leave loving Richmond?
Yeah, I think so. Anybody who’s not happy discovered it early on and transferred.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yeah, it’s pretty strong. I didn’t get my job from an alum, but there is an alum that works at my firms and he got my foot in the door which was huge. I think the alumni network is strongest in the business school.
How helpful was the career office?
There’s a different career office in the business school than the rest of the school, so I didn’t have much exposure to the other. They weren’t as huge as the alumni network. We had mandatory business resume classes which were more helpful than the office.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful to you professionally?
I have not learned any hard skills. If anything, I learned the soft skills, like learning how to talk to people and network and understanding the importance of being a professional.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Richmond before entering as a freshman?
Just don’t take anything too seriously and try to relax. I think I got really stressed about school, especially freshman year. So, work hard but enjoy yourself. I don’t think I enjoyed myself as much freshman year.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Try to go out on a weekend if you know anyone. The social scene ends up being pretty much the same thing every weekend so whatever you see would be an accurate picture.
Reasons to attend University of Richmond:
1) They do a really good job of placing people in jobs after college. All my friends are employed in not even 6 months after graduation. [Richmond has a 97% six-month employment rate.]
2) Great friends. The friends I’ve made I became very close with. They’ve become my people and it’s been awesome.
3) You make meaningful faculty relationships. You don’t get lost at Richmond. I could email a professor right now and it wouldn’t be weird at all.
Reasons to not attend University of Richmond:
1) People are pretty narrow-minded and stuck in their routine. It may not be the most welcoming environment. It’s cliquey. It’s one of those things that if you get it freshman year and roll with it you’ll be fine, but if it’s a little bit harder for you that can be tough. [See The Collegian article, “Diversity and exclusivity at UR: Part I.”]
2) There’s not much diversity. [About 29% of undergraduates are American students of color.]
3) You end up in a bubble socially. People don’t really go to Richmond to change. It’s just like a growth of high school, everyone’s just a bit older and just as much of an idiot. If you’re looking to discover who you are, Richmond may not be the place for you.