University of Washington at Seattle
BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Bellevue, WA with a graduating class of about 400 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Extracurricular Activities: Pre-Dental Society – Delta Delta Sigma, Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, and Christian Student Association
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I’m a commuter this year, so it’s hard for me to communicate with more people and find more friends. Being in the club helps expose me to different types of people.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I have a lot of problem sets, I have lab every week for three hours, and we have exams every two weeks. Around 70% of our grades are from exams.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
They do a really good job of picking their T.A.’s. The T.A.’s are very helpful. We have quiz sections once a week where we get worksheets and problem sets and have the opportunity to get information and ask questions that we couldn’t ask during office hours.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s more competitive than collaborative. Creating study groups can be difficult because people want to get better grades than each other, so it’s harder as a group than work individually. It’s like that because most of the classes are graded on a curve.
How accessible are your professors?
It depends on the classes, but overall, I feel like they’re accessible.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice so far?
I have a passion for chemistry specifically, but biology I’m not as passionate about. Biology is kind of built around chemistry. There are more labs involved in Biochemistry and there are more Chemistry courses in it, so I chose it.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman & Sophomore: I commuted from home in Bellevue
Junior & Senior: I will live in an off-campus house
How is going to school in your hometown?
I like it because it’s very close to home. I have a hard time adapting to new environments, so I like that it didn’t really change anything.
Pros and Cons of being in Seattle, WA?
Pros: (1) It’s close to family.
(2) I plan on going to UW med school, and [37% of UW’s med school class of 2018 come from the Seattle campus.]
Cons: I don’t really have any.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I don’t really do anything around the school. I spend that time resting, catching up on schoolwork, and hanging out with friends. Usually, my friends and I will just go out to dinner at a restaurant. We go out to catch up because we never have time during the school day because we’re so busy. We also go hiking and like to do stuff outside.
What is your favorite place to do outdoors activities?
We like to go hike Rattlesnake Mountain. If you drive around two hours there are some big hiking trails to go to. We also like to go to Twin Falls.
How happy are you with the options for weekend activities around UW? Is there anything you would change if you could?
There’s not a lot of weekend activities with UW, and I think there should be some more. For example, the clubs that I’m a part of don’t really do stuff around the weekends. I think there should be more stuff on the weekends because a lot of people are busy during the weekdays with their schoolwork.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I had a lot of friends from high school, so I stayed in contact with a lot of them. I’ve also met friends through studying in groups in my classes. You become close to them because they’re in the same major as you and you see them more often.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
There are a lot of opportunities to make new friends. Because it’s a big public university and there are a lot of diverse groups, I believe that everyone can find their own group or where they belong. [About 40% of undergraduates are Caucasian, about 24% are Asian, and about 15% are international students.]
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I definitely see more similar races hanging out together. I don’t think there is as much of a mix between sexual orientations.
How would you describe the student body?
I think the student body is very career oriented. No one cares about what you’re wearing because they’re more focused on school, themselves, and their career path. In terms of political views, the students are more liberal.
What did you use the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I reached out to my career counselor at the beginning of sophomore year and she connected me with a couple of volunteer activities that I could do that would look good on my resume that were close to campus, like volunteering at the homeless shelter. They also gave me some email addresses to people around UW to see if I could incorporate my interests into lab work. They also helped me freshman year set a four-year plan for my major and what I wanted to do and what electives I’m interested in and what would look good on my transcript.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
No, I haven’t really.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about the University of Washington before entering as a freshman?
Because UW was not a reach school for me when applying, I didn’t really know how competitive it is and how difficult it would be. I also didn’t imagine there to be 300 students in one classroom. I wish the year before I sat in a big classroom and got a feel for how it is. Especially in my science classes a lot of people want to go to med school, and the med school at UW is so good, so I didn’t expect there to be that competition.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Again, get a feel for the classes. Because it’s a big campus, I feel they should see how far classes can be from each other. They should get a feel for how big the campus is and that classes will be a walk or a bus ride away. I also really like the Suzzallo Library because it feels like Harry Potter. Next to the Suzzallo Library, there’s Red Square that is also really pretty.
Reasons to attend Washington:
1) The school is very diverse. Everyone finds a place to belong. There are many different races and types of people. [About 40% of undergraduates are Caucasian, about 24% are Asian, and about 15% are international students.]
2) There are a lot of academic resources. There’s a tutoring center and lots of other options.
3) There are a lot of different majors to pick from.
4) There are three different campuses, UW – Seattle is the biggest, so if you don’t like UW – Seattle is too competitive or they don’t like the classes they can transfer to a different campus.
Reasons to not attend Washington:
1) It’s a really big school with a really big campus. [The undergraduate enrollment is about 31,000 students.]
2) The competitive atmosphere in some of the classes.