When I was in high school, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to college. I don’t think high school students are supposed to know. Everyone keeps throwing around words like diversity, meal plan options, and core curriculum requirements, while showing me their library and letting me talk to overly-excited current students.
I used to think it was like a game show we were all playing; some people have fewer options (only got accepted into two schools) others had next to no restrictions (they were rich, smart, and had awesome SAT scores). And then there was me. I thought there was only one “perfect” college where I would meet a bunch of people who were quirky like me, fall in love, take a life-changing class, and learn to speak Japanese.
I chose Ursinus because they courted me the hardest. They sent a lot of stuff in the mail. It made me feel valuable and loved – two things that every 17 year old girl needs.
Now I know that I probably could have gone to ANY college and been perfectly happy. I just didn’t realize it yet. I think that most people flourish in college. But some students flourish more than others – depending on how closely their interests line up with the interests of their college.
Back to the real issue: should you go to Ursinus College? Should your son go to Ursinus College? Should your daughter? Your friend’s kids?
I can’t make that decision for you. But I can tell you the kind of people that tend to like (or flourish at) Ursinus College. I happened to be one of them.
1. The writers
Have you ever heard of the Catcher and the Rye? It’s that book that everyone has to read in their high school literature class, the book about teenage angst. Yeah, the author J. D. Salinger went to Ursinus College. That in itself should tell you that Ursinus College has a pretty good writing program.
I am no writer. Before I went to Ursinus, the only thing I had ever written was a (not very convincing) letter to my high school’s admission office requesting a teacher be fired/replaced. I’m not proud of that phase of my life.
In any case, my sophomore year I took a travel writing class to fulfill my “art” requirement. In that class, I didn’t learn the “technical” aspects of writing as much as I learned that there are very few “real” rules for writing.
Such as: I don’t have to be a writer to write.
Or: I can do something as simple as starting an online blog and talking about all the things that freak me out in Japan.
Or: If you are passionate about it, people will read it
Ursinus got me writing. I have to thank them for that. When I was trying to pick colleges, I kept looking for a blog from an Ursinus College student, or Ursinus student blogs – but couldn’t find anything. I wanted to use these last couple posts to provide the kind of information I had been looking for.
2. The pre-med or bio students
I’m not pre-med. I wouldn’t touch pre-med with a ten-foot stick. My friends that ARE pre-med have absolutely no free time.
But they’ve learned a lot at Ursinus College. And most of them have gotten into some pretty awesome graduate schools.
About half the people I met freshman year were on the pre-med track. A lot of them ended up dropping pre-med or switching majors (you know, for sanities sake). Freshman year will really make you figure out if pre-med is the right choice for you.
Regardless, the sheer number of people who go to Ursinus for pre-med has got to mean something.
3. The artists
When I was 8, I was sure I was going to be an artist. I spent all of elementary and middle school filling up hundreds of sketchbooks that I would probably die before I showed anyone else.. In middle school, my best friend and I decided we were going to be professional manga artists (don’t laugh). She wrote the story-line and I illustrated it.
We had it all figured out.
But then I moved to Ghana, West Africa. So that put our plans on hold.
Before going to college, I tried selling my artwork at a couple local art galleries in my hometown. None of them would display my work. It was pretty embarrassing (and I don’t handle rejection well) so I quit trying to be an artist.
But if you can handle rejection better than me, Ursinus might be the college for you. Even if you don’t want to do and Art major or minor, you can still take a couple classes. There are several fairs where you can sign up and sell your “art.” I had one friend that made and sold hair accessories, another one made origami crane earrings.
If you make it, Ursinus will let you display or sell it.
And most of the buildings on campus display student artwork that the college has purchased. It makes the campus unique and fun.
4. The dancers that have other hobbies
Like every other college, Ursinus has a dance studio, stage, intense dance club, less intense dance club, and dance classes. I did one semester of African Dancing and Drumming.
What makes Ursinus unique is the fact that my friends who are dance majors are usually double-majoring with one of the “hard” sciences, like bio or chem.
5. Students who are interested in:
8. Going for an MRS. Degree
Have you heard of an MRS degree? A MRS degree is when you go to college to meet a boy and get married. It’s called an MRS degree because you go from Ms. Grace to Mrs. Grace. You get the Mrs. in front of your name when you get married. MRS degree – get it?
A lot of Ursinus graduates get married. It’s kind of a running joke here. No one knows why, but an absurdly large percentage of students get married.
And I’m one of them (which is even weirder). My fiancé –an exchange student from Japan who studied at Ursinus College my sophomore year – proposed a couple months back. We’re planning on tying the knot right after graduation.
We’re not the only ones; a lot of my friends are getting married (high school sweethearts, other Ursinus students, or people from nearby colleges).
(just so we’re clear, MRS degrees are not real. It’s just a joke people make. Don’t go to Ursinus if all you want out of life is to get married to a rich guy. Go if you want to major is something you like, meet fun people, be artsy, study abroad, and possibly get married.)
9. Want to be friends with their professors.
When I was touring Ursinus, my guide told me that she was such good friends with her professors that sometimes she at dinner at their house. I was like “yeah right…”
But sure enough, several of the professors at Ursinus live either on or near campus. Since campus is so small, I run into my professors (or willingly choose to take their classes every semester) pretty often. And I have, in fact, eaten dinner at my professor’s house. It was weird – but it happened.
10. Don’t make everyone hate you
Ursinus College has these awesome, small classes. I love it. Most of the classes I’ve taken have about ten or fifteen students.
But do you know what the problem with small classes is? Everyone knows each other. Which means that it’s really easy to keep running into someone you hate.
If you go to a huge state school, you have to work really, really hard to make everyone hate you. There are too many students on campus. Ursinus? Not so much. The first week of my sophomore year at Ursinus, the campus was buzzing about this “one freshman” who managed to piss off the entire freshman class by trolling the freshman message boards, sending offensive facebook messages, and just otherwise being annoying. I don’t know what happened to him. I never ended up meeting him – and I don’t remember his name.
I just remember that everyone hated him.
So if you’re really good a pissing people off – you should probably shoot for a school several times the size of Ursinus College.
If you have any additional questions or comments, please leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks!
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