Flashbacks to high school

Happy spring break everyone! I know that a lot of y’all are probably still in school today, but it is spring break here at Rice (yes, crazy early). I will fill you guys in on what I did over the week in my next post instead of right now because I received quite a few emails in the last few days regarding Rice admission requirements and my own high school experience.

First off, all of you future Rice admission applicants need to please please breathe. The admission council at the university looks for a diverse student body, with an emphasis on the holistic student. So, it should be warned that simply modeling your years in high school after mine will not only be very boring, but also pointless. With that in mind, here are some of the things that I was involved in during those wonderful years spent in the public education system.

  • I took Pre-AP and Advanced Placement courses all four years. However, it should be noted that I only took the AP level in classes I actually liked; you seriously could not pay me to sit in Calculus BC back then. Some of you asked about my grades, and to that I will very neatly say that I did well, but then again, if you are at Rice it is obvious that you worked hard in academics during high school and always put forth your best effort.
  • I was in the following clubs/organizations: Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), National Honor Society (NHS), National Art Honor Society, Spartans Out Serving (SOS), D.A.R.E. Role Model, Best Buddies (in which I served as the Chapter President my sophomore year and Vice President my junior), Spanish Club.
  • I was selected to represent my high school at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership seminar the summer after my sophomore year and was recognized as one of the top six upcoming female leaders in my state’s area.
  • I regularly attended academic competitions as well as art competitions in which I presented my work and/or research.
  • I volunteered at my local library each summer (there were volunteer activities during the school year as well, but those required significantly less commitment).
  • My school holds an end of the year ceremony each year in which I received recognition for my academic achievement.

Now, that seems kind of sporadic, right? Well, a pretty good mental image of me back when I was in high school would include a girl holding a paintbrush and palette, three very random textbooks, and a list of Spanish vocabulary; in other words, someone a bit nerdy.

Some of your emails asked general questions regarding Rice admissions, to which I would suggest that you peruse the Rice University website. It’s a VERY useful place and I also found it a lot of fun to check out the different department websites when I was an applicant. SAT scores are of course important in the application process at any university; however, Rice looks at you as not only a student, but also a person. They want to know that you didn’t just sit in the library, but you also found something you were passionate about during high school and gave back to your community in some way. As for the actual application itself, yes, essays will be expected. Don’t look at it like a challenge or something super boring though; this is one of your best chances to express your individuality and unique perspective on life!

–AM

Owl’d Lang Syne

Happy (belated) New Year!  We hope you all had a great holiday season, and enjoyed (or are enjoying) your winter break.  And if you’re a senior, I hope you turned in all your Rice application materials by the deadline.  I can empathize with you, because I’m finishing up my applications for post-grad plans right now as well.  Us owls are migrating back for the end of the winter since the spring semester starts Monday.

It feels a bit weird for me to head back this time, knowing it’s my last semester at Rice.  There’s still a lot I want to do while I’m in college, but there’s only so many hours.  It seems kind of telling that during registration for this semester, lots of my friends had to prevent themselves from signing up for like 20 hours of courses when they realized there were no more semesters they could put off electives to.  This also kind of comes up against the desire to take a smaller course load your last semester so you have time to to do all the senior events Rice hosts, or go visit companies and grad schools, or other random things (e.g. I am leaving the country for a week in 10 days, more on that another time).   This actually brings up an interesting difference between high school and college.  You probably already know that you take different courses every semester in college.  But there’s also really no set amount of courses you take each semester, either than the 12 hour minimum to be a full time student.  I’ve had semesters at Rice with as few as 12 hours (4 classes) and some with as many as 18 hours (6).  It’s up to you, your academic plans, and how much time you want to devote to classes.  This is part of becoming more independent, and it’s a pretty great part of college, even if you might be overwhelmed at first by the several hundred classes you can choose from.  To the high school seniors out there, since you can’t change your schedule, have a great last semester and finish strong!

P.S.  If you’re one of the people who emails Peter, wish him a happy belated birthday!

The ten things that make Rice mine

Everyone out there right now is probably overloaded on some level: finals are fast approaching (or, as at Rice, already in full swing), the Early Decision notifications shall be available very soon, and, on top of that, it’s the holidays. But, my winter break is essentially here already! I don’t mean to gloat for all of y’all that still have your nose to the grindstone, so just think of it like this… I’m not exactly vegging out with a bag of Cheetos just yet; rather, I have compiled a list of the top ten things that make attending Rice University worthwhile (via a picture montage, of course).  

Disclaimer: Not everything on this list may appear entirely relevant. Just trust me. It is.

10. Early Decision

I applied to Rice University under the Early Decision option back in 2009 (wow, it does not feel like two years have passed…). Some of my friends didn’t understand how I could commit to a post-secondary institution so surely. But, for me, there just was never a question as to where I wanted to earn my Bachelor’s degree. Rice excels in every way that a school possibly can—academically it’s obvious, but Rice has also been ranked #1 for Best Quality of Life and #10 for Happiest Students, as well as #10 for Great Financial Aid. Not entirely believing the stats? Just come visit the campus and feel free to ask any student walking around! I remember how scary and intimidating the college application process was; but, check out “little” me on December 15, 2009… I was beyond relieved to receive the packet in the mail from my first choice university!

A photo of me on what was then the most important day of my life: receiving Rice's offer of admission!

9. College Parties

Many of y’all have heard about Rice’s residential college system; those of you whom I have met on school visits often ask me if such a housing practice stratifies the student body. My answer: nope! This photo was taken at Lovett’s fall public party, Getcheroxoff, my freshmen year. College parties are “public” in that students from any college can attend; it is a great way for the colleges to intermix, especially for new students who are just forming their social ties. Now, for any of the parents out there who are reading this and thinking “WHAT??? SHE IS BLOGGING ABOUT PARTYING??,” let me assure you that Rice takes its reformed alcohol policy very seriously and that underage students are NEVER served alcohol (everyone attending a public party is required to wear a wrist band which not only proves that they are a Rice student, but also signals their age).

My suitemates and I before attending Getcheroxoff. The theme was "Candy Shop," so we are dressed as "candy," "black licorice," "lemon candy," and "bubblegum," respectively.

 8.  The Food

High Schoolers often complain that their cafeteria food is inedible, disgusting, and not worth the money. Fear not! If you attend Rice, I promise that you’ll find the food excellent. My personal favorite is the hamburger station (okay, maybe not the healthiest… but I throw a salad in every once in a while too!). Not buying it? Schedule a tour of the Rice campus and stay for lunch with one of our amazing lunch hosts!

The newly constructed East Servery; I am so grateful that it's attached to Lovett!

7. The Football Games

In particular, Rice’s pretty cool habit of providing brilliantly subsidized tickets… especially the Rice v. UT game that I attended my freshmen year! Talk about awesome. A free football game? Against one of our biggest rival schools in Texas? With basically every other Rice student? Best Saturday ever.

At the Reliant Center for the Rice/UT game!

6. The Colleges (aka the dormitories)

For a long time in high school, I dreaded moving out of my parent’s super comfortable house. Dorms are supposed to be cramped, old, dingy, dark, and overall gross, right? Wrong. I’m a member of Lovett Residential College and even though it is one of the oldest colleges on campus, it still beats out lots of my friend’s rooming situations at other universities. Again, if you doubt my sincerity, check out a campus tour! Your tour guide will be sure to show y’all their own dorm room that you can judge for yourself.

My half of the dorm room my first year at Rice (I am an off campus student now).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My desk area last year.

5. Study Abroad Options

One of the best things about Rice is its flexibility in study abroad options. Lots of others schools may simply write off pre-med and engineering students, but Rice does an excellent job assisting any student wishing to study overseas. I am actually intending to study in Florence, Italy for a month this upcoming summer, so stay posted with my updates! The photo below is actually from when I visited Florence the summer prior to matriculation at Rice; I am just really super excited about going back and wanted to share it with everyone!

A view from the Duomo Cathedral overlooking Florence, Italy.

4. The People

This may appear to be horribly self-referential and irrelevant, but everyone I know at Rice has formed the closest friendships of their lives here. So, it isn’t completely a random reason! These three fellow students are my rocks, my driving forces, my best friends. Without them, Rice wouldn’t be the same. I know it may be difficult for you to envision establishing new friendships in a place that is completely foreign to you; I promise it will happen! Everyone here is welcoming and ready to encourage you. Just be open to the experience and I guarantee that you will find your niche in college.

Me with my best friends in the Lovett Upper Commons.

3. A Beautiful Campus

Rice has a prime location in the city of Houston and is situated perfectly next to the Medical Center (shout out to all of you pre-meds out there!). But, despite what your preconceptions of what life in the city may be, I am here to show you that Rice has a GORGEOUS campus! Just look below to see for yourself.

 2. My Parents

Okay, this may not be specific to Rice, but it is a really good thing for all of you college bound students to remember. College is a luxury; thank your parents/guardians/motivators/cheering squad for supporting you as you follow your dreams and select the university that best fits you and your career ambitions. Don’t take that for granted because pretty soon, you will be away at college and miss them. It will happen; be prepared and appreciate their encouragement today.

Thanks mom & dad!!

1. Graduation

Of course, I am not ready to leave Rice just yet! But what really gets me excited about attending Rice University is the AMAZING career potential Rice equips me with. Every time I spend an entire night huddled over my textbooks  in the library or experience carpal tunnel from typing essay after essay, I just remember what all of it means… it’s an investment in my future and that is something that I believe very strongly is the direct result of attending such a noteworthy academic institution.

Rice's Commencement Ceremony... it is a bittersweet moment!

 Lots of love, best of luck on gaining Rice admission, and happy holidays,

–AM

 

 

Happy holidays!

Show that holiday cheer!

It’s officially December, and you know what that means. It’s the time to celebrate and spread the holiday cheer! Sure, those of us in college have finals, but they aren’t as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Rice gives us plenty of days off just to study, and if you relax and make use of those days, then you will be sure to do fine on your exams. And then it will be the holiday season and everyone can celebrate for a whole month!

For those of you awaiting early decision results, good luck to all of you. Remember to maintain a positive attitude no matter what happens. For those of you who are about to fill out a ton of college applications – best of luck to you and remember to have fun during your time off from school.

If anyone has questions about college finals or my experiences with college admission, feel free to email me. Cheers!

Q & A with a Rice Student

As you already know, I am actively involved in the Student Admission Council (if I wasn’t, you clearly would not be reading this right now…). But apart from my role as a blogger, I am also a lunch host (so, yes! Please sign up for an official campus tour and you may just actually meet me in the real world!), assist with online recruitment, and volunteer as a hometown ambassador. Last night I was lucky enough to be able to represent Rice University at Katy Independent School District’s College Fair; besides meeting lots of prospective students and their families, I encountered some frequently asked questions which I thought I would share with y’all.

1. Why did I pick Rice when I am from the Houston area?

While I know that some local Houstonian high school students may start experiencing cabin fever and want to get as far away from home as possible for their post-secondary education, Rice has such a vibrant and inclusive student culture that when you arrive for freshmen year, you won’t feel as if you are still in the same city. Rice is surrounded by so many off campus activities that I am sure you didn’t have the chance/permission/opportunity to enjoy while in high school; plus, the Residential College system unique to Rice serves as an amazing social core that truly epitomizes the saying “home is where the heart is”: I wouldn’t care if I was in Antarctica or still in the hometown where I grew up… the students make Rice what it is and that is something geography couldn’t change.

2. Why did I apply early decision to Rice?

This is easy… because I knew Rice was the place for me! Between the exceptional class sizes that allow for my professors to actually get to know who I am and what I am passionate about on a personal level, the Residential College system (which I have bragged about enough by this point), the unprecedented opportunities for undergraduate research as well as the chance to study abroad regardless of my major, I was one hundred and ten percent positive that Rice was the school where I would not only meet my academic goals, but also enjoy every second that I am there.

3. Does the college system stratify the student body?

Nope! While everyone maintains extreme college pride, we all love each other. The competitive nature between the colleges is more closely tied to tradition and loyalty, not downright animosity. Each college hosts public parties open to everyone on campus and it is really fun to get dressed up (parties are always themed) with friends and go meet students from other colleges. Moreover, classes are not college based; you will meet students from every college your first semester at Rice and be able to form friends that way as well.

Alright, those were just of the few things that repeatedly arose last evening. Remember that you can always shoot me an email if there is something you would like me to elaborate on.

-AM