Log in

International Prospective Student - The University of Rochester Livejournal Community [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
University of Rochester

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

International Prospective Student [Oct. 22nd, 2008|04:02 pm]
University of Rochester


[Current Mood |curiouscurious]



I’m a prospective student from South Africa. I graduated from high school last year and then took a gap year. My family is planning to move to America and we’re considering Rochester.


I’ve been researching Universities in Northern America and my favorite so far is the University of Toronto, Canada. I want to study Anthropology and I really like what I’ve heard so far about the cultural diversity at Toronto, but I’m taking Rochester into consideration as well.


I have a few questions and would greatly appreciate it if someone could take the time to answer them.


1.)    A few people have posted comments that give me the idea that Rochester is rather conservative, is this true?

2.)    How is Rochester towards international students? And gay students?

3.)    Are there any South African students at Rochester?

4.)    What’s the Anthropology program like?

5.)    What’s the deal with the no cars rule for 1st years? Are they actually allowed to do that?

6.)    What’s the crime rate like?

7.)    Are the libraries any good? Are there at least a few great bookstores?


Thanks in advance.




[User Picture]From: merig00
2008-10-22 03:52 pm (UTC)
1) What do you mean by conservative? As in politically or education wise?
2) Plenty of international students and gay students and gay international students.
3) I know we had a lot of students from Sudan not sure about South Africa.
4) I have no clue
5) Yes no parking spaces for 1st year students.
6) I wouldn't wander too far at night outside campus in some areas
7) The campus library is amazing!
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-22 04:23 pm (UTC)
1) What I meant was are people generally open-minded. Accepting towards diversity, for example: gay students or people with a different religion.

Thanks for the fast reply!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: merig00
2008-10-22 04:33 pm (UTC)
yes people are open minded... we even have a Drag Queen show once a year and pride groups etc.

Campus overall is very neutral and overall indifferent to any movement be that social, political or sports.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: britty_kitty
2008-10-22 05:35 pm (UTC)
Toronto is one of the most amazing cities in the world. One of the perks of living in Rochester is that Toronto is only a 3 hour drive away :) I go there several times a year and I'm excited because my next drive up is this Saturday.

But on to the questions:
1.) It's true that there are a lot of conservative assholes in Rochester, but once we get our current County Executive out of her office, I think we'll be good. She tends to go on crusades against gay rights and porn.

2.) There are a lot of international students, and on the flip side, a lot of students seem to spend a semester abroad as well. As for gay students, I am one of them. We have a really active Pride Network and there are a lot of gay events that go on on and off campus. Also, although there are a lot of religious groups on campus, there doesn't appear to be any problems with expressing yourself differently. I've never seen any "recruiting", either, which is good.

3.) I personally have not encountered a person from South Africa yet, but I haven't looked.

4.) Anthropology was my intended major when I left high school (but have since changed it) and I took several courses in it at my last college, but I'm new to UR and I haven't been able to take any classes in the department yet even as electives. I think the courses that they offer look great and I know a grad who thinks very highly of the department.

5.) This doesn't affect me because I live only a block away off campus and I'm not a freshman anyway. The school actually has it's own buses that go through the popular college student living areas, and then there's also the Rochester bus system that goes to campus.

6.) Supposedly we've got a higher crime rate than New York City. I've had things stolen from me before but that happens everywhere, you just have to stay smart and not go into the bad areas.

7.) The campus library is awesome. We also have a really nice library downtown, I've spent entire days there without leaving (especially now that they have a crepe restaurant inside). It's huge!

Hopefully that helped somehow! Wherever you end up going between the two cities, it's ridiculously cold in the winter either way.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-22 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your helpful reply. I feel a lot better about Rochester now. I actually posted something similar at the utoronto community and while all of the posters were very friendly (except for one jerk) the replies were actually the kind that I was expecting more from Rochester than Toronto. So, again, thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: flyingfish06
2008-10-22 05:51 pm (UTC)
I transferred out of Rochester after my freshman year...message me if you'd like to talk about why.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: limegreensneaks
2008-10-23 01:28 am (UTC)
Rochester is generally more liberal than some of the surrounding areas. Obviously, there are people who are conservative or ultra-conservative, just like you'd find anywhere. There is a church in Rochester that actually ceded from the Catholic church because its pastor and parish very vocally supports gay rights.
The libraries are fantastic. My mom is a librarian at a different university and everyone at her library in NJ talks about the Rochester libraries like they are Nirvana.

I had some bad experiences in terms of crime. The first year I was there I lived in not the best area and people would get their tires slashed in my apartment's parking lot. Also, I had a big problem with sexual harassment in Rochester--first, a guy in the science library basically camped out on the computers and looked at porn and was generally vulgar. On the one hand, I was a bit miffed as to how he hadn't been sent on his way earlier, but on the other hand, the library staff was great when I reported it, and he was eventually banned from campus. The second instance happened when I was leaving a grocery store and the guy parked next to my car was basically hanging out and masturbating. I was really unimpressed by how the Brighton Police Department handled that situation (which they basically didn't).

Those incidents did influence my decision to leave Rochester after I got my MS (instead of staying on and getting my PhD) but, honestly I think it's kind of a matter of being careful about where you live. As I said, I lived in a really seedy area at first. The second year I was there, I lived in a much, much, much nicer area where I felt much safer. Furthermore, the campus is pretty safe, although the area just across the river isn't really the best.

Hope I'm not dumping on the Rochacha too much. There are really a lot of positive things about the city and the area--for example there is a pretty vibrant artistic community, and the city is really close to Canada (as mentioned), as well as the Fingerlakes, Letchworth State Park. You can also drive to the Adirondack Park and NYC in just 6 or 8 hours. Obviously, U of R is also a really highly rated university for a number of areas (I don't know about anthropology). Nevertheless, it's probably a good idea to know the good and the bad, right?

Good luck making your decision.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-23 07:20 am (UTC)
Thank you. I like hearing about the good and the bad, if I wanted to hear only the good side I'd just visit the University website. :)

One of the reasons I don't want to live in South Africa anymore is the high crime rate, so safety is a big issue for me. Obviously I realize that nowhere is going to be completely safe, but I want to at least feel safe about going out at night with a friend or my sister.

We lived in Belgium for five years and there I could walk to the stores on my own without feeling unsafe, where as here I can't).

Thanks so much for your reply, it was very helpful.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: limegreensneaks
2008-10-23 11:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, after living in Rochester, I became pretty adamant about living in a place where I could walk alone at night. Unfortunately, a young woman more or less always has to at least be on guard. I don't know about Toronto's crime stats specifically, but overall, violent crime is many fold lower in Canada than the US.

But again, good parts of town and bad parts of town. Trouble was, they were all mixed up. One area could be really safe and then a few blocks away it would be a decidedly unsafe area. I did feel safe walking around on campus, but I never, ever, ever walked around at night near the first place I lived. The second place I lived I felt more secure about walking around alone at night, but generally I tried not to, especially after the whole parking lot guy incident. I know most of my guy friends thought I was being a little paranoid, so maybe I was, but it wasn't a place where I "at least felt safe going out at night" alone (although with a friend I probably would have).

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-23 01:25 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: macaroniandtuna
2008-10-23 02:27 am (UTC)
1) Not that I've seen. The campus as a whole seems pretty indifferent to a lot of things, although as someone mentioned above we do have the annual drag queen show, the annual spring porn film, fairly active pride groups, etc.
5) Because parking is a huge problem here, even if you are allowed to have a car. The parking administration is almost universally hated because they charge us a lot and have pretty draconian rules. Plus they give out a ton of tickets. The university says freshman (with very few and very specific exceptions) aren't allowed to have cars in order to keep them on campus, to foster a sense of community among the members of each class year. I don't think that's an unusual policy; other schools I looked at had similar ones.
6) Like any city, there are bad areas and there are good areas. Largely it's a case of being smart: don't go out at night alone, don't wander areas you're not familiar with, etc. etc. The area covered by UR security is pretty safe though, and they post a security bulletin in every issue of the campus newspaper.
7) The school's libraries are fantastic, especially the Sibley music library (it boasts that it's the largest music library in the western hemisphere). I drive by the city library every week, but I've never been in there. It's big though.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-23 07:24 am (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hawaiianshirts
2008-10-23 03:18 am (UTC)
If you have any interest (at all....ever) in theatre, you should go to the International Theatre Department (located in Todd Union) and talk to Nigel, the head of said department. Not only is he one of the most amusing people on campus, he's also gay and from South Africa.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-23 07:24 am (UTC)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: spychicr
2008-10-23 12:45 pm (UTC)
I graduated a few years ago, but I'm sure not much has changed in terms of the crime status on campus itself. The Rochester community is quite insular, and most likely you'd be spending 90% of your time on campus (if not more), whose crime rates are... well, very petty. Most crimes are theft, and are always reported in the Campus Times (our newspaper). It was a tradition to read the security blotter (especially the ridiculous headlines, like "Snow Penis Erected Behind Sue B").

The most serious crimes happen when people from outside campus come onto campus. I remember some high school kids going to a frat party and bringing out a knife, and some one holding up some joggers with a gun.

In terms of liberal or conservative, I'd say UR itself is mostly liberal. Just as an example, the Protestant Chapel Community chaplain is an out lesbian (and wicked awesome too).

Otherwise, I agree with all that is said above. ;o)

Edited at 2008-10-23 12:46 pm (UTC)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-23 01:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hektik
2008-10-23 04:29 pm (UTC)
I went to the U of R in the '90s and loved every minute of it. I was president of the gay group my last year and always felt safe in that regard. I never felt unsafe anywhere in the Rochester area. I grew up living all over the world (Kenya, Spain, UK) so the crime was basically non-existant for me. I also knew areas to avoid.

I still live in Rochester ... because I love the city. The libraries are great...as for good bookstores, not so much. But I carry books that I love at my store nook. Mostly books on design, architecture, art, etc.

Best of luck. I don't think you'll go wrong at either school.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: thedoublefold
2008-10-23 08:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks : )
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: tigress_chi
2008-10-31 04:53 am (UTC)
I am an alum (08) who lived off-campus for 2 years, so I think I might have a slightly (positive) different perspective

1.) A few people have posted comments that give me the idea that Rochester is rather conservative, is this true?

To be fair, Rochester is a small, research-based private school so yes, it may be more conservative than most liberal colleges, but nothing over-bearing.

2.) How is Rochester towards international students? And gay students?

I don't think there is discrimination toward international students at all. True, Rochester is not the most diverse school, but it certainly was more diverse than were I grew up! (Utah). A lot of the people that work in the Rochester Center for Community Leadership (which does community service) are actually gay (the administrators), and they themselves have told me that Rochester is a very gay-friendly city. There are really fun gay-bars/ clubs, and the campus is certainly gay friendly.

3.) Are there any South African students at Rochester?
LOL. My friend Ron Wang grew up in South Africa (born in Taiwan) and that is the only person I know. I only laugh because we were in a program together and I felt like they treated him like the "token" kid from South Africa, so I bet you might get a lot of questions about South Africa since there really may be no other students.

4.) What’s the Anthropology program like?
This I don't know for sure (I was natural science/ psych). However, two of my very good friends loved the program and did very prestigous research/ had great study abroad experiences. I know the department is also very small and intimate.

5.) What’s the deal with the no cars rule for 1st years? Are they actually allowed to do that?
If things have not changed, parking is shit on campus. Don't worry, I never had access to a car until senior year and it was fine. The buses are pretty good, and if you like to bike, Rochester is one of the most bike-able cities ever.

6.) What’s the crime rate like?
The crime rate is bad, but not where the campus is, nor where the Eastman school of music is. People will lie, spread rumors, and ignorance, but trust me...living off-campus and being a small female who often rode her bike alone did not cause me to lead a perilous life. The crime rate is bad because of inner-city youth gang/ drug violence and unfortunately (I guess some would say fortunately) U of R is a chapel on a hill that is shielded from that. The east side of the city is great if you are into local/ sustainable types of establishments.

7.) Are the libraries any good? Are there at least a few great bookstores?

There are WONDERFUL used book stores in Rochester. THe library is great, we have interlibrary loan, so if there is a book you want that Rush Rhees does not have, then they will borrow from another school for you. Seriously, though, I love the used bookstores in Rochester. The bookstores owners are really chill too.
(Reply) (Thread)