Arts at University of Rochester??

So I was VERY shocked that I got into U of R given that I have zero interest in any science related field and am not on the pre-med track. U of R was the only college I applied to that was not a small liberal arts college. I am interested in theatre and music and was wondering if I would feel out of place at Rochester?? I sadly did not get a chance to visit so any information would be very helpful! Thanks!

We have one D currently a junior engineering major there who is trying to persuade D20 it’s the perfect place to pursue her interests in game design, English, & theater (especially musical theater). She has a number of friends in music groups. My impression is that many of the students are interested not only in science, but also in various art forms. It seems like the relatively loose gen ed requirements draw a lot of science students not because they don’t want to take, for example, art classes, but because they want the space in their schedule to take more than one. Musicians have access to courses and ensembles at the Eastman School of Music (part of the U of Rochester but not on the main campus), even if they aren’t part of Eastman. You can also major in music and music related subjects in the School of Arts and Sciences.

It seems like a student body that supports each other’s interests and doesn’t expect folks to fit into any particular category.

that’s really helpful- thank you. how is the student atmosphere, given that so many people are in STEM? is it competitive? is there a lot of involvement in Greek life? I’m also trying to chose a college based off of social environment, so trying to get a sense…

Many of the students have multiple interests, and it doesn’t really come across as a STEM only focused school. My D was a humanities major and loved it, never felt “less than”. The student body is very diverse and varied. Fun intellectuals is kind of how I’d describe them. They’re kind of work hard play hard, but Greek life does not dominate and has a different vibe than at most schools (at least according to D who joined a sorority). Greek life does not dominate. Overall would not consider it a competitive atmosphere.

What’s the party culture like? Also how is the “college town”/things to do in the area? Is there any programming that helps freshmen acclimate? thanks!

I’m sure some things have changed a bit since I’ve been there, but - students tend to work hard all week and then party on the weekends. The most active social groups are Greek life and sports teams. If you’re not sure about Greek life (I wasn’t initially), check it out. It’s not like your typical southern schools - they range in personality, but the majority of frats/sororities are just hard working students who want to be part of a like-minded community and have a social outlet on weekends. Some focus more on philanthropy and some are closer to weekend social clubs. There should be plenty of (open) parties early in the year in different frat houses (frat quad on-campus, and a few party houses off-campus) where you’ll meet both affiliated and non-affiliated students. Later in the year, there will be fewer “open” parties, and more mixers (fraternities/sororities/sports teams - invite only), which sometimes open up to campus afterward. Sororities occupy dorm floors rather than houses, so they used to (still might) throw “bar parties” on Thursday nights where downtown bars/clubs would be open to UR only and have drink specials. Sometimes buses ran to/from the bars.

I had friends who were affiliated and friends who weren’t - there isn’t a ton of pressure to join, but I’m glad I did. The ones who weren’t still had plenty of fun, but they were more likely to hang out with a group of people in their dorm/suite, then wander out to the frat quad and see if anything was open. The thing is, there are plenty of students who don’t party at all - so if it isn’t your thing and you’d rather go to a movie with friends on a Saturday night, there are plenty of people doing that too.

“College Town” was built up just after I graduated, but I’ve been back and walked around a little bit. It doesn’t strike me as somewhere that students spend their weekends. I’d describe it as more of a nearby place that you could go get a drink or some food. It actually seems more catered toward the professional staff at UR and the hospital. The bookstore is nice though.

There is plenty to see/do in the Park Ave and Monroe Ave areas, although I explored this more after college than during. Henrietta is nearby and has grocery stores (Wegmans), a movie theater, chain restaurants, late night diners, etc. We spent more time around there during undergrad.

My D was down to U of R as one of her final choices and is not a STEM person. She’s never taken a single hard science or math class. She felt she could be happy there. We visited a couple of times and saw a wide range of student types. It’s definitely not all STEM nerds.

My understanding is that all professors are excellent and that there is a lot of support in the arts. When we did our last tour, our favorite part was the underground tunnel used in winter. It was completely painted with multiple murals, spray paint designs, flyers for activities, and had a fun, buzzing vibe. You can definitely be as arty and creative as you like.

Another positive was that people were really friendly. We were lost and a prof cam out of a room. He chatted with us the whole time and went about ten minutes out of his way to make sure we got where we needed to be. Thumbs up to U of R.