Social Culture Of U Richmond

Hi! I am looking at applying to the University of Richmond. I want to pursue business, and their business school is very appealing to me.

However, I am a little afraid that the size of the school makes for a very cliquey environment. I have spoken to one student who goes there who has admitted to me that it can almost feel like high-school at times, and that if you are not in Greek life you might be unhappy as that it is an extremely dominant part of the social scene . Personally, I want to join a sorority. However, I don’t like the idea of have this type of exclusive atmosphere on campus. I am very social and outgoing, and I want to got to a school that is friendly and inclusive, not socially competitive.

Could you please comment on the social environment at U Richmond? Thank you!!

We have a rising junior S. He’s very outgoing. He’s in a frat, but one that socializes with everyone. From what I understand, there are 1 or 2 frats/sororities that only socialize with each other. Our S made lots of friends 1st yr playing a club sport, didn’t join a frat until sophomore year, and is friends with kids who aren’t in frats or sororities as well, and with athletes. He thinks it’s a great place, and went to a fairly small private high school and wanted to get away from cliques. Maybe if you cared about or wanted to be in those couple “exclusive” sororities, it would be socially competitive. But, you find that even at bigger school, even those without frats. Our S’s good friend goes to GT and has been trying to get into the “top” business club for 2 yrs. Apparently, who gets in is based on who you know. Anyway, I think if you choose Richmond, you need to choose it because you want a LAC, with close faculty involvement.

I currently go to Richmond and I agree that it is very much like high school and very cliquey, especially in the dining hall. Greek life for sure dominates the social scene so it is very competitive and everyone knows everyone else’s business. I’m also pretty outgoing however once friends groups are made within the first week or so of freshman year they rarely change if at all and if you’re in limbo you’re kinda screwed. If I could have gone back and chosen another school I honestly would have gone elsewhere because the culture is pretty toxic and hit or miss for your experience. That said, I am in the business school and they do have some amazing professors and classes to take, and a Robins degree is quite an accomplishment. There is definitely a risk you’ll have to take between the social scene vs business school. You could have a great experience don’t get me wrong, but then again I know there’s a lot of us that feel isolated because the exclusivity of the environment and feel like there’s nothing we can do to change it. Anyways, I hope this helped and if you have any other questions feel free to reach out! Good luck :slight_smile:

1 Like

Would you mind telling me where else you applied? I like everything else about Richmond, its just the social aspect that worries me. Thanks!

1 Like

For sure! I applied to Wake Forest, Elon, Muhlenberg, Yale, Brown, TCU, Furman, Bates, Colby and Boston College.

@hmg1999 Is the cliquey vibe based on wealth? My D is very interested, toured and really liked UR, but it’s being 100% meets needs is what lands it on her list. She for sure can’t “keep up with the Joneses,” not that she’d even want to. Would being on scholarship be a social issue? Can you share more about what you feel makes the culture “toxic?”

@hmg1999 I’m so sorry for your experience. I wonder if joining a club sport or other club impacts the experience. That’s what our S and his now GF did, and they both feel the social life isn’t anything like HS. But, our S went to the same small school for 7yrs and that can become challenging.

@Rue4 There are some very wealthy kids there (all the better for networking, per our S), but our S had like 2 pairs of shoes, a few pairs of jeans (nothing like what some kids there wear because we’re from a laid back part of the SW), wears T-shirt’s and slides or sneakers constantly and doesn’t feel out of place. But, again, he just doesn’t care about those things. As long as people are around to have fun with, he’s in. Maybe there’s a personality type that does better there socially? I’d say super-social, extroverts, who like frats and sororities (wouldn’t be for me!!).

@Rue4 I don’t think wealth is the driving factor of UR’s toxic culture, that said, there are some very wealthy students on campus who make it very easy to spot (not that it’s a bad thing they just flaunt quite a bit). I don’t think being on a scholarship would be a social issue for your D, especially as there are quite a lot of students either on scholarship and/or are more lower/middle class. To me, the toxicity of the culture stems from both Greek life and the fact that a lot of people, as the saying goes, “never left high school”. There’s a huge focus on a social “hierarchy” and even though I am not in Greek life, I have seen those in so called “bottom tier” sororities/fraternities not be given a chance because of the stigma surrounding them. There’s this vibe on campus that everyone’s watching you, at least for me and some people I’ve talked with. I mentioned in my last post that the dining hall was an issue on campus, and that’s because there are three rooms to which the first is Greek, second is athletes and the third is everyone else/those with nowhere else to go. A huge thing for me is that I’m pretty social, however, I find that other students are so dead set in their friend groups they won’t even think about bringing someone else in (i.e. including someone else in plans for the weekend, going to the dining hall with other people and just reaching out in general). I find that for a lot of people, including myself, you have “class friends” which is basically that you have those people you only talk with in class but friendships don’t go beyond that. This isn’t to say that all people are like this, but I’ve found it to be a pretty good amount. I think the school would benefit immensely by having people who genuinely want to make a lot of friends and don’t just want to have a group of 5-10 people for 4 years.

In my opinion Richmond is a very hit or miss university. You can come in and have an absolutely amazing experience or you might end up wanting to transfer out/just have to suffer through some things because there are only so many people. I do believe in the saying that “life is what you make of it,” but it can be hard to have a social life when a good majority of people/friendships are one sided. Good luck to your daughter and let me know if you have any other questions! :slight_smile:

1 Like

@Claire2021 I have 2 UR grad Ds, '16 and '18. They both enjoyed their time at UR and had plenty of friends, without being involved in greek life at all. Some of their friends were in sororities/fraternities and some were not. They had friends they met through their dorms, their classes, club sports, and other activities. They had great academic experiences.

They were both a little shocked to encounter a number of ultra wealthy domestic/foreign students with expensive cars, designer clothes, who spent school breaks traveling abroad, etc. Our Ds attended UR as Richmond Scholars, and we could not have afforded to send them there otherwise. There are plenty of other UR students who receive significant financial aid, so they were in good company, and built nice friend groups. They are both self proclaimed science nerds and were confident in doing their own thing without worrying so much about what others think.

1 Like

Hey, how did you approach the supplements for Richmond?

Hi, I actually ended up taking it off my list. Sorry, and good luck with the supplements!