Total Undergraduate Enrollment: 6,535
Institutional Type: Private
Curricular Flexibility: Very Flexible
Academic Rating: 4
2. The Martin Agency
3. Goldman Sachs
1. Wegman’s Food Markets
2. Lockheed Martin
1. Rochester, NY
2. New York City
4. Washington, DC
5. San Francisco
College Scorecard (Early Career): $61,200
EOP (Early Career): $62,000
PayScale (Mid-Career): $112,700
From its founding in 1850, the University of Rochester established a reputation as a strong research university. The adoption of its Renaissance Plan in 1995 instituted a uniquely open curriculum for a STEM-focused university, smaller class sizes, and a heavy investment in modernizing campus. Paying dividends today, those changes helped the school blossom into a world-class school that is home to over 6,500 undergraduates and another 5,000 graduate students. U of R’s seventy-five undergraduate majors offer students a chance at a rigorous yet flexible educational experience at a small liberal arts college within a renowned research institution.
There are literally no required subjects at the University of Rochester’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Instead, students must, over their four years of study, take one writing-focused course of their choosing and twelvecredit clusters of courses in two of the following categories (whichever two do not encompass the student’s major): humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and engineering. Those course clusters are designed to ensure “substantive and integrated study,” and there are 250+ to choose from, ensuring a high degree of autonomy in selecting one’s academic path. The overarching goal of the curriculum is to best reflect the school’s ideals of curiosity, competence, and community.
Rochester has maintained a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio despite graduating 500 more undergraduate students than a decade prior. You will encounter some large lecture halls for introductory courses, but the most common class size is ten to nineteen students; 70 percent of sections enroll fewer than twenty. An impressive 77 percent of students are involved in undergraduate research, a strong indicator that opportunities for intimate learning experiences are plentiful. Approximately one-third of students take a semester abroad in one of the forty-five+ countries the university has an affiliation with.
Excellence is everywhere you look at Rochester. The Eastman School of Music is one of the best music conservatories in the United States. The Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences is a top fifty institution. Other strong majors include mathematics, economics, and political science—each will open doors in their respective fields.
Over three-quarters of undergrads reside in university-owned housing on the school’s 154-acre main campus that is nestled around a bend of the Genesee River. First-years and sophomores are required to live on campus. The school’s thirty-four fraternities and sororities entice 21 percent of the undergraduate student body into joining. Most Greek participants—85 percent—also are engaged with other student organizations. Twenty one NCAA Division III sports teams play as the YellowJackets while the university also boasts one of the largest club sports systems with forty registered club sports and over 1,100 members. There are more than 300 clubs with which undergrads can become involved including the Campus Times, a student-run newspaper in print since 1873 and a selection of topnotch a cappella groups. There are plenty of campus-wide events such as Yellow Jacket Weekend, a carnival that marks the start of the academic year, and great musical acts, speakers, and activists are regularly booked to provide cultural and entertainment opportunities without straying from school grounds. Harsh weather can make for long winters, but campus is always humming with some type of appealing activity. The closest major American city is Buffalo, but for the more adventurous, Toronto, Canada, is less than three hours by car.
The Gwen M. Green Career Center for Career Education and Connections is staffed by fourteen professionals with expertise in career education and advising, employer development, and event coordination. That number does not include the eight peer advisors or administrative assistants. The University of Rochester’s 450:1 student-to-advisor ratio is higher than the average school featured in this guide. Still, it manages to mostly achieve its stated aim of assisting students “in achieving their individual career goals while providing them with the resources and tools they need to develop connections between their aspirations, academic pursuits, and co- curricular experiences.”
The Greene Center engages more than 500 organizations annually in recruiting and career education programs. The Spring Career and Internship Fair draws forty+ employers to campus including the US Department of State, Epic Systems, the FBI, Citi, and Johnson & Johnson. The center also offers regular events, typically multiple workshops and information sessions per week. Events in May last year alone included a CV and resume workshop, a night with Kraft Heinz leadership, and a virtual career conversation about innovation in the workplace. Staff is happy to meet one-onone to help students select and secure an internship that will be meaningful to their career development process. A near-perfect 96 percent of YellowJackets complete at least one internship during their undergraduate years; 75
percent complete two or more. You can also apply for a $1,000 to $2,500 alumni grant to help fund a summer internship that might not otherwise be possible. There are a significant number of opportunities for students to engage with UR alumni through structured programs, networking, and courses offered by the Greene Center.
Six months after receiving their diplomas, 95 percent of last year's grads had achieved positive outcomes with 51 percent employed, and a notably high 42 percent already pursuing an advanced degree. Popular industries included higher education (15 percent), internet and software (10 percent), health care (8 percent), and manufacturing (6 percent). Top employers of last year's grads included Deloitte (11), Epic Systems (11), EY (9), and Google (7). Looking across all graduating years, significant numbers of Rochester alumni also can be found in the offices of Amazon, IBM, Apple, and Microsoft. The average starting salary for the most recent cohort of grads was an impressive $61,776; that figure was over $75k for graduates of the Hajim School of Engineering and close to $55k for those in the School of Arts
and Sciences. Upstate New York, New York City, Boston, DC, San Francisco, and Philadelphia play home to the greatest number of alumni. With over two-fifths of grads jumping directly into a graduate program, many continue their studies at the University of Rochester (207) or at other elite East Coast institutions such as Columbia (25), NYU (15), Cornell (13), and Boston University (12). The university has an excellent premed reputation, and acceptance rates into MD programs are significantly higher than the national average. Thanks to the Rochester Early Medical Scholars program, some pre-med students are already on an eight-year pathway toward the completion of a medical degree at the University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. Students matriculated into a wide range of law schools including top tier institutions like William & Mary, Emory, Boston University, the University of Wisconsin, and Indiana University.
• “The summers are amazing. I spent a summer doing research and it was great. There are plenty of markets and open concerts.”
• “For being all the way in upstate New York, it’s fairly well connected. There are enough other places within reasonable distances that it’s easy to get away for a long weekend. You can go to Toronto, Buffalo, Syracuse, and you can get down to New York City in a day. If you have the wherewithal and a car, you can get around to a lot of different places.”
• “The university’s location is not directly in the city. You can have that suburban feel while being close to the city where there is shopping, food, and all those good things.”
• “There is really terrible snow and terrible cold. There are four seasons in Rochester, but winter is almost six months of the year. You should be ready to tolerate a lot of cold for an inordinate amount of time.”
• “It’s not a great city to have to navigate without a car.”
• “It’s not the safest city in the world. There are places in the city you don’t really want to go.” Students' Voice: Reasons to attend and not to attend
• “It has a free curriculum. You only have to take Writing 105.”
• “Access to professors and research is really, really easy. I had friends who worked in labs their freshman fall. I also have friends who are friends with professors and got their first internship just by asking. All of the doors are
• “It’s a good size and it’s on the edge of a city without being engulfed by one. If you want that campus feeling where you feel a little bit separate from the area around you, that’s good.”
• “It’s a great community. There are a lot of smart and interesting people.”
• “If you’re susceptible to seasonal depression, it’s not the place for you. It’s very hard academically and, if you haven’t seen the sun in a couple of days, you’re probably not going to want to be here.”
• “There is no school spirit. If you’re looking to be on a sports team, nobody is going to go to your games no matter how good you are.”
• “If you’re expecting a huge, crazy party scene, it’s not going to be that.”
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