The University of Richmond
The University of Richmond - Comments and Student Experiences|
If you are reading this review, you probably do not know a lot about the school and are trying to figure out whether to apply or attend. I am not from the East Coast and applied largely on a whim. I ultimately attended because I got an unbeatable financial aid offer and my family was unwilling to spend more money then the best offer I received. I imagine that many individuals who are reading this review are also considering this school for financial reasons.
If you are unfamiliar with the school and do not have a family tie in, I STRONGLY urge you not to attend this school. As I will explain, the college experience I had is totally divorced from the college experience of my friends. Only those individuals who seemed to have a strong knowledge of the school's atmosphere beforehand seem to get a positive experience from this school because the way this school markets its self is totally disconnected from the reality of the school.
Below are the positives of the school:
Professors: I cannot fault the professors of the school. If you are academically inclined, they will work to make your experience at the school pleasant and meaningful. You must take the extra effort to get a good academic experience as I will explain later. If nothing else, the academic departments of this school do a generally good job of hiring smart and caring people. It is worth noting, that its hard to say if these professors are superior to the average professor at a small liberal arts school of similar ranking.
Campus Aesthetic: Its a beautiful campus. If you go there, you will notice that the school takes great pride in its appearance.
The above is in my opinion the only things that are wholly positive. Below are negatives and/or things that bear mentioning to the prospective student:
Student Body (interests): A lot of the problem with this school revolves around the student body. If you are a particular kind of person, this school will work great for you, for others, it will not. This is not to say that everyone at the school is categorically terrible; I had many friends at Richmond but the overriding culture and dominant student way of life is so pervasive that total escape is impossible.
This student body has one principal interest, getting drunk until they blackout and/or can barely move. I have never visited a school, lived in a city, or been anywhere where drinking is so important to the student body. I drank in high school, I partied in high school, but the level of drinking and partying blows my mind. It is not uncommon for individuals to drink heavily during the week and then party every day of the weekend. Its not 'casual' or 'social' drinking either, its drinking to get hammered beyond belief. Students never really seemed to be interested in doing something that didn't involve drinking. Freshman year, me and others not from the area could not believe the level of drinking at this school. Its not an issue that students drink, its an issue that it seems to be the only thing that people are interested in. People have no real interest in leaving the campus, they just stay on campus and drink heavily in the dorms and on campus apartments. If you do not love to drink and party, be aware that you will immediately notice you are in the minority at Richmond.
Administration: I had almost entirely negative experiences with the administration of the school. This broadly ties into the the issue of Richmond misrepresenting its self. The administration claims that its worried about excessive drinking and underage drinking, but I never got this impression. I am not going to go into specifics because I do not want the school to know who I am, this should tell you something about the school that I would worry about this. Because the administration sells one policy, but in my opinion seemed to radically diverge from this stated belief, it seems to lead to students like myself picking this school when they would have otherwise not attended. More generally, administration seemed unresponsive to my needs and I have many friends who also had negative experiences for one reason or another.
Student Body (personality & disposition): A lot of students here are really disgusting people. This is true of any school, but I cannot help but feel like I have never been somewhere with more depraved individuals. I struggled to relate and be friendly with individuals who were so disdainful of; the working class, intellectualism, alternative political views, and more so than anything else, people who are unattractive. There is no group more heavily discriminated against here then the unattractive. I am in shape and so this discrimination was not ever (overtly) directed at me, but the comments I hear at this school about unattractive people are extremely vicious and petty. I would strongly discourage overweight individuals, especially women, from attending because of the overt hostility I have seen them face.
Academics: I have a mixed opinion about academics. You can take great classes here from great people and learn a lot. That said, it is very possible to graduate from this school taking exceedingly easy classes and doing very little work. Be aware, you need to take charge of your academic destiny here and actively pick more challenging classes if this is important to you. I have been in 300 level classes where I did none of the reading, played video games in class half the time, and still pulled off an A. This is not an uncommon experience for those who enter this school at the top of the student body. For students who find their grades/SAT scores to be below average, classes may be more appropriately rigorous, but for the average student it seemed like few students struggled to at LEAST get a B.
Living: A huge portion of the school lives in dorms or the on campus apartments. I think this is a negative feature of the school. It leads to few people going off campus and little interest in the broader community. The dorms vary extremely in quality. Some dorms smell terrible (cough cough Marsh Hall when I attended) and are just overall disgusting. Others are quite nice and in my opinion top notch. One complaint, especially for male students, that many of my friends and me had, is that it is not a quiet environment. There was a lot of noise late at night and it never seemed like my RA gave a crap what was going on. RAs in general didn't seem to care much about what went on which for some will be a positive and some a negative.
Food: The on campus food is tolerable. Friends who were vegetarians said it was hard, but for the average person it will suffice.
The bottom line:
If you like partying hard and can deal with having little campus culture diversity, this school may work well for you.
If you are an intellectual, your time here may be hard.
If you are overweight, you will stand out.
If you got into this school, my guess is, you could probably do better and pick a school that has a better campus culture and will accommodate more diverse types of people and lifestyles.