Freshman Edition Editorial: As UConn grows, so do your opportunities

A student walks in front of Homer Babbidge Library. (Zhelun Lang/Daily Campus)

This past spring, approximately 36,000 prospective students applied to join UConn this fall as freshmen on the Storrs Campus, according to UConn Today. The figure set a new record of incoming freshman applicants, a number that has been steadily increasing over the past 15 years, vying for just under 4,000 spots.

The statistic is in so small part due to the opportunities available and growing on campus, which have attracted students nation and worldwide; UConn has consistently been ranked a Top 25 Public University, received new investments, and launched new innovative projects and programs on campus in recent years. As freshmen arrive on campus, they should be excited to see a campus that is evolving while staying true to its values of academic excellence, community, and pride.

Transitioning to college from high school or another experience, freshmen should recognize they are now in charge of their educational experience in a way unlike they ever have been before. There are over a hundred majors available at UConn, ranging from Cognitive Science to Puppetry, as well as the Academic Center for Exploratory Students (ACES) and opportunities to build an individualized major, allowing students to discover and explore their own niche. More than ever, freshmen can connect what they are learning in class with what they may envision as a potential future career.

There may well be no other setting like that of an undergraduate college where one has the level of freedom and resources available to follow their own personal intellectual curiosities, and have access to such a wide range of experts in different fields. It is an opportunity students should be excited by and also take seriously. Freshmen should be aware of and utilize opportunities to go to professors’ office hours, register for classes that catch their interest, take part in academic research, and attend many of the various guest lectures on campus.

Freshmen should also take the advantage of UConn’s diverse student population, get involved on campus, and learn from their peers. UConn’s student population is diverse both in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and geography, as well as opinion and interests. Freshmen should visit the Student Activities website and attend the Involvement Fair in September.

Full of opportunities, UConn is a large school that inevitably becomes smaller as students find their niches and communities on campus. Freshmen should be ready to explore, and while maybe thinking about where they see themselves after, open to unexpected opportunities, new paths, and experiences that will make UConn and unforgettable and transformative four years.