A conversation with UConn’s Class of 2023

High school seniors from across the state, country and world have committed to attend the University of Connecticut next year. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

High school seniors from across the state, country and world have committed to attend the University of Connecticut next year. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

High school seniors from across the state, country and world have committed to attend the University of Connecticut next year, citing everything from educational programs to research opportunities to a desire to live in the area as factors in their decision. 

Some, including Guilford, Connecticut native Katie Spinnato and Milford, Connecticut resident Samara Thacker, decided on UConn because they wanted to enroll in a specific academic program. 

“I’m planning on majoring in journalism, and after seeing the department, I liked how it was smaller and seemed more personal compared to other schools I visited,” Thacker said. 

Spinnato said ultimately, she chose UConn because she hopes to enroll in the Neag School of Education.

“(Neag’s) five-year master’s program is efficient because you get your master’s as soon as possible,” Spinnato said. “You also don’t have to worry about finding another place to go to graduate school, and it is less likely that life will disrupt your path to your master’s.” 

Other students, such as Lara Pietz, who is from a small town outside of Pittsburgh, and Mary Monticello, who is from Massachusetts, chose the university because it offered them a chance to live in a new place.

“I’ve always wanted to go out-of-state and experience something new,” Monticello said. “I didn’t want to go as far away as my siblings [who attend the University of Central Florida and a university in Scotland], but UConn was just far enough away and just close enough for me. I can always come home for the weekend, and my mom offered to come visit with our dog.”

Pietz said ever since she was little, she knew she wanted to live in New England, because her dad grew up in Maine and they’ve taken trips there every year. 

“I applied exclusively to New England schools, and UConn was my dream school because of its amazing reputation,” Pietz said. “I was able to visit in November 2018 and fell in love with the school.”

Pietz is not alone in citing a campus visit as a determining factor, as several other students said the excitement they felt while walking through the Storrs campus factored into their decision.

“I chose UConn because I remember it being the only college I could really see myself at. Every other college couldn’t compare in terms of the energy UConn has,” Dudley, Massachusetts native Grace Gavin said. “I felt really happy and excited for college after a few hours of being on campus.”

Still, other UConn Class of 2023 members like Marlborough, Connecticut native Anjum Akhand, said their decision was influenced by them having grown up with UConn culture.

“I chose UConn because it was by far my cheapest option initially, but also because I grew up going to the women’s basketball games and eating at Geno’s, visiting Gampel, all that stuff,” Akhand said. “My brother also graduated from UConn, so it’s not just a Connecticut resident thing, it’s a family thing.” 

Ultimately, whether students had their heart set on UConn since they were a child or made the decision after a long process, most of them cited a combination of factors that culminated in their decision. 

Farmington native and future Academic Center for Exploratory Students [ACES] student Sabrina Diana said, though she originally didn’t want to go to UConn because she wanted a school outside of Connecticut. Although, she says she is now happy with her decision. 

“I cannot be any happier with the decision I’ve made for my future,” Diana said. “Now I am one of the many family members that will follow, worship and cherish everything UConn. I may be going in undecided, but choosing UConn was one of the most certain, concrete and solid choices I have ever made.” 


Gabriella DeBenedictis is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.