Campus considerations from incoming freshmen

With summer winding down, the annual higher education rite of passage is near for a new class of incoming students moving into their new homes away from home over the next couple weeks. Between shopping for the essentials, saying goodbye to family, meeting and making new friends, decorating the ultimate modern on-campus living space, doing their own laundry, and experiencing dining hall fare, change can be overwhelming, but for three incoming freshmen, making this major transition has been exciting.

Before they took off, incoming freshmen Norah Hempstead, Cole Richey, and Sara Gomperts were quizzed about campus life, their reasons for selecting their school, what the most crucial design elements are, what is most important for achieving happiness, and what they are looking forward to most. Chasing different majors, attending both in- and out-of-state schools, and pursuing college with varying priorities, they hope their answers will offer a glimpse into what is fundamental for college students today.


Nora Hempstead [School: Syracuse University, Major: Architecture]

“Having architects for parents, I had the best influences, which helped me realize I want to do something with design where I can make things. Math and science have always been strong subjects,  so it felt natural to pursue architecture, and I’m ready to jump into studio time.

After narrowing my decision to three schools, I chose Syracuse University because of its high-quality, liberal arts education, comfort, low-stress, independence, and my feeling accepted from the first visit. I was also glad to hear that Syracuse is a safe campus where people look out for each other, which was something I did not feel was as strong at the other schools I visited. To be successful, I need to feel comfortable and happy in my environment. I will be living on-campus in Haven Hall, which is centrally located and surrounded by green spaces where I will have access to nature and places to unwind.

Inside my residence hall, there are pod-style bathrooms, dorm rooms with partial dividing walls to create the illusion of privacy, and study rooms, which will be important to help in achieving success and well-being. The dorm’s residents are undergraduates with different program majors. As an introvert, I know I need exposure to others who are different from me. Overall, I am just excited to experience a different environment, and later, I hope to travel abroad with school and immerse myself in new cultures, food, and art.”


Cole Richey [School: University of Cincinnati; Major: pre-med]

“What really drew me to the University of Cincinnati was my program’s reputation and the value of getting an out-of-state campus experience for the same cost as an in-state campus. My goal is to eventually become a pediatrician, so when I was looking at schools, I paid close attention to the lab spaces to be sure they were up-to-date, and what I heard about the curriculum and research opportunities. I also knew I wanted to maximize my time by growing into my own skin and establishing my own place. Therefore, being far enough away to be independent, yet close enough to come home when I need extra support was necessary.

The campus is like being part of a small city with activities and events to participate in, which was an important consideration for me because it will offer vital connections and give me things to do. Developing a better mindset by utilizing the campus study and green spaces is also something I am looking forward to as I start a new chapter.

I am living off-campus with three other guys in an apartment that is set up like a dorm. I share a bedroom and bathroom with one person, and the four of us have a common kitchen and spacious living room area. Having an environment and campus network where I belong is something I cannot wait to experience.”


Sara Gomperts [School: Indiana Tech; Major: Pre-vet]

“I originally wanted to go to a school with a warmer climate, but I chose Indiana Tech for their athletic and academic programs. I’m going to school on a volleyball scholarship, so things like athletic facilities and coaching staffs were important, but so were academics, and Indiana Tech has one of the best biology programs that will benefit me when it comes time to apply to veterinary schools. The buildings are either brand new or recently renovated, and the school offers free books, so I know my learning environment is strong.

I have not started classes yet, but already, my advisor who also teaches classes has reached out with internship and scholarship opportunities, and the coach has opened his office door anytime for coffee and conversations. Having people so engaged in my success early on has not only won me over, but also has given my parents peace of mind as they send me off.

Beyond the professors and academic staff, being part of small, flexible, campus community will allow me to establish deeper connections with others. I also like that the campus is in a mid-sized city with a lot of shopping, restaurants, and activities nearby. On-campus, my dorm is close to the gym, dining hall and biology building where most of my classes are held. I will be living in a four-person dorm with two bedrooms, a shared bathroom and shower, and free laundry facilities on every floor. So early on, I just feel good knowing I have what I need to better myself.”

Our higher education expertise

With another semester beginning and a new class of freshmen getting acclimated to campus life, we are wishing everyone a great, successful year. Also, as experts in higher education facility design, we are here and eager to discuss your upcoming building design projects. To see our experience, check out our online higher education studio and flip through our recent higher education magazine.

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