Oberlin Blogs

All Roads Lead to Oberlin: A Guide

April 7, 2016

Tanya Aydelott

In April, the admissions office hosts a series of admitted students programs called All Roads Lead to Oberlin!

For us, All Roads presents a chance to meet or reconnect with you, answer your questions and those of your parents/guardians, and possibly freak you out by remembering details from your Common Application that, honestly, we should have left in your Common Application (apologies in advance).

For our admitted students, it's a chance to learn more about campus, connect with current Obies and your potential classmates, check out a concert or two or five, visit the Art Museum, meet with professors, sit in on classes, and generally evaluate whether or not Oberlin could be a home for you for the next four/five years. It's an opportunity to observe, participate, and ask tons of questions of everybody you meet.

That is a lot to pack into one day. After all, the purpose of programs like All Roads is to help you decide which college to enroll in. You're making a decision about where to spend the next four or five years based on a day (and an overnight, if you choose to do one). It can be an incredibly exciting day filled with music and laughter and new friends. But it can also feel like a ton of pressure to know whether or not this is the perfect college for you.

I'm getting overwhelmed just thinking about it.

So, to help you out, here are a few tips on getting through All Roads. Tess wrote about her All Roads adventures; Aries offered the current student perspective on All Roads; and Jesse provides suggestions as a fellow admissions counselor. For Obies who've done this before, I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

1. Pack for comfort. You're going to spend a lot of time moving between buildings. Ohio weather is notoriously unpredictable — today alone, it has fluctuated between sunny, windy, rainy, and a brief hailstorm — and you'll want to be sufficiently warm and comfortable for the day. Check the weather report for the day you'll be on campus, and throw an extra hoodie in your backpack, just in case. And if you're staying for an overnight, don't forget your pillow, sleeping bag, and toiletries!

A sitcom actor wearing many layers exclaims, Could I be wearing any more clothes? (animated GIF)
Basically me, every day in April.

2. Know your priorities. If there's something that's really important to you, do some research. Ask for a meeting. If you need directions or help figuring out how to meet with somebody or where Bibbins 201 is, ask! We want you to find your resources, be they the Multicultural Resource Center, the Office of Disability Services, someone who teaches an ExCo, a particular professor, the Bonner Center for Service and Learning, or a theater performance. Some offices and departments will have open houses scheduled during All Roads, so double check your schedule. If not, let us know and we'll connect you as best we can.

3. Have a plan, but be okay if it gets derailed. If there's a department or professor you want to see, we encourage you to do so. Professors are usually really good about communicating with prospective students, and we've arranged various class visits during All Roads. But things come up at the last minute and can throw off a plan. Luckily, there's never a lack of things to do at Oberlin. So if something you'd planned to do gets thrown off course, don't worry: the Admissions Office will have other options for you, or maybe another prospective student or Obie can suggest an alternative!

The schedule that we'll give you as part of your registration (and there's a tentative one online for each All Roads day) will include lectures, recitals, museum talks, department open houses, and other activities that we think could be informative and useful for you. Remember that All Roads is about you getting a sense of Oberlin: feel free to wander and check out things you're not even sure you're interested in. Surprise yourself!

4. It's okay to take breathers. There will be a lot to process and think about, and it can be difficult to do that when you're surrounded by new people. Taking a bit of time for yourself to evaluate what you've seen, what you've heard, what you'd hoped to do but haven't done yet: that can be time well spent. A few suggestions:

  • Wilder Porch: the perfect people-watching rocking chairs
  • Sky Bar: a quiet space to reflect and look out over Tappan Square
  • Asia House Courtyard: if you're lucky, someone will be rehearsing in Fairchild and you'll hear them through the stained glass windows
  • AJLC: there's the indoor atrium and the outdoor amphitheater, both good for a moment away
  • Tappan Bandstand: a quiet space close to the Art Museum
  • Womb Chairs in Mudd: an Oberlin classic
  • Peters Language Lab: cockatiels and hammocks
  • Next to the Con Pond: it's still close to class visits, dorms, and the Con, but it feels tucked away

5. You can start meeting people before you even get to All Roads! Each admitted class has its own Facebook page, which is a great place to connect with other admitted students and current students. Want to know if the Dungeons and Dragons ExCo is meeting during an All Roads program? Ask it on the Facebook group, and chances are a current Obie will be able to point you in the right direction or share contact info for the ExCo teacher. Thinking of eating at a co-op but want to know a bit more about the dietary offerings? Ask. Want to know if anyone else will be at the All Roads you're attending? The answer to that is definitely and resoundingly yes, and the Facebook group will give you some people to look out for.

I hope you view All Roads as an opportunity for you to live a day as an Obie. Think of it is a chance to see what our community has to offer you, and to gauge whether or not you think this is the environment where you can grow further into a person you'd like to be.

One cartoon kid extends his hand to another, saying 'Welcome aboard'. (Animation.)

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