Oberlin Blogs

Why Oberlin? First Year Edition: Part 1

April 24, 2021

Ricarda Hill ’24

Some students immediately knew that this liberal arts college in Ohio was the place for them, so they applied Early Decision and never looked back. For others, their college admissions process was longer and after hearing back from Oberlin and other schools in the spring, they had to decide where they could imagine themselves for the next four years without visiting. (I fell into the latter category and have posted about my decision process and journey to Oberlin here.) Thanks again for sharing your experiences!



I wasn't even thinking about Oberlin before I toured here, and in fact I'd already toured 15 campuses at that point by September of my senior year and was rather tired of the whole thing, I think. But when I toured Oberlin, I found it was the first campus that felt right to me. I also did an interview with a fourth-year admissions worker, who told me a reassuring story about how her mom left her alone on her tour because she was overwhelmed by the weight of sending her kid to college. While she was processing this, a professor noticed and sat down and talked to her for a half hour about everything that was going on, so I figured if prospective students' parents were in good hands on campus, then I would be too.



Obviously I like the academics that Oberlin has, as well as the culture and values, but honestly Oberlin just felt right to me. It’s hard to describe, but the first time I visited campus, something kind of just clicked for me. It felt good, it felt like the right place. And then, when it really came down to it, Oberlin was the only place where I could actually see myself going to school, where I could see myself walking around the buildings and eating in the dining hall as a student, rather than as a visitor. I could just tell that Oberlin was the right place for me, and then I did early decision and got in, so then I didn’t really have a choice! Once I applied, it really was up to Oberlin whether I went here or not!



Pretty early into my college search, I knew I wanted to go to a liberal arts college. My high school was pretty small, and I valued the opportunities for close interpersonal connections granted by those small class sizes. I also didn’t know what career path I wanted to go down, so I wanted to have the opportunity to really explore different fields in college at a deeper level before making a decision about a major. 

I first visited Oberlin in person for Junior Visit day in March of 2019, and I had a great time. I was able to sit in on a neuroscience class, and the professor was really enthusiastic, which is something I’ve found to be true for the majority of my professors so far at Oberlin. Pretty much all of my questions were answered, and it was one of my best college tour experiences. Being able to interact with some of the student body at lunch, I felt that I would really mesh well with the culture of Oberlin students. Honestly, I loved everything about Oberlin. It was just far enough away from my hometown of Pittsburgh that my parents wouldn’t be visiting all the time, and despite all the bad rap the state gets, I kind of like Ohio. 

I ended up applying Early Decision to Oberlin and getting in, so I wasn’t able to compare the schools I got into like I would if I applied regular decision. The financial aid initially awarded was troubling, and I was worried I would have to put together applications for the other colleges on my list in the next two weeks or so (I heard back from Oberlin in late December). But with a little back-and-forth, I was able to feel more comfortable about the amount I would be paying for my top school. And now I’m here! Of course COVID has made the typical college experience radically different, but the core of why I chose Oberlin has remained the same. 


Keep an eye out for Part 2!

*Some of the responses may have been edited for length and clarity.

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