Do Student Voices

Emory: Know Before You Go

It can be intimidating making the shift from high school to a prestigious university. You might wonder, will I fit in? How will I find people like me? How can I make my mark on campus?  As a current Emory student, I’ve thought these same things as you and I’ve written about some commonly asked questions to make your transition to Emory seamless!

Orientation leaders excitedly greet new students and help them move into their dorms (Credit: Emory News Center).

To Incoming Freshmen: Moving away from home can be tough. It’s an adjustment for everyone, and it may be tougher for those who’ve never lived alone before. But don’t worry, as a rising junior and someone who had previously never lived alone, I’m here to tell you that everything will be alright! You will find your place at Emory, even if it takes you a bit longer than you’d prefer. Emory is an amazing school with tons of awesome people and interesting professors, and it’s located in a great city. The biggest challenge was getting into Emory in the first place. Now you’re in. Enjoy it.

Classes: Rate My Professors is Your Friend

Emory is one of the top academic schools in the world, so naturally, some classes are difficult. Regardless of your major, you will have to put in work to do well at Emory. Emory is a world-renowned institution, therefore the professors will challenge you, but they are brilliant and excellent resources. Saying that, no class is impossible, and, in every class, an A is attainable.

Over my two years at Emory, I have learned that Rate My Professors is your best friend for figuring out what classes to take. The ratings on the site are extremely reliable and paint a picture of what the class you are considering might entail. Ratings come directly from students as they exit the class and help you decipher the workload and teaching style of any professor.

Emory students sit in a typical lecture class (Credit: Emory University School of Medicine).

If you are looking for additional help, the Academic Support Page contains information on various programs like the Writing Center, Academic Coaching, EPASS peer tutoring, Learning Assistants, and several other forms of academic resources. Lots of students take advantage of these resources so don’t hesitate to utilize them!

Emory Club Culture: Extracurricular Activities

Surprisingly, club life at Emory is not as prestigious as one may think.. In general, clubs at Emory are easy to join, with a decent amount of them accepting all applicants. Others require an interview or a more extensive application, but, if completed well, chances of acceptance is high. However, there are a few clubs that are distinguished from the rest and require extensive interviewing and a thorough review process to join. Some of these clubs include Student Government Association (SGA), College Council, and various business-related clubs.

Greek Life: The Real Scoop

With about 30% of students involved in Greek life, it plays a fairly substantial role in the social scene at Emory. While many students opt not to join, those who do find it to be a great and easy way to meet new people and lifelong friends. Certain fraternities and sororities have reputations that freshmen learn quickly when they get on campus. All greek life organizations are involved in philanthropy and use that  to grow as well as help the community. 

Some fraternities and sororities can be very exclusionary and certainly do not allow just anyone to join. If you really want to join a fraternity or sorority, the best advice is: get to know as many current members as possible.

New and Improved Dining

Dining Hall food: it’s better than you’d think.

Over the last few years, Emory has gone through lots of construction. As a result, the food options for students have shifted around the past few years. Finally, the new Emory Student Center’s (aka the ESC) renovation was completed last year. Now the ESC has a new fancy dining hall technically called the Dobbs Common Table, but students will refer to it as the DUC (what the former dining hall was called). 

The DUC  has several food stations including a salad bar, sandwich station, and options for Indian, Italian, Kosher, seafood, and  gluten-free selections — just to name a few. College dining halls get a bad rap throughout the country, but the new DUC at Emory is, by all accounts, a great place to eat. If you want to go for lunch or dinner, be sure to get there early or be willing to wait in line; during prime lunch (12-1pm) and dinner (5:30-6:30pm) hours, lines can be seen out the door.

Newly furnished lounge area of the Dobbs Common Table (Credit: Emory Dining).

First Impressions & Fitting In

Don’t overreact, everything works out in the end. The first few weeks of school are different for everyone. Some fit right in, find their people immediately, and get into a flow of college life. Others have more difficulty meeting new people they get along with and have a difficult time adjusting to living at college. Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, remember one thing: it doesn’t matter. 

Everything works out in the end. College is a time to find yourself, figure out who you truly are, and who you want to associate with. So, if you have trouble meeting people in the first few weeks, keep doing what you are doing, pursue your interests, and you will meet people along the way. 

One thing I’ve learned from my experience and the experience of so many of my current friends,  is the people you first meet and first become friends with, are not necessarily your friends for the rest of college. Sometimes people drift away over time, sometimes people join Greek life and find other friends, and sometimes people join clubs where they meet their people. You are not bound to the first friends you make. Rarely, are the first friends you make during orientation week your core group of friends throughout your four years. My advice: go with the flow and don’t sweat it if things don’t go your way in the first few weeks of school.

New students walk through campus together (Credit: Emory website).

Take Advantage of Atlanta

Atlanta is an awesome city. It’s lively and fun, with countless things to do. Students visit the Georgia Aquarium, which is one of the world’s  all the time. Enjoy parks? Go for a run in the beautiful Piedmont Park or find delicious food to eat in the Inman Park area. 

If you’re interested in learning more about places to eat in Atlanta, check out our latest article: Eat Like an Emory Student 

Like sports? Catch a Braves baseball game, Falcons football game, Atlanta United soccer game, or a Hawks basketball game. Non-football games are usually more reasonable for price. Finally, visit the beautiful Atlanta Botanical Gardens or the interesting World of Coca-Cola Museum.

Image of Atlanta Botanical Gardens (Credit: Atlanta Botanical Gardens website).

STRATEGY 001: How to Conquer Class Registration

Registering for classes is tough; many classes are highly competitive to get into, and oftentime, the classes you want close before your enrollment date. As a freshman, your enrollment date is after every other year, so you have to take what you can get. 

The unfortunate truth is, freshman year you will not get every class you desire. That’s just how it goes. 

But, there is still hope. Add/drop/swap is a period where classes are opening and closing rapidly, so be on the lookout to swoop in on an open class. Only some classes have waitlists,  and, for those that do, getting off the waitlist can be a long process that requires great patience. Yet, in my experience, I’ve found that most students within the tenth spot on the waitlist eventually get into the class. 

Reach out to upperclassmen! Older students have been through the registration process numerous times and may have key tips and tricks to help get the class you want.

Biggest piece of advice: download the app Coursicle. This app helps monitor classes during registration and add/drop/swap, and notifies you when a class you want has an open spot. This app has personally helped me get into many classes I wanted and without it, I doubt if I would’ve gotten into those classes.

Emory students sit in a small discussion-based class (Emory Writing Program website).

Enjoy your college years

It goes fast, trust me.

You’ve heard this before. Everyone says it. “College goes by fast, enjoy it while you can.” But really, it’s true. College does go by fast. One day you’re in freshman orientation thinking you have a long four years ahead and the next thing you know you’re in the final weeks of your senior year. It really does fly by and you don’t even notice it when it’s happening. So, take in every moment. Soak in the scene on a beautiful Saturday morning as your classmates play frisbee on the quad. Embrace the late-night study sessions with your study group. Enjoy lunches in between classes with your friends. It won’t last forever, so make sure you enjoy it while you can.

Emory is a great school. It’s a great place to grow out of your adolescent years and enter the adult world. As long as you are true to yourself and pursue your dreams, Emory will treat you right. The four years you spend at Emory can be some of the best years of your life, so don’t waste it.