College Spotlight – Emory University

Freshman Year Update

By Daniel Ren
March, 2021

College Expert Counselor: Ryan Luse

Ever since I started high school, I knew I wanted to leave Minnesota and attend a top university in the South. After working with Ryan, researching and applying to colleges, I ended up deciding on Tulane University, which was my dream school for years. However, this past July, I was fortunate enough to get into Emory University, my other top choice, off the waitlist. Despite having an extremely difficult time choosing between Tulane and Emory at the end, I am very glad that I decided on the latter.

Me at Piedmont Park with the Atlanta skyline in the background

Ranked in the top 25 schools in the United States, Emory offers great academics, especially for pre-business and pre-med students. While the student body is academically driven and we have challenging classes, the environment is more collaborative than cut-throat. Additionally, there are many organizations for students to join and a good overall balance between social life and academics. As a finance major who plans on applying to the business school at the end of my sophomore year, I’ve been able to meet people and join some organizations, despite Emory only allowing freshmen on campus and limiting what organizations can do to keep us all safe during the pandemic. While I haven’t been able to get into the extremely competitive pre-professional business organizations, I’ve become interested in politics. This has led me to become a writer for the Emory Whig and I am one of the executive board members for Bridge Emory. I’m hoping to continue to help decrease the political division between Emory students, as it is crucial for people who don’t identify as a Liberal or Progressive to feel safe and have a voice on campus and educate people on how to tolerate and peacefully discuss politics without automatically dismissing them as bad people. 

When Emory is mentioned, most automatically dismiss it as a school with a dead party scene. We don’t have a football team or care much to watch Division Three sporting events, but there is still plenty of school spirit and a party scene that is well and alive. Despite being in a pandemic, plenty of students who want to relax after keeping on top of their studies have been able to have fun off campus or hang out in their friends’ dorm rooms. Living in the Atlanta suburbs, we are fortunate enough to be an Uber ride away from tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, and business districts, allowing for easy access to fun places and network with others. 

My friends and me at Ponce City Market on a Saturday afternoon

Being a student at Emory, there are plenty of unique classes that you can’t get anywhere else. For example, in my Econ-Money and Politics freshman seminar, we spent all semester discussing concepts like the differences between Trump and Biden’s policies, politics of COVID-19, and affirmative action. This class solidified my newfound interest in politics. In fact, I stayed up until 4 a.m. to watch the 2020 election with my friends in a dorm room and went to a Biden celebration rally a few days later in Atlanta. Additionally, there are a lot of other very interesting classes like Philosophy of Plagues and Film 101 that are offered here.

As for the general overall student body, most are academically and professionally driven but also know how to have fun on the weekends. I found it easy to meet friends despite having my freshman year during a pandemic. There is plenty of geographic and ethnic diversity. It’s been amazing to learn about other people’s lifestyles growing up as well as their interests and hobbies. Even though I was getting ready to move to Tulane in less than a month, I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend Emory.  It’s wonderful to have avoided the cold winters of Minnesota. I cannot imagine my life without the experiences and friendships I’ve been able to make this year, and cannot wait to create more memories once our lives return to normal. I am proud to have followed God’s plan and call Emory University and Atlanta, Georgia my home. 

If you want to talk to me about Emory or how I got in, feel free to reach out to my Instagram (@daniel_ren32). I always respond 🙂

My friend and me at Lullwater Reserve, located only a few minutes away from Emory