A guide for prospective freshmen

This weekend, Washington University will once again embrace Celebrations Weekend along with warm weather and preparation for finals. Evidence of Spring Preview — a month-long celebration designed to entice newly-admitted students — can be seen in the uncharacteristically large groups of high schoolers wandering aimlessly around campus. In case you’re a prospective freshman and you happened to pick up Student Life during your first DUC experience, we’ll make your decision a little bit easier for you: Here’s how to figure out what makes our University different.

Think about what extracurricular activities you might participate in as a student here at Wash. U. Spring Preview is your chance to experiment. Participate in on-campus South 40 events, find relevant speakers on campus, join in on a game of Frisbee. Attending classes will give you a good feel for a university, but those classes are only part of a larger college experience. Make sure to stop by the activities fair being held on Friday from 3 – 5 p.m.: Sampling the wide variety of student groups and interests will be a good indicator of your potential niche on campus.

You may have already heard that Wash. U. is known for its dining services, but you’ll get sick of DUC sushi eventually — branch out and try Holmes Lounge, where you can eat surrounded by architecture from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Stop by the DUC cafe, where you’ll find pastries outsourced from a local bakery and coffee from Kaldi’s.

Spring Preview will put you in the middle of a hurricane of programming, but don’t be afraid to spend some time by yourself. Think about how you might actually spend your time here, once you’re a real student with work and commitments. Take some time to sit down in Whispers, the coffee shop in Olin Library, and watch how people interact.

Wash. U. is more than the buildings surrounding Brookings Quad and the dorms on the South 40. Venture off campus and get a feel for St. Louis. The city has a lot to offer. Walk around, eat out, window-shop — it doesn’t matter where you go as long as you see beyond the campus bubble. Get coffee at Kayak’s, just northeast of campus. Head to the Loop and make sure you stop by Ranoush, Wong’s Wok and Pi — all staff favorites. Go for a walk or run in Forest Park and see the museums on Art Hill.

But in spite of how many cultural groups you’ll probably see performing the DUC, and in spite of how much free Ted Drewes and pizza you’ll likely eat, don’t forget that this weekend is only a sample of your potential life at Wash. U. In fact, we guarantee that your days here won’t be representative of your four years in college. The fellow high schoolers you meet this weekend probably won’t be your best friends at Wash. U. Remember, visiting a campus is different from living on one.