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College Spotlight: Rice

Last week we started our college spotlight series, in which we ask B2A instructors about their undergraduate experiences. This week we hear from one of our Gateway counselors, Hai-Uyen Nguyen, who attended Rice.

The following is an interview that we conducted with Hai-Uyen:


How would you describe your experience at Rice in a single word?


Why did you choose Rice?

After living in Austin for my whole life, I wanted to go to a school that would expose me to a new environment with new people. I had a friend at Rice who always raved about how fun and smart the community is, and he convinced me to go!

What did you like the most about Rice?

All of the students at Rice strive to be the best they can be. At the same time, everyone is always willing to work together and help one another. Rice really does have a great culture of care (Rice tagline!), and I always felt supported and included.

What is one thing you didn't know about Rice before starting there but was pleasantly surprised?

Rice's O-Week (orientation week) is a huge, week-long event that the upperclassmen prepare to transition new students into Rice. It allows you to make so many friends with other classmates, since you're put into a small group with upperclassmen advisors whom you spend the whole week with. Going into college with this support group definitely eased the transition!


What do you think makes the Rice’s classes, professors, and academic resources unique?

Rice requires students to take a certain number of classes from every Academic College (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences). This allows students to broaden their horizons and become well-rounded people.

What was your favorite class and why?

I took a course on Sociology of Food that I loved! It was a great way to learn more about the social factors that go into the production and consumption of food, and has made me much more knowledgeable when it comes to food choices.

What was your hardest class and why?

Organic Chemistry was my most difficult class. I took it my freshman year and while the material itself wasn't too difficult, the amount of time I had to spend studying for it every day was tiring.

What kind of student would you recommend Rice to?

I would recommend Rice to a student who likes smaller class sizes and is interested in taking classes in multiple disciplines.

What is one thing you wish you knew about the academics when you applied?

You don't have to declare your major until the end of your second year at Rice! This allows students to explore different classes and decide on what really motivates them.

Student Life

Did you live on campus, and if so, how was dorm life?

I lived on campus for 3 of my 3.5 years at Rice. Rice has a residential college system where you're put into a college for the rest of your time at Rice, and these colleges become your family. You play on sports teams with them, eat with them, sleep with them, and shower with them! It's pretty common for Rice students to spend most of their time on campus since it's such a tight-knit community.

Did you participate in any student groups, and if so, which one(s)?

I was President of a club called Healthy Grad, which was developed to promote physical, social, and psychological wellness in the student body!

What are some places worth checking out on campus?

Rice Coffeehouse is the prime spot for students to hang out and grab some coffee. This is new since I've graduated, but I think the architecture students made a spot on campus with hammocks to hang out in -- if I were there, I'd definitely visit that spot!

Where was your favorite hangout spot?

Hanging in the academic quad at Brown College under the huge tree!

What was one fun thing to do off campus?

Rice is in Houston, which is basically THE place to go if you want awesome, cheap ethnic food. My friends and I always went to eat Mala Sichuan Bistro in Bellaire for dinner on the weekends!


Want to go to Rice and not sure how to set yourself apart from the competition? Consider taking any of our test-prep classes for SAT and ACT. Or are you already working on your application? Don’t worry! We have you covered with our college admissions services.

We are proud of what we do at B2A and we have the numbers to back it up. For the most recent August/September SAT and ACT exams, we’ve had several students receive perfect or near-perfect scores, including:

Thu Nguyen - 800 on her Chemistry SAT Subject Test

Shreyas Konana - 36 on his Sept ACT AND 800 on his Math II SAT Subject Test

Raymond Hong - 1590 on his Aug SAT

Saitej Iyer - 36 on his Sept ACT

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