Horned Frog Blog

Musings from the TCU Admission Office


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Student Submission: Something for Everyone

Homecoming was definitely a time when the TCU spirit came alive!

Homecoming was definitely a time when the TCU spirit came alive!

TCU… The land of the Frogs. The Horned Frogs that is. Yes, we are the only college in the United States to have this as our mascot. This is one of many stats I know because I am part of the Student Foundation here at this amazing place called Texas Christian University. I’m also involved in Frog Aides, John V. Roach Honors College, Honors Cabinet, Beta Theta Pi, Cultural Routes 6, and BNSF Next Generation Leadership. My name is Taven Sparks, and I am a sophomore business major from Colorado. As I think back over the last year, it was by far one of the most fulfilling years of my life. As you can see from above, TCU provides so many opportunities for students to get involved, which is just one of the many things I love about this school.  Let me take you back to how I ended up at what I believe to be the best college in the country.

Frog Aides was a fantatsic way to get involved right at the beginning of freshman year.

Frog Aides was a fantatsic way to get involved right at the beginning of freshman year.

As a prospective student you may be reading this wondering what college is like, or you may be sitting here with no idea what you even want in a college. I know how you feel. I started looking as a sophomore in high school in order to try to find the right fit. I traveled as far east and as far west in the US as possible and 27 colleges later, I landed here. After seeing some of the most prestigious schools in the country and looking at schools both large and very small, I found TCU to be the perfect balance of what I was looking for. Was I nervous about making such a big decision? Yes! Was I excited about going to a school filled with strong school spirit, friendly people, great class sizes, beautiful facilities and a community passionate about being Horned Frogs? Yes! Looking back, after seeing many colleges, knowing the positives and negatives of each, I can enthusiastically say TCU is perfect. Okay, maybe nothing is perfect, but TCU is pretty darn close, and I think you would hear that from almost all of the students who attend this great school.

Exploring Europe during Cultural Routes was definitely a highlight of freshman year.

Exploring Europe during Cultural Routes was definitely a highlight of freshman year.

Of course there are a few complaints. For example, sometimes it is hard to find a parking spot… which for some reason seems to be a big deal for some students. However, Chancellor Boschini reaches the “needs” (wants) of students and listens to them. Therefore, he is currently having a parking garage constructed on campus to solve this issue. Honestly, when the biggest thing to complain about is that parking is sometimes difficult, or the BLUU (student union) ran out of cinnamon rolls for late night swipes in the cafeteria, then TCU must be doing something right…very right! TCU is the rare quintessential college experience offered at a medium-sized school with excellent professors, huge school spirit, great D1 sports programs, Greek life, and just about anything else you can think of. Come on down to the Fort, become a Horned Frog, and get involved. There’s something for everyone here! Welcome!

Taven Spark is a sophomore Business major from Centennial, Colorado. He is involved in the John V. Roach Honors College, Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Student Foundation, Frog Aides, and the BNSF Next Generation Leadership Program.


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Faculty Feature: Summer Study Abroad in London

A distinctive feature of a TCU undergraduate experience is the international and intercultural learning of global citizenship. One summer study abroad course, Coming of Age as a Global Citizen, combines rigorous academics with experiential learning to explore the historical and cultural dimensions of growing up in an increasingly diverse, globalized world.

In the gardens of the Geffrye Museum, students recorded their observations of Victorian domestic interiors and reflected on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

In the gardens of the Geffrye Museum, students recorded their observations of Victorian domestic interiors and reflected on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

Students enrolled in Coming of Age as a Global Citizen earn credit in writing (WCO2 or WEM), while living in London, one of the world’s most international cities. As students adjust to living in the vibrant, ever-changing atmosphere of London, they investigate the interplay of books, museums, and monuments about “coming of age” (growing up) as a global citizen. Students analyze five classics of British fiction, including Jane Eyre and Atonement, and explore both legendary and little-known sites in London and its vicinity.

An important feature of this study abroad course is that the classroom changes daily, sometimes hourly, because we are always on the move. We enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of exalted, well-known sites, such as Hampton Court and Eltham Palaces, Christ Church at University of Oxford, and the British Library. We also investigate many hidden gems, such as the Geffrye, a museum of domestic interiors through the ages, and the John Soane Museum, which documents in stunning detail the collecting habits and tastes of an influential eighteenth-century gentleman on the Grand Tour.

During our day trip to Oxford, where students studied the privileged and changing lives of Oxford students following the Great War in Brideshead Revisited, we toured Oxford’s wealthiest college, Christ Church, and tried out the summer delight of punting.

During our day trip to Oxford, where students studied the privileged and changing lives of Oxford students following the Great War in Brideshead Revisited, we toured Oxford’s wealthiest college, Christ Church, and tried out the summer delight of punting.

Students find that the experiences and challenges of living and studying in London prompt a remarkable amount of growing up on their own, too. It becomes second nature to ride the Tube, rush out at night to take in a West End show, and give directions to Japanese or Italian tourists trying to find the British Museum. Indeed, many students find that this summer experience studying abroad is so transformative that they return to London again and again, to work at the Imperial War Museum, to attend graduate school at the London School of Economics, or simply to guide family and friends on their own private tours of the Swinging City.

TCU BlogDr. Karen Steele is a professor and the department chair for the English Department at TCU.


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Ask the Counselors: What is your favorite Freedom of Expression page you have received?

As an optional piece of our application, we have something called the Freedom of Expression page. With this, students are asked to submit an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper with whatever they want on it. Students will often submit a collage, a drawing, or a poem, but sometimes students think a little outside of the box… Check out some of our office’s favorite submissions!

TCU BlogKyle Cochran
A student from Nashville sent me a giant purple guitar in the mail, decked out with TCU gear and some of her artwork. I’m excited that she also joined our freshman class!

Caitlin Provost
It’s so hard to choose! I had a great TCU puzzle made for me last year. On it, the student listed every reason why TCU would benefit them, and also what they would bring to the university. It was beautiful and very personal.

Victoria Herrera
I receive a simple purple T-shirt with a sewn pocket and a sewn TCU logo from a student.

David SteinTCU Blog
In my office, I have a candy jar that a student designed in art class out of blown glass. The lid is an awesome purple horned frog!

Alexis Olympia
When thinking about what to do for your Freedom of Expression, my best advice is to showcase your strengths! My favorite freedom of expression page was a water color painting of a student overlooking a pond, and the reflection in the water was of a horned frog. This student was an amazing artist! This is one of my favorites because it is such a simple idea, but it definitely helped make this student stand out in the review process!

John Andrew Willis
A TCU-themed ginger bread house. It was a bit over-the-top, but I suppose that’s kind of the point. It was certainly an outlier, rather than par for the course.

Heath Einstein
A talented painter submitted a time-lapse YouTube video of her work set to music. It was both impressive and inspirational.


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Student Submission: Arrivederci High School, Hello TCU

There are many Universities that have camps and programs designed for incoming first year students. However, how many students can say they spent a week in another country at one of these camps? The answer…24 TCU students!

My first experience as a member of TCU was attending the Honors Frog Camp in Rome. The weeks leading up to Frog Camp were the longest of my life. Between the jitters and anxiety of going to college, combined with the eagerness to spend a week in Europe, every day seemed like an eternity.

My Italian cooking skills may or may not have been retained...
My Italian cooking skills may or may not have been retained…

Finally the day was here, I was going to Italy! We spent our first night on campus in King Hall. We weren’t there for more than 5 minutes before the shenanigans ensued. Whether it was playing sand volleyball or playing Never Have I Ever in the lobby until 3:00 in the morning, everyone had a smile on their face. The anticipation of the 12 hour plane flight the next day was evident everywhere.

Meeting two American politicians in Italy? Why not?

Meeting two American politicians in Italy? Why not?

As I was boarding the plane to Rome, I had no clue that I was about to embark on the most life changing and inspirational week of my life, nor did I truly understand how long 12 hours on one plane actually was! But we made it, and we hit the ground running and looking back now, we had to; how else would we see everything Rome has to offer in just 5 short days? Whether it was touring the Vatican, exploring the ruins of the Coliseum, all the way to cooking our own authentic Italian cuisine we did it all! I mean, how many people can say they ran into John Kerry and John McCain on a casual late night gelato run? Or haggled with a street vender to buy a dancing bird?

To answer your question, yes I did buy the dancing bird.

To answer your question, yes I did buy the dancing bird.

It’s safe to say that my Frog Camp experience was the greatest week of my life. I met my roommate while in an Internet café on the streets of Italy, walked the streets of Rome like we owned the place and left our mark on one of the most historic cities in the world.

Yet it wasn’t the sights, sounds or celebrities that made it the best week of my life. Instead, it was the people. I made friends with the people who are my TCU family, and for the first time in my life felt a part of something bigger than myself. There were no high school cliques, or the “too cool for school” kids. Instead, there were caring individuals, involved faculty, and genuine facilitators that made me feel like I was meant to be a horned frog my entire life. I still remember my parents picking me up from the airport and my first words being, “Can I start college now?”

Everyone I met exemplified what it meant to be a Horned Frog. They reinforced that I had made the right decision to attend TCU and from that moment on I have never looked back!

TCU BlogCreighton Jones is a senior Biology major from Monroe, Louisiana. He is involved in the John V. Roach Honors College, TCU Ambassadors, and is on the TCU Orientation Staff.


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Ask the Counselors: What is your favorite thing to do in Fort Worth? (Part 2)

In a previous post, some of our counselors shared some of their favorite spots in the city of Fort Worth. With so many options in our wonderful city, it was tough to contain them in one post! Check out a few more favorites from the rest of our staff.

The Coyote Drive-In is a new addition to Fort Worth, but will definitely remain a destination for years to come!

The Coyote Drive-In is a new addition to Fort Worth, but will definitely remain a destination for years to come!

David Stein
I love the Coyote Drive-In Theatre. It has a gorgeous view of downtown and it’s a great deal — $8 for two movies. They have great food and a cool picnic area to hang out between movies.

Margaret McCarthy
I love to spend time in Sundance Square Plaza.  It’s one of the most beautiful parts of Downtown Fort Worth, and there are great restaurants nearby.  There are also free concerts, movie nights, and yoga classes in the square, too.  I also love biking through Fort Worth on the Trinity Trails.

Beatriz Gutierrez
There is so much to do in Fort Worth it’s hard to pick just one. I love movies so I enjoy the Movie Tavern on West 7th. It’s a great location to meet up with friends for a movie and a night out.

Alexis Olympia
Fort Worth Zoo – ranked top five nationally! My family and I have a zoo membership, and visit often throughout the year! You can see a real Horned Frog in the Museum of Living Art (MOLA) exhibit, which features some of the planet’s most endangered and exotic species. We also enjoy several of the special events they put on, such as Boo at the Zoo for Halloween.

The Trinity Trails follow the Trinity River all over the City of Fort Worth.

The Trinity Trails follow the Trinity River all over the City of Fort Worth.

Karen Scott
Go for a bike ride along the Trinity River Trail. You can ride for miles and it’s safe and well-maintained. Stop for a rest break and even get something to eat at the Food Truck Park or Woodshed Smokehouse. They’re very both great places to hang out with friends, right along the river. They are both dog friendly, so I like to pet all the dogs.

John Andrew Willis
I love true Texas country / “Red Dirt” music, and there’s more of it in Fort Worth than anywhere else. Whether at Billy Bob’s Texas “the World’s Largest Honkytonk” or Magnolia Motor Lounge in the West 7th area, Fort Worth is arguably the best place in America to see real live country music.


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Student Submission: Freshman Dorm Life

Milton Daniel is where I called home for my freshman year.

Milton Daniel is where I called home for my freshman year.

Most everyone enters college wondering what living in a dorm will be like. I was just like everyone else and worried about my future roommate, living in a small room with another person, using community bathrooms, and not having parents around. I was nervous, excited, apprehensive, and eager all at the same time. Looking back on it, my dorm experience my freshman year was absolutely incredible. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to spend my sophomore year in a freshman dorm as a Resident Assistant (RA). I met so many people and really felt like I was living in a community of friends. I could walk down the hallway, knock on a few doors and have a crowd of people to go eat at Market Square or take a trip to Kroger for much needed Easy Mac and Dr. Pepper. There is also a plethora of activity at all times including Hall Crew programs, dances, movie nights, barbeques, and of course, TCU away game watch parties. Freshman dorm life is such a cool experience and I am glad that almost all TCU students get to experience this unique community.

Here are 3 myths I would like to clear up about dorm life at TCU for future students (and parents):

Myth 1: It is impossible to study in a dorm.
My study group last year spent countless hours studying either in friends’ rooms, in study pods, or in lobby/lounge areas. When a big test was coming up in my biology or chemistry class, you could find a huge crowd of us huddled around a few tables in the basement or spread out in a third floor study pod until the early hours of the morning (not that we ever procrastinated or anything like that). Especially during finals, everyone is trying to find a nice place to study and the dorms are good at providing areas like this. Some people prefer the library or other locations but it really is a matter of personal preference and the dorm is not an impossible place to study.

Myth 2: The RAs are just trying to get people in trouble.
RAs are in the dorms to help keep students safe and to give them the best chance to have a successful year. My RA last year (shout out to Danielle Clark, the best RA ever, who is going to medical school in Houston right now) turned out to be one of my good friends and mentors.  I got to know all of the RAs in my dorm and they were all very helpful and encouraging. Take advantage of the RAs in your building and utilize them as resources. They are college students themselves (upperclassmen I might add) and have gone through many of the same struggles and faced the same challenges that you might be dealing with. RAs can also provide you with good advice and recommendations for on-campus jobs, organizations to join, restaurants around town, and secret recipes in Market Square.

Myth 3: Community Bathrooms… (insert any and all horrifying things you have ever thought about community bathrooms).

Residence Halls at TCU serve as their own community within the greater TCU community.

Residence Halls at TCU serve as their own community within the greater TCU community.

Community bathrooms are great! Last year, I NEVER had to wait for a shower or a bathroom (did you hear that girls? NO LINE). Each bathroom and shower had its own individual stall. The bathrooms were cleaned every single day and I’m not just talking about a quick mop job, I mean the bathroom would be closed for 30 to 45 minutes so it could be properly cleaned. There would also be a deep cleaning once a week which would occur at the same time each week and everyone knew to plan their schedule around that hour. I would recommend bringing a robe and shower caddy and I promise everything will be fine.

Freshman dorm life at TCU is exceptional and no matter what dorm you live in, be prepared to meet new people, hang out for hours (sometimes at very strange hours), and be quite sad when you are forced to move out after spring semester finals. Leave your door open at the beginning of the year to invite people to stop in and say hello, let new friends introduce you to their friends and you will meet a ton of people very quickly. Most importantly, just relax and embrace the experience because it will be over before you know it.

kaitlynKaitlyn Upton is a sophomore Chemistry and Biology double-major with a Child Development minor from Corpus Christi, Texas. She is involved in the John V. Roach Honors College, TCU Ambassadors, and Frog Aides.

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