Horned Frog Blog

Musings from the TCU Admission Office

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Student Submission: 10 Pointers for College-Bound Seniors

  1. Consider the town/city that your potential college is located in.
    Yes, it is important to love your college campus itself, but the city it is located in means a lot, too. Not only will you be going to school there, but also you will be a member of the local community. Don’t underestimate how much the community will mean to you. You’ll also mean something to the community if you choose to. I enjoy being involved with the Fort Worth community whether I’m dining in Sundance Square or babysitting for TCU alumni.
  2. Don’t get too discouraged if you don’t get as much scholarship money as you were hoping for.
    Ok, finances are tough to talk about because they are different for everyone, but hear me out on this. You can make your dream college affordable (for you or your parents, whoever is paying). Once you get to your college and complete your freshman year, you’ll find more scholarship opportunities. More scholarship doors open up if you work hard your freshman year. I once stopped by the TCU Office of Financial Aid to say hello to someone and I saw a booklet of scholarship opportunities for current students. I completed some of the applications online and am waiting to hear back. There are also scholarships available if you choose to study abroad (more on that below). Start searching for external scholarships if you haven’t yet, you’ll be surprised by what you find!
  3. Start considering whether or not you’ll want to study abroad.
    jungfrauResearch all of the schools on your list and find out if they have study abroad programs that interest you. Also consider the fact that you might change your mind (those of you who DON’T want to study abroad, I bet somewhere along the way, you’ll be convinced otherwise). I studied abroad last summer, the summer after my freshman year. With the John V. Roach Honors college, I went on a study abroad trip called Cultural Routes. We traveled to and through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Without TCU’s JVR Honors College, I would never have had the unique experience that I did.
  4. Talk to people you know who attend the universities you are interested in.
    Four seniors at the high school I went to (Palmer Ridge) have contacted me over this winter break to ask questions about TCU. We went out for coffee and I was able to tell them things that they couldn’t have learned from just browsing the website. If you have a connection to someone at a school you are considering, don’t be afraid to reach out to him or her with your questions. In the words of TCU Admissions Counselor Heath Einstein, “ask questions of those who are not hired by admissions offices to give you the ‘right’ answers.”
  5. Don’t stress about which major to choose.
    There is plenty of time to consider what you’d like to major in, but look for a school that offers several majors that interest you. I’ve known for several years that I wanted to major in Political Science, but I didn’t yet know what I wanted to double major in. TCU gave me a chance to explore a variety of classes and test out both the Criminal Justice and Economics majors. You might think you are sure of your choice in major, but trust me, college is life changing and you might change your mind about things. If you wanted, you could spend your entire first semester at TCU working on the core curriculum while you continue to figure out what you’d like to major in.
  6. Continue working hard/ don’t get senioritis.
    You might think you don’t have to work hard anymore. Here’s why you’re wrong: the habits you make in the end of high school carry on with you to college. Your study skills are important and your work ethic is key to success. Learn how to get all your homework done on time and stop the habit of procrastination before it has a chance to beat you up in college.
  7. Support your high school friends in their college decision-making processes.
    frogsfirstNot only will you learn to be a supportive friend (which you do a lot of in college), but hopefully your friends will return the favor and support your choice in a college or university.
  8. Visit the schools on your list – it is the BEST way to help you finalize your decision.
    But don’t just visit. Talk to your tour guide, talk to students walking around campus, set up an appointment with a department that interests you, and ask questions. When visiting TCU, try to attend a Monday at TCU for a full day of activities on campus. For dates, look here: http://www.admissions.tcu.edu/Visit-TCU/Monday-at-TCU

    Visit a variety of different college campuses to determine what you like – big, small, in-state, out-of-state, rural, city, spread out, or compact. Try to visit while class is in session so that you can feel what a typical day is like. I visited TCU during their spring break, and I didn’t even get out of the car because no one was around.

  9. Cherish your time with your family.
    frogfamBefore you know it, you won’t live with your mom and dad and siblings anymore. When I got to college, I realized how much I missed my parents. I took for granted my time with my family. It took being 700+ miles away from my parents to make me truly appreciate everything they do for me. Don’t waste your last months at home. Thank your family for EVERYTHING.

  10. Choose your dream school. Take a risk. In the words of my friend Blake, “Go to TCU.”
    I’m not going to tell you I think you should pick TCU – I think you should pick the school that best fits YOU. Pick the college or university that has everything you hope for, a surrounding city that you could see yourself enjoying, and opportunities that interest you.

juliaJulia is a sophomore from Monument, Colorado majoring in Political Science and Economics. Her involvement around campus includes being a TCU ambassador/tour guide, a steering committee member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, the vice president of TCU’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter, a student of the Honors College, a former intern in the Government Affairs department of the Chancellor’s office, House Chair of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, a Eucharistic Minister for TCU’s Catholic Community, and a delegate on the Model United Nations team. This summer she will be an orientation leader and is excited to meet the Class of 2020!  

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Student Submission: What More Could You Want?

Whenever people ask me why exactly I love TCU, there are times when I catch myself reciting a “grocery-list” of reasons why this is the greatest school on the planet; small school feel, great sports, prime location in DFW, caring faculty and staff members, incredible students, a culture of acceptance and encouragement, school spirit… the list goes on and on. And those reasons are all 100% accurate. I truly believe that TCU is the best combination of every trait a person could want in a college. Because of that, it is sometimes hard to put into words what it is that makes this place so special. However, I think that I have discovered the easiest and most straightforward way to explain it: TCU makes you a better version of yourself.

Coming into TCU, I was transitioning from a chapter of my life that was focused on filling my resume with every award I could win, filling out countless scholarship applications, competing with others and myself on a daily basis to receive affirmation, and essentially focusing every aspect of my life on myself.

My first experience as an official student at TCU was at Frog Camp the summer before my freshman year. It was at this camp at Greene Family Camp down near Waco that I had a realization that changed my college experience tremendously; all of a sudden, those awards, those grades, those test scores… they didn’t define me anymore. I had to/got to start over.

Throughout my time at TCU, I have had the opportunity to get involved in a variety of organizations, from Student Government to Model UN to Student Media. These organizations have given me incredible opportunities and even more incredible mentors. I will highlight a few of them now:

Model UN
I came into TCU knowing that I liked to debate and that I wanted to pursue some sort of career that utilized that form of communication. An older political science student recommended that I try something a little bit different than my usual cut-throat competitive ventures and sign up for Model UN, a course that took students to New York City in the spring to compete at the National Model United Nations Conference. I was placed on the UN-Women Committee as Saudi Arabia. In the beginning of the course, I focused all my energy on strategizing ways to “win” the conference. However, upon arriving in New York City and attending the first committee meeting, I realized how much bigger this opportunity was than just a chance to seek an award. I met students from around the world and we discussed issues that really matter, from ending violence against women to increasing political participation amidst worldwide human rights violations.

model unThe week I spent in New York drastically changed what I wanted to pursue for a career. I now work for a nonprofit in Fort Worth that does refugee outreach and I will be returning to New York for Model UN this spring, this time on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as Russia. When I graduate TCU, I plan on going to law school and specializing in international human rights litigation.

Before this experience, my criteria in selecting a career path centered around how much money I could make. Now, I realize that my salary, much like the award in Model UN, means nothing if it isn’t accompanied by a product that makes a real difference in the world. This opportunity at TCU forced me to turn my focus from inward to outward.

Student Media
cameraThis year, I have had the opportunity to work for TCU Student Media as an editor and photographer. I work with a team of editors to produce news outlets that keep the TCU community informed and up-to-date. Additionally, I take pictures for the football team and at other campus events.

Recently, I was sent to San Antonio with four other members of the Student Media to cover the Alamo Bowl. I was on the sidelines for the entire football game, from the first half when the Horned Frogs suffered a 31 point deficit to the triple overtime when TCU came back to win in the largest comeback in bowl game history.

This seemingly miraculous comeback is one of several “movie moments” that I have experienced at TCU. As fans rushed onto the field from the sidelines and balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling of the Alamodome, I looked up from my camera and soaked it in for a moment. That feeling— that overwhelming sense of unity and pride and happiness and a little disbelief— is the feeling I get every time I think about how lucky I am to attend this university.

Student Government Association
I got involved in SGA my first semester at TCU, largely because I wanted to continue to hold leadership positions similar to those that I held in high school. I wanted to attend weekly meetings and maybe work on a project here and there and then list it at the top of my resume and talk about how passionate I was about it during interviews.

I quickly realized that that wasn’t the way SGA functioned here at TCU. The other students in leadership positions had a VISION. They had PASSION. And they were able to combine those two things to make a difference on TCU’s campus and to make a difference in my mindset.

I always say that the best thing about leadership opportunities at TCU is that you can create them yourself. Through SGA, I was introduced and connected to several different resources on campus that allowed me to start a project that I was truly passionate about. During my visit to TCU my senior year of high school, I remember hearing about the campus meal plan and immediately being struck with an idea. The tour guide talked about how students used their leftover meal plan money at the end of the year to stock up on Redbull and candy. I found this disturbing and began thinking of ways that this resource could be better utilized. A year later, as a freshman TCU student, I launched the Got (Campus) Cash Campaign, which allowed students to swipe their leftover campus meal plan balance and donate it to feed the homeless.

The willingness of TCU faculty and staff members to help me make this idea a reality was remarkable. They met with me multiple times, handled behind-the-scenes logistics, and most importantly, they encouraged me to make this happen. That sense of community and that emphasis on individualism enables students here to not only dream big, but to do big.

People here at TCU are a special breed. It is “cool” to be 100% yourself, no matter what that consists of. It is not “cool” to put someone else down or to discourage others from pursuing their goals. It is “cool” to do things that help other people achieve their full potential. It is not “cool” to focus solely on yourself.

During my tour at TCU, I remember hearing about the reasoning behind Frog Fountain, with the four lily pads representing the passing of knowledge from one class to another. As I enter into my sixth semester here, I now realize that this metaphor extends far beyond the simple passing of knowledge. The people at the top of the lily pad, or in realistic terms, the leaders of this university, lead by example. From Chancellor Boschini meeting students and remembering small details about their lives to ask about later to the cafeteria workers greeting you with a smile every single day, this university is what it is because of the people who make it that way. And that generous spirit and dedication to servant leadership trickles over into the students.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to return to Greene Family Camp as a Frog Camp facilitator. As I sat in the ending session with the other facilitators, I looked around the room and had the second realization that drastically changed my college experience; my role models and my best friends were the same people. The people that I sat next to in class or lived down the hall from or just saw at different events were the people that I wanted to emulate.

This school and the people that I have met here have changed me more than I ever expected. They have taught me how to learn, how to serve, how to work, how to take advantage of opportunities, how to help, how to be helped, how to lead, how to enjoy the present and most importantly, how to be a better version of myself. And what more could you ever want from a university?

ritchieKelsey Ritchie is a junior from Tulsa, Oklahoma studying journalism, business, and political science. She is an editor and photographer for TCU 360, a member of Model UN, a social media and marketing intern for The NET, and a member of the SGA House of Representatives.

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Ask the Counselors: What’s been your most embarrassing moment as an admission counselor?


This time of the admission cycle can be stressful for our applicants, so here’s something to make you laugh.

Because we’re people too and who doesn’t love to laugh at other people’s pain?

Beatriz Gutierrez – Scheduling a high school visit in the wrong state.  I did not realize it happened until a day before the visit.  So embarrassing.  The counselor was very understanding and I was able to visit with her students last minute.  It ended up being one of my favorite high school visits thus far.

 Heath Einstein – While telling a story about a TCU student during an information session, I inexplicably changed the name of the student in the middle of the story. Luckily, I caught myself and the audience had a good laugh.

David Stein – I got time zones mixed up travelling to Denver. Luckily I showed up an hour early instead of an hour late!

John Andrew Willis – Oh, they have been plenty. Showing up to the lower campus of a K-12 school might take the cake.

Caitlin Provost – Spilling a cup of coffee all over myself during a high school visit was fairly embarrassing. It also happened to be the only day I didn’t have a change of clothes with me, and I had to spend the rest of the day in coffee-stained clothing. Explaining that over and over again wasn’t my best day…

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Faculty Feature: Why Criminal Justice?

When speaking to prospective and current students, I’m often asked the question: “What can I do with a degree in criminal justice?” I have multiple answers to this and related questions, but what I stress to those who ask the question is the fact that you will gain much needed KNOWLEDGE regarding crime, justice, and the criminal justice system. Too often, students get caught up in trying to determine what a degree can do for them. The focus, I believe, should be on what they can do with the knowledge they obtain. A degree is a piece of paper that symbolizes a major accomplishment. Knowledge is something you use all of the time.


Recent TCU CJ Graduate Shannon Gomez is now Officer Gomez of the La Mesa Police Department.

A degree in criminal justice and the knowledge you obtain through studying criminal justice will make you more marketable for employment in some aspect of the criminal justice system. They will improve your chances of getting hired and being promoted, and generally make you more effective in your practices. The simple answer to the question of what you can do with a degree is criminal justice is that you can work in law enforcement, the courts, corrections, the juvenile justice system, the private security industry, and a host of other areas.

Of course, I believe that if you’re going to study criminal justice you should do so at TCU (yes, I’m biased, but I’m also a realist). Our growing department is designed to best prepare individuals for entry-level and management positions in the field, law school, and graduate school. Among the many benefits of studying criminal justice at TCU are that we require our seniors to complete an internship, have an excellent faculty consisting of leading scholars and practitioners in the field, offer various study abroad programs (e.g., in Japan, Germany, and Scandinavia), maintain close relations with many criminal justice agencies at all levels of government, and adapt to changes in society, for instance as we offer courses that focus on homeland security, cybercrime, and crime mapping. In Spring 2016 we will graduate the first class to complete our online Master’s Program. Yes, I’m promoting our department with this opportunity to reach students and others, but I do so because I truly believe our department is well-suited to best prepare students for a career in criminal justice.


TCU CJ Graduate Jonathan Sapp begins his journey through the Harvard Law School.

I encourage anyone interested in studying criminal justice at TCU, or those simply with an interest in criminal justice, to stop by our office or contact me or any of our faculty. We can certainly best explain to you what you can do with a degree in criminal justice.




Professor Ronald Burns is the Chair of the TCU Department of Criminal Justice. He has been at TCU since 1997 and is the author of eight books and numerous articles addressing issues such as white-collar crime, policing, and multiculturalism in the criminal justice system.


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Student Submission: The Five Things to do While in College

You’ve heard it before – college is the best time of your life. As I thought about what to include in this post, I was reminded just how great these past few years have been, and how unique my college experience has been.  At TCU you are not treated as another face in the crowd, but rather recognized for your individual potential. The faculty and staff are accessible and encouraging; always striving to make the experience the best it can be through the wide variety of programs offered. From Orientation, to Frog Camp, to leadership programs,  religious organizations, there are countless opportunities to get involved. With that being said, I want to share a few tips on how to take advantage of TCU, and the opportunities it provides, so you can have the best college experience possible.

  1. Don’t Sit in Your Room
    rancicLike I said before, the opportunities and ways to be involved at TCU are endless. Never in your entire life will you have the chance to do so many things, or have so many random activities going on around you. Don’t just sit in your room. Say yes to any and all opportunities that present themselves. Whether it be racing in giant inflatables down The Commons, sitting front row for the annual fall concert, or joining a club or organization that interests you; when you say yes, you will be able to create those memories that last a lifetime.  You may even have awesome opportunities to meet people like Giuliana Rancic, travel abroad to a unique country, or attended a luncheon with Laura Bush as the guest speaker. The list could go on – but only if you leave your room and say yes!
  2. Make Connections
    FCFThe most awkward time in college is after your parents leave, and it is just you and your roommate. You don’t know if you should talk to each other, sit in silence, ask if they want to go do something, or if you should find a way to escape the room as fast as possible. As time goes on, you will find that your roommate is just one of the many people you will meet. Although these conversations can start off awkwardly, but meeting people is crucial to your success as an individual and your college experience. As you get past your first few weeks you will not only want to connect with your peers, but also professors, staff, and anyone else you happen to meet during your journey. One of my favorite sayings is “its not about the grades you make, it’s about the hands you shake.” Don’t get me wrong grades and academics are VERY important, but nine times out of ten the internship or job you get is going to be based on a personal connection that recommended you.  Both of my previous internships were possible due to a connection I made with a professor who put me in touch with someone at each company. Moral of the story: connect with people. You never know when they can help you out.
  3. Have Pride
    wallOne of the most unique things about TCU is the fact that it is a small, intentional school, l with a very large feel. You can’t go from one side of the campus to another without seeing at least one person you know. When you ask anyone what their favorite part of TCU, they will almost always say “THE PEOPLE!” There is a very unique sense of community at TCU, and that comes with the pride of being a part of the Horned Frog family. Whether you attend all of the TCU sporting events, or see someone in a random place with TCU attire on, chances are they will talk to you – and they will share their pride with you. Purple really does run in the blood; be a part of it.
  4. Travel Far and Often
    chicagoAs TCU is becoming a more nationally recognized school, more out-of-state students are beginning to attend TCU. Going alongside my advice to always say yes – if there is any time you feel like you should go visit someone’s hometown…DO IT. One of my favorite weekends from college thus far has been going to Minnesota with a group of friends for the TCU vs. Minnesota game. It was so much fun to see a different part of the country, and create a special bond with the group. Also, if you can fit it in your schedule, I would highly suggest studying abroad. You can go any time of the year – and it is 100% worth it. Traveling is something that everyone wants to do and there is no better time to do it than when you have little to no responsibilities holding you down. Whether you go over to Dallas, down 35 to Austin, across the country to Minnesota, or head somewhere out of the US – now is your time, you won’t regret it.tourists
  5. Failure is OKAY
    While college truly is some of the best years of your life, there will be hard times. There will be things you apply for and you get rejected from. You will have test that you wish you studied harder for. People may tell you no. I have had my fair share of rejections, and failures. I PROMISE, IT IS OKAY. This is what college is all about. Learning from mistakes and failures, so when you are in the “real world” you are ready to pick yourself up when you are down. At the end of the day, failure is a part of life. It is what you do with that failure that determines your ultimate success.

Whether TCU is the right place for you or not, keep these tips in mind. I wish you all the best of luck in your college search, and as always, GO FROGS!!

baxterSam Baxter is a junior Supply and Value Chain Management Major from McKinney, Texas. Sam is a third generation Horned Frog and is way too obsessed with all things TCU. In his free time, he enjoys attending TCU sporting events (even though they are gut-wrenching), road-trippin’, going to country concerts, and spending quality time with family and friends. Sam is a member of the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program, Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Student Foundation, and has served as an Orientation Leader, and a Frog Camp Facilitator.

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Ask the Counselors: What advice do you have for students regarding choosing a major? (Part 2)

In a previous post, we featured advice from some of our counselors about how to decide upon our 130 areas of study. It’s a big decision to make, so we figured we’d feature a few more tips as well.

Allie Sevall – Your major should be something you are truly passionate about or truly enjoy learning about. Always remember that your future careers are most likely going to be related to the major you choose. If you major in something you don’t have any passion for, than how are you going to have passion for your career?

Sara Sorenson – Major in something that you enjoy. It is great to have practical options, but those skills can also be learned through internships. Look at the common required classes that each individual major must fulfill. If you don’t enjoy the classes that you will be taking then you probably won’t do well in them.

Mollie RichardsonDon’t feel pressure to decide too quickly and don’t feel stuck in what you initially chose. I switched my major as a junior and, with the help of some incredibly supportive advisers, still graduated on time!

Victoria Herrera – Although family members and other education supporters advise students to major in certain areas of study, students should consider areas where their strengths are…for example, if a student is strong in science and math they may consider Engineering or Pre-Med track, but if they also have a passion to help people, they may consider Psychology (as it is a science degree).library

Dalton Goodier – Don’t stress out about it too much. Many students change their majors and many more end up working in fields that their majors don’t necessarily specialize in. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t pick a perfect major right out of the gate.

Caitlin Provost – Pick something you truly want to study, and not just something that you think will be a good career path. Those who follow their passions have the most happiness.

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Student Submission: Why Does My RA Keep Talking to Me?

cookiesTCU is awesome, and there is no argument that could make me change my mind about that (you could try, but I would literally fight you and as my cuts bleed purple I would soon win because you realize “oh, she seriously loves her school… maybe it is that awesome?”). I have had that mindset every single day since I decided to come to school at TCU and all I’ve wanted to do is share that with others, whether they are older or younger than me. When I was a freshman I knew I wanted to apply to be a Resident Assistant (RA) because they got to do just that- help fellow horned frogs love their school even more, build an awesome horned frog community, and be a role model for these horned frogs. At the end of my sophomore year, I finally applied for this incredible job… guess what? I GOT IT. At TCU you are required to live on campus for your freshman and sophomore year so there are a lot of dorms with a lot of little horned frogs everywhere (I mean adult horned frogs because that’s what college is…right?). Each dorm has different floors and on every floor there is an RA (me).
I’m an RA in an upper classmen dorm so I have mostly sophomore residents so usually it isn’t their first rodeo which makes it tough/easy for me. I say tough because most of my residents are already involved and have friends.  Also there are two doors separating me from them (they each have their own room and share living rooms… it’s pretty nice if I do say so myself) so it is harder for me to get to talk to them. But I say easy because they know a little more than freshman because they have been there for a year already, they understand the rules a little better, and they understand what I am there to do.

RAstickSo what am I there to do? I’m there to stalk you. TOTALLY KIDDING. I am there to be your friend! I want to get to know you and help you in any way that I can! Little horned frogs might ask their roommate “why does this girl keep talking to us?” It’s because we care about you! We honestly and truly want you to feel comfortable in your living space, grow as a young adult, and find who you are as a horned frog. It sounds weird, right? I promise it isn’t, I’m just there because it’s important to me that you have someone to come to first if you ever need anything or don’t know what to do. I had 39 residents this past school year and I can honestly say that I have at least 39 more friends than I did before I was an RA. These 39 people are involved in very different things: athletics, fraternities, sororities, band, business, biology, theatre, ignite, club sports, Vietnamese organizations, nutrition, frog camp, and many more things! Believe me, you and the other people on your hall aren’t going to have the same interests, but you’re still going to make friends because everyone at TCU is there for the same reasons: to bleed purple, to learn, and to grow. As an RA I am there to help you all do those things! I will do fun door decorations with your names on them, bulletin boards and programs, but I am also going to have conversations with you to make sure you are doing okay. My door is open to all 39 of my new friends and it will be all year. I love being an RA and I think it is a great way to be a leader and to be led by fellow staff members and a wonderful hall director. This job has been one of the best and most rewarding parts of my TCU experience and I can’t wait to be back for another year of it!

westphalSarah Westphal is a senior Math Education major from Friendswood, Texas. She is involved in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Ignite and Housing and Residence Life as a resident assistant for Samuelson Hall.


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