Horned Frog Blog

Musings from the TCU Admission Office


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Student Submission: Avventura in Italia

Studying abroad was something I had wanted to take part in since I was a freshman in high school. So when I came to TCU in 2012, I was determined. At orientation, we were told to meet with the Study Abroad office early in our college career, so we could plan our classes accordingly. Because it was such a high priority for me, I set a meeting for my first semester at TCU, which may have been a bit too early.

TCU BlogFast forward to January 2015. My dream had come true. I had arrived in the beautiful city of Florence, Italy and would be living in this marvelous city for almost four months. Being from a small town in Texas, I never thought I would be able to visit, let alone live in a European city. But, there I was.

The semester was filled with many adventures that I won’t soon forget. Partly because I had my GoPro everywhere I went to document the beauty, the fun, and the people. So yes, I was that guy who always wanted to take a selfie. Do I regret it? Not one bit.

I filmed everything from climbing the 800 year old steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence and seeing the breathtaking view of the city in January, to being on the sandy beaches of Barcelona in March, to doing several, very cold plunges into the water in Split, Croatia and the magnificent Blue Grotto in the Amalfi Coast of Italy in April.

TCU BlogMy GoPro and I, along with many lifelong friends from TCU, had been through a whirlwind of a semester with so much pasta and pizza you wouldn’t even believe. I had become immersed in the Italian way of life, learned how to navigate the convenient public transportation systems of Europe, learned that Bruschetta is actually pronounced Bru-ske-tta, and so much more.

It was the experience of a lifetime, and I am so thankful that TCU gave me the opportunity to fulfill not one, but two of my dreams: Studying abroad in a beautiful European city and being the best school and community that a person could ask to be a part of. After being away from TCU for a whole semester, I am so incredibly excited for my senior year. With the friends, the football, the purple, and most of all the fun, there is nowhere I would rather spend my senior year of college (and the other three years too) than the place I call home: TCU.

TCU BlogJordan Hamilton is a senior Marketing major from Pittsburg, Texas. He is a Neeley Fellow, and Orientation Coordinator, a member of Beta Theta Pi, a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership Program, a Frog Aide, a TCU Ambassador, and a scholar of the John V. Roach Honors College


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Ask the Counselors: What is your favorite place around campus to grab lunch?

Whether it’s catching up with an old professor or grabbing a quick bite before an event, we’re lucky to have some amazing eateries right around campus. Here are some of our counselors’ favorites for the lunch hour. Do your best not to drool!

Beatriz Gutierrez – This is a hard one, I love food!  McKinley’s Fine Bakery and Café.

TCU BlogMollie RichardsonPizza Snob! You won’t find better gluten-free crust anywhere; it’s a food allergy dream!

David SteinPizza Snob with extra sauce, candied jalapenos, and pineapple!

Margaret McCarthy – Definitely Pizza Snob!

Sara SorensonPizza Snob’s kale salad is one of my favorites. It sounds ridiculous to order salad at a pizza place, but just trust me on this one.

Dalton GoodierDutch’s Burgers.

John Andrew Willis – The new multi-purpose facility. They make tortillas from scratch, right in front of you!

TCU BlogHeath EinsteinMarket Square. I love observing how students interact with each other in the middle of their days. Shuffling between classes, co-curricular activities and internships, there is perpetual energy. Plus, I always run into someone I know.

Allie SevallMarket Square is my favorite place to grab lunch. With so many options each and every day it allows me to try something new all of the time. They also have some delicious cookies, that when heated up in the toaster oven will melt in your mouth.

fuzzys2Kristy BornemanFuzzy’s Taco Shop (order the queso)

Caitlin Provost – You can never go wrong with Fuzzy’s tacos and queso!


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Student Submission: The Professors Who Have Changed Me

I love TCU for many, many reasons. I love my friends here, I love the football team, I love the white brick buildings, I love the flowers, I love Frog Fountain, I love Frog Camp, I love Greek life, I love PURPLE, but I also love my professors. I’ve had about 20 professors so far at TCU who have each taught me something about their fields of study, but I’ve had a handful who have taught me much more about life and character. I’m going to spotlight a few who have impacted me the most.

TCU BlogDr. Vanessa Bouche: Dr. Bouche was my study abroad professor in India this summer, on a trip studying American Foreign Policy on Human Trafficking. Bouche also gave me a research assistant position in February and I’ve been helping her on her grant projects since then. Not only has she taught me literally everything I know about human trafficking, but has given me a passion to pursue the fight against it. She has taught me that I’m more capable than I think I am, by giving me tasks I didn’t think I had the authority to do, (ie interviewing Texas Congresswomen), and having confidence in my work. She’s taught me that no matter how big the challenge, nothing is impossible and any progress is an achievement (i.e. tackling the issue of human trafficking). Bouche has also taught me that silliness is always acceptable (i.e. dancing on stage at the Hard Rock Café in India) and that spontaneity is much more fun than planning out a day (i.e. being guided through New Delhi for a day by Rickshaw drivers). Without Bouche at TCU, my life would be very, very different. She has given me a passion that has changed the way I think and live and has provided me with new ways to love life and live it to the fullest.

TCU BlogDr. Ronald Pitcock: Dr. P was my professor on an honors study abroad trip called Cultural Routes that went to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy and in a class called Cultural Memory. Dr. P has challenged me from the start. He challenges me to be a better leader, student, and global citizen. He has taught me how to travel in a way that really understands global cultures, how to soak up the best of life, and how to find places that sell REAL gelato. He has taught me the importance of remembering the past and understanding why we remember it in certain ways. He has encouraged me and made me feel like I can do anything. I know I can come to him for anything, and he is always willing to help me with advice or just a good laugh. His mentorship makes TCU feel more like home. Tu es familia, Dr. P.

TCU BlogDr. Robert Rhodes: Dr. Rhodes was my professor last semester for my Neeley Fellows Business Law class and he is AWESOME. Rhodes is a great professor because he cares about students really learning something they can bring with them to the real world. He doesn’t care about sticking to the syllabus, he is more concerned about how he can best structure his lessons for what he feels like we need to work on. For the final in his class, I needed a really high A to pull up my class average two letter grades. He took the time, outside of class, to walk me through what I needed to work on and told me he had full confidence in me that I could achieve what I wanted on the final. While instilling in me the confidence in my abilities, he also taught me that grades are not everything, and that really learning and taking away something tangible from a course is more important.

TCU BlogDr. Andrew Fort: Dr. Fort taught me World Religion my first semester at TCU. One thing that Dr. Fort taught me has changed the way I perceive others: mental migration. He taught my class that while we (a predominately Protestant Christian class) don’t understand how there are millions of people that believe in other faiths than ours, we have to try to understand where they come from, who they are raised by, and in what circumstances they live in to try to understand them. This has affected how I see everyone. Before I question how a person is different than me, whether that is in faith, in politics, or in sports allegiance, I try to mentally migrate into their circumstance and understand them from their point of view. Dr. Fort’s lesson has made me a less judgmental, more understanding and overall better person.

These are just a few of the professors who have made a huge impact on my life outside of the classroom. Every student has their own handful of professors who have changed their lives, through their fields of study and also in mentoring.

TCU BlogMadelyn Cater is a junior Political Science and Business double-major major from San Antonio, Texas. She is a member of the Neeley Fellows Program, the Chief Operating Officer for Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, and a Research Assistant in the Political Science Department.


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Ask the Counselors: What should students avoid doing during their application and college search process?

Our application is officially open, which means students now have a long to-do list of things to make sure they complete. Here are some things our counselors think you should NOT do in order to have a successful application process.

Beatriz Gutierrez – Lying to us or withholding information.  Conduct issues have a way of getting out.

Dalton Goodier – Don’t have someone else do your application or essay for you. It’s a good idea to have people look over your stuff for you but not to have them actually fill out the whole thing for you. You don’t want to be asked about something you didn’t do or write and not be able to explain it!

TCU BlogDavid Stein – Procrastinating… Get your applications in early! It’s such a huge advantage to get everything in early so you can be in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting your school.

Kristy Borneman – Never assume that all colleges do it the same way. This is why contacting your area’s representative for each college or researching each college’s website is so important! Each college may require different documents, or have different scholarship deadlines so keep a file of the specifics for each college to be sure you apply to each school correctly.

Heath Einstein – (1) Avoid putting off conversations about finance. College costs a lot of money and so students and parents must have frank discussions about affordability early on.

(2) Avoid applying to too many schools. 6-8 is an appropriate number for students who have a thorough understanding of their likelihood of admission at each college. More applications than that poses several problems, not the least of which is cost; application fees add up.

(3) Avoid over analysis. In the end, one’s gut usually provides the right answer.

Mollie Richardson – Don’t be like me and apply to 15 schools! It’s extremely exhausting and entirely unnecessary. Trust your instincts on fit and allow the process to take care of itself.

Caitlin Provost – Avoid applying to too many schools. Narrow down your search, and only apply to the places you are seriously interested in. Applying to an overly large amount of schools adds to your stress during the application time, and also can cloud clear judgement when it comes to choosing a home for the next four years.

TCU BlogSara Sorenson – Abstain inappropriate on social media. We don’t go looking for your accounts, but if something comes across our radar that could leave a bad impression it is hard to ignore.

John Andrew Willis – Mixing up the colleges you are corresponding with. We know you communicate with other colleges, as you should. But don’t send an email intended for ABC University to TCU. It happens more often than you think.


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Student Submission: Coming Home

Recently, I just returned from a six-month escapade throughout Europe.  Like many other TCU students, I chose to spend my spring semester abroad, which means I haven’t set foot on campus in more than eight months.  Although my time abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life, I’m itching to get back to TCU. I’m ready to stay up until four in the morning on a school night.  I’m ready to listen to hours upon hours of lectures.  I’m ready to stand in the 100-degree heat for four hours.  I’m ready to start my senior year.

TCU BlogLiving in a TCU dorm is like living with 300 of your closest friends in the same house.  If we were ever bored, we would just walk down the hallway and start knocking on doors.  My best friends are still some of the people that lived in my dorm.  We would walk to Kroger at midnight just because we wanted to bake cookies.  We would drive to Dallas at midnight just to play Top Golf.  We would start a four-hour debate about the best Disney movie including creating a tournament-style bracket at midnight just because we couldn’t decide on a movie to watch.  The destination or place never mattered. From the random shenanigans to the deep life talks, it was always about the people I was with that made all these experiences special.  I may not remember all the little details in the night, but I will never forget the bond that developed.  Like they say, “nothing good happens before midnight.”

TCU is not just a school.  You don’t just go to class, study, eat, sleep, and repeat.  TCU is an institution that is committed to making you the best person you can be.  In addition to my professors, there are tons of other offices I could go to for help with anything including the Writing Center that will edit my papers, the IT desk that will make all my computer problems disappear, or the dining hall where the friendly staff will take time to ask how my day is going.  Besides classes, there is also the Leadership Center, Study Abroad Office, and Career Services that all wants to ensure every student reaches their full potential, whether that is on campus or across the ocean.  I know any prospective student will hear the phrase, “the faculty and staff will go above and beyond for the students,” way more than they can count, but at TCU, the faculty and staff WILL go above and beyond for the students.

TCU BlogStanding for four hours in the Texas heat doesn’t seem like fun, but there is one thing that makes it all worth it: TCU Football.  Being in Texas, football is not just a sport; it’s a way of life.  As you walk into Amon G Carter Stadium, you can feel the excitement building in the air.  It almost feels like electricity running around.  Surrounded by students, we will cheer our hearts out every game.  We will sing to every chant and dance to every song.  When we score a touchdown, the entire stadium erupts into chaos as fireworks are shot off.  What makes everything worth it is the camaraderie between every Horned Frog because it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says.  At the end, we will support our team and our school by holding our horned frogs high in the air.  We hold our head up in pride and sing our Alma Mater.  The song connects us all together and lets everyone know that we are part of something bigger.  We aren’t seen just by our major, club, hometown, or any other labels.  We are just Horned Frogs.  This is what it means to be a Horned Frog.  The memories are sweet, and the comrades are truer.

Yeah, I may be slightly biased, and yeah, I may be missing my school right now.  That does not change how much TCU has impacted my life and thousands more.  They have a certain way of combining all the ordinary, little elements to create an extraordinary experience.  I will take my four a.m. nights and tired feet over another school any day.  Thanks to the support of friends, faculty/staff, and all the other Horned Frogs out there, I am ready to come back one last time.  I am ready to come home.

TCU BlogHenry Mak is a senior Economics major from Beaumont, TX.  He is involved various organizations on campus including TEDxTCU, Connections, Student Honors Cabinet, and TCU Ambassadors.


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Faculty Feature: Dr. Phil Hartman

A recipe for a great TCU pre-medical student:

TCU BlogI’ve been at TCU since 1981 and for 22 of those years was in charge of our outstanding Pre-Health Professions Program (now an Institute).  Allow me to provide you a recipe for an outstanding applicant to medical school.  It will be seasoned with the spices that make for an interesting person and will be leavened with the academic fortitude necessary to be admitted to and thrive in medical school.  The product will be a bit crusty on the outside, because a thick skin is necessary at times.  More importantly, it will be sweet on the inside…because “Frog Docs” genuinely care about their patients.

This recipe starts with a person who is intelligent, relates well to others, has a fascination for the sciences (especially biology), has a great work ethic, is ready to embrace challenges, has self-confidence but also recognizes that he or she better work to the maximum of their abilities because college will be much more challenging than high school.  If that’s you, please drop yourself in my proverbial bowl and we’ll commence to cooking.

TCU BlogWe will add a TCU experience in which you pursue your passions.  That means getting involved in co-curricular activities…and I mean GETTING INVOLVED IN and not just bystanding.  This recipe calls for you to pick activities you feel passionately about and excel at them.  It also means having the smarts to know that you are in a challenging career tract…not only are the classes extremely difficult but you’ll have to generate a high gpa to be competitive.  Let’s not fool ourselves here, because GPA and MCAT are the first two things med school admissions committees look at.  They are deal breakers.  So the key is getting involved but not to the determent of your studies.

So how to succeed in classes?  I say study as hard as you play.  Attend each class, but don’t just attend.  Instead, engage your brain to the max.  When lecturing in our intro biology course I couldn’t necessarily tell who was going to gain acceptance into med school, but I could definitely pick out about 50% of the class who wasn’t…they simply weren’t paying enough attention.  Sorry, osmosis doesn’t work in the classroom…active transport does.  (If you get that science nerd humor then you’re ½ way there!)  And even more importantly, it’s not how many hours you spend studying; it’s the quality of that time.  STUDY HARD.  And while late-night studying is certainly part of the equation, it’s even more important to keep up.  For example, make certain to review and clearly understand the material from lecture within 24 hours after each class.  That way your stretch-drive studying is merely committing things to memory rather than grappling with concepts and then memorizing.

OK then.  Add these ingredients, simmer at 200C for four years and…poof, medical school beckons.  Go future Frog Docs.

TCU BlogDr. Phil Hartman is a biology professor and the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering.


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Ask the Counselors: What was your favorite course at TCU?

With 130 areas of study, a comprehensive core curriculum, and room for elective courses, students have the opportunity to take really interesting classes. Below are some of our counselors’ favorites.

Beatriz GutierrezInterpersonal CommunicationTCU Blog

Dalton GoodierSports in Modern American Literature with Dr. Vanderwerken

Kristy Borneman – One of my favorite courses was International Marketing, taken during my TCU Semester Abroad in Sevilla, Spain. The class was taught at a Spanish university where the professor brought a plethora of international experience to the course. TCU encourages students to study abroad and is extremely accommodating in transferring college credit, so if at all possible, I recommend all students to study abroad!

Mollie RichardsonCultural Memory with Dr. Pitcock. It truly shaped the way I interact with the world.

TCU BlogSara SorensonNature of Leadership, an honors colloquia course with Dr. Jenkins. Not only did we get to discover our own leadership style, but we also heard from the leaders of TCU running our campus like the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor’s and how they came to this place in their journey.

John Andrew WillisDue Process in the Criminal Courts, taught by adjunct Political Science professor and current Fort Worth District Attorney, Sharen Wilson. We essentially used Supreme Court cases as our “text,” discussing how police procedure and individual rights have evolved with SCOTUS decisions. Judge Wilson has seen many of her cases referred to SCOTUS!

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