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Washington University in St. Louis Student Spotlight Interview with Atiya Chiphe

Atiya Chipe of the University of George Washington in St.Louis

Atiya is majoring in Political Science, and minoring in African & African American Studies and Sociology. She intends to graduate in 2026

What led to your decision to attend college in the midwest/at a private university/at a tier-one research institution? etc…

Despite growing up in Chicago, I did not find out WashU existed until my sophomore year of high school. It piqued my interest as an elite university close to home, but far enough to establish a sense of independence. My interest only increased once I finally visited WashU in the winter of my senior year of high school and was able to experience just how dynamic the campus and student body are in person. Learning about the freedom I would have in my academic journey to choose and switch a discipline only confirmed my considerations.

Can you describe what kind of support/communities exist for minority students at Washington University in St. Louis? 

Being a minority student at WashU, having community is everything. It is crucial to find people who understand and relate to your experiences. WashU has clubs for just about every minority group, including the Association of Black Students (ABS), the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), the Asian Multicultural Council, and the Pride Alliance. There are so many groups that I cannot list them all! Simply going to the first meeting of the semester of any of these groups and others can allow you to find a support group and community to connect with.

In what ways can a student of Color find her niche at WashU? Feel supported?

Don’t be afraid to try everything once. I know this advice is ubiquitous, but it truly always applies. There’s no way to know what you like and are interested in unless you try it! For support, there are so many amazing advisors here at WashU to guide you through your journey, but if you’re looking for more of an informal relationship, I recommend an upperclassmen friend who has been through it all before. Support from someone who was just like you a couple of years ago means everything.

What advice do you have for Juniors and Seniors in high school who want to attend WashU and…

 are worried about coming to college in the Midwest?

As someone born and raised in the Midwest, I am extremely passionate about this: it is not nearly as bad as everyone who has never been here in their entire lives says it is! The Midwest is home to some of the friendliest people in the world and experiences all of the seasons, which is always nice. Like everywhere else, the value of the Midwest will be placed in the people that you meet, and you are guaranteed to meet amazing people at WashU.

 …are worried about the high price tag of WashU?

I understand this concern, but thankfully, WashU has introduced some new initiatives to combat this worry. WashU is need-blind, which means that they do consider an applicant’s ability to pay tuition when considering admission. They also pledged free tuition to students from Missouri and southern Illinois with family incomes at or under $75,000. Finally, we have a no-loan policy, which means that all need-based loans will be replaced with scholarships and university grants.

… want their application to stand out?

Your application will stand out the most if you are being yourself and doing what you are passionate about in high school. You should never craft your application to be like someone else’s or to be what you think admission officers want to be. At the end of the day, they want to know who you are and to build a unique and diverse student body.

What are some of WashU’s most notable programs? (Programs of study, extracurriculars, etc).

WashU is known for the amount of research opportunities offered to students, across disciplines and grade levels. We also have an amazing global engagement program, with most students choosing to study abroad during their junior year. A stereotype (that is true) WashU often gets, is that it is a school full of pre-meds, so I would say that our programs and opportunities for students looking to attend medical school after undergrad are amazing.

What advice would you offer a student who is considering attending WashU, but is on the fence about it?

There is something here for everyone! WashU is a school with people from around the world with a diverse range of interests. I also recommend, if possible, visiting the campus and even meeting with a current student in person. Not only will the campus take your breath away, but talking to a student will offer immense clarity.

One word to describe a WashU student? 

Amiable! I have met some of the friendliest people in my time at WashU.


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