Why I Loved My RAP Program

So, you’re wondering whether or not you should join a RAP program at CU Boulder. If you’re this far along, that means you committed to CU, so for that, yay! Now you have a few more decisions ahead of you, though not as hard as deciding where to go to college - the hard part is over.

A RAP program is a Residential Academic Program in which students in the dorm need to be a part of a certain set of majors, and the students living there have to take at least one class a semester within the dorm. There are many opportunities to take more than one class at a time in the dorm, too, which is something that I loved and took advantage of. 

This differs from an LLC, or Living and Learning Community, because it is based around a set of majors instead of just interests, and classes are taken in the dorm building. Additionally, LLC programs do not cost extra money, whereas RAP programs currently have a one-time $425 fee because of extra staff and events planned within the RAP.

I was in the Buckingham CMCI RAP program which meant that almost everyone in my dorm had one of the communications majors declared. There were a few arts and sciences people in the dorm too, including my roommate, but I only knew of three or four in the whole dorm that weren’t part of the communications field.

Because almost everyone was in similar majors, this meant that I had classes with so many people I recognized from my dorm. In the first few weeks, this made me feel much more comfortable talking to people in my classes. Additionally, it was so easy to make friends because you would likely have shared interests with people you live near.

college students at a party Photo by Samantha Gades from Unsplash

I also feel that this helped my grades. I would see people from my class studying in the common areas of the dorm and it was so easy to join them and get some extra study time in. For one of my classes, the teacher had an office in the dorm and she was there from 9-5 every day, so I was able to start my homework and just run into her office with a quick question. Had she not been just downstairs, I would’ve had to write and send an email and wait a bit for a response - which is just enough to start procrastinating. 

Woman sitting on bed with laptop and books Photo by Windows from Unsplash

Beyond these perks, I had so many classes in my dorm, which in pre-pandemic times was such a big deal. I scheduled these to my advantage and all of my morning classes were just downstairs, which was the best decision for chilly mornings. When we had breaks in one of my classes, I would pop up to my room for a snack and say hi to my roommate. This should be a big deal again next year when a walk across campus can make you want to avoid class. 

The last reason that I loved my RAP program so much, and probably the biggest, was how small it felt. There were probably about 150 students living in my dorm and I knew most of their names from classes or dorm events, or at least recognized them. When I would pass anyone in the hall, I would say hi, ask a question about class, or at least smile.

I didn’t realize this was such a big perk until I went to my friend’s dorm in Stearns without a RAP program. He passed people in the halls without smiling or talking to them, and only knew a few people from his floor. I felt such a sense of community inside my dorm that was not true for all dorms on campus.