College visits: University of Oregon

“I absolutely fell in love with the campus, the atmosphere, the inclusivity and just how beautiful the campus is,” said University of Oregon Admissions Counselor Ryan Bottimore.

He wasn’t interested in the University of Oregon until his sister got accepted and he realized it might be an option for him\; his sister had received a financial aid package to pay for her tuition and fees. As an upperclassman, he was able to visit the campus and sit in on a few of his sister’s classes.

“I got to kind of fully engulf myself in what the student experience was,” Bottimore said. He applied to the University of Oregon and was offered the same financial aid package as his sister. He couldn’t say no.

In the beginning of his time at Oregon, Bottimore had wanted to focus on business. He accomplished four years of business before deciding to pursue animation. He then chose to do another two years at Oregon in Art and Technology. In those two years, Bottimore became interested in being a campus tour guide.

Those extra years led him to become an ambassador for the admissions office and led him down the path towards being an admissions counselor. In June of 2019 he applied for a one-year internship as an admissions counselor. Unless the University of Oregon hire him full time, his term runs out on June 30.

“I knew I wanted to work with students who are trying to figure out their life,” Bottimore said. “I have a passion for helping students find out what campus is the right fit for them. I got a taste of that working as an ambassador, giving students information and helping them navigate the application process. Figuring out what factors are important to them when they’re choosing a school is a lot. Every student is different in the fact that students want a bigger campus, or they want a smaller campus, and obviously, if the school has their major or not.”

As an admissions counselor Bottimore spends a lot of time working with students across the country. His job is to visit schools in California. Colorado, Indiana and Michigan. Being away from home, away from his close friends, and being on his own is hard for Bottimore. He travels for almost a whole month at a time.

Bottimore’s advice as an admissions counselor is to find what makes sense for the next four years or more of a student’s life.

“Visit [the school] because this will give you an insight of whether or not a campus is the right fit for you,” he said. “Not only visit campus, but visit the city or town it’s located in because it is a dual package. And as a package deal, you don’t get one and not the other.”

Bottimore recommends being involved in campus life as early as possible — the amount of opportunities that students have is greatly valued by the University.
“I got to work for Disney on a research internship for a year and a half.” Bottimore said. Although during his freshman year he didn’t experience what he was looking for. He did some intramurals, but looking back, he felt like he was doing the bare minimum.

“I would look into the opportunities that Oregon has because there’s so many different areas that students can be a part of, whether that is through the outdoor program, through Fraternity and Sorority Life, or an academic club,” Bottimore said. “Just make sure that you are well versed in those and you know exactly what you want to pursue.”