Tom Nicholas

Director of Enrollment and Student CRM Systems
Tom Nicholas

Hometown: Ephrata, Pennsylvania

Education: B.A., German and English, University of Richmond

Favorite Wikipedia page? Currently, List of Tallest Buildings in Chicago

Monument 10K or Richmond Marathon? America's Friendliest Marathon — I've run it twice!

Favorite spider? Shelob

Favorite Spider? Leland Melvin

Favorite celebrity to follow on social media? Kim Kierkegaardashian (a mashup of Kim Kardashian tweets with Soren Kierkegaard quotes)

If you won the lottery, where would you move? I'd stay in Richmond — but buy a much nicer house (something in the Museum District or Northside)

If you could live in any decade, which would it be? 2360s, on the starship Enterprise-D with Captain Picard

What is one piece of advice you'd give students for the college search/application process?

I’ve had the privilege of dispensing lots of advice via our admission blog; some of my favorite posts include The Right Approach to Writing Your College Essays and Mythbusters: Predicting College Admission. But for here and now, I’ll just say that in today’s highly competitive (and overly-sensationalized) college admission landscape, it’s easy to spend too much time comparing yourself to your peers and worrying what admission offices are looking for. I encourage you to turn this on its head, and try to spend more of your time looking inward. The college search and application process is a wonderful opportunity for introspection – a chance to think really deeply about who you are, what makes you tick, and what you’re looking for in college (spoiler: it might not be what society, your friends, or even your parents think it should be). This introspection takes time and space, so find ways to unplug, and be deliberate with each stage of the process (forming your list, visiting campuses, interviewing, writing your essays, preparing your application, etc.) If you take this approach – cutting out the noise and focusing on your identity and your fit – it will actually make your application, your essays, and your interviews much more compelling. Everyone is trying to stand out – if you don’t make that your priority, you’ll be the one who actually does.

Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

There’s a tree by the lake, in front of what’s now Lakeview Hall, where my friends and I spent probably hundreds of hours studying, reading, and hanging out on nice afternoons during sophomore year. The shade level was perfect, the tree was big enough for 2-3 people to sit against it comfortably, and the view across the lake was spectacular. (Full disclosure: after college I ended up dating and eventually marrying one of those friends, which has only added to my fondness for that spot.)

What is your favorite UR tradition, and why?

The annual UR-VCU basketball game in the Robins Center. It’s standing-room only, and the Rowdies surpass their name by about 150 decibels.

Looking back on your UR experience, what would you rank as your Richmond Top 5?

1. Semester abroad at the University of Münster, spring/summer 2006 – concurrent with the World Cup held in Germany.
2. Spontaneous New Year’s Eve road trip to Jackson, Mississippi.
3. All-night, out-loud marathon reading of Paradise Lost with Dr. Schwartz and our Milton class.
4. Finally locating all five lions in the Garden of the Five Lions.
5. Getting busted (and written up) for being on the roof of Keller Hall with a bunch of physics majors testing water balloon trajectories across the Westhampton Green.