Best Kept Secrets Page 4

Top 10 schools that fly under the academic radar - but shouldn't

By Explore Editor

What the students are saying about:

Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College

Mix math-science brilliance, liberal politics, a slavish work ethic and a commitment to social life, and you’ve got the typical Harvey Mudd student. Mudd is a tiny school of fewer than 750 students and nine majors, all of which are in math or science. The guy-girl ratio is far from even (guys outnumber girls seven to three), but all-girls Scripps College is right next door. “The academic requirements here are extremely tough … I’ve enjoyed the depth and breadth, however, and to some degree I pity people who haven’t spent as much time studying the sciences as I have." Says another student, “The one word to describe Mudd's academics is INTENSE. Academics are a 24/7 pursuit. It’s not uncommon to be incredibly drunk and still be discussing your current science class or project.” Adds a third, “Quantum physics is always good breakfast conversation, and my roommate and suite mate talk about philosophy a lot. We spend hours upon hours doing homework and studying, and then when we're done we still want to talk about science.” Since the school is so small, professors form close relationships with undergrads and often engage with them outside of the classroom. Mudd has no Greek life—the social scene is all about the dorms. “The social life you have revolves around the dorm you live in, as all the dorms have a personality and this creates an amazing sense of community. As a freshman you take a 3-page survey that will place you in a dorm that works best with you as a person. The people who pick dorms and roommates generally do a very good job.” The dorms’ characterizations range from stoner to homebody to jock, and each hosts social events. Lastly, Harvey Mudd operates by an honor code that allows students to take exams in their dorms and leave their bags unattended—and facilitates the acceptance and collaboration that Mudders truly value.