The New Ivies 2012 Page 8

These top 10 schools are the next generation of excellence

By Explore Editor

What the students are saying about:

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis students know they’re getting a high-quality education—they just wish their school’s reputation matched its caliber. “I wish more people knew how great of a school WashU really is,” writes a freshman, echoing a frequent complaint. Students sport shirts that say “WashU pride … in St. Louis, dammit,” because most people outside the Midwest area assume WashU is in Seattle or DC. Nonetheless, the students here are “incredibly smart and focused,” and “academics are rigorous: professors grade on a curve, so A’s are elusive.” As a result, students strive both for personal success and for success relative to their peers – especially premeds, stereotyped across campus as cutthroat. The undergrad population “is about 6,000, which to me is a perfect size. It is not too large that it is overwhelming, and not so small that you know everyone's business.” And “the administration is really geared towards undergrads--so you feel like you're getting the attention of a small liberal-arts school with the opportunities of a large university.” The Wash U campus is beautiful, located in an upscale neighborhood in Clayton, “surrounded by mansions that must have unholy price tags. Old oaks line the streets and paths on and off campus, making Fall an outstanding time to be outside.” Students tend to be “white, wealthy and liberal,” most are from out-of-state, and many cite a large Jewish population. And one freshman girl reports, “The upside of Wash U guys are that they are for the most part really sweet and nice. They know how to treat girls with respect!” About a quarter of students are in frats and sororities, but everyone agrees the academics come first. “As the 11th ranked school in the nation, people take their academics very seriously. Come to Wash U if you don’t mind being competitive, while still enjoying a more relaxed feel than the Ivy’s.”