Brandeis University Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?


- not everyone is Jewish. but LOTS of people are. It's cool though. It has it's pros and cons. Being Christian at Brandeis means that our community is pretty small, but it's also very closely knit. - Brandeis goggles...after you've been here for a couple of months, you don't even notice the ugly. There are a decent portion of attractive people, mostly graduate or foreign students. But yah, we've got more than our fair share of ugly here. - Brandeis is awkward. but in a quirky, hilarious way. You'll quickly grow to love it!


Yes and no. A major part of the dominant culture on campus is Jewish culture, but non-Jewish cultural and religious groups, as well as secular culture, are present as well. I don't find Brandeis students to be any more socially awkward than students at other colleges of Brandeis' caliber. Brandeis students do tend to be smart and overachieving (double majors are quite common), but not in a competitive way. Students push themselves; they don't try to undermine others.


Of course none of these stereotypes are accurate. Like any school, you have your weirdos, misfits, social butterflies and awkward turtles. We party just as hard as we study, and if we don't have as many parties a night as some larger state schools, it's because we 're just not that big. In my opinion, attending a school which is predominantly Jewish has been a great experience. I don't feel like it would have been any different than attending a school which is predominantly Christan - it's just a matter of culture. Anywhere you go in the country is going to have a cultural feel distinct from anywhere else. Brandeis is just a nice little pond of Jews in a sea of Christians. And as for being snobbish, yeah we definitely draw some wealthy folks, especially from overseas, but by-and-large we are down-to-earth people with a single house and financial problems.


It is true that there are a lot of Jews at Brandeis, but there are also a lot of non-Jews and people tend to forget that sometimes. Besides, the Jewish communities are diverse and vibrant and also cannot be stereotyped accurately. And the awkwardness is mostly a big inside joke.


Brandeis is not officially a Jewish University, but about fifty percent of the population is Jewish. The school offers every amenity for the Jews, including Kosher dining and Shabbat services every week. Jewish kids come to Brandeis to be around other Jewish kids or to become more in touch with their faith. That being said, the school tries really hard to compensate by being enthusiastic about other beliefs. Let's be honest here: Jewish people have a look about them. There are students who speak their own language, always keep their yarmulkes on, and cannot touch the opposite sex. The girls shouldn't be let off the hook either. Many of them really don't know what to do with their long curly locks! But some of them do. And I have known many beautiful Jewish girls and boys. The best ones have clear blue eyes and are globally conscious. Brandeis is full of people with different beliefs. Lots of kids are culturally Jewish, but on the fence about religion. Lots of kids are not Jewish at all. I'm an Atheist and two of the first people I became friends with at Brandeis are Catholic. It is definitely a school where you can be what you want to be. The Jewish thing is like a running joke: it's always there, it's funny, and you develop a fondness for it.


there are many Jews but we are certainly not all Jewish and those who are are not all orthodox, but the Jewish community is strong on campus. there are certainly some awkward people at Brandeis, but you can definitely find your niche among normal ones.


some of them. The average student really is Jewish and liberal.


Although Brandeis does have a lot more Jewish students than most other colleges, there are plenty of students of other faiths. And while everyone at Brandeis does not look like Jessica Alba or Brad Pitt, I feel like there are plenty of attractive people, but mostly in the "northeastern dark hair/eyes, jewish" kind of way


For the most part. Personally, I am the opposite of the stereotypical Brandeis student. I am not Jewish, I'm a Christian. I come from an upper-middle class family, a conservative one at that.


Brandeis has an above average number of socially awkward people, but that does not mean that Brandeis is a socially awkward school. Most people are friendly, outgoing, and approachable. In fact, having a couple of awkward types makes the social scene more interesting.


it depends on your perspective.. i mean we cannot deny the fact that admitted students are mostly from top ten of their highschools and are hardworking, passionate about studying, dont think of anything else other than classes.. however the great diversity of the students (caused by international people, different cultures, languages, ethnicities, religions) makes the social life enjoyable.. every person has something different to say, something different to offer.


See above.


See above.


There are certainly people who fit all of these stereotypes at Brandeis, but there are all types of people. For example, I'm catholic and very few of my friends are Jewish.


Not entirely. While about half the student body is Jewish, half is not. And much of the half that is Jewish is fairly nonpracticing or reform. That said, the religious community is large and influential, but we also have Protestant, Catholic, Muslim prayer services weekly and I think there are also Hindu and Buddhist groups. As for the liberal part of the stereotype, Brandeis, on a whole, is fairly liberal in terms of social politics. However, there is a vocal conservative movement on campus and political debate is encouraged and appricated. And not everyone is from the northeast--like me!


Pretty much.


For the most part yes.


There are a lot of Jews, but it's about half and half, and many of the Jews are non observant in any way. Some minorities do get the POSSE scholarship, but it's only 10 kids a year, and they're not all minorites - so that's pretty inaccurate. Same goes for TYP. There are some ugly people here, but I've seen a lot of pretty attractive people too - more attractive than my friends' friends at other schools. There is a social life on campus. No, we're not a party school, but there are so many things to do, and you can throw an amazing party if you want to - you just have to take control of your social life. And there are a lot of socially awkward people here, tha's just true. But it's not everyone. And it's kind of fun to learn how to talk to peopl who are awkward, and because everyone assumes you're going to be awkward anyway, you can get away with anything. You can really be yourself here. Because in real life, everyone is a little weird. You're just accepted for it here. My friends at other schools have a lot of drama with their friends and feel pressured to be someone they aren't. That doesn't happen so much here, because people are so accepting of awkwardness.


"Jewish Sponsership" is one of Brandeis's pillars. However, NOT everyone at Brandeis is Jewish. About 45% of students are Jewish, and much fewer are religious. The Jewish presence is pretty obvious--people play Israeli music and give out free candles on Fridays, you'll see a lot of students walking to and from services on Shabbat, Birthright is always advertising--but there are plenty of Jews who completely avoid Hillel altogether. Yes, non-Jews are a minority, but it's almost 50/50...


No; the people and the place are much more complex than that.


The girls look great! The campus is ugly.


To an extent; there is a very high population of Jewish students here and it is overall a relatively quiet campus.


Not completely true. Yes, there are tons of Jewish people. However, you won't see or really hang out with many of the really Jewish students (orthodox, very conservative, etc) because they'll be busy hanging out with each other, not partying (in the traditional college manner), celebrating Shabbat, and going to temple. So, most of the people that you will hang out with are either mildly Jewish or not at all and enjoy partying, being social, etc. There are hot people here, just fewer. You have a better chance of finding hot people in the international population, which is good because that is a Brandeis strength (# of internationals). I personally think that the girls are better looking than the guys, but I'm a straight girl so I might be wrong.


No. While the school is 50% Jewish, there are still many people here who aren't Jewish. Also, while there are also a lot of people who are Jewish, most are not very active in Jewish activities.


Yes but no more so than for other schools; no, but we're also not a hollywood movie set; and sometimes, but it's pretty funny.


For the most part


Some of it is, sure. There are plenty of Jews, we aren't a big party school, and I know plenty of kids who study waaaay too much. But there are those of us who party, you just need to look around a little more. And not everyone is insane about the academics.


Like the answer to all the toughest questions in life: it depends. There are a lot of Brandeis students who go out of their way to connect, communicate, branch out, and have fun. But there are also many students who fit the stereotypes to a tee, so to speak. It's hard to say who holds the majority, but one stereotype that is true is that everyone is way too busy here.


I have a different word I like to use to describe Brandeis & Brandeis students: quirky. Brandeis is a quirky place, and Brandeis students are quirky people. I don't view quirky as good or bad, and it's a very open-ended word. The socially-awkward, overly-smart, or even "normal" students are all, together, quirky.


Everyone knows that Jewish girls are barely ever average and are either very hot or very not. It's true we have a lot of ugly's, but we also have a sizable population of good looking girls. A very, very small percent of the student body is actually religious Jews. You are not surrounded by religious Jews, do not 'worry'. The nice benefit is that we have crazy holidays that nobody normally celebrates where the religious Jews throw huge parties...and they drink more than everyone else, amazingly. It's wayyyy better than people talk about it being. We have fraternities and sororities, we have parties from wednesday to sunday.


to an extent...


Not really, everyone's just shy but we all have our own group of friends. We just need more people to be outgoing and willing to meet strangers.


EXTREMELY friendly, as a rule. Rare indeed is the asshole Brandeis student. Brandeis certainly doesn't have a huge party scene (for which personally I am very thankful), but there are plenty of parties that happen on campus every week. Even if those aren't enough, there's Bentley and Boston. Brandeis is also very nerdy: if you are interested in non-mainstream activities, this is the place for you. There are about a dozen a cappella groups, and a surprising large contingent of roleplayers: Dungeons and Dragons, LARPs, and that sort of thing. The Jewishness is a constant presence, but never overwhelming or oppressive. Not really as awkward as we joke that we are. It's true that lots of people picked Brandeis because they didn't get into the Ivies (including myself), but it is a great school in and of itself, and personally I can't imagine wanting to go anywhere else.


For the most part, they're exaggerations of actual facts. The reality is that there are lots of Jews at Brandeis, and there are a fair amount of awkward people, but they're definitly not the entirety of the student body.


Some of them are, I feel like it works though, students study hard but they also get out of the library for the most part on Friday and Saturday and take time to relax. The girls could use some work but not too bad overall, you can definitely find somebody pretty if you look! The party scene, there are nights where you wish more was happening and there are also nights where you can't make it all of the parties you are invited too. I wish Brandeis had more of the frat houses like they have in the movies, because they are nothing like that. Suites can be crowded for parties, sometimes having your own small gatherings can be the best. Religion is there if you want it and not if you don't want it, it works for me.


depends on the person!


To a small extent. Brandeis does have a large and visible jewish population, but I haven't felt encroached upon. I've found my friends, and I think anyone can find their niche, even in their sophomore or junior year. I haven't felt trapped because I involve myself in so many things which allows me to meet people with a variety of ideas and interests. As for the women, I don't know if it's because I've been here so long, but they are getting better looking with each freshmen class. There's not a shortage of good looking (and very nice) women, but I would say there are very few knock-outs. Doesn't really matter though: they're smart, involved, and interesting, which counts more than physical attributes.


Yep, but my social circle doesn't have any jocks in it so I can't testify to the overall character of the school being more nerdy than jock-y. And yes, the majority of my social circle is involved with activities, presidents of clubs, wicked smart, and quirky.


Not really. The percentage of Jewish student is decreasing with each incoming class. I'm Catholic, and though I've had to search a little, I've found a strong Christian community here. In regards to aesthetics, I've seen better looking student bodies. And most of the campus is really nerdy, but that's only because Brandeis pulls in some of the top students in the country. Even my friends who are relaxed and cool are secretly nerdy, because we all do what we need to to do well.


partially. Yes, Brandeis has many Jews, but there is so much more to Brandeis than its Jews. I would describe Brandeis students as quirky, who are fun and social and comfortable being ridiculous. Students at Brandeis tend to be more down-to-earth with their appearance, which is refreshing; there are very few superficial people who are obsessed with their looks. I really like that.


Yes, but maybe not more than the rest of the world, actually. I always forget about the tons of painfully uncool kids because you can always find the crowd you're into. Just remember you'll be seeing the same 200/1000 kids at every party/bar/basketball game. And those kids will rule.




Absolutely not. The fun at Brandeis is all about going to a sketch comedy performance at 9 and then maybe drinking at a small party with friends at 11. The mistake comes in when people figure that since there's less of a hard-partying drinking culture, there's no fun on campus. As for the awkward... I came to college looking for interesting people who wouldn't judge each other for being fun, crazy, and maybe a little awkward. I found it at Brandeis, and it's a great thing.


Yes. Yes. Yes.


Awkward? Yes. Easy to avoid awkward? Yes. Jewish? Kind of. It depends who you hang out with. If you want to surround yourself with people that all have the same beliefs as you, it's very easy to do that, just go to any of the many events on campus, or walk around Sherman Dining Hall, of which half is certified Kosher. But if you want to avoid all that, it's also very easy. Pot? Yes. But if you don't want to smoke, that's not an issue. Take me for example-- my friends all smoke (some of them smoke a lot), and I've still managed to make it this far without smoking. If people are really your friends, they won't pressure you to do what you don't want to do. The same goes for drinking-- if you don't want to, there's no pressure to.


Some of them are, but my experience has been that you can always find the people you want to find if you look for them. Brandeis may be full of awkward nerds but if you want some stylish outgoing friends they are also there. If you want down-to-earth kids to chill with, they are there. If you really want to find a hip hop scene, it's small but it's there. Students are into their academics and are very smart, which is intimidating but Brandeis isn't quite seeping with the competitive stress of Ivys.


Brandeis is very Jewish, as shown by our logo, our Jewish holidays, the popularity of Hebrew classes, and our active Jewish population. However, currently the Jewish population is less than half of undergraduates, and many Jews here consider themselves only culturally and not religiously Jewish. As far as the Ivy League question goes, there are just about as many people who thought of Brandeis as a first choice as there are those who thought of it as a backup. A good portion of students are awkward, nerdy, and/or unattractive, but clearly not everyone.


I mean these stereotypes are somewhat accurate. I feel that at Brandeis everyone knows that everyone else is a little weird or awkward and so no one feels any need to hide who they really are. So the people you meet are genuine.


Partially. There are plenty of people who like to stay in their rooms and study, but there are also a lot of people who like to party and socialize. It is true that you have to put on Brandeis goggles to find attractive people sometimes, but it's not bad at all. There are plenty of hot people.


To a large extent yes but the student body is just diverse enough for one to only be friends with students that don't meet that stereotype if they want. On intellectualism: You can not go to a party where everyone is wasted and somehow not get involved in an intelligent conversation. This part about Brandeis is absolutely wonderful for people who like to discuss (get this!) Israeli/Palestinian politics, Plato, Aristotle and sex, or what the stupids are doing wrong when handling the economy. On quirky/awkwardness: If you are a "normal" person this might take a while to get used to but in the end, you will be that much more capable of dealing with awkward coworkers. These include people that don't understand that you don't want to talk to them, or people that talk about coming from outerspace. And yes, they actually do exist at Brandeis although most students seem to only be slightly awkward to a level where you might only notice something they do is unusual once every month or so (a very respectable awkward level that is probably where most "normal" people align). On Upper Middle-Classness: Most students are in fact privileged but there are many that are receiving financial aid and working hard to make ends meet as well. Some students don't seem to mind getting $700 worth of parking tickets by parking in the living quads, while others work 20 hours a week. A few students don't realize that each hour of instruction they blow off due to a hang over costs approximately $300 (or more), but again... you have quite a few down-to-earth and in touch students. Most are not arrogant rich kids that take everything for granted (this is just an obnoxious handful that you only meet before knowing better- during orientation). On Jewishness: Tufts University actually apparently has more Jews than Brandeis does which is somewhat surprising to find out. A nice aspect about Brandeis is that you get to learn the different Jewishnesses: religious, ethnic, identity, etc. Beyond that though, the campus is diverse enough where most of your friends could not be Jewish by coincidence. On Parental Involvement: I've heard professors mention receiving parent phone calls and I know that the administration, health services and public safety receives its fair share. Some students speak with their parents everyday, others speak with them once a month. Again, this part probably isn't unique to Brandeis, rather it just depends on who your friends are and how independent they've been raised. On Athletics and Hotness: Brandeis not so much. We do have some teams that are fairly successful (basketball, ultimate, I can't remember because I don't care) but one of the awesome aspects about Brandeis is that if you weren't picked first for games, then you'll be amongst your peers. This means you can actually join the Ski Team (which has the coolest assortment of kids on campus), or something like Rugby (we don't have a football team) or Ice Hockey. Many students don't really pay attention to Brandeis athletics, and the athletes (you can tell who some of them are because they are a foot taller than everyone else) don't seem to make that many appearances in public places other than the gym. The rest of the student body seems to like spandex and Uggs and mismatching colors.