My overall opinion on Brandeis is that it is a tremendously friendly, accepting place for students from all backgrounds- be it geographic or ethnic. Students are always willing to help one another, even in the most competitive classes, and that is reinforced by the multiple advisors students are set up with upon entering Brandeis. Teachers are the same way- approachable as well as experts in their fields. I often email my favorite teachers to have lunch with me!
Brandeis is a small school- it has under 3300 undergraduate students, but I love the intimate size because the student-faculty ratio is unbeatable! This is an experience you just cannot receive at a large-state school university. The overall atmosphere of the campus is inviting and ever-growing with student volunteers who want to make a difference in the campus and world at large! I am constantly inspired by the incredible things going on around me, be it academic and professional success or seeing a student take time from his busy schedule to go off-campus to help the needy in the greater Boston Area. This is a school where anyone can thrive with the right attitude- all the resources you need are right here.
My overall opinion on Brandeis is that it is a tremendously friendly, accepting place for students from all backgrounds- be it geographic or ethnic. Students are always willing to help one another, even in the most competitive classes, and that is reinforced by the multiple advisors students are set up with upon entering Brandeis. Teachers are the same way- approachable as well as experts in their fields. I often email my favorite teachers to have lunch with me!
Brandeis is a small school- it has under 3300 undergraduate students, but I love that it is small because the student-faculty ratio is under 10 students to one teacher. This is an experience you just cannot receive at a large-state school university. The overall atmosphere of the campus is inviting and ever-growing with student volunteers who want to make a difference in the campus and world at large! I am constantly inspired by the incredible things going on around me, bit it academic and professional success or seeing a student take time from his busy schedule to go off-campus to help the needy in the greater Boston Area. This is a school where anyone can thrive with the right attitude- all the resources you need are right here.
Brandeis is one of the most academic challenging, creative and inspiring campuses in the United States. Brandeis encourages their students to dream big- I've had friends create their own programs in India, Indonesia and Thailand while receiving funding and grants from the school. I believe it is the perfect size- you feel at home on this small campus. The professors are some of the best around- engaging and personable- it is their goal to educate and be available for students whether in office hours or by email. Every week there is a fascinating lecture or speaker to attend, and hundreds of clubs to choose from. However, the aesthetics qualities of the school could be improved- the campus architecture is pretty bleak. The dorm choices in comparison to many schools of this caliber are not up to snuff. Waltham, although it has many delicious ethnic food offerings, is by no means a college town. The only quick way to get into the main streets of Waltham is by car so many students, as much as they love Brandeis, feel stranded on campus. On weekends, Brandeis provides an excellent free shuttle service to Cambridge and Boston to enjoy its cultural offerings. Brandeis pride could be much stronger, but school wide events like basketball games, Relay for Life and Dance Marathon give the campus a sense of community that I have not witnessed at other friends schools that I have attended.
Overall, I love this school. I strongly feel that our embracing diversity is one of the strongest aspects of Brandeis. Academics aside (which are great), I feel like it is important to be happy where you go to school. It is also really easy to get involved on campus, which is great, because students can easily follow their passions. I also feel that compared to most schools, both our faculty and administration is accessible and willing to discuss student input. A few years ago, when I was looking into schools, one thing I would do is go into the school's respective campus center and talk to current students. I felt the most passion and honesty from the students I talked to at Brandeis. That sentiment still holds true today.
The best part about Brandeis is definitely the students themselves. The people around you are makes or breaks a college experience, something I learned as a transfer student. At Brandeis it is so easy to meet other people, even after a month or two into school, where at many places people feel like they have their friends and they don't want to meet new people. At Brandeis that is not the case at all, and it definitely helps that most of the people I meet I could see myself being friends with if I had the time. I DID NOT feel that way at my previous school, and most of my friends at other schools don't feel that way.
People at Brandeis may be a little awkward, but they are also genuinely nice, incredibly interesting, and fun to be around.
Sometimes I try to pin down the one reason why I love Brandeis so much before I realize that I can't. It's more of a feeling I have when I'm on campus - a sense of belonging. Yes, everyone has there own group, and at times I feel trapped in my own little circle of friends. Even so, there is a sense of community that just doesn't exist on a bigger campus. The students complain about lack of school pride, a heavy work load or crappy Boston weather. But deep down, there's a tiny, magical Brandeis "seed" planted in everyone. As corny as that sounds, it's the best way I can think to describe the place. You just have to experience it for yourself!
So the latest thing on campus is about changing from plastic water bottle use to metal. They gave every undergraduate student a free metal water bottle, and are trying to stop the sale of plastic ones at most campus dining locations. The environment tends to be a big deal at Brandeis, and given the current green fad, even more. The school is also oober liberal, but there is a voice for just about everyone.
I love Brandeis because the academics are great and my fellow students are interesting, smart, friendly people who care about each other and about the world. I feel comfortable here, but I also feel intellectually and personally challenged, which is great.
Brandeis, like a lot of other schools out there, I'm sure, is a make-your-own-experience school. If you're looking for someone to hold your hand every step of the way as you try to figure out your academic focus, your social life, your extracurriculars and your career ... you can actually probably find them here. But you'll have more success at Brandeis if you are independent and can figure things out on your own.
If you have an interest that has even a minor following, there is probably a club for it at Brandeis. Don't like the way the club is run? Change it. Club doesn't exist? Make it. The school has the resources to fund some crazy clubs thanks to a percent of everyone's tuition (the Student Activities Fee) which goes towards student organizations and events.
There is no dearth of majors here, and most people find after a year or two that they fit into one of them. But for those that don't, it is always possible to make your own. I know a couple of students who started a major about neuroscience and how it relates to music.
Our relative proximity to Boston means there is always something to do, even if it's getting a little lame on campus. Although usually there is some kind of party happening at the Mods or in Ziv on the weekends, as well as a Student Events run shindig. I can only speak to my personal experiences, but I haven't ever experienced a void of activities on a night where I wanted to go out and do something fun.
Brandeis is a small school. And you can tell. You tend to see a lot of familiar faces around, and there is a nice small-town kind of atmosphere where, even if you don't know everyone, you probably know someone who does. But even if you want to be anonymous, there is room to breathe. 2,000 students is still a lot of people.
But just like it is possible to find exactly what you want at Brandeis, it is also possible that life here may just piss you off. There is always at least one Negative Nancy who is going to complain about their school no matter where they end up. I've heard a bunch of complaints about Brandeis, all of which I'm sure have been voiced about most other schools. I honestly believe that if you know what you want out of college, or have the energy and the willingness to try out new things, then you can get everything you want from Brandeis.
A sense of community is what really makes Brandeis a special place. Most people are inspirational and passionate--we make up for a lack in big sports and athletic scenes by actively pursuing social justice and other exciting endeavors. It is great to be so close to Boston and Cambridge!
Brandeis is small. You will know by name many of the people you see every day. Don't worry, there will be plenty of strangers and people who don't know or care who you are. If you aren't feeling anonymous enough- take the commuter rail into Boston! Brandeis is in Waltham, which is a cramped little city situated 9 miles outside of Boston. Boston is wonderful. You will never be bored, except for the 4 months a year you never leave your dorm because it is too freaking cold outside.
Just kidding! You adjust. Adapt! Bring a big coat and some snow boots. You'll be fine.
Waltham is actually a nice place to live. It's busy and has everything you need. There is a Walgreens up the street from Brandeis. There is a Target one town over (Towns sort of run together in that part of the country, so let's say the Target is 15 minutes away.) Waltham has lots of food and hotels. Personally, I recommend Bertucci's. It's a delicious Italian chain and a good place to work if you have a car. Anyway you can find what you need there.
Living off campus: It's expensive. It's crappy and expensive. My apartment was a one-bedroom attic-type place and cost me $1000/ month without utilities. I split that with my boyfriend, but it was pretty awful. My place was actually larger than most for the price, but staying on campus or sharing a house with a bunch of people is a much better idea.
Parking: You can't have a car your freshman year. After that, you get a permit for a specific lot and it can definitely be hard to find a spot during certain hours of the day if you are off-campus. If you live on campus it isn't a big deal, but you will probably have to park pretty far away from your dorm.
Dorms: They are just like any other school's dorms. They are low-tech, design-less, low-budget living. You have internet, cable, but no air conditioning so bring some fans. For your first two years or so- you will share a bathroom that only has a couple shower stalls. Floors are mostly co-ed, but there will always be some that aren't. Bathrooms are single-sex, unless the whole floor is fine with co-ed. There are a couple single rooms on each floor and you can probably get one if you need it, but don't! Having a roommate is awful and will drive you insane, but it is an important part of the social experience. It just is! If your roommate makes you too crazy, you can always take to res. life and get switched around. Juniors and Seniors usually live in suites that have 6 or more single rooms and a common room with a kitchen.
The campus isn't covered in ivy. Some people think it's ugly. It is slanted, so get used to walking uphill. I think the campus is beautiful, but what does that really matter anyway.
Brandeis gives generous scholarships (academic and otherwise), so definitely apply for those.
I definitely feel like I have found the best possible school for me with Brandeis. It definitely isn't the best school for everyone, like someone looking to become an engineer, or someone who will die without wearing a polo shirt every day. There are of course some downsides- the lack of football team, the what feels like minimal percentage of straight guys (could be related...), and the kinda insane Massachusetts drivers. Even so, there is a lot about Brandeis that makes up for this. Waltham is a nice town with great ice cream (Lizzy's), and we are so close to other schools in the Boston area that it is really easy to branch out if you want to. Brandeis students don't take fashion all too seriously, which I personally love, and it is great to feel comfortable in whatever you're wearing without being judged. People can be pretty awkward around here, but on the plus side, there is always someone weirder than you!
The size of the school is good. When I'm walking to class I see tons of people I know and it makes me feel like I am a presence, not like I'm lost in a state school with 40,000 kids. Waltham isn't so bad either. When living on campus, it's difficult to appreciate what the city has to offer since you're kind of stuck in a bubble, but off-campus experience has shown me better parts to Waltham. Plus, Brandeis is an excellent school and there's no denying the fact that it is quickly becoming one of the most accredited non-Ivy universities in the country.
Brandeis University is an incredible place to go to school. I know everyone says this, but choosing to attend this college was the best choice I have ever made. It's just the right size, in a residential area, with the conveniences of being close to a big city - Boston. When I tell people that I go to Brandeis they immediately say, "Oh, the 'Jew' school?" Though a great percentage of the student body is Jewish, not everyone is, and I'm not. I was raised Christian and consider myself a Christian. A lot of people ask me if I find it difficult being a Christian in a Jewish University. Absolutely not! It is such a gift to be surrounded by peers with such a deeply rich culture. I have learned so much about the Jewish faith and the Jewish people, a college experience that I would have missed out on otherwise. The Brandeis Administration is, for the most part, welcoming of student imput. There are open hours with the President of the University where students can, independently or in groups, meet with the President and give feedback. The biggest recent conversation on campus is mixed-gender housing. There is a great deal of school pride. The big joke on campus is that we're all socially awkward, unathletic (we don't have a football team), and pretty big nerds. For the most part, that's true! But for a socially awkward student body, we know how to party, get involved in the community, and represent our school in a truly unique way. I LOVE Brandeis, through and through. It's an amazing place to be.
Overall, Brandeis is a wonderful school. I just started graduate school at a higher rated University and only now that I have a comparison to make do I realize what a wonderful institution Brandeis is. The best thing about Brandeis is the organization of the school. Everything is catered to make students lives easy. Everything from protesting a parking ticket to getting a new ID card is convenient.
Students at other schools complain about getting "screwed" in terms of classes, credits, requirements, etc. That does not happen at Brandeis. There are so many resources available for students to organize their academic programs and get things done. The registrar at Brandeis is not out to get you; it's out to help you.
The size of Brandeis is just right. Not too many people to get lost, but enough people that you meet new people eery day through graduation.
the best thing about brandeis for me is to feel confident about the quality of education we receive.. whenever i mention to someone random that im going to brandeis, first thing they say is always "great faculty great professors!!".. even the required classes i had to take turned out to be very interesting and has taught me so many new things..
if i had to change one thing that would definetely be the ARAMARK dining services.. they suck.. noone deserves such poor quality food!!
I think size of the school is perfect!!!! it is not small, i mean obviously it is a UNIVERSITY.. there are quite alot of internationals.. i really like the fact that the size of the school is just right so you can say hi to people when youre walking, you dont get lost in the community..
I love Brandeis, I really do. I think it's a fantastic liberal arts university (although the tuition is far too high) and there is something for everyone and a niche for every possible group. We have religious groups, cultural groups, performance groups, academic groups-- pretty much anything you could possibly think of.
There are two major complaints which I hear over and over: tuition is too expensive (think in the range of 24K a semester) and the food is terrible. As someone who has a pretty regimented eating plan, the food does not do great things for me. There are not enough healthy, low-anything choices (the salad bar doesn't count as a meal!) and the dining halls have really bad weekend hours due to the fact that Brandeis is somewhat shomer shabbas as a school.
90% of my time is spent in Spingold Theater or Shapiro Theater as I'm an acting and movement major and I work in the box office. I love it there-- both places are great for hanging out or getting work done. My dorm (Ziv) is also wicked close so I don't have to go too far at night after a long rehearsal.
I love the size of Brandeis. I wish the administration gave students a little more leeway. They crack down on parties far too much and it would be nice not to have to worry about getting in trouble every time I drank a beer. Brandeis is much better looked upon by those in academia than the general public. I love being near Boston, which is something I didn't even consider when I decided to come here. I have had very good professors and I like the choice of classes.
Brandeis, over the last two years, has become my home. It's seems sort of corny to say, but almost everyone here- from the staff to the students and professors- are so nice and open. And it's really easy to stay clear of the small minority of people here who aren't as friendly and welcoming because they are a really small minority. I honestly think that it's this warm and encouraging environment that makes Brandeis amazing. Since we're a pretty small student population- about 3100 undergrads, the sense of community felt here is pretty strong and the campus life benefits from the fact that we are small and most people live in some form of on campus housing for all 4 years.
Of course, since this is honest and uncensored, there are some issues with Brandeis that can become huge since people here often snowball everything out of proportion. We've had issues during my time at Brandeis about racism jokes in a student publication, a controversial visit from former President Jimmy Carter about his book about Israel and student and professor issues with the administration over student money, professor reviews and arming the police. Brandeis students are incredibly vocal and passionate on a variety of issues and sometimes our passions butt heads with the feelings and politics of the administration, leading to a somewhat strained relation between the two camps.
But the activism and passion of Brandeis students is part of what makes Brandeis... well Brandeis. In the 1960s we were known for student activism and that spirit continues to live on. When injustices happen both within and outside of the university, Brandeis students take a stand, leading to an environment of political and social discourse.
While Brandeis is pretty political, we are also fairly artistic a well. The arts at Brandeis are amazing and with so many student performance groups including acapella, dance troops, improve groups, theater clubs and a sketch comedy group; there is always on campus, student performed entertainment throughout the week. Brandeis, location wise, has the best of both worlds as well. Waltham is a nice town and Moody Street is a great place to go with friends for ethnic food and Lizzy's Ice Cream, which rocks. We're also close to Boston so it's really easy to take a shuttle bus over the weekends or the commuter rail into Boston or Cambridge. In all honesty, what Brandeis has in political and artistic spirit is sort of lost on sports. If you want a school where everyone goes to games and sports make up a big part of campus life, Brandeis is not the place for you. We do have good Division III sports teams and we do have fans, known as "The Jury" who come out and cheer on the Brandeis Judges, but it's nothing like at other schools. Coming from a football orientated high school, I love that sports aren't the focus here, but it's a fair warning to note.
- I fi could change one thing, i'd make campus easier to get around - right now it's full of hills and it's a pain.
- I spend alot of time hanging out with friends in dorms or in the campus center cafe.
- The food is not bad (in the non-kosher dining hall anyway) and Waltham has a ton of really good ethnic restaurants. Waltha is actually a pretty nice place, especially Main and Moody streets.
- The closeness is Boston/Cambridge is a real plus. I go almost every week.
- The administration? The President, Jehudah Reinharz, is a dog. A goat. A beast. But he's never around so he doesn't cause too much trouble.
There's a feeling of exclusivity everywhere on campus.. For the most part the campus is not welcoming or friendly at all..
My favorite memory of my Brandeis career is the first time I climbed to the roof of the castle. The castle is insane; they built it from the outside in so nothing really connects the right way. While we technically shouldn't be able to get to the roof, one of the towers is accessible by a metal ladder in a closet, a tunnel, and a wooden ladder. It's dark and the ladder doesn't feel particularly stable, so many of the people in my group were scared that they would fall. No one did, of course. The school would have closed the passageway a long time ago if it wasn't safe.
The top of the castle was wonderful. It was fall, so it was nice and cool out. From one side of the roof we could see the skylines of Boston, and from the other we could see across cammpus. My group--a large portion of the girls from Reitman 2 plus me--stayed up there for nearly an hour, talking and playing games like Mafia and Telephone. It was Thursday night, no classes the next day due to a holiday, and we had SO much fun.
The best thing about Brandeis is how small the community is. You would think that if you went to a small school you wouldn't get to meet as many people - that's definitely not the case! At a small school, when you meet someone once, you're likely to see them again, and get the opportunity to build a real relationship with them. At a big school, you can get lost in the crowd, and if you meet someone cool, you really have to put effort into seeing them again. Here, you run into them. It makes hooking up kind of awkward, because you will see the person again, and it's likely a friend of yours has hooked up with the same person. So dating here isn't great. But you will make a lot of friends, and close friends.
Brandeis is located 9 miles outside of Boston. Boston is an absolutely WONDERFUL city, from the food to the theater to the... everything. I love it. However, it's not always easy to get to. There's a commuter rail station right next to campus, but it costs $4.75 to get into Boston. There's a free shuttle bus from Brandeis, but it only runs Thursday nights, Friday nights, Saturdays starting at 3:30, and Sundays starting at noon. Any other time you need to get into Boston, you have to pay. A lot.
Waltham itself is pretty boring. There's one main street which has a wonderful ice cream place, some cool stores, and plenty of food places. However, there's really nowhere to go late at night. Even the ice cream place closes before midnight. There ARE things happening on campus, but often not when you really want something to do.
Food at Brandeis also stinks. Sherman, the all-you-can-eat dining hall, is wonderful if you keep Kosher, but the food is awful and many of my non-Jewish friends avoid it at all costs. Usdan is better, but it's still college food. Both dining halls have very weird (and annoying) hours, especially on the weekends. There's a C store, too, but there aren't many things you can use your meals on in there. Same goes for Einstein's; you can't even buy a bottle of apple juice on a meal there. The Student Union is trying to change this, but who knows what'll happen?
People are incredibly accepting and incredibly smart, by and large. I love the character of the place; you know you're at a great university, but people still have humility. The professors are wonderful, and academically it's stellar. Campus life gravitates around cultural expression and community activities, instead of simply getting drunk and passing out. People have real interests here, and they're not in school just so that they can go on to earn lots of money.
School is a little bit too small. I've hooked up with someone at a party...and then someone I hooked up a month or so later admitted to seeing me hookup with the person at the other party. Creepy. However, situations like these are just coincidences and there are always new people to meet. I really like Waltham...lots of interesting stores on Moody St and around the town. It's also moderately flat and good to run around!
Administration is a bit iffy. There have been some issues where Brandeis staff, administration, and police apparently violating students rights and potentially being racist. Police don't patrol to find drunken kids walking around but beware...Brandeis security officers do not have as lenient of a policy on streaking as one may think or have heard about. hehe
Brandeis is a great school and has a good reputation as being a solid academic institution. The classes are great and the professors are so passionate. I personally like the size of Brandeis, I feel that there's enough people, but not overwhelmingly so. It's so close to Boston which is great if you take advantage of it, I personally go into Boston about once a weekend which is a nice change to get off campus. There is some school spirit but you have to find it.
LOVE Brandeis. Almost everything. Great size, great location, great people. But most people from home say- well, from high school, "Where's that?" and from synagogue, "You'll meet nice Jewish boys!"
But we're right next to Boston, we have a great size, and I think most of us really like being here. There's a lot of complaints about the party scene.
Unusual? The Jewish population. It's insane. Everyone here knows what I mean when I mention keeping kosher, Shabbas, etc. Either they are Jewish, or they know so many Jews that they know it all. Wonderful.
The best thing about Brandeis, in my opinion, is the academics. There really are some world class faculty and opportunities for learning here... that is, if you apply yourself. I know that I have grown as a person simply because I was exposed to so many new ideas upon coming to Brandeis. If I could change one thing it would be for the campus to open up to possibility, or at least as much as I have. That's not to say I'm soo perfect and soo accepting, but I feel like people have been trained to say and act a certain way here and anything that challenges or questions that is suppressed or worse- both in and out of the classroom. The size of the school is very nice; people from my home town have never heard of it, though, so there is really not alot to say in that regard. I'm working on a thesis right now, so I spend most of my time in the lab or doing homework in the campus center. When I go out on weekends, the best bet is to just go into Boston and find something fun to do, or go to a party on campus. Waltham isn't really a college town unless you are way into the Indian restaurants on Moody stret. The administration is okay- they run the behind the scenes well but really goof up on certain things, like shutting down parties and soical events or censoring students and taking their club money. If they could just hire a good PR person to tell them not to do that, they would be fine. School pride...? Only on certain days. I think we have more pride when we bring a famous speaker to campus than when we win a basketball game. Is there anything unusual? Everything is unusual about Brandeis- we live in castles, we get two spring breaks, the most popular event on campus is liquid latex. The list goes on.
Brandeis has always struck me as odd because there's really no such thing as class identity. I know seniors whose closest friends are sophomores, etc. And as I've been here over time, I've come to think that it's better this way. We choose our friends based on our common interests -- classes, clubs, etc -- instead of whoever happens to be put on our floor freshman year.
The best thing about Brandeis is that no matter what you're into there is a club here for you. We have clubs for -everything-. Sailing, rugby, juggling, wine tasting, etc.
If I could change one thing about Brandeis - it would be the type of music the kids here listen to. There is not a huge population of students who listen to hip-hop/rap, and it sort of surprises me because it's the norm at other schools.
My school is just right, thanks. Most people react by saying they don't know what Brandeis is, or thinking it's for smart, nerdy kids.
I spend most of my time in on-campus suite housing with friends. It's a college town in the sense that our bars have nights for Brandeis/Bentley students to drink there...but not really in any other sense, we're close enough to Boston though.
Brandeis' administration could obviously be better, but what do I have to compare it to...? So no clue.
The biggest recent controversy was an advertisement in our school newspaper in which a 'BlackJerry' was sold - 3/5ths the cost of a BlackBerry, etc.' Was a bad joke that a lot of people went apeshit on. There is very little school pride, another thing I would like to change.
One experience I'll always remember...my first day there was a huge bonfire on-campus in the middle of our woods. Was absolutely crazy.
Most frequent complaint? People who are big losers complaining we have no social life, when it's just them not being invited out. Our social life is excellent, you just have to try.
The best thing is the support we get around here. The advisors are really helpful, and willing to help in any way they can. I would probably change the fact that not a lot of people know that they are there. I felt comfortable going to them because I worked at Academic Services. It might be awkward for others just to walk in and say they can't deal with something. I like the size of the campus; the constant constuction is annoying because everyone says how ugly it is. They just have too look and appreciate what we have, like Chapel's Field, where else has three faiths surrounding a heart shaped pond? People always say "congratulations" when I tell them I go to Brandeis, it's a big pride booster for me since I really didn't like the high school I went to. I spend the most time in the daylight hours at the library, but when it's late night and when I finish work, I hang out with my friends in various places. Waltham really isn't a college town, it's more Boston that attracts people. The only thing unusual on campus that isn't on others is the large percentage of Jewish people, it's not very common at other schools. The most frrequent complaints I've heard are the food (undercooked, no variety, etc) and the parking (Charles River). So far my favorite experience would have to be finding the sport I love to do that I do that pleases me, and makes me happy every time I play.
So much to do, if you just go out and look for it! Classes tend to be interesting, and there are plenty of student clubs to fill your time. The faculty is generally friendly and approachable. Sometimes you can just wander around exploring the campus -- it's not large, but it is very beautiful.
To address the questions: best thing is the friendly people. I would change the structure of the meal plan: too complicated, and the food isn't terrific (but it's not half bad, either). I think the size of the school is just right. The general problem of a small school is that you see a lot of people you don't like -- but with such friendly people, there is almost NO ONE I dislike. I spend most of my time running from place to place with my various activities. I suppose I'm mostly in rehearsal. Biggest recent controversy regarded censorship of a well-loved professor, and nearly the entire campus rose up in protest. Not a whole lot of school pride, per se, but most of my friends are glad to be going here.
In terms of size, Brandeis is just right. At about 700 undergrads per class, you can get to know lots of your peers without feeling like you know everything about everybody. I find myself rarely leaving campus; this may be due to the fact that I don't have a car, but I really don't feel the need to get away all that much. If you do want to get off campus, be aware that Brandeis transportation is not as convenient as they say it is. The Branvan in often late, and you must call in advance and reserve spots. The Boston shuttle is more convenient, but it only makes stops every hour and a half.
It's a great school and I'm really happy that I am here! Orientation is amazing and gets you excited about Brandeis. Waltham, our town, could use some work but being close to Boston is amazing!!! I go to Boston probably every other weekend on the free shuttle.
Brandeis is a really small, safe school. The campus can sometimes feel like a bubble, and it seems like very few people actually go in to Boston frequently, despite how easy it is to do so. The social life is fun if you want it to be. There are 4 frats and 2 sororities ay Brandeis, but greek life is not recognized by the school. The majority of fun to be had on campus comes from greek life, but there are some things to do even if you don't like to drink.
The major thing about Brandeis is that it will SUCK if you dont take initiative and find opportunities. If you find the fun and find the cool extracurriculars and the awesome professors, then your Brandeis experience will be great!
The Best Thing: I'm a sophomore and I'm still meeting new people and doing what I want like starting NGO's and getting involved in new things.
What I would change: I would fast forward 20 years to when all the construction is done, we have a better endowment, and we have administrators who know how to run a school.
The size is perfect. I went to a small high school (about 1,000) and brandeis seems to be a good fit. I don't feel bewildered by new faces everyday, but there are enough people that i don't know so that I can constantly meet new people. Pretty much I can recognize people, but I don't know all of them. I would feel lost if I saw brand new people everyday.
Where I spend most of my time on campus: In various meetings and rehearsals. I like to stay active, and fortunately I've been able to fill my time with lots of worthwhile things, from VoiceMale, which is pretty much a semi-professional a cappella group) to F.R.E.S.H. Water, an NGO I started this semester. The key to being happy and successful is GETING OUT OF YOUR ROOM! I had a shitty freshman year because I stayed there all day and watched TV.
Peoples Reactions: 75% Impressed and they have a not-to-distant relative who went here. 15% Whatever. 10% What's Brandeis?
I guess waltham is out college down. It's a pain because it's not walking distance, so you have to take a campus escort (Branvan as we call it) or have a friend with a car). There's restaurants and a few nice public areas, but nothing that interesting. Boston, however, is a great town. I am only just beginning to appreciate it. There's tons to do and student events offers cheap tickets for everything from theater to the aquarium. I recommend trying to take some sort of Boston history or architecture course and then going to see what you learned first hand. Boston is an amazing city with tons to do... if you can get there. Once again, you need to take the campus shuttle to get there, which only runs thursdays through sundays. But monday-wednesday you'll probably have other stuff to do, so now big deal unless you area a compulsive city dweller like myself.
Brandeis Administration is not so great. Because it's a young university (relatively) there's still a lot of questions about its character and how it is run. There are good admins, but also bad. All in all, I don't deal with them much, so I can't really say.
Biggest recent controversy: An article in one of our humor magazines that depicted "blackjerry" a substitute for a blackberry that is essentially a black guy who does stuff for you. It was meant in good humor, but some people got offended. I personally thing the knee-jerk reaction from the student union is a symptom of the sometimes over-liberal sentiment on campus.
School pride is mediocre, but growing. This past year has seen events getting bigger and better, with lines outside school sponsored partied and sold out seats at concerts and shows. Don't come here if you need to root for a sports team or something. Come here if you want to make things better by actively engaging yourself, not sitting back and letting the school spirit engage you.
Unusual about brandeis: ugly building, constant construction, so I guess the aesthetic is lacking. But on the plus side, students are surprisingly engaged in various aspects of campus life. The most unusual thing is that you have to shape your own college experience. No one can do it for you.
One experience I'll always remember: Going on tour in California with my a cappella group. I've gone everywhere with them, from cali to arizona and north carolina. I'll never forget the california tour my freshman year. Amazing.
Most frequent complaints: Ugly campus, not engaged in campus life, not enough food options, crazy admins.
There are two things that resonate with me about Brandeis. First, wherever I go, I am guaranteed to run into people I know. Everywhere. I can take a different route to class and see people I haven't met before, but I will run into someone I know. I don't think that's because I'm the kind of person who has a lot of friends, it's that Brandeis students are interconnected with all disciplines. While I may venture into the science complex very rarely, I still have friends who are science people and I meet them wherever I go.
The second big thing I like about Brandeis is that there are opportunities here that you can't get at the more historical schools. Since Brandeis is so new, there are countless ways to make a mark and start a tradition. This is an exciting place to be because change happens in a short period of time, and you can actually make a difference in your four years here. At more prestigiously older schools, like Harvard or Yale, the history and tradition is more deep-seated, so the room for change isn't as easy.
While there are plenty of issues that aren't unique to Brandeis (inefficient student government, new practices implemented in administration, etc), the possibility to change those things is in your grasp. There is no perfect school, but at Brandeis, you can shape it into your perfect school.
The Best thing about Brandeis is its personality. The people here are so open and friendly, and Brandeis strives to be a top university without conforming to the strict "Ivy" mentality. I spend most of my time in play rehearsals or swim practices. When I not there, I'm in my dorm with all my buddies or in my girlfriend's room.
Best thing about Brandeis is its welcoming attitude. People are genuinely friendly and kind, they make you feel accepted and at home.
I would change the landscaping. We really need to repave, redesign, and spruce up the campus.
It's just the right size. You see familiar faces every day, but meet new people all the time.
When I say I go to Brandeis, about half the people won't have heard of it, but anyone who has knows that it's good. I don't mind that Brandeis isn't that notorious. It's like we've found a gem that other people don't know about.
I spend most of my time in my dorm room, wandering around my hall, or in the music or theater buildings.
Waltham is nice. It's not dead, but it's not overwhelming. It has a small downtown with excellent restaurants and a few quirky shops. It feels safe.
There is a lot of school pride, with plenty of playful grumbling. Whatever flaws people complain about aren't really of consequence. We all really appreciate the opportunities that Brandeis provides and the strong degree we will earn.
Most frequent complaints: campus grounds in need of repair, hilly campus, dorms needing renovation, not enough housing, not enough places on campus to eat, expensive meal plans, Career center not that helpful, health center not that helpful
Best thing: I love the education I have gotten. The highest paid professor at the school taught my into to chemistry class. All of t he profs that have taught my neuroscience classes are BIG DEALS within their own field. They want to be teaching. Also being pre-med, Brandeis helps you with EVERYTHING. They tell you what to do and when and keep on your butt to make sure you have the best application possible. Talking to students from other schools helped me realize that.
Size: I didn't want a big school, I like walking into a party and knowing around half the people. On the other hand, it was fine until senior year, when suddenly the world blew up. Everyone has dated someone/not speaking to someone/won't go to this place if so and so is there/ has to bring sally with her or the world will end, etc. It suddenly became too complicated.
My friends at home don't know what the heck Brandeis is. But you know who does? People that matter. People who are interviewing you for jobs or graduate school or went to top 40 schools themselves, they know, and they are very very impressed. It took me a while to understand that this is much more important.
"What college town" but we're so close to Boston if you just go out of your way to take advantage of it.
Recent controversy on campus: Guns for the police officers. As a generally liberal population kids were fairly opposed. Unfortunately they didn't decide to start being opposed until after the decision, which took some 5 years, was made. This annoyed the junk out of me because as part of the campus EMS group I know a lot of the cops and what they do and a lot more about the history of violence at our school, and fully support the desicion.
No school pride, that kind of sucks. We just made it to sweet 16 D3 basketball, and hella people came to the games. But generally we all like to rag on Brandeis, which is a bummer. Like I said, I defended it from most people for 3 years, until I hit senior year and it became too small.
Unusual- a very active Jewish population. But to be honest, you make your jewish or non jewish experience here. You can ignore it or go all in, its up to you. AND I personally threw my cards in with it and have had an incredible experience meeting people with different and varying degrees of faith. I have grown a lot in my own religious identity. I would call that the second best thing about Brandeis, for me (The first was the education I recieved)
Experience I'll always remember: I am still close with about 12 girls (maybe half?) of my freshman hall. I'll always remember the International dance (Pachanga). My frisbee team, Banshee. My EMT corps, BEMCo. BEMCo could be the dorkiest group of kids on campus but we're not, mysteriously. It's such a great group. I'll remember when I broke up with my boyfriend from home sophomore year and all my friends decorated a box for me and wrote all over it how much they love me and how amazing they think I am, and filled it with chocolate and popcorn and tissues. My first baseball experience was here, freshman year when the Red Sox won the world series. My first snow!!!! It's so hard to say how many of these things have anything to do with Brandeis, or just being in college and growing up.
I like the small size and intimacy of Brandeis; sometimes, though, the administration in all its incarnations forgets that Brandeis is supposed to be a small community, and the doctrine of mutual respect falls by the wayside. Brandeis is unusual in that students are totally unselfconscious about pursuing who they are and what they feel strongly about. There is no "typical Brandeis student," and that's what makes the school so strong.
I'd say the best thing about Brandeis is the people-- the ones I know are very open, very diverse in interests, and always have good stories to tell. I've found that the people here are much more interesting than those I know who go to some other schools.
Size-wise, Brandeis has its ups and downs-- I really enjoy the community atmosphere, and there are definitely enough people on campus that you meet new people every now and then. However, a lot of us have noticed that academically, there are drawbacks of a small school, because there just isn't enough money (or personnel) to have large programs in certain academic areas. Some programs are definitely better than others.
Something unusual about Brandeis is the party scene, or lack thereof. Recently there was a large club-style party on campus, and people were really not that excited for it-- and I love that. People can always find something to do besides get trashed and party.
Best thing about Brandeis...great location, you get a campus in a college town but it is a few miles from Boston. Academics are really great as well, the faculty is amazing and classes tend to be small and intimate (unless you are in the hard sciences, probably).
I'd change the administrative centers. Residence life, dining services, etc, are all a little useless at times. The things students don't have a say in tend to be those that are the least productive or efficient, and there's no way out of that.
I think it's a bit too small. You tend to know everyone by the end of freshman year.
When we tell people about Brandeis I don't think they have any idea how great a school this is, and how competitive it was getting in, they just think of it as a jewish school and don't get past that point.
Most of my time on campus is spent in the campus center. Coffee shop, open atrium with couches, etc, nice social place where it's fine to be alone too.
Nice college town, lots of restaurants, metro boston area has plenty of resources if you need something. Helps to have a car, but public transportation into Boston is very very easy.
There was a slightly racist controversy last year but it got cleared up, involved a campus magazine, debates about freedom of speech, etc. It's a little typical, there are a lot of sheltered students.
Not tons of school pride, at least about athletics, etc.
Unusual...we have a castle?
Students complain about housing, meal plans, and lack of adequate social life. That's just because they don't try hard enough to make it fun for themselves. There's a lot of programming but students find that lame and then don't take any intiative.
The best thing about Brandeis is that it provides you a high quality education for a price similar to other schools of its caliber in a nice convenient suburban setting. More or less everything you need is within your reach, as long as you know what you're looking for.
As a rather small school, Brandeis is fairly reputable, especially within the Northeast. Although the first reaction from most people I talk to is "are you Jewish?" even though I am clearly not (I'm Asian), it's not very hard to laugh it off and say "no, that's Yeshiva you're thinking of."
The campus isn't the nicest, especially since many of the buildings were built in the 1960s and 1970s and need some form of renewal. You'll likely find yourself spending most of your time in your room, although when the weather is nice you'll find that the outside is actually a good place to be. As for the town of Waltham where we're located, it is a decent college town that is neither too ghetto nor too wealthy. There are many good restaurants, though if you're looking for shopping or entertainment it would be best to go to Boston or Cambridge. Still, if you like neither urban nor rural settings, it is a good place to be.
The Brandeis administration is more or less like that of any university. It does its job, although the more activist students here frequently find things to complain about. Overall, they are known to be decently reasonable, yet they know full well that they do have the real power.
Despite all the stereotypes and such, there's really nothing all that unusual about Brandeis. Sure, we don't celebrate Christian holidays, and on Fridays many students dress up for shabbat dinner. Yet above all, it's a school, and one that many students are extremely proud of. Students often complain about the unattractiveness, the food, the housing, or the social activities, but overall people like and respect their school as well as their fellow students.
I love that Brandeis is a small Univeristy with. I do wish that the food and the athletic facilities were better.
People are surprised when I tell them I go to Brandeis because I'm not Jewish. Obviously talks about Judaism are a little more frequent than at any other college, but I feel that I fit in on campus. As long as you are open-minded and willing to learn than Brandeis is a wonderful campus.
The college town is not really a college town.
I think Brandeis is a great campus. The best day I have had a Brandeis was last spring during Springfest. The Great Lawn had music playing all day, I went to play ultimate with some friends in the sun, I had a picnic dinner at the top of the castle, went to the culture x show later than evening. I finished the evening with a party with the ultimate team.
The people at Brandeis are amazing. There's a really strong sense of community, and it makes it very easy to call Brandeis home. People are very accepting, and it's rare to feel like an outsider. Everyone is welcome.
The size is perfect. You can walk across campus and bump into dozens of people you know, but it's also big enough to find a few different niches and escape from the people you always see.
Waltham sucks, but Boston and Cambridge are nearby and awesome.
There isn't school pride in the traditional pep rally sense, but people are very aware of what it means to be from Brandeis, and students constantly talk about what it's like to be a Brandesian. I'm proud of my school, and I love having my friends from other schools visit.
The campus is kind of ugly, but there is construction for lots of new buildings.
Brandeis has a free psychological counseling center (ironically called "mailman" and if you didn't get it think postal and just let that be my awkwardness quota as a real Brandeis student). The counseling center is awesome for students who come to Brandeis and realize that perhaps it wasn't the right choice, or for students that are overwhelmed with school work, having boyfriend/girlfriend problems, parental problems, etc. Better yet... the first ten times you go- its free!!
Anyway, if at first you don't like Brandeis, chances are by the time you graduate you will think of it fondly, and be grateful that you had such a stellar educational opportunity. You can rest assured that all or most of your friends will be successful and that many of them will be there for you for your entire life.
Its really nice to go to such a small University because you get the 'Liberal Arts' and many research opportunities at once. Campus is small enough that you will recognize many faces, but will always be able to meet someone new.
It's a small but nice looking campus, near but not in a city, big enough to meet a lot of new people but small enough to see them again, it has any extracurricular you could ever want (and will add the club if you think of something new), it's pretty accommodating. I think the administration is about as good as any other school, if not better about a lot of things, since most of the time the students have more say then I think we even deserve.
A big controversy on campus was whether or not to arm the campus guards but was resolved with a committee.
Most of my time on campus is with the Ultimate Frisbee team (in the gym, on the field, or having team meals somewhere).
The clubs have a lot of support and I think that's one of the best things the school has.
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