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The stereotypical student of my school is the nerd. Not the fashionable nerd-chic cliche that's been permeating our culture, ...
The stereotypical student of my school is the nerd. Not the fashionable nerd-chic cliche that's been permeating our culture, but the hard-core computer science kind of nerd. The kind of nerd that revels in Starcraft, D&D, and writing operating systems for fun. Needless to say, the stereotype is not accurate. We have so many other hobbies as well.
I like Carnegie Mellon. I've made some very good friends, and when I meet someone new I can get along with them fairly well. ...
I like Carnegie Mellon. I've made some very good friends, and when I meet someone new I can get along with them fairly well. I think the best thing about the school is the community. We have a kind of quiet pride about our university. I wouldn't say there are a ton of overt campus pride events going on, but there are many things about the university, and about the particular departments that create a kind of bond. I've heard professors form many different departments referencing the Carnegie Mellon tradition of pulling something together at the last minute for (usually the night before its due) instance. Then there are certain courses in different programs that are notorious for their difficulty, but passing the class becomes a rite of passage. There are many rallying points in the Carnegie Mellon experience for students to bond over. Not everything is roses though. The campus food has improved, but its still pretty costly for the quality of food. Dorms are much more expensive than finding housing in the city. And navigating the campus can be confusing to new students. And of course, its really expensive to attend. Overall though, my opinion of Carnegie Mellon is very high.
The dorms create a great sense of community for those who are into that kind of thing, and are easily escapable for those who aren't. We have several strictly freshman dorms and a few for upperclassmen. Mudge House is a repurposed mansion. Donner House looks like its covered with bathroom tiles to me, and the inside is kind of a maze, but the students who dorm there love it. The Residence on Fifth has small theatre room and a game room, and the actual bedrooms have kitchens. Hammerschlag House is an all-male dorm with lots of traditions like Schlagmare, a haunted house type of thing during Hilloween (a Halloween celebration by the three or four dorms on "The Hill"), and Sausage Fest, where they grill up sausages and burgers for the campus. All the dorms have community events to allow students to socialize with each other and relax a bit between studies. Most of the dorms are pretty old, so they all have their own kind of personality and traditions. These tend to be pretty fun though, not stodgy, and where people dormed their freshman year tends to create a kind a of bond between them.
When I lived in the dorms freshman year, I would work in the University Center. The UC can get pretty busy though, so it might not be for everyone. It was also easier for me to drown out peoples' voices because I like to listen to music while I work. People like to study in the library. There are tons of open spaces there, and a part of the library is also a cafe so that you can get some coffee or a snack while you cram. There's also the computer clusters. I think we have more computers than we do students, and most if not every building has computer clusters that tend to be quiet and technologically equipped. It seems like most majors have a lounge area somewhere. I can't speak for other majors, but the Creative Writing lounge is a pretty sweet setup. Aged leather couches, a coffee machine with free coffee and tea, some computers, a typewriter, and wood floors make it a great space. Plus all the creative writing professors have their offices there, so its really easy to communicate with them. When I'm going to be on campus for an extended period of time, that's where I go to work and kill time.
It varies depending on what you are studying. In my college, Diet;rich College (formerly Humanities and Social Sciences), there are a few classes that seem to fill up rather quickly, and with students from different majors. Survey of Forms classes are among them. These classes are required for creative writing majors, so some spots are reserved for them. SoF is the introductory course to writing short fiction, poetry, or screenplays. There's one for each. Other classes I've noticed filling up fast are Black and White Photography, and the craft classes offered by the School of Drama (metalworking, glassblowing, etc.) seem popular as well, although those classes have an additional materials fee attached to them.
It may sound cheesy, but CMU made me want to come here. I went to high school in Hawaii, so I didn't really have the opportunity to do site visits during my application process. While I searched colleges online though, looking at pictures and reading about traditions, there was no other college that really made me want to attend. Every other school just looked interesting, or nice. But CMU was the goal. I actually don't think there has been anything that I've wanted more in my life yet.
Greek life is present at Carnegie Mellon, but it isn't what defines the campus. It isn't uncommon to meet people in classes that are Greek, you them out and about during recruitment weeks, and they host some events throughout the school year, but by no means would it be surprising for someone to not be affiliated with a fraternity/sorority. I personally don't know too much about what it is like within the Greek scene as I am decidedly not involved, but I do know some people that have gone Greek and loved it.
CMU is located in the heart of Pittsburgh. When you step off campus you see the city. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are many parts of the city that are quite scenic (its one of the reasons Batman was filmed here), and the architecture around Pittsburgh differs wildly depending on where you go. Oakland, the area CMU is closest too, isn't that impressive in my opinion (feels a little dingy to me, restaurants clearly cater to the college students, and kind of crowded on weekend nights) but there are other students that really enjoy it. And if you are like me and prefer other areas, they aren't hard to get to. Each neighborhood really has its own feel. Good restaurants, movies, and plays are not hard to find and attend.
I started answering this earlier when I discussed the Carnegie Mellon stereotype. Students here are pretty quirky. We get passionate about things. If you come here, chances are you will find people who are eager to talk with you about what you love to do or study and will help you get better at it. In my experience, your skin color, sexual orientation, gender, fashion sense, family wealth don't really matter here. What matters is how willing you are to learn and what you will do with that knowledge. You'll probably meet LGBT students. You'll meet students who are left and right wing. You'll meet religious students and atheists. You'll see some people coming to class in high fashion, and more coming to class in their pajamas. But all of this is secondary. We tend to define ourselves by our studies. Your major means more to another student than your race, or your political stance. That is not to say that students here are oblivious. Some are, certainly, but most keep tabs on current events, and many people do that strong opinions on things like politics and religion. It just isn't what defines us. Finally, we're pretty nerdy. We like our video games, our tabletop RPG's, and our zombie debates. We like reducing philosophical discussions to quotes from Portal, and we like discussing physics in the context of the zombie apocalypse. We like quantum mechanics, relativity and chemistry jokes. We like our webcomics and we love our internet connections. We have Nerf wars, and we play Capture the Flag With Stuff (which is capture the flag, only with stuff). If you don't have a strong passion for something, or if you think you want a more relaxed environment, or a campus with great parties, CMU might not be for you. But if you've always felt a bit out of place at your high school because of your sense of humor or your interests then we welcome you. Oh yeah, and you might want to start reading xkcd if you don't already. A lot of us do here.
The academics are top-notch. My professors really know what they are talking about, and enjoy their field of study. I've never had a problem getting in touch with professors outside of class to ask for help or clarification on something, and as long as I participate in class, my teachers learn my name. Students are fairly competitive, but in my experience, it is not an unhealthy competition. Students are more than willing to help each other on projects and study sessions outside of class. Class participation is very common, and I feel that education here is well-balanced between getting a job and learning for its own sake. My particular departments are English and philosophy. In both departments I have very good experiences. The professor's know each other and are easily accessible. I usually don't have to schedule appointments because they are very open to people dropping by their offices to ask a question.
The most common stereotype of Carnegie Mellon students by far is that we are over-caffeinated, under-rested workaholics who understand how programs and machines work better than we understand people. Should you choose to go to Carnegie Mellon, you will probably meet this person, but we are not all like this. Many of us go without enough sleep and attempt to make up the difference with coffee, many of us have less than average people skills, and most of us have too much work to do, but in my experience it isn't often that I find an individual for which all of these things apply. Even when they do, the stereotype still isn't quite accurate. The reason we tend to be a bit difficult to socialize with in the "real world" is because we are all a bit off. The reason we work so hard is because of our course load, yes, but also because we set ambitious projects for ourselves that take a lot of hard work. We all have our eccentricities and passions that most people simply don't share. At Carnegie Mellon, everyone is passionate about something, and if you don't quite fit in at your school because you people just laugh politely when you make your obscure science, math, literature, or video game joke, rest assured that here you will find people to put in stitches.
I honestly love every aspect of this school. The student body is so diverse, that it doesn't matter who you are: you'll find ...
I honestly love every aspect of this school. The student body is so diverse, that it doesn't matter who you are: you'll find your niche here. Six thousand undergraduate students is the perfect size; it guarantees that you'll meet a lot of people but it's not so big that you'll get lost in the crowd. Class-sizes are pretty good, too - if you're taking a class in a lecture hall, then there will probably be about 100 students in your class, and if you're taking a class in a classroom then there will probably be about 20 students (or less) in your class. It depends on the subject, however. Also, most of the professors are really awesome because they know a lot about what they're talking about and they don't take things too seriously all the time. The campus is the perfect size, too - it would take about fifteen minutes to walk all the way from one end to the other. And there are plenty of good places to eat that are within about a mile of the campus, including one street that has two coffee shops, three Asian restaurants, three sandwich shops, a convenience store, and two banks. The campus food is actually decent, too, depending on which place you go to. The only thing that I would complain about is the nightlife - everything nearby closes by nine or ten o'clock, so unless you have a car or want to take a bus or a cab there isn't really much to do. There are house parties and frat parties occasionally, but those can get old pretty quickly.
You can find any type of person at CMU - any race, any religion, any ethnicity, any political affiliation, any sexual orientation, any socio-economic status. With that being said, students with similar backgrounds and interests tend to cling together. For instance, Koreans mostly hang out with Koreans, and drama students mostly hang out with drama students, and football guys mostly hang out with football guys, etc. Your major may very well determine who your friends are because you'll be spending all your time with the same people in the same classes, labs, and studios. The majority of students here come from middle class/upper-middle class families (probably because tuition is so high). But regardless, whatever your interests are, you'll find other people with the same interests here. There is a club for almost everything, from anime-watching to ballroom dancing to death-metal-listening.
If you never pulled an all-nighter in high school, be prepared to start pulling them here. Sleep is uncommon. A trip to the library can sometimes last for 24 hours. Students here must work extremely hard if they want to do well. Some students even spend the entirety of their time on schoolwork and still don't do well. Sometimes students need to skip class in order to have more time to do homework. Academia at Carnegie Mellon is not a joke. Everyone here is really smart, and the professors expect a lot from their students. Some classes are much more challenging than others, however. But the professors are usually willing to offer as much help as they can, and when you finally graduate, many employers will be interested in hiring you because they know how rigorous the curriculum is here.
At Carnegie Mellon University, the stereotype that comes to mind when thinking about the students here is "socially awkward." And it's true - every day there are frequent displays of our incredibly underdeveloped social skills. This is due to the fact that most people here probably spent most of their time in high school on the internet, and thus have little experience when it comes to actually socializing. But that's okay - the personality traits that ostracized CMU students from their peers when they were in high school are the very things that guarantee that they will fit in here; instead of being viewed by your peers as awkward, you will be seen as someone who is full of quirky idiosyncrasies.
Not too big, not too small- CMU is by no means a school where you’ll know everyone, but you’ll definitely become well acquain...
Not too big, not too small- CMU is by no means a school where you’ll know everyone, but you’ll definitely become well acquainted with those within your discipline and bound to always find a familiar face in class or mulling around on campus. With over 10 other colleges in universities in the area -several of which you can cross-register for courses at- there’s no shortage of access to students outside of your own university either. Though, to be honest, the CMU workload limits the amount of social activities you have time for despite there being plenty available. Time management is definitely a necessary skill if you plan to be successful here. It’s a tough place; the work is rigorous, the expectations are high, but at least you’re certain to have plenty of company for the frequent all-nighters.
I'm pretty sure everyone loves the student taught courses (StuCo). They're pretty fun.
Academics, Location, and Financial Aid
Yeah we're pretty nerdy
Engaging and challenging.
There are 276 student organizations on this campus, and if it's possible that one doesn't match your interests you can pretty easily start a new one. Twice a year at the Activities Fair these organizations set up tables with plenty of information about themselves, and the members are eager to connect with you.
The majority of the student body is probably White, though sometimes it seems most students are Asian. The White population is considerable, but Koreans and Indians have a pronounced presence on campus. There’s a wealth of international students and numerous multicultural student organizations. Diversity is certainly something loved and enjoyed on this campus.
For most intro classes the class size is pretty large, and it’s unlikely that you’ll establish much of a relationship with your professors. But as the courses get more advanced and more specific to your discipline you’ll find smaller class sizes and have stronger connections with instructors. Class participation is crucial- if you don’t participate you can get a C or worse even if you ace all the tests and papers. CMU is certainly career focused. It’s not just about learning. It’s about developing skills for the career you seek to pursue. In my creative writing classes, the challenge goes beyond producing well written pieces and onto creating art that satisfies not only yourself but will also appeal to an audience. You’re consistently tested to go beyond the limits and urged to ask questions. Don’t be shocked if you receive a paper back from a professor and around your thesis statement are a red circle with a comment of “So, What?” You have to constantly make certain your purpose is clear and more importantly relevant to our world today in whatever your studies are.
Whether you're a nerd in the cultural sense (a science fiction addict, a gamer, an active participant in live action role playing) or in the more academic sense (you read literary criticism for fun, you spend hours beyond those required to ensure you not only get an A, but also actually learn something and maintain that knowledge) you’re sure to find your kind here.
Depending on part of the country (or world) you're from, some people will never have heard of Carnegie Mellon. Other folks wi...
Depending on part of the country (or world) you're from, some people will never have heard of Carnegie Mellon. Other folks will give you an impressed "ohhh" because they've heard of our impressive reputation in technology and the arts. Located in the heart of Pittsburgh's college district, Carnegie Mellon's name and influence carries a lot of weight in the city. As a humanities major, I've had an amazing experience. My classes are small (under 20!) and even if you have a large lecture, it won't be more than 200 people. The professors want to get to know the students. There are countless opportunities to become involved in extracurricular activities, undergraduate research, or community work. With just 5,500 undergraduates and about the same amount of graduate students, very few people get lost in the crowd. There's not a ton of school spirit, but if you're looking for a passionate, diverse community of individuals, CMU is the place for you.
If there's just one word to describe the Carnegie Mellon student activity experience, it'd be involved. Despite a heavy course load, most students find time to get involved in at least one (although usually upwards of 4) student organizations. Greek life encompasses about 20% of our student body on any given year, and those folks are extremely active on campus. Other than that, Scotch n Soda Theatre, a student-run theater company for non-majors, is extremely popular with students that loved drama in high school but aren't majoring in it. There are several campus publications to work on, 5+ a cappella groups, international service organizations, intramural and club sports teams, and so much more. I've been involved in The Oakland Review, our oldest literary journal, as editor-in-chief and poetry editor; a committee member for the Hillel-Jewish University Center; a Highland Ambassador, a student link between Alumni Relations and our current students; and IMPAQT, an ambassadorship program to bridge the gap between our Qatar and Pittsburgh campuses. Every semester, countless speakers and musicians come to campus (often free events)--everyone from the New Pornographers to Chuck Klosterman to Mark Zuckerberg to the president of Rwanda to Guster. There is always something interesting going on, either on or off campus. Pittsburgh is awash with art gallery crawls, concerts, major league sports events, opera, orchestra, museums, and parks.
As cliche as it might sound, Carnegie Mellon's student population is incredibly diverse. Every day, I walk through campus and hear French, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin, among others. There is a large percentage of international students, and many first-generation Americans as well. There is no large, cafeteria-style dining hall, so you won't see cliques form this way. Just head to Hunt Library, where most students spend a great deal of time, and you'll see folks stratified--or not. Most students make their closest friends in their first-year living communities and within their major. There's a student organization for literally everyone--astronomy club, cmuTV, co-ed water polo, Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics (AHA), and Bhangra in the 'Burgh, to name just a few out of the 250+. Many students come from middle-upper class backgrounds, as CMU's endowment is smaller than many top-tier schools and cannot afford to offer as competitive financial aid packages.
Andrew Carnegie's infamous quote, "My heart is in the work" defines the rigorous academic nature of Carnegie Mellon. No matter what discipline you're in, you'll be assaulted by the workload. But if you've picked the right subject (or subjects! many people double major and minor), it will be rewarding work. Professors engage students inside the classroom, invite you to their house for dinner (true story), and attend student functions. Depending on which college you enroll in, the academic requirements vary greatly. I'll graduate in 3.5 years because of a semester's worth of AP credit that I brought to CMU. Additionally, I studied abroad in India for a semester, something that is easy to do as a humanities student (all my credits transferred) but more difficult as an engineering student. Carnegie Mellon's roots as technical school are still very much alive--the education is geared towards getting students into careers. Even without our liberal arts college, you'll find majors like Information Systems, Economics, Statistics, and Professional Writing.
There's definitely a perception that Carnegie Mellon is full of freaks and geeks, so to speak. And you could understand where this perception comes from--we wouldn't be so well-known for our technology and computer science programs if some folks weren't glued to their screens all day. But this isn't the whole picture--CMU excels in the arts as well, from drama to architecture to the visual arts. The saying, "the odds are good but the goods are odd" stems from the fact that CMU is home to a lot geeky guys. Stereotypes begin for a reason (there are a lot of geeky guys here) but again, there's more to it than that. There's a lot of people from all over the country (guys and gals!) and the world, involving in everything from robotics to football to journalism to student-run theater.
I think Carnegie Mellon is a wonderful place, as well as a fine school. You learn just as much from the community as you do ...
I think Carnegie Mellon is a wonderful place, as well as a fine school. You learn just as much from the community as you do from class, which is considerable. The students themselves are what make the university great. They push the boundaries of their fields, and are always willing to try new things. They're flat out good at what they do, and are always trying to do something new and interesting with the skills they have and have learned.
In creative majors, classes tend to be pretty open. Some say it's "just enough rope to hang your GPA with", but I prefer to think of it as room to discover your talents and passion. Deadlines are fixed, but as long as you have something polished then you're free to get it done however you want. This isn't the same for other fields, however. My language classes are intense and give a lot of work, but it's in the name of practice and has led to quick learning.
No one group is particularly influential or large on campus, although the performing arts are somewhat prevalent. The non-major theater company (Scotch 'n' Soda), various a capella groups (Soundbytes, Counterpoint, etc.), and dance groups (Chak De, Dancer's Symposium) are a common interest among the student body. Video games are universally played, if not particularly organized. Fraternities and sororities have grown exponentially in the last few years, and are a strong pillar of the school's social life, though not required to have fun. CMU is a geeky school, and its greek organizations are very different from those at any other university.
The spirit of collaboration at CMU is one of its biggest draws, and the university lives up to it. School spirit isn't obvious in normal ways (sports aren't a big issue), but runs deep, even if it's for a particular program and not the entire school. Regardless, students' resect for each other's work is tremendous, which fosters a community of interested people. Students always find themselves taking classes outside their major or school simply because a friend inspired them to.
Classes at CMU (in my experience) are geared towards finding your passion, and then diving as deep as you want into it and anything related (or unrelated, if you want). You can even create your own major if the course of study you want isn't offered. This can be anything from Nuclear Engineering to Bagpiping, and plenty in between. But keep in mind: Classes are intense. CMU is a highly-selective school with sky-high expectations for its students, and everyone there is incredibly skilled and intelligent in their field. It's in a student's best interest to take what they have a passion for, so they're willing to put in the time and effort to do well.
CMU students are generally thought of as introverted, cave-dwelling nerd beasts. And to be honest, we have a few of those. But the vast majority of people are outgoing, personable, and interesting, often because of their quirks and geekiness. They're all weird, but who isn't? CMU owns their oddity.
Carnegie Mellon is tough. Some find that as an excuse to hole up in their rooms, occasionally go out for food, and grumble ab...
Carnegie Mellon is tough. Some find that as an excuse to hole up in their rooms, occasionally go out for food, and grumble about how the school is soul-crushing. Others see it as a challenge, work extra hard during the days to get their work done, accept that they'll pull a few all nighters, and decide to enjoy their full college experience. Many students are heavily involved in activities outside of academics. CMU is the perfect size for me; large enough that I don't know everyone and their business, but small enough that I can get around easily. The school has an excellent reputation, especially in the Pittsburgh area, where people automatically think you're a genius for attending. Pittsburgh's a huge college town, especially in the Oakland area, and that leads to a lot of fun events to attend on the weekends. The only thing I would change, if I could, is the school's lack of pride in general and for athletic teams.
Banghra, intramurals, Greek life, parties, social discussions. Carnival is huge.
Minority groups are smaller on campus. There is a fairly large Asian and foreign population, but mostly Caucasian kids. Most students dress casually but nicely - no sweatpants here. You'll see mostly middle class and upper-middle class backgrounds, lots of kids from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and a mix of most of the other states. Most students are very liberal and informed. They definitely talk about how much they'll earn one day. Or, more likely, how much they'll accomplish - everyone is very driven.
Professors are usually very accessibly and interested in student's learning. There are, of course, exceptions, like at any college. Once you get to upper-level courses, no matter your major, you'll be in small, tight-knit classes where you start worrying less about your grades and more about living up to the expectations of your professor and peers with your research and work. Students are not cut-throat here. I've heard horror stories from other universities, but everyone's very collaborative, knowing that if you help someone, it'll come back around eventually. I am very happy with my own degree program (Professional Writing, in the English Department). It is rigorous but flexible, allowing me to take classes geared to my unique goal for after graduation.
People both outside and inside the University hold a common stereotype - that we're all a bunch of eggheads. I think this is absolutely true if you define a nerd as "an intelligent, single-minded expert in a particular technical discipline or profession" instead of "a foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious". Yes, everyone here is incredibly invested in their work, whether it's engineering, music, or writing. But there is a thriving social community if you choose to look for it outside of the computer clusters and office hours.
When one thinks of Carnegie Mellon University students, one likely imagines a scrawny computer science major hunched over wit...
When one thinks of Carnegie Mellon University students, one likely imagines a scrawny computer science major hunched over with a huge backpack, programming 24/7 and forgetting to shower. Or perhaps one imagines an unhealthily pale engineering student with dark circles under his/her eyes and barely any social skills. And while these stereotypes may be true in some aspects for a fair amount of Carnegie Mellon students, these extreme perceptions don't apply to the entire student body. We have jocks (who discuss physics once they're off the field). We have Greeks (who still achieve 4.0's). We have liberal arts students (who work just as hard as the engineers). We have a diverse student population with a multitude of personalities, which makes it impossible to just assign one stereotype to every student. So yes, there are students who fit stereotypes - but not all of them forget to shower.
I love being in the drama school but it kicks your ass. It's as prestigious a program as it is because the teachers work us t...
I love being in the drama school but it kicks your ass. It's as prestigious a program as it is because the teachers work us to the bone, run our lives, and expect 24 hours a day of complete excellence and commitment. But we all love what we do so much it doesn't matter. Drama is NOT for the faint of heart. In terms of the larger university? Tons of science people and nerds. Everyone here knows what they want to do with their life, and for that I have tons of respect.
It's very incestuous. We're all dating one another all the time and breaking up and hooking up and re-arranging and generally behaving like we live in a soap opera. However, everyone is always complaining about how there's no one to date.
So I have no clue because I'm busy in rehearsal.
- talented - gorgeous - hardworking - probably leaning politically left - either very gay, or very gay-friendly. this is drama school people. - somewhat financially diverse - somewhat racially diverse - very diverse in terms of geography
Drama school is crazy-hard work. Class and then rehearsal from 10am - 10:30pm every day of the week. But we love what we do and want to be the best so it's all worth it. The teachers are incredible. Outside of drama classes are hit or miss. I take a lot of humanities classes, some are wonderful and some are fucking awful because some of the HSS kids are total idiots.
I'm in the drama school so I can say that our stereotype is very talented, very attractive, and stupid. The first two stereotypes are 100% true, the last is only true in a handful of cases.
To start with, I would have told myself to go to college right after high school! The biggest regret I have in life is that I...
To start with, I would have told myself to go to college right after high school! The biggest regret I have in life is that I waited so long to go back to school. I believe that making the transition from high school to college would have been alot easier at that time then it was a year ago when I decided to go back. I had to retrain myself to take notes, study, allow time for homework, etc. I believe a college education is one of the most important factors in a persons life. Not only will it help you secure a good paying career that you like, but the self-esteem that it builds in yourself when you accomplish these goals is worth so much more!
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