One of the most underrated student bodies in the country in terms of intellect. Overall impression is that this is one of the best schools in the country to focus on academics and be thrown into interdisciplinary study. Every student at Carnegie Mellon chooses a specific major in one of the 7 colleges and is required to minor in a college other than the one they are majoring in. This makes every student on campus have a really specific knowledge in their major and an often unrelated and multidisciplinary edge due to the minor requirement. CMU is a great school for students who know what the want before they get to college.
The first thing you need to know about this school is that you will be doing insane amounts of work, and so will everyone else. Always. Even the weekends. All the time. Which isn't a bad thing! One of the reasons I decided to come here because I wanted to be challenged by the work I was doing instead of being able to easily grab straight A's and party. One of the few things I absolutely loathe about this place, though, is the hierarchy that seems to exist within the school. Essentially, Humanities and Business students are thought to do less work, followed by CFA, MCS, and then CIT, then SCS (of course). Its not that big of a deal, though. Also, Stress culture. People seem to be ruled by how much work they do-- people go around saying stuff like, Aw, I only got three hours of sleep last night! and the next guy will be all like, yeah, well I only got two! And they'll sort of laugh it out but you know the first guy was trying to sound all stressed and worked to death-- but he got beaten. Its a really terrible little game that happens sometimes, so if you aren't really excellent at coping with heavy stress, don't come here. Seriously. Don't.
As far as Pittsburgh goes, its pretty cool. The transportation is free (the bus, I mean), there's a lot of cool places, shopping centers, cute little shops, museums (which you can get into free-- score! if thats your thing.)
And of course be ready to have some hardcore CMU pride. If you are here, you learn to love it and everyone here, because you know that if you are surviving at CMU then you can probably survive anything. Most people on campus think we work harder than-- and are more successful than-- Ivy League students, for the fact that we work so hard, and pour so much of ourselves into it. A lot of the time CMU is thought of as second best (to MIT and other techy schools, ivies, so on), and that is a big part of CMU pride. For whatever reason, a lot of us were told we weren't good enough-- so CMU students have this sort of revenge thing. We will do amazing things. We will prove that they made the wrong decision! Whoever they are. And it feels awesome because for the most part, it's true.
So, I suppose you should draw the line at how much you are willing to pour into your education. If it isn't your entire mind, body and soul, then watch out for this one. But if you are ready to take on a challenge and excel because of it, this is the place for you. Everyone here is super chill, you can be whatever you want to be, and you can pursue your life and education in the most intense, most satisfying ways. It gets tough, but its definitely worth it!
I'd say the best thing about this school is the self-directed way it's run. If you want to do well or just fail everything, no one is going to stop you. If you want to sit in your room glued to a book on Saturday nights or go get drunk at a frat, there's no real pressure either way.
If I could change anything it would be the absence of school pride. Crowds at sporting events are pretty small, and most of them are there just to see the band play since it's basically a comedy group.
The school is a bit small, but not suffocating. Pittsburgh is a pretty cool place, but the bulk of people never leave campus which is a shame.
The biggest controversy recently was a girl who wore a pope hat and paraded naked with a cross shaved...well, I'll let you figure out where. Since this school is overwhelmingly liberal, most people supported her.
Big complaints include the meal plan and lack of a social scene. The food isn't too bad, but it gets old and eventually you just want to break away from it. Eventually you'll settle in and find your favorite place(s) to eat. However, I have to agree that the social scene here is severely lacking. If you want to party and have a solid social life, you pretty much need to join Greek life or play on a varsity team. The only real stereotypical "bro" frat just got kicked off campus, so most of the groups just function as a group of guys who like to have a good time. Each group has a unique personality (big drinkers, nerds, stoners, normal guys, try-hards, and more) so go to plenty of rush events and see where you fit in the best. There's even one or two dry frats (whether they actually are is questionable). Sorority recruitment is a bit more formal and they pretty much decide for you where you'll join. It's possible to be an independent and have a fun time here, it just takes a lot of work.
This school is definitely a weird place to be. But the key thing to remember is that everyone here knows the stereotypes of this school, which makes CMU an easy place to fit in. The school is pretty small, so you'll always see at least two friends on the way to class and back. But one unique thing about this school is the social-awkwardness that is definitely present across many students, including myself sometimes. CMU sort of makes you self-conscious of introversion, and pushes you to become more outgoing. It also teaches you to be proud of your quirks, since it's easy to find one or two other people that are into the same hobby or weird thing you're into.
This school is definitely a weird place to be. But the key thing to remember is that everyone here knows the stereotypes of this school, which makes CMU an easy place to fit in. But social-awkwardness is definitely present across many students, including myself sometimes, so CMU sort of makes you self-conscious of introversion, and pushes you to become more outgoing.
I love SMU. The school spirit could be a million times better but our athletic program is getting better and better each year. SMU is excellent for people interested in business, for those wanting to go to med school I don't know if this school is for you. The networking capabilities at SMU are outrageous. The alumni love to meet with current students and help them out in anyway they can. While at SMU I have worked for the Redskins, helped throw Leigh Steinberg's annual Super Bowl party, and received multiple job offers. Living in Dallas is my favorite part of SMU. There is ALWAYS something to do. We are only 4 miles from downtown Dallas, and there is never a weekend without something to do.
Overall SMU provided a solid undergrad experience. There are many activities to get involved in; however, the student must ask around to find out some of the great available opportunities. The school is about medium sized, though there is not much school pride. The football team is making a comeback so some of the school spirit is slowly changing. I wish there was more focus on multiculturalism- there are several cultural organizations, but none of them are mainstream. The campus itself is beautiful, has won many awards for it's beautification- definitely a great place to be
Coming to Carnegie Mellon was initially a bit of a gamble for me because of the unfamiliar location (I am from LA, California) and because it was the only university I applied to without my original intended major. However, I’m three semesters into college and am completely convinced that coming to Carnegie Mellon was the best decision I could have made. The best thing about Carnegie Mellon is that no matter what major you decide to pursue, each program is extremely well developed and guaranteed to improve and advance whatever skills sets you plan on using for your potential career path. Carnegie Mellon is well known not only for its cutting-edge programs in computer science and engineering, its known for its phenomenal fine arts programs in theater, architecture, and design. Other programs Carnegie Mellon excels in include business, psychology, and professional/creative writing. Basically no matter what you end up studying at this school, you’re bound to get an incredible education that will well prepare you for the future.
Generally, when people hear that I attend Carnegie Mellon, they are either very impressed or unfamiliar with schools in Pittsburgh, PA. People that know about CMU usually know the school for particular programs we have that are amongst the top in the country. The more disappointed reaction may come from the fact that I went from LA to Pittsburgh; however, I love Pittsburgh as a college location because it has just enough “city” to it without being too distracting and overwhelming like if I had gone to school in NYC (which was a serious consideration for me while I was determining where I wanted to go).
Another appeal of Carnegie Mellon for me is the size of the campus/number of students. CMU is a medium-sized school with roughly 5,800 undergraduate students and 3,200 graduate students. For me, this size was ideal because it’s small enough that I can have intimate-sized classes with active discussions yet big enough that I can still meet new people every day outside of class. The campus itself is about 145 acres, quite beautiful and has a lot of open grass space.
One thing that I feel like CMU lacks in may be school spirit, most likely because we don’t have any dominant sports teams (though we do have some small club and intramural sports) to cheer for. Our football team is a pretty big joke and though I would eventually like to go to a game one day, there is not a whole lot of incentive to spend your time at a CMU football game instead of doing work or hanging out elsewhere. On the plus side, we have many active organizations on campus that keep our students lively and excited about other campus events.
Starting answering!Academic life varies a lot depending on your major. Drama students seem like almost their own fraternity: older students guide younger ones, and professors make the whole Drama school feel like a community. Architecture students also grow close, through infamous long hours in the studio. The humanities college has less of a unified or tight-knit feel, though Creative Writing, for instance, has its own lounge, which gives its students a bit of a hang-out place.
It is true that Carnegie Mellon is known for engineering. It has a strong reputation for drama (Zachary Quinto among others!) and music, and just that you go here is usually enough to make someone think you’re smart. But nearly all the job fairs will be a waste of time for a humanities student (unless you also program software). Just wait for the annual Creative Arts Opportunities Conference. Your college’s reputation also affects what sort of interesting people are brought to campus: it’s going to be more tech and science people than writers and artists.
One of the best parts of Carnegie Mellon is the energy of the students. While studying abroad, I missed the creative intellectualism of CMU. A lot of the students here like to talk, and will sit down with you for hours to discuss and joke around. Some of my best conversations have been with people I just met, which says something about the friendliness here.
The student organizations are another true strength of the college. There is a wide variety, including improv, dance, Buggy, satire, juggling, philosophy . . . .Most importantly, many people get very involved in their clubs, and thanks to clubs there’s often a lot going on. The college makes an effort to provide activities as well; for instance, movie showings on a big screen are offered for $1 Thursday through Saturday.
Dining is different at CMU than at most colleges. Instead of a dining hall, there are many separate vendors. This means you have more control over what food you get (you’re not stuck with typical dining hall buffet). Vendors range from hamburgers to vegetarian, from Indian to soups and salads. This means you can find places you like, but that there’s not a central eating place, and that you won’t meet people at meals.
There’s a lot to do on campus and a lot to do in the city, though transport is a bit difficult, due to a slow bus system. Chances are you won’t spend much time in Downtown Pittsburgh, though if you do make it there, you’ll find plays, museums, and sports stadiums.
In general, CMU supports you doing whatever you want, be that going abroad or organizing your own major. However, as a side effect, there’s a lot of opportunity to make your own plan and not as much structure. Advising is de-centralized, with an advisor for your major, another for your minor, another for study abroad, and another for your general college. Choosing specific teachers to talk to can help get you more detailed advice.
The most often overlooked part of attending a school like Carnegie Mellon, after you wade through all the complaints of a limited party scene and back-breaking course load, is that it is located in the heart of one of the most culturally alive cities in America. It is a sports town filled with Steeler crazies and Crosby fanatics, as well a home to an immensely diverse interweaving of neighborhoods and colleges, which makes for an excellent mix of young college lifestyle and steel era family. The best part about saying you go to Carnegie Mellon is hearing the reactions of people who know about it's successes. My favorite was from a family member in the South who said, "isn't that the school that embarrasses UPitt in every way possible?" Maybe not in the way of legendary parties, but everything else that matters, yes.
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.
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.
Carnegie Mellon University, maintains a very distinct and particular atmosphere. The school is extremely intimate in size; most students can agree to knowing almost every person in their graduating class. Carnegie Mellon is an enigma in every sense of the word. Despite boasting prestigious academics in nearly every field imaginable, many people are unfamiliar with this university, and because of this, the student body shares a very interesting sort of pride that manifests itself in a "we-have-a-best-kept-secret" kind of way.
Perhaps one of the best parts about CMU's location is that it's integrated into the city of Pittsburgh in the best possible way. Without being smack dab in the center of a bustling, overwhelming city, CMU still manages to incorporate elements of the steel city into it's campus atmosphere, while balancing a home-like quality.
Something truly unique about CMU's campus is the operation of its Greek Life. The Interfraternity council and the Panhellenic community only enrich the Carnegie Mellon experience further. Both entities work towards promoting scholarship, service, and the healthy development of young individuals and provide a learning experience that extends beyond the classroom setting.
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.
Carnegie Mellon students take great pride in declaring they attend one of the best universities in the nation, however they are highly lacking in school spirit when it comes to the Friday night football game. Everyone is proud to inform employers that they will graduate with a Carnegie Mellon degree, but this pride does not translate into support for the athletic program. The student section at football games is filled predominantly by members of the CMU Kiltie Band and the girlfriends of the players. Sports like women's soccer are excited just to have five fans that are not blood relations to someone on the team. The most school spirit can be witnessed during the annual Buggy races during Carnival.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Big Picture
Some suggested topics: What's the best thing about Carnegie? · Name one thing you'd change. · Is your school too large, too small, or just right? · How do people react when you tell them you go to Carnegie? · Where do you spend most of your time on campus? · College town, or "what college town?" · What's your opinion of Carnegie's administration? · What was the biggest recent controversy on campus? · Is there a lot of school pride? · Is there anything unusual about Carnegie? · What's one experience you'll always remember? · What are the most frequent student complaints?
There are places for everyone at CMU. The really nerdy people have tons of friends and the really social people have a lot of friends. Design kids, greeks, and cultural groups are all places for people to get together. People are either really impressed that I go to CMU or just smile and say "oh that's good" but they really don't know that it is a really good school. The people are really good. Everyone is driven and smart. You can learn from everyone around you since everyone is working on such great things.
The best thing is the academics. The faculty is near or at the top of their field in so many areas: computer science, drama, engineering, robotics, design, music, decision science, and cognitive psychology, to name a few. The character and achievements of the faculty draw similarly brilliant and committed students. There is also the possibility to develop very different skills to a very high level. Students frequently double major or major and minor across schools within the university or create self-defined majors which bridge disciplines. The diversity in backgrounds and in interests is a huge strength as students are constantly surrounded by different viewpoints. The administration is helpful and treats students like adults. They take safety very seriously and everyone in the campus community receives emails when an incident occurs. I will always remember walking out of Newell-Simon hall at sunset after the final exam of the hardest course of my undergraduate career to the sound of bagpipes in the distance.
Not a super-well known school by the general public, but it's really great academically. Sports are D3. Campus pride is relatively not that big, but even though I don't wear plaid everywhere, I love CMU and so do most students. When we're pulling all-nighters (fairly often), we hate it, but when we're staying on top of the workload, classes are great.
Carnegie Mellon's awesome power is the intellectual environment fostered by the faculty and sustained by the diversely talented students. On campus, a common thread of comment is that we are undervalued as a school; we're the campus tomorrow's leaders are going to come from, but no one knows us yet.
Engineering and CS are major powerhouses in their own right, but MCS (the science college) commonly garners excellence in research. Additionally, MCS prides itself in undergraduate education.
We are the school of socially competent geeks; we know how to walk the walk and talk the talk, but at heart each and everyone of us is a big, huge, obsessed nerd about our subjects of interest (and this isn't just limited to our majors).
The best thing about CMU is the amazing variety of hard drives. Yes, you can tell the average guy's major by the size of his ... hard drive. Externals of over a terabyte would be your drama majors. The business majors need nothing more than their professional overpriced laptops. The IS majors pretend to be CS with large externals. Jocks of course stick to ... yes sticks, tiny tiny flash drives. The true CS major should not flaunt his hard drive, but instead hide it from the world.
Our school is very focused on hardware. Walking to the sky is not artwork, its actually the antenna to a massive spaceship built under the campus (the steam tunnels are actually passageways).
With all the memory at school, its no wonder that the average person downloads on average 5 terabytes per weekday, and 15 on weekends on our speedy campus connection.
The best thing about CMU is the academics, particularly in fields that heavily deal with math and science, such as engineering. Expectations are high; in order to get a good grade in a challenging class, one needs to not only be intelligent, but also a hard worker.
One thing I would change about CMU is the social atmosphere; people are unfriendly or just plain wierd.
CMU is a little too small; though Univ. of Pitt (down the street) isn't academically as rigorous, I would imagine that people there have more fun and are socially more clued in.
When I tell people I go to CMU, they say, "Oh! That's a good school."
There is schoold pride in certain aspects; people are proud that they got into CMU and respect what the school has to offer to them academically. However, very few people attend sporting events, but that's probably because we're a division three school...
The best thing about CMU is diversity in the college. CMU is not too large so I can go anywhere on foot. I spend most of my time at the gym to play sports with friends.
CMU is the perfect size. It's small enough to make it easy to get to know many people on a personal level. Whether they are in your major, live in your building, or just go to the same parties as you, seeing people frequently and not getting lost in the crowd allows making friends with similar interests easy. At the same time, it's big enough that it doesn't get boring. There are always new people to meet, various clubs, organizations, and events to participate in, and is located in the middle of a huge college town.
The school size is absolutely perfect. Small enough to recognize your friends on the way to class but large enough so that not everyone knows your business.
I think the size is just right. The classes are small enough so that you can be noticed if you want to be an over-achiever, yet big enough to fall asleep in the corner w.o anyone caring. I do A LOT of work. Pittsburgh has lots of colleges, and it is usually easy to find a party if you know where to look. The CMU administration wants to make sure we all look like bright, smart kids that are going to take over the world. However, this usually means they punish the fraternities and kids who drink in their dorms a lot harsher than they should. There is not a lot of school pride, we are bad at sports. We have a new mascot though, which is much better than a piece of cloth. Essentially, everyone complains about the workload but has a good time in the process.
My favorite thing about CMU would be the people. Everyone has a few quirks and you don't really need to hide them. To give you an example I have an obsession with socks and I put ideas for poems or short stories on my ceiling so if I can work on them if I happen to be lying awake in bed. It's not that we're all mentally unstable, we're just all slightly not normal. Most people don't know where CMU is or they think it's only a performing arts school, or an engineering school, which really is the furthest thing from the truth. CMU school pride really isn't what you'd typically consider school pride, it doesn't really involve sports. Pretty much everyone owns CMU clothing and is proud of their school and going there, but we don't know the alma mater or anything.
I think that we're in a great part of the city. We have free museum passes, three professional sports teams, other universities, shopping streets, coffee shops and great bars. I do spend a lot of time at the library getting my work done, but once it's finished, there's a lot to do. There's a huge incentive for managing your social and academic life.
A lot of students complain about the workload, and I've certainly done it, but while working at an internship this summer, I realized that CMU students are able to function and excel at such a high level and literally jump into the workforce and impress people from the beginning, all thanks to our ability to manage time and work. Being introduced as a Carnegie Mellon student elicits a lot of positive responses.
At face value, people might not see CMU as having a lot of school pride. People attend football and basketball games, but it's not anywhere close to a state school. Our athletes are our peers, people that we sit next to in class and study with, so our school pride comes from supporting our friends, and other very unique CMU traditions. The annual Spring Carnival with BOOTH and BUGGY is one of the most memorable times for students. Greeks and other students build small carnival houses for the community and compete for the first prize, while Buggy participants spend the spring semester training for the spring relay race with the buggies, often waking up at 6am on Saturdays and Sundays to use the road.
It's a different kind of pride, but it's totally unique to Carnegie Mellon. Sometimes I feel like it's something that you can't understand until you use your first powertool at Booth, or stand around trying to stay warm at Buggy practice, or sneak out to the Fence and paint it for the first time.
The best things about CMU is all of the interesting stuff that is happening around us and how many oppertunities for personal advancement we have.
With world leading research happening everyday(by professors, faculty, and students), its no wonder that we are in the news so much. If you look at all the inventions and innovations that have come from individuals that have been heavily influenced by CMU then you will see many life saving, changing, and truly amazing things.
As I mentioned before, even students are making amazing discoveries. The student run organizations on campus are truly a very deep and very enjoyable experience. From clubs that make plays, musicals, and comedy skits, to robotics clubs, green systems research, and scientific research, if you can't find something that truly interest and challenges you then you simply didn't look.
CMU is a nerdy school. There is no doubt in my mind about that. If that's not for you, that's ok-there's no need to be part of the absurdity to fit in. However, if you make some joke referencing De Moivre's Theorem or a bug in your code, you can be reasonably certain that someone will get it and may even laugh.
CMU is a smaller school, about 1,300 students per year. When mentioned in conversation, the people either know the school's great reputation immediately (locals and technology based professionals) or they have no idea that it even exists. For me, as a design student, my time is spent in studio and in general most students find that they spend most of their time on campus. It sometimes takes a lot of determination to leave campus because of the heavy work load and ongoing demands from professors. There is school pride but it is not shown through athletics. The people who attend sports events are the players, parents (if in town) and close friends of the athletes.
Friendly little campus atmosphere, surrounded by tons of great things to explore in the city of Pittsburgh. It is easy to get involved in extracurriculars of all kinds, including Greek life.
CMU is in a great location. Pittsburgh is a great city, and with the free bus pass, we have access to all the important things downtown. One great thing to do in spring is go to Pirates games. They are cheap and easy to get to and always lots of fun. School pride is very low. Most students don't even know when major sporting events are going on. Either that or they don't care. I feel like the administration tries hard to look good, but most of the things they do are designed to give the impression of helping students but don't always do so. They seem somewhat out of touch with what students want and need, as do professors at times.
CMU is eclectic. Our strongest points are the art (drama, design, architecture, music) and the technology (engineering, robotics, computer science etc.) Put that together and imagine it in your head. Yea, you've guessed it. On a nice spring day, the Cut (our name for the yard down the center of campus) is filled with girls in long skirts listening to guys playing guitar, a barbeque at the Fence, and kids with huge backpacks riding their bikes to class. you have the lone girls reading a book under a huge tree and guys throwing a frisbee around.
Of course, Pittsburgh is pretty cold in the winter, so this view is limited. however, it does give a pretty good view of the people who make up this campus. No matter who you are, you can find somebody to relate to here. The people you choose to make your friends are going to change you because they'll pool from different friends, interests, and experiences. It's awesome.
Two things I did not think about when I was applying I have found to be very important and well done at CMU.
1) Does the administration treat student inquiries and issues with respect? At CMU, I have (in my first year) founded a club, worked to change a school-wide plagiarism policy and been supported by 3 deans and my college counselor in all of my interests.
2) Access to public transportation. Pittsburgh is on Amtrak, served by Greyhound and part of the tuition gives us free rides on all public transportation. I volunteer as an Escort for Planned Parenthood of Western PA, go to the Walgreens and get haircuts using the bus.
If at home, you are active with your administration and like to roam around on the weekends, CMU has the potential of being a great school for you. On Amtrak--I get to Washington DC for about $79 roundtrip (with the Student Advantage card) every two weeks or so. You can get up at 4am, take a cab ($11) to the Amtrak Station, catch the 5:45am and you're in DC by 1:30pm. Then on Sunday take the 4pm train back, getting to Pittsburgh at 11:30pm. Fun!
You walk in smart, you walk out smarter and you learn all you can.
I think the best think at CMU is that I can meet people that, not to blow my own horn, are on the same intellectual level as me. I came from a pretty small town and high school (about 500 students 9-12), and very few of us will ever do anything in life, so it was nice to meet some new people that actually cared about their future and didn't just want to party all the time. Not that we can't party and have a good time.
People seem to be really impressed when I tell them to go to CMU, but I still can't seem to find a summer job.
It is really expensive, so I wouldn't come without a definite commitment to eventual graduation and probably higher expectations.
The location--Pittsburgh is a great town for hippies and CMU is in a great spot within Pittsburgh. Size is just right. People usually say either one of two things when I tell them I attend CMU: "Wow, you must be an engineer?" or "What is that...Carnegie Mellons?" I spend most of my time on campus in Porter hall watching films for the film classes I attend or on the cut if it's sunny. CMU's administration is too damn conservative. Not much school pride. Unusual things about CMU are the adamant love for linux clusters which contributes largely to the stinkyness of our CS students, random crab apple trees which produce edible fruit, and the weirdest club KGB. I will always remember meeting my boyfriend: a non-stinky and attractive CS student.
CMU is beautiful, first and foremost. The architecture is amazing and each building has its own thing to offer. There's grass and trees everywhere too, but it's nestled in the city of Pittsburgh, so it's definitely not like you're in the middle of nowhere like some state school. It's also a really wonderful size, with just under 30,000, I'd say. You can get from one end of the campus to the other in probably twenty minutes, so it's nothing overbearing. People complain a lot about the food, but in reality, compared to other schools it's not that bad. They don't have a cafeteria or anything, it's like little restaurants or cafes... a deli here, a grill there, a chinese food joint here, a coffee shop there, etc.
CMU is an incredible school for any and every major. You are going to get a wonderful education and just the fact that you graduated from CMU says a lot to companies all over the world. CMU campus is just the right size and beautiful. There are lots of people to get to know but you never feel like just a number. The only thing that I would say is difficult for students is CMU does not offer very much finacial aid. It is a very expensive school and many people are willing to pay the full price for the great education. I believe it is worth the money, but it would be nice to have a little more help in this area.
Socially, you need to try maybe a little harder to make friends are CMU. It is not impossible by any means. CMU does a great job with Orientation week to help freshman meet friends. I still have some great friends that I met at Orientation. I also joined Greek life which is wonderful on CMU's campus. When most people think about Greek life they see that hazing, parties, and fake friends. It is nothing like this at CMU. As a woman, the student goes through Formal Member Recruitment. There are 5 sororities on campus and you get to know each one. After there is selection process, where the new member chooses her top 2 sororities and the sororities pick their girls as well. This way the new member finds the place where she will fit in best. As a women in Greek life, I have met so many great people. I have met some of my best friends through Greek life, done some awesome activities, and raised a lot of money for charity, and I wouldn't change it for the world.
Carnegie Mellon is about carving your own way. Almost everything not related to courses, houses and food services is run by students. If you get yourself on the leadership of a student organization, you will not be only doing the bidding of some university lackey with a vision. You will actually get to shape the organization and its goals and operate its budget with the only limits being motivation and practicality. Carnegie Mellon is THE place for self-starting, motivated students
CMU is a great school because it has many different things to do at all times. There are parties, movies, club activities and many other things to do over the weekends and at nights. The bus system is really easy to use and useful and can bring you to many shopping places like the Waterfront and the South Side.
CMU is just the right size. The campus isn't too small or too big but for the amount of students, you won't be hiking for an hour before class to get to campus. When I told people in high school I was coming here, most students had never heard of it, but other adults recognize is as a really tough and prestigious school. It's not much of a college town, but Pitt is down the street so there are a lot of restaurants and bars to go to in that area. I wish it weren't so spread out because if you want to go to clubs or something you need to take a bus and the buses stop at 1am or so so it's hard to plan how to get home. There isn't a lot of school pride, not many people show up to the football games or such but that might just mean that we're not big on sports here. A lot of students have recently complained about "The Pole" or "Walking to the Sky" which was erected last year. The administration accepted it as a donation from someone and instead of donating the $10,000 to a scholarship, they made this awful looking sculpture that now takes over the front area of campus. But the hype from it has mostly faded.
Its a remarkable academic environment. You're getting a top education, but surrounded by the most down to earth, NON arrogant people. Pittsburgh is a great city for college kids. Sports are huge so the environment is always great in any season, theres plenty of other colleges (Pitt just a couple blocks away), enough bars, restaurants, shopping, and museums to keep you busy, but small enough to feel intimate and NOT AT ALL an expensive city to live in! There's not much CMU pride in terms of atheltics, thats for sure. People love to complain about the all nighters we always pull (its true), and spend their entire freshman year threatening to transfer. Almost no one ever does. What's cool about the school is that is has so many diverse strengths. Its known for its top engineering and computer science programs, yet have some of the most competitive Design and Theater programs in the country as well.
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