Harvey Mudd College Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

Katarina

So you are ready to go to off to college. Your bags are packed, and you are excited and nervous about your upcoming adventure. It is great to be enthusiastic, but before you leave, take the time to do the things you enjoy and spend time with loved ones. You will soon learn that if you do not live your life fully at each moment, opportunities will pass you by. Make sure that you know how to stay calm and focused, and learn how to take care of yourself. Remember that sleep is a necessity. Your fellow students are also adventurers, as well as future coworkers and confidants. Be friendly and true, but remember that you are your own top priority. You will have many new experiences, some unique to your college. Try to take advantage of them, but remember to keep up with your curriculum. If the curriculum is much harder than you are used to, find help among professors and experienced students. Find an activity you love, a subject area you have passion and some talent for, friends, and a work ethic. When you return home for the holidays, you will be bursting to share your success story.

William

What I have gotten out of college far exceeeds just the educational value. Although I have learned far more than I ever could have hoped or expected, I was also exposed to new areas of learning and parts of life that I had never even thought of. My probable career path is something that I had never even contemplated before I got to college. Moreover, I feel that I have become a more compete, mature individual, one that will contibute to the workplace and community in the future.

Nathan

I learned a lot about things that I was interested in. I feel that the education I received allowed me to get into a good graduate school.

Brianna

I would tell myself that there is no challenge too difficult for me to handle when I surround myself with people who really care. The first semester in college was the hardest semester of school in my life, I encountered my first serious incident of racism. If it were not for my supportive professors, caring friends, and loving family, I would not want to continue in college and would have completely fallen apart. That semester was the first time I felt as if I was not meant to become an engineer, that it was not what I was capable of. But my support system helped me to realize that another person's opinion is not what is important, and I can do whatever I set my mind to. I would tell myself to not care about what other people say about me or my background, and this is what I will also tell the young student I will begin mentoring Spring semester. One of the greatest ways to stop the cycle of racism is to break the sterotypes that keep some of us down.

Laurie

Apply to more private universities than public, because private ones give out more financial aid.

Kristen

Finding the right college is easier said than done. There are approximately 4,000 colleges in the US, making it seem impossible to narrow your choice down to one. Sure, your SAT scores, grades, and interests eliminate a considerable number of them, but not enough. It?s almost comparable to finding love; finding the perfect college for you is sort of like finding your soul mate in a sense, frustrating and seemingly hopeless. Never be afraid to explore your options. Imagine yourself living in the dorms, going to classes, and just existing as a college student at X University/College. One day you?ll be reading a brochure or walking down a campus and you?ll think, ?I could be happy here, this place is amazing.? Go for it. Don?t be too hasty in the elimination process. Apply to a college even if it?s thousands of miles away from home. Apply to a college with a median SAT score seventy points above your own. You never know. Life works in mysterious ways. Going to college is primarily for receiving an excellent education, but also remember that college is a fun and exciting adventure. Make the most of it.

Sonja

Visit as many college campuses as you can. And, if possible, stay the night or at least talk to some real students in their natural environment. The campus tours don't give you the full picture. Don't apply to big-name schools just because of the name. You probably won't enjoy it there. But at the same time don't just apply to the local state school because it's cheapest. You can make good friends at a school where people share more of your interests, and spending a little extra money during these four years may be well worth it. Once you're at college, figuring out how to balance social and study life is the most difficult thing you'll ever do. But, if you neglect either one, you'll be unhappy. Don't be unhappy! Have study groups with friends, and party on the weekends, and take interesting classes. One more thing -- when choosing classes, choose based on the professor, not the topic! A good professor can make you learn much more than a dull one any day. And, you might find a subject you never knew you liked. That's all!

Dmitri

If possible, don't choose public colleges. Private colleges offer so much more.

Kevin

Visit the school, and stay overnight. While there, attend classes, but more importantly, TALK to people. Find people in majors you're interested in, discuss what they do and don't like. Discuss social aspects. Discuss academic aspects. Find out how people spend their time - do they have time for all the things they want to do? Are they happy, do they enjoy free time? Do they feel as if their time spent studying/doing homework/in class is time well spent, or do they think their professors are wasting their time on stupid, meaningless assignments? Find out what they have done that they think are cool. Try to get people excited to talk about their work, and their life. People should have excitement for their work; if they don't, something is wrong. You want to be excited about your school, all aspects of it. Remember, college is in large part for discovering yourself, your passions. To do that, you need to be around passionate people. If your classmates are not interested in the work, if your friends are not interested in the campus life, you will neither have a good time nor learn as much as you should.

Tarun

Make sure you don't disregard the school's emphasis. I got a really great feeling from coming to Harvey Mudd, but the focus on humanities made me hate my life for my time here. Also make sure that you don't pick a small school if you are research inclined, because you don't get much opportunity with the leaders in their fields. However, small schools are great if you like to spend a lot of time with professors talking about the material, because they live for the students.

Katie

I found my dream college by chance. I was so inundated with college letters that I didn't feel like reading any more, but then one caught my eye that I'd never heard of--it had a funny name, Harvey Mudd--and it turned out to be the perfect match. The letter caught my attention, and then the on-campus visits showed me the truth in the letter's words. So open every letter you get, and then visit each college that catches your eye. And try to spend some time there without your parents; it feels different.

Jordan

Don't worry about the reputation a school has because usually well known schools are rooted in deep seeded traditions that inhibit moving forward.

Joel

The most important thing is to visit any school you are considering; never just go off reputation or what you have heard about the school. Ideally stay overnight with a student provided the school has such a program for prospective students. Books can tell you alot about a college, but in order to know which one fits you best there really is no substitute for experiencing it first hand. Beyond that, just be true to yourself about what you want out of your college years and pick the college where you feel you will be most comfortable. Making the most out of your college experience is all about finding the appropriate balance between your social life and school work. You are in college to get an education, so take advantage of it by taking as many classes as you can, while still being able to maintain an active social life. Furthermore, college is a time for forming friendships that will likely last a lifetime. Participate in clubs and activities that interest you and meet as many people as you can.

Matthew

To Parents: Don't be afraid to let your student go to a college far away from home. The farther they go away, the more chance they might just get homesick and want to come back. In my experience, going to school close to home, in two and a half years, I haven't gotten homesick, and my folks don't even see me on breaks unless they're long enough for the school to make us go home for them. To Students: Whether you do very well in high school or not so well, you need to go to college, and the best way to prepare isn't to take lots of cool classes, though that helps; it is to become organized and to become very good at time management. I did fairly well for myself in high school, but that doesn't mean a thing now because I have issues with getting all that I need to do done in the time alloted. Also, don't be afraid to go far from home: see a bit of the world, and you can tell your folks all about it over Christmas break. Most of all, have lots of fun.

Heather

Know your passions. College can be a challenging experience for many people, so you need to love what you're doing. When I'm stressed about my college work, I think to myself, "Where would I rather be than here?" And the answer is: no where. I love what I do and the opportunities that my college provides for me to succeed at those passions. That is my motivation. Find what will motivate you at college, and pick the college that will most help you succeed. Do not eliminate colleges based on the price tag. If you find a college that offers the learning environment you need, take advantage of the many scholarship opportunities that exist for undergraduates. Although I attend a very expensive private college, I've found that it is worth every penny. Your education is worth it, too. Most importantly, make many friends in college. You'll meet many different types of people in college, and you'll make friendships for life. Your friends will be there for you during both the rough times and the best times. And believe me, there will be many best times. Enjoy them!

Madeleine

The school students wind up going to will not necessarily make or break their life. The school is only 30-40% of a person's experience, the other 60-70% is what you make of it. Pick a school that fits you, where you can make the school fit your needs. A name school is not the best fit for most people. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into, and don't be afraid to go for what you want when you get to college. If you are proactive, any door is open to you.

Brette

During the application process, try not to decide on a "number one school" -- have several schools in mind, schools where you think you would be very happy. You can choose your favorite AFTER you get in. Visit the schools you are considering if at all possible! Attend classes, talk to professors, and just hang out with the students. Ask lots of questions. Be open-minded. Stay overnight if possible. Apply to any school you think you would want to attend; don't let money stop you from applying. It is better to get accepted and find out how much financial aid you can get than to give up without trying. Maybe you can pit schools against each other to get more financial aid from the one you want to go to. Maybe. Students: Don't let your parents decide for you. Parents: Don't try to decide for your son or daughter. My Dad and I visited schools together, and he refused to give me an opinion about the school until I had given him mine. He really wanted me to choose for myself, and I really appreciated that. Trust. Trust that you will end up in the right place.

Paige

When you have found the school that fits you best, you know it. I am not a believer in love at first sight, but there is a similar sense of magic. Normally glaring flaws seem to disappear. The ugly buildings go unnoticed because your focus is drawn to the smiling faces of the students. The classes that you would normally dread taking become interesting because the professors are enthusiastic about their lessons. You go on a first date, a visit to the campus. You sit through some classes, eat a meal and if you are really attached, spend the night. You wake up the next morning, and know that this is the school you want to spend the rest of your life with, but much more likely your commitment will only last for the next four years. You know as you mail in your agreement to attend, that you will be a part of this school from this day forward, for better friends and for worse tests, for richer futures and for poorer presents, in sickness and in health, till your degree is complete. And you have no second thoughts, because you know that you have found your perfect match.

Bob

Make sure you are socially compatible with the school and its student body.

Erin

Once the decision is narrowed down to a couple of schools, it's time to visit the schools. Make sure that whatever school you choose has an environment that you feel comfortable in, in addition to your other criteria.

Ashley

You need to make sure that you are at a place that feels right to you, not a place that has a great name, or that you wish was the school for you. If you don't get it somewhere, don't worry too much about it, it probably wasn't meant to be. If you want to make the most of your college experience, get outside your comfort zone. Try something new and do something different - just for the experience of having done it.

Kristina

It takes a great deal of time and effort to find the right college. Starting the search your Junior year of high school will ease your stress considerably. The first step is to use your school's college counseling services and all the knowledge and experience that they have to assist you in researching the hundreds of options and narrowing down your choices to a reasonable number of realistic possibilities. They can help you to find the school the best fits your interests, and explain costs, financial aid, loans, and more. Take the time to really find out about each school and visit as many as you can. Summer is a great time for doing research without the stress of homework. Complete each application and any additional essay requirements to the best of your ability and, once again, use your counselors and teachers to help you. Once you've been accepted, making the final choice often comes down to one last visit, hopefully with an overnight stay to really get a feel for the school and its environment. Make the most of your college years by getting involved, and those 4 years will fly by faster than you can believe.

Bryan

take tours, stay over, sit in on a class or two and talk to as many people as possible while on campus. You can get a great feeling for the campus and the current students from talking to them and seeing how they act and respond

Kristina

In order to find the right college, I feel it is imperative that a student must visit their top prospective schools, preferably for an overnight stay in a dorm with current students. I discovered that having the opportunity to sit in actual classes, meet the professors, spend time with students and see what life is like on each specific campus for a few days made my final selection an easy and obvious choice. By spending time on the campus of a college, a prospective student is able to get a feeling for the atmosphere of the school, and determine whether or not this is a condusive place for them as an individual. Once in college, to make the most of the experience I would advise always going to class, getting to know the professors by attending office hours, and most of all, participating in activites outside of the academic world. By attending classes, a student can utilize the resources provided by the college, instead of trying to teach themelves. Club participation allows a student to find their niche on campus, as well as giving them an outlet to relax and unwind after a tough day of classes.