I love Rice and never regret coming here. We've got an amazing dorm culture, small size, and a beautiful campus with 100-year old buildings. Some of our Professors are famous and their research is being used all over the world. Rice students do live in a bubble, yes. You have to push most of them to get "beyond the hedges" and many students are much more academically focused than socially focused. That's Rice. Something that I've got to mention is a few of our traditions. Rice's biggest tradition is Beer Bike, a day in the Spring where every student on campus wakes up at 5AM to cheer their college on in a University-wide competition. The week that leads up to Beer Bike is called Willy Week (after our founder, William Rice) where colleges play "jacks" (Ricespeak for pranks) against each other. Willy Week is nothing less than a pump-up week. All the colleges blast loud music, have special events, and college pride shoots through the roof. Each college has a team that chugs beer (chuggers) and then rides bikes (bikers) around a specially built campus track. At the end of it all, we have a campus-wide water balloon fight. We're such a small school that we can actually do things like that. We've also got the infamous Baker 13. On the 13th and 31st of every month, an adventurous group of students run around campus to each college completely naked with cans of shaving cream. When they come to your college, you throw water balloons at them. The goal of the naked runners is to get inside your college and spray shaving cream everywhere. You wouldn't expect a small, southern school to do this, but we certainly do. I love Rice and never regret coming here. We've got an amazing dorm culture, small size, and a beautiful campus with 100-year old buildings. Some of our Professors are famous and their research is being used all over the world. Rice students do live in a bubble, yes. You have to push most of them to get "beyond the hedges" and many students are much more academically focused than socially focused. You should expect that given our ranking and reputation. But we know how to party and drink. Like what seems to be every elite college's motto, Rice's motto is Work Hard, Play Hard. If you think about it, it fits us though.
Christian ministries at Rice: there are suprisingly a lot of Christian groups to get involved with, if this is of interest to you. Ranging from the Catholic Student Association to Baptist Student Ministry to Campus Crusade to weekly Bibly studies at yoru college to prayer groups. One thing I love about Rice is taht a person who doesn't take the middle road, but instead takes the high road of integrity and sticks to their guns in regards to dating, drinking, hooking up, etc, YOU have an opportunity to shine brightly (Phil 2:15). Although located in good 'ole conservative Texas, Rice is a world unto it's own. I wouldn't trade my experiences here for anything. I know this is exactly where God wanted me these past few years.
Residential college system, 5:1 student-faculty ratio, Houston as the 4th largest city in the country, Rice baseball, unique college traditions like Beer Bike and Night of Decadence, Orientation Week (or O-Week), literally across the street from Texas Medical Center (world's biggest medical district), emphasis on undergraduate research, completely undergraduate-oriented, flexibility of majoring in cross-disciplines, excellent graduation school acceptance rates (92% medical school acceptance last year), prestige in Houston, laidback and collaborate rather than competitive atmosphere
The orientation for freshman and first-time transfer students at the beginning of a new semester is awesome. I do not think that any other school could have offered an experience that could compare to it. It was that great. We spent a week getting to know people and playing games. They gave us a family and friends before the school year started. This orientation happens right before school starts and I feel that it is better when it is done this way. It was one of the most exciting times of my life.
The dorm system is unique in that it resembles the Harry Potter rooming system. There are different dorm buildings that have their own unique history and traditions, and there are some small rivalries during activities like Beer Bike. This school is also unique in that it is a small school in a big city. This means that students can easily contact their instructors and be known while experienceing the cultural eventsonly available in a big city.
Rice is an amazing place! At first it can be intimidating and scary; you may feel like you are being asked to do more than you are capable of. As time goes on, however, you realize that you ARE capable of this and more, that you ARE more then you ever thought you were...Rice really brings you to yourself. If you come with an open mind and a spirit for adventure, no doubt you will find happiness and fond memories in such an amazing university!
Rice people can be socially awkward, but we are all really fun. Other people say that we have "Rice speak" sometimes because we have so many crazy things that people not from Rice could never understand. However, they are all really awesome things! We really do work hard when we have to, but we can still go crazy, especially on the weekends. Everyone at Rice is truly nice, too!
Your list of majors doesn't include Architecture Majors!! I feel that, as an Architecture student, Architecture is a vital discipline, especially for Rice University, and that Architecture is a major contributer to the functioning of society and the spaces that one traverses.
In light of Rice's elite academic standing, it has very down-to-earth and humble students. Although we aren't crazy about sports, we are crazy about our college system. Our traditions and unique system make way for an incredible college experience.
Basically, visit the campus. If it doesn't feel right, don't spend the next four years there. But other than that, I'd recommend it to anyone. I loved every minute of my four years there, and if I thought I could, I'd spend another.