Rice University Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Max

Some of them are. I'll try to break it down. Smart: Everyone at Rice is smart. End of story. Anti-social: Too an extent there are anti-social people here as there are at any University. Some kids only appear at mealtimes and never participate in college events. Studying overwhelms their life, and they never come out of their room. They are definitely in the minority however, and there is a push at Rice to get you out of your shell and make friends. Upperclassmen go out of their way to include freshmen in activities and out-to-eat trips. Strange: Yes. Rice has a reputation for its quirkiness, and it's definitely true. It's hard to describe though but the strange aspect of Rice is definitely present. Asian: We get a lot of jokes because of the name of our University and its over-represented Asian population. Yeah we've got a lot of Asians. They're smart. So is Rice. It fits. Diversity wise, Rice is a lot like its Ivy League counterparts. Whites make up 50% while the other half is minorities. Race relations are quite good (everyone brings different experiences to the discussions), but Rice is underrepresented by Blacks and Lations. The Admissions Office is working on this however. Wealthy: Depends on who you're looking at. The cost to attend Rice for 2010-2011 was around $48,000. The Administration just announced another tuition/room and board increase and for 2011-2012 the cost to attend Rice will approach $50,000. The continual tuition increases are annoying because they are taking advantage of the students who do pay full tuition (the Administration seems to justify the hikes because the one "rich" group can afford to pay more, and then they raise the rates). Yet in spite of the high cost, Rice is a solidly middle class school. Rice has excellent financial aid packages to subsidize the tuition of students who cannot afford the cost. There are students from lower-class backgrounds and students from upper-middle class backgrounds. The number of upper-class "rich" students may be less than at Harvard, but they are definitely still present. It's just as common to see new BMWs and Land Rovers as older, more mainstream cars in the parking lot (although that may be because our parking is so expensive).

Ryan

You can certainly find plenty of people who match the first two descriptions, but they're subgroups on par with many others. The third stereotype, not so much; the non-engineering programs at Rice are strong and vibrant, and the engineers themselves are much more invested in the arts and humanities than at other schools. You'll find plenty of computer science/philosophy or biology/English double majors. Not having many highly-ranked humanities graduate programs means the professors tend to be more invested in teaching undergraduates. Not the place to be if you want to be a media studies professor when you grow up, but definitely hospitable to writers, artists, and those who seek a rich humanities curriculum.

Sarah

It is true that most Rice students are hard-working and competitive (though we are adept at coating our competitive natures in sugar--no claws here). And probably 25%, if not higher, of undergraduates don't drink. But there are plenty of opportunities for those so inclined to get wasted--and the great part is that they are often school-sponsored! The residential colleges host fun parties, and thanks to "private parties" (mini-parties that are in the rooms of students, but open to everyone), you don't have to be of-age to imbibe. And you don't have to drive to get home, or at least find a place to crash. In conclusion--it is a rare Rice student who drinks every night of the week (or even most). But the opportunities exist for that. And the seriously party-hardy tend to move off-campus (deep oc) anyway. Rice students definitely fall into three categories: socially inept (especially when it comes to the opposite sex), commitophiles (these usually latch onto a partner freshman year and don't let go, myself included), and commitophobes (these engage in random hookups fostered by too much Shiner and everclear punch).

Harper

While somewhat true, a lot of students do go out and have fun.

Parker

No. That's not the case at all! Like any other college, we've definitely got some very hot guys and girls (maybe not as many as some gigantic state university, but then again, we don't have as many ugly people as they do either). We may work hard, but many of us play very hard as well. I go out several times a week, and I have a hell of a GPA, too.

Chris

These stereotypes have some validity to them but are not entirely true. For one, yeah Rice students are going to be for the most part smart because it is a highly selective school, however, I would say a good portion do not act nerdy or would be regarded as such. Also the average Rice student studies a good amount on weekdays but starting on Thursday through Saturday you will see a ton of parties on campus and Rice students are not shy about having a good time and drinking. As far as sports go, the two biggies (football and basketball) are usually bad, but our baseball program is a national powerhouse and always in contention for a College World Series Championship. Lastly, not all the Rice students are the best looking people, but there are still some hot girls. Just not as much as our rival schools (Texas, A&M) because we are 10 times smaller than them.

Rox

NO! There are SO MANY people here who love fun. We are all smart and most of us study hard, but that doesn't mean that we don't know how to have fun or let loose! Work hard, play hard...that's our motto :)

Elizabeth

Although Rice does have a great engineering school and a large portion of the students are engineering majors, Rice also has a prestigious music school (with one of the best student orchestras in the nation), a fabulous architecture school, and all-around strong academics in almost all departments.

Bryce

No, and yes. Rice has a unique atmosphere that encourages both hard work, and hard play. Though Rice is a very hard university, the residential college system, along with the general personality of Rice Students, makes it so pretty much everyone has a great time.

Tara

Maybe for some people, but not completely. Rice students are often quirky and interesting, but usually much more normal than you would think. They definitely are not outcasts from the socially "normal" world, but are more intellectual - there's a different kind of humor and conversation.. usually a very good thing.

Rick

Mostly. While Rice students do seem to have a lot in common with students at schools like Carnegie-Mellon, MIT, and other tech schools, the fact that Rice is not a hugely well-known name means that you can be fairly certain that most of the students aren't here just for prestige -- they actually care about getting an education. As far a socializing goes, I have a lot of friends at Rice who put it above even academics. With such a lenient alcohol policy, there are plenty of private parties every weekend. Dating, though, does seem to be at a minimum -- though there are an appreciable number of couples, few participate in what could be called "dating."

Andy

I mean a stereotype is set for a reason, but with that being said, no I would say that is pretty exaggerated.

Ian

Yes

Ryan

Like all stereotypes, they are to some extent. "Work hard, play hard" is true, although I would caution against thinking of Rice as a "party school." Yes, there are lots of parties, but many, many people aren't partiers or socialize in different ways. The alcohol policy is excellent--wet campus means a great relationship with the police. If you don't mess with them, they won't mess with you. Yes, Rice students are hard-working, driven, and very smart. There are lots of Engineers and premeds. Yes, we're diverse, although a lot are from Texas and the South. I don't think it's true that we're unattractive! Lots of hot people. (All that sun and warm winter weather :) Sure, lots of awkward people (ever heard of the M.O.B.?) but that's also just what you get at a top college.

Jill

In some people. Not in everyone.

Mike

Like all stereotypes, they encompass a few people, but overall, it's not true. There's always something going on at Rice that doesn't involve academics. All the students at Rice are academically oriented and very intelligent, but we still know how to have fun. Plus, there are plenty of attractive and socially normal people.

Jordan

No. There are plenty of students who spend a majority of their time studying, but the vast majority are involved in myriad activities and lead exciting, interesting lives. There is also a vibrant night life that centers around the residential college system and two amazing bars on campus run and managed by students.

Dawson

Since Rice is a small school with few alumni, several stereotypes about "Rice students" remain, despite the diversity (by every measure) of the student body. Many Rice students are brilliant. Most of my friends also turned down schools such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton. Of all universities, Rice frequently has the largest percentage of its incoming class named National Merit Scholars. As with any institution, there are also mediocre students. Rice tends to be politically more apathetic than some other campuses, although there is a strong environmental awareness. The focus is academic for most students. There are several active religious and secularist groups on campus, but they're very tolerant of each other (the Jewish and Muslim groups have worked together to co-sponsor events).

Charlie

Nope. It was unbelievable how many parties Rice has. We have our most infamous Night Of Decadence party. Rice students definetly know how to separate study time and party time!

Aure

There are always some people that fit the stereotype, but I think that Rice students are really any uglier or smarter than most people at similar schools. As for awkwardness, I think that Rice students just don't care as much as most people about being socially graceful, so we're very up front about our quirky idiosyncrasies, and just embrace the ensuing awkward.

Courtney

This is accurate to some degree, and to extremes in certain cases, but overall it is the defining characteristic of them. Rice students are fun, quirky, and extremely friendly. They want to help and learn from one another.

Amy

In some ways. Rice is full of very motivated, smart people, but we are not what I would call classic "nerds". Most of us chose Rice over Ivy Leagues and schools of a similar nature because in addition to being smart, we are quirky; we are individuals who are crazy and inventive as well as smart. Our biggest event of the year is Beer Bike, so it is true that alcohol is available, but that doesn't mean we are always drinking. Partying is an option, but definitely not required.

Phil

To some extent.

Brian

Only for some people

Tammy

Students: Ugly and socially awkward - true for some, certainly not all; Intelligent - true of almost everyone, with the exception of some athletes (though athletes are also very smart and hard-working, for the most part); Nerdy - almost everyone is very studious, in my opinion sometimes too focused on work Rice: Many Humanities majors work just as hard as engineers, but in general the engineers do have more work. I think the quality of instruction is actually higher in the Humanities departments, but the classes are graded more leniently. There is definitely a sense that engineering/hard sciences are superior, which gets to some humanities majors.

Sarah

Both the guys and girls are really, really smart. The guys are dorky, but they are also really cool. Their dorky sides make them super cute. The girls are really pretty, yes they are smart but they are also hot.

Jo

Somewhat.

Liz

Rice is a selective school, and most students here were to some extent considered "nerds" in high school. That being said, our student body really covers the whole spectrum in terms of looks and social skills. Yes, you will find some stereotypical computer science geeks with pocket protectors and large glasses who answer questions in monosyllables and avoid eye contact. But plenty of Rice students are socially capable, athletic and even very good-looking. I'd say the dating-scene stereotype is somewhat true, though; all of our students are very busy and academically dedicated, which takes time away from flirting, primping, and, yes, dating.

Danielle

For the most part, yes. Rice is a very closed community, which is one of the reasons I moved off-campus as soon as I could. Houston has so much to offer; why close yourself off? I found the majority of students rather shallow and sheltered, although of course there are some great exceptions, especially in the liberal arts departments. The students are much more attractive than they are given credit for; they just don't dress up or get really interested in impressing each other the way that students at other Texas schools do. It's sort of a relief, in a way, to focus on learning more than on what kind of bag you're carrying to class.

chris

We do work hard, and we play even harder. It's the individual's choice to study more or less, but Rice students tend to be efficient. Houston is a large city, allowing for Texas influences of bbq and country music.

Alex

To some extent, yes. There are a lot of very awkward and introverted students who rarely leave their rooms. But there is also a large population of extremely outgoing, friendly, and interesting people. These are the students that truly define what Rice is about.

Carol

no. there are a lot of quirky people but no one feels like they have to be completely mainstream and everyone embraces each other. you might not find overwhelming numbers of the typical high school jock and popular crowd, but they're here and there's definitely a cool in-group and plenty of amazing people in the out-group. there's no pressure to be friends or not friends with anyone. rice is awesome.

Natalie

Yes, for sure some are correct. But not all of them. Each student, like any other school, must decide for his or her self what he/she believes and will do with his/her life. A school does play a large role in molding and shaping character and preparing a person for the future, but it's not just the school that does the job. It matters how much effort the student puts forth, how strong he is in his character, etc.

Brittany

To a certain extent, Rice students fit into the stereotypes. This is one of the best academic institutions in the nation, and the people who go here are here to learn. Most students have big dreams and plan on going to professional or graduate school afterwards, so grades are important. However, Rice students enjoy having fun and generally have balanced lives. Rice students are definitely not ugly.

Alison

they are aboout 40% accurate

Jacob

In some ways yes. There may be a certain level of social immaturity on campus, but it isn't alway present. People do work, but not everyone is a workaholic. People like to party, but again there is quite a variety. I think overall the average person is rather similar: Smart, driven but not psycho, nice.

Katia

These stereotypes are both accurate and in-accurate. yes, rice students are brainy and very weird. yes, many in fact most, are less than socially perfect, but rice students have a wonderful tendency to be exactly who they are! no facades, no airs, everyone's just doing their own thing, and arguably, no one cares too much what other people think. yes, social life can be a bit frustrating...the typically rice student is hard to persuade to put down the books and party, it takes getting used to but you find your niche eventually. It's important to know though that at Rice, you can't expect "your kind of people" to just be around, you have to go seek them out. It takes an active socialite to find satisfaction in the social climate of Rice. But it's also a great learning experience becuase you really come to love and be cool with the innocent and awkward students that can be found at Rice. I don't mean to put people in "boxes" but it simplifies talking about it. I'm being honest about my experience here. The brainiacs are awkward, innocent, and well-intentioned; the athletes are humble, smart, and tight; the architecture students are trendy, very cool, and very chill; the musicians are also very cool, very chill, and give a nice break from the regular student grind of "being in lab" or "hibernating in the library". But when all rice students do get out and have some fun it is bound to be a rockin', querky party! it's great stuff but takes getting used to like any place. for sure, there's no other university quite like Rice.

Rory

somewhat

Alex

To some extent. I would say there are quite a few Asians and compared to say a state school, not as many attractive people. Definitely the all we do is study stereotype is false though.

Cody

yes, from my experience

Becky

Not at all. There may be more fo those people here than other places, but the majority of students are active, fun-loving students that work hard but find pletny of time for fun and partying.

Carson

To some extent, yes. Rice students are smart, many are geeky, but most are also friendly, fun-loving, and very sociable people.

Alex

Mostly. The residential college system allows for free-flowing into and out of campus-wide parties and private parties, allowing anyone, no matter who you are, to join in on the activities. Rice students typically may not sound excited about what they do simply because there is so much that they have to do, but they actually like it so much that many start their own organizations and join existing clubs that involve their majors. As for freeloading, Rice sponsors many free events with free food, free prizes, and you're free to come no matter who you are, and Rice students definitely take advantage of this free-dom.

Melissa

No, although we do study pretty hard we also know how to have fun. Most of my friends are regular (meaning non-athlete) students and they aren't the type of "quirky" students I was told I would find here. Everyone is different in their own way, but despite the stereotype there are very social students here.

Lane

Yes. There are tons of people who have never been social in their entire life and stay in the library on Saturday nights until it closes. These people are very socially awkward and it is difficult to carry on a conversation with them. The other stereotypical group is also accurate. These people study hard during the week, living lives similar to those described above... but then when the weekends come, they go crazy. Partying is not done casually here. All drinking is to the extreme and random hookups are rampant. I think this is because a lot of Rice social people were not social in high school and don't understand the whole "dating" scene, so it doesn't exist here. It is very unusual to be asked out on a date. Rice partiers use alcohol as a crutch to make them feel like they are more social.

Diane

They are exaggerated but oftentimes accurate. Most of them only apply to a select group of people, but on such a small scale, each stereotype is more salient and magnified.

Jesse

Yes and no. There are more nerds that not but there are a handful of fun, outgoing students.

Mark

I think that science and engineering majors do have a lot more work to do, but maybe that is just my ego talking.

Harper

I think so.

Caitlin

In my opinion none of these stereotypes are true. As an SE turned Academ I can tell you that I work harder than I ever did as an SE and Academs are certainly not stupid. Academs tend to care more about having a job that is applicable in the real world to helping people and understanding the world. Contrary to popular belief Academs do get jobs, go to law school, become business people, get in to grad school and even med school. SE's on the other had do not work nearly as hard as they would like you to think and they really are not as nerdy or socially akward as people say. Overall, they two groups are just different and Rice has tons of both types of people and great classes and programs on both sides of the spectrum so don't think it is just science and engineering and if you come here don't think that the Academs don't do really important work too!

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