Rice University Top Questions

What is your overall opinion of this school?

stan

It is a good school for me.

Alexander

Rice is one of the most unique schools in the country, and that's all because of the residential college system. The already small campus gets broken down into colleges of several hundred students which allows for a closer group of friends and an easy way to make a difference in your college life. The residential colleges are where we all take our meals, party, and live, making them the center of campus life; as a result most students decide to live on campus all four years to enjoy the amazing experience.

Miri

Overall, I love Rice. I love the fact that I can easily switch majors in about a minute or so; all I have to do is talk to the major adviser.

Shaurya

I can't imagine anybody not thoroughly enjoying their experience at Rice. The uniqueness of this university is what really appeals to me. The most significant contributing factor of this is the residential college system. The absence of greek life replaced by a family culture, long-standing traditions, amicable competition, and an overwhelming love for your college make it an experience like no other. The professors are incredibly easy to interact with and you know several on a personal level within your freshman year. They're always willing to spend an extra hour if you need help and the relationship that you have with the Masters and Residential Associates, who are often professors as well, are ones that you will remember long after you graduate. In terms of location, Rice is a little bubble in the middle of downtown Houston. When you're inside the hedges that surround the campus, you feel like you are isolated in a little paradise. However, as soon as you step out you're right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of one of the largest cities in the US. If you ever get bored with the countless activities and events happening on campus, there's an equally endless number of opportunities right outside. Something every Rice student remembers the entire time they're at Rice and after as well is their first week on campus: Orientation week. I can say without a shred of doubt that it is the most unique orientation week in the entire world. The amount of effort, planning, and emphasis Rice places on "O-Week" is testament to why so many students still say that O-week was the most fun week of their entire lives. The only complaint I would have about Rice is the weather. Houston weather is unpredictable and often unpleasant. Humidity is prevalent throughout the year and sometimes exacerbates the already high temperature. However, during late spring and autumn the weather is fantastic so it's a give an take. Many people like the weather year-round, mostly because they come from cold environments and enjoy the warm weather without condition.

Max

Rice is known for its small, tree-filled campus, our baseball team, and its supposed "value" and generous financial aid program when compared to its Ivy League counterparts. In a side note, many students are upset at what they see as Rice's waning commitment to low tuition - something we were previously known for - and for the 2010-11 school year, it cost $48,000 to attend Rice. Administration is raising it (again) for 2011-2012. Before long, Rice is going to be the most expensive University in the US. The joke around campus is that Rice is the Harvard of the South (or Harvard is the Rice of the North), and to an extent that is true. Other than Vanderbilt University, Rice is the highest ranked school in the South, and students are very proud of that here. We're prestigious but not pretentious. We like it that way. And from a little more official standpoint, Princeton Review has ranked Rice as #1 in best quality of life and #10 in happiest students. I attribute a lot of this to our great weather - just last week (in February), our entire dorm went outside to tan or play frisbee because it was so nice out. One of the reviewers described Rice as a bubble. That is a great word to describe the University's students. Rice is a small piece of land right in the middle of Houston. Rice gives every student a free pass to everything around us (Houston's many Museums, Zoo, etc), but no one takes advantage of it. Not many people have automobiles here (parking costs are high) so true off-campus activity is rare, but Rice is surrounded by walkable (or Light Rail accessible) areas. Rice provides its students with a Metro-pass that allows us to use the Houston Metro and Houston Light Rail free (which conveniently has a stop at Rice) so we can explore the city of Houston. On Saturday night, the University closes its cafeterias to force kids to go out and try some off campus food. If you don't want to travel that far, Rice Village is a 5 minute bike ride away and has shops and tons of food options. Hermann Park which houses the Houston Zoo (free to Rice students!) is a small walk across the street. The Houston Galleria, a jumbo mall with stores ranging everywhere from Gucci and Neiman Marcus to Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie is a 15 minute bus ride (Rice has its own busing system too). If you need some snacks, Rice has a Target shuttle that runs daily. In Houston, everything is really at your fingertips. Houston is a really weird city. So many different sections make up Houston that it's kind of like a combination of 10 different cities. You've got the artsy Museum District (where Rice is at), hip Montrose area, high-end shopping in Highland Village, ritzy Bellaire, downtown, uptown, and everywhere in between. On the rare day you aren't swamped with homework, it's been really awesome to go explore the city even though I'm from here! I just wish more students would too. Facilities are top-notch but for dorms it really depends on what college you are in. All of the serveries are the same and food quality is better than you would expect (but certainly not great). Fresh fruit and tender meats can be difficult to get (I personally cannot eat the steak), but there desserts are always impressive (I had a tiramisu cake that was just as good as Houston's best Italian restaurant's). Once in awhile interesting options pop up to complement the Chicken Nuggets, french fries, and hot dogs. Just the other day, we we offered Octopus Soup and bacon-wrapped Rabbit. Rice landscapers are always working to clean up leaves/mow grass and our campus always looks great. We've also got wifi on 100% of the campus, and students take advantage of it when they want study outside. Rice also just opened up its new student center/rec which is the best gym I've seen on a college campus. All machines have a built in TV in them, there's a heated "relaxation" pool designed to make you feel like you're at a resort (complete with palm trees), and free equipment rentals for things like tennis, squash, or racquetball. We've also got a lot of "quads" for students just to lounge around and study. Just the other day, I witnessed a Yoga class by the student center. Students stop in the student center to buy a coffee or drink (we've got a Smoothie King and our Brochstein Pavilion restaurant on campus) and sit around Rice to study. Rice has thousands of trees all over campus (students say there is a tree for every student) including tons of old, massive live oaks. There are so many trees that you often forget you are in a city. Because Rice is so small and walkable, students are not allowed to drive to class (there's no parking spots anyway). We've also got some awesome buildings that personally remind me of old Europe.

Ryan

Best things: Students who are genuinely passionate about their work, their research, their activism, their improv comedy, or whatever. Challenging, interesting classes are in high demand -- even if they're not in a popular major but "just for fun" -- and participation in class discussions is enthusiastic. Lots of people double major or dabble outside their fields out of intellectual curiosity. Everybody's busy and lots of people are busy starting something new and exciting. Not a lot of "my parents made me go to college" or "I'm looking for a class that won't interfere with my hangovers" or "my goal in life is to make a lot of money quickly." Also not a lot of grade-grubbing or competitiveness; downward curving is against the rules and study groups are the fundamental unit of social life. My only reservation about recommending Rice is that I think it is changing. The commitment to shockingly low tuition has faded completely, and so the old student population, made up of people who were accepted to elite coastal schools but couldn't afford them, is changing. The school is also looking to double in size. To what end, I don't know. Everything I know about the school might be different four years from now.

Sarah

I loved Rice. I still love Rice. In fact, part of me wishes that I was in high school so that I could start at Rice all over again! Of course, that would require that I actually be in high school again. Scary. Rice has one of the best undergraduate programs in the country, and it doesn't have the ego of some of the big names (ahem...I'm talking to you Harvard, Yale, Stanford). The lack of ego makes for a great undergraduate experience. Most students aren't completely caught up in themselves and their personal greatness, and neither are the professors. This makes for a fun learning environment (remember, the competitive claws are sugar-coated at Rice). However, there is a downside to Rice's missing ego. No one has heard of Rice! This can be a problem for graduates who, like myself, relocate to another part of the country and wish that their school had the name-recognition to help them land a great job. If you yourself have a huge ego, it can be difficult to deal with people asking if Rice is a community college.

Harper

Rice is perfect. The students are amazing. The school is challenging. The campus is beautiful.

Parker

Many parties and events at Rice are hyped up a lot, but they never quite live up to the lip service. Beer Bike, however, definitely earned every wonderful thing that's said about it. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. Sure, I wasn't the happiest person in the world when a bunch of loud, obnoxious upperclassmen pounded on my door at 5:45 a.m. and handed me a warm Keystone, but I got into the festive spirit very quickly. We drank, wandered around campus, drank a little more, ate breakfast, and drank some more. One kid had Beerios for breakfast--what a champ. The parade came next, and that was unbelievably kick-ass! With our truck full of water balloons, we sought poor, unsuspecting victims from the other colleges and happily nailed them with a well-aimed throw. When we ran out of water ballons, we just started throwing people in the mud. Awesome. We made our way to the Greenbriar parking lot for the races, which were much cooler than I expected them to be. We all got really into our cheers and rallied behind our teams. A nap, barbeque, and drunken Hello Hamlet! performance later, I ended my day gladly passed out in my bed. Best. Day. Ever.

Chris

Rice is an extremely small school with only 3000 undergrads and about 2000 grad students. In fact, Rice is the second smallest Division 1 school in the nation. I was always used to going to a small private school since elementary school so it never really bothered me, however, if you do not like knowing almost everyone that attends your university or seeing the same faces everyday then I highly recommend you not attend Rice. When you tell people you go to Rice within the state of Texas, especially in Houston, people react like you are the Chosen One. The first thing everyone tells me is "Oh my God you go to Rice you must be super smart!" Going to Rice in Texas is as prestigious as attending Harvard in the Northeast. On the other hand you may get the occasional person who was rejected from Rice and still has a grudge against them and make sure you know it. Outside of the "great state of Texas," as it is so affectionately called by Texans, not as many people know about Rice. Back home in Miami when I told people I went to Rice, most people's reactions were either "RICE? Like rice and beans?" or "Where in the hell is that?" Baseball fans and people who know more about national universities will instantly recognize Rice. Also the reputation of Rice seems to be growing more and more every year because of increased PR attempts to make Rice a household name.

Rox

Rice University is a small campus, but the size is actually quite big compared to the population; it's the perfect size for me. Everyone finds their own niche at Rice, and the fantastic residential college system helps with this. The colleges are also great because they really get the student body active and involved-- they organize so many great study breaks and fun parties for everyone to gather at. We spend the majority of our time on campus, but Houston is all around us! The city is a great resource whether you want to shop (with Rice Village a 10 minutes walk and the galleria about 15 minutes by car), eat (a plethora of restaurants EVERYWHERE), or experience the arts (Rice is a stop on the metrorail, which goes downtown in mere minutes to theaters, museums, or cinemas). The administration is very open to student input and there are many ways for you to get your voice heard here. If you make the effort, you can definitely put your ideas into work! Although you may be from the northeast where Rice University is still gaining stature, I can tell you that when I go around Houston or Texas and I tell them I go to Rice, everyone is impressed and recognizes our school with frequent sarcastic comments like "oh, so you couldn't get into a better school?"

Elizabeth

One of the best things about Rice is the Residential College system. There are currently 9 colleges (though there will soon be 11), and there is a lot of college pride. In fact, there are many more cheers (and anti-cheers) for specific residential colleges than for Rice as a whole. Most people have a lot of college pride, which comes out the most certain times of the year: O-week and Beer Bike. O-week is our orientation week that freshmen have the week before classes start. Everyone gets put in a group of about 8 people and basically learns why their college is the best. Beer Bike is the biggest social event of the year - it involves a huge, campus-wide water balloon fight, bike relay races (that used to involve chugging beer, thus the name), and pranks (college vs. college). The college system is great because it provides a community within the university that is diverse in terms of majors, ages, and everything else. Whereas at a lot of schools, upperclassmen tend to move off campus, most people at Rice try to stay on campus all four years. Many people get kicked off each year, which is one of the downsides of the housing system, but it is nice to have a strong community on campus that people fight to be a part of. Rice is in the middle of Houston, so there is always plenty to do. Every student gets a pass to use the lightrail for free, so even if you don't have a car, you can still get around. There are always performances, shows, and concerts going on, and often free tickets are given out to Rice students. However, Rice still maintains a beautiful campus in the midst of the busy city.

Bryce

First of all, as a recent graduate, I can tell you that at least in my limited experience, every time I tell someone I'm a Rice graduate, they're impressed. Rice has a strong reputation as "the Ivy League of the south". Personally, I don't think that does justice to the quality of Rice's education or experience, but then again I will openly admit that I loved virtually every aspect of my time there, so I'm probably biased. The school is both big and small. In that I mean that the undergraduate population is in the low thousands, but we have a Residential College system that makes it so that, in many ways, you are part of a well-defined and closely nit community of only a few hundred. Rice is an extremely tolerant, and in many ways apolitical campus. Everyone has their views -- and usually has them quite strongly, but if you got in to Rice, you're probably pretty smart, and so everyone recognizes that you have a right to that opinion. There are debates and arguments, but for the most part they're respectful, not argumentative per se. Probably my biggest praise of Rice comes from the fact that everyone on campus realizes that everyone else is smart. That is, there's very little academic competition. I can honestly say I don't know what my friend's GPAs were, and they certainly didn't know mine. I've heard horror stories about the competition at other schools over grades, and not once at Rice did I hear of any such issue coming up. I think that if someone at Rice acted like they cared about such things they'd get laughed at. Overall, it's an easy-going atmosphere, with lots of opportunities to learn, grow, and have fun. I recommend it to anyone who will listen.

Tara

I love Rice because you get the benefits of a large college at a small school. Rice is actually smaller than my large, public high school, but I love the intimacy. Though we miss out on some of the perks of a big school (like support of athletics), the benefits are overwhelming. The class size is smaller (average 15-30), so professors usually know your name. They are open for questions and help and are generally really understanding of college life. If you want to do research, there is always someone to do research with and the resources to do it. Rice is full of motivated, driven, smart people, so everyone is interesting. My favorite part is the residential college system - aparently something like Harry Potter. You get placed into a residential college at random and they end up being diverse in class year, major, specialty, ethnicity, hometown, etc. Then, each college has their own government (with $40,000 or more) and all sorts of committees and sports teams. In stead of an exclusive Greek system, we have an all-inclusive college system. It is truly my favorite part of Rice!

Rick

The students at Rice are absolutely top-notch! They're the reason I chose to come to the school over places like Duke and Vanderbilt. In general they aren't too preppy, too tacky, or too geeky (though they are geeky). Most of them are either super-bright and can coast through class, or super-hard workers who power through class. The worst part about Rice right now is the administration/construction -- the two are more or less inextricable right now. With fences going up everywhere, the beautiful campus I saw on my initial tour is now a field of cranes and temporary sidewalks. The administration's decision to erect the Pavilion in the center of the campus seems particularly ill-suited to students' needs. In general, President Leebron's Vision for the Second Century seems to be taking Rice in a direction most students disagree with.

Andy

Well, one thing that is unique is the Harry potter like "college system". Residential colleges are like a big co-ed frat/sor. that you get randomly placed in. It becomes your home and many of your closest friends will be from your college. Each college competes for the president's cup every year and your teammates must be from your specific college. In general, we have a small number of students on a fairly large campus (per capita) and we are in a huge city that I am still continuing to explore and learn about. I may be a gung-ho Florida girl, but Texas isn't half bad either.

Ian

Rice is an amazing place where all types of people can fit in. The school is just the right size, although they are enlarging it significantly with the addition of two new residential colleges. Rice is great because of the diversity and quality of it's academic offerings given it's size. Undergraduates have great opportunities to get involved with research (I did, and I'm shy). The residential college system is really great, and builds a really strong community. Some kids like to be a part of that community, while others don't. People in Texas and people in certain areas (like Computer Science) are wowed when you tell then you went to Rice. Most people have never heard of it, which is intensely frustrating. Almost all of my time on campus when I wasn't working was spent at my college, Brown (named after Margaret Root Brown, not the color). Houston is not a college town, but there is lots to do, especially if you like to try lots of different kinds of cheap ethnic food. There is tons of cheap food, and I love eating. Rice's administration is good overall. School pride is often eclipsed by residential college pride during your time there, but Rice pride starts to take over as an alumni.

Ryan

Big Picture: -What's the best thing about Rice? I'd say two main things: how friendly and supportive the community is as a whole, and how undergraduate-focused. Rice is unique in that it's a top-tier research university that offers the close knit community of a small college at the same time. Also, everyone is just really nice. You won't get much pretentiousness or elitism here. As someone from the East Coast, I really noticed this difference. -Name one thing you'd change. Right now Rice is building two new colleges (huge dorms) and planning to gradually expand from 3,000 undergrads to 5,000. President Leebron is trying to make Rice more like an Ivy League school. I (and many others) disagree with this vision: keep it small, close-knit, and personal! Also, the new Pavilion is stupid. It's a nice space, but competes unfairly with our awesome student-run independent coffeeshop. -Too large, too small, or just right? See above. It's just right at the moment (3,000 is big enough to find your niche but small enough to be personal), but will be getting too big soon. I can never walk to class without saying hi to at least 3 or 4 people I know. Lots of undergrads do research with profs and know each other by name. -How do people react when you tell them you go to Rice? Ooh, I have a good answer for this one! I am from Pennsylvania, where Rice is fairly unknown outside of academia. "Texas?" people would say. "Are you crazy?" But here in Houston, when I first moved in to start my freshman year and opened a new bank account, the bank teller's eyes grew wide when I told him I was going to Rice. He said "You must be one of three things. Either you are very rich, a very talented athlete, or very smart." I laughed and told him none of the above. Still, it was a lesson in the regional prestige of Rice. In the South everyone thinks of Rice as Harvard; back home, it's known as a great school but kinda weird because it's in Texas. -What was the recent biggest controversy on campus? A field behind our Student Center building has a new glass study space (it's a big glass box, basically) called the Pavilion with its own coffeeshop. Many students are angry about it because it competes directly with our independent, student-run coffeeshop, which operates out of an old broom closet. Why couldn't the administration upgrade what we already have, support student entrepreneurship, instead of bringing in a corporate shop? Lame. Students are boycotting it, and Rice students in general aren't activists at all, so that tells you how big a deal it was. -What's one experience you'll always remember? Here are a few of many: the fireworks at Matriculation, the insanity that is O-week, the time a random cute guy asked me out in the library, sneaking into the Med Center at night to climb inside the new Rainbow Building skyscraper with my friends, sleeping 3 nights in a row in the library during finals. Oh, here's a good one: when I first arrived at Rice for orientation week--literally, the moment my parents left me on the curb--an older man came up to me, shook my hand, and said "Hi, I'm David." I had no idea who he was, so I just smiled and said hi and my name. Later that night at matriculation, I watched him step onto the stage and realized that he was President Leebron! Pretty good example of how personal Rice is.

Jill

Rice is a great size, being large enough to not be stifling, but small enough that you get personal attention from staff and professors. There are always things to do on-campus (especially if you love free Chipotle). However, I feel like, despite what people will say, the college system is very restricting and doesn't give you enough (or really, any) choice in your housing situation.

Mike

The most important characteristic about Rice is its college system. This is generally the reason to hate or love Rice. It definitely has it's ups and downs, but in my opinion, it has more ups then downs. Being that you're living with the relatively same group of people for your 4 years means that you're able to make some really good friendships that would be hard to keep/make at other universities. And if it turns out you don't like this group of people, you're allowed to transfer colleges. Also, it allows you to make contacts and friends with upper-classmen, much more so than at other traditional universities. This allows you to have a resource when you need help that isn't a counselor, someone who has been through what you're going through. Also, it helps create a smaller "family" inside the overall Rice community that will be there for you and support you.

Jordan

Outside of the college system, my favorite part about Rice is Willy's Pub. It's a self sustaining basement bar run by students that is just a sweet place to be. During the afternoons kids go down there to study and snack, but at night it's just a chill place to relax and socialize. Drinkers and non-drinkers alike gather for weekly trivia competitions, live music, themed nights, dance parties, and interesting conversations. When I was abroad I didn't miss my hometown or my dorm - I missed Pub. The atmosphere is just so inviting and the people so lovely.

Dawson

Rice is a small university with strong research programs in a very big city. Houston has a lot to offer as a city (symphony, ballet, opera, visual arts, theatre, world-famous rodeo). That said, the public transportation options are poor (but there is a light rail that runs between Rice and the cultural events downtown). Not many people care about the university athletic events (except for baseball when they're winning) - intramural sports are much more important for most people. In the city, people usually react very positively when they hear you go to Rice.

Charlie

Rice's college system is one of the best things here. Each student develops their own college pride and we have intramural sports against each college. Our campus is enclosed and is quite big for the number of students we have here. People from the south or those well educated have heard of Rice and knows its prestige. I love being here at Rice, where you get the ivy league education but minus the competitiveness among students. People say we're the Harvard of the south or that Harvard is Rice of the North West. The biggest controversy we've had is how wet our campus is. The alcohol policy is definetly more lax than any other school. Students can drink during the day when it is their college night and drink openly in parties most of the time.

Aure

Rice's residential college system shapes most facets of life about the university. The campus is divided into nine (soon to be 11) residential colleges. These are a great way to build a sense of community really early on, find a stable group of friends, become close with upperclassmen, and bond with a really diverse range of people. The residential colleges are small though, which means that there's not really the critical mass to support a lot of alternative or specialized social groups. It also means that everyone knows everyone else's business, so that's just something you learn to deal with. During their sophomore year, most Rice students become more heavily involved with their extracurriculars and really start to gain friends outside their college, but that happens at whatever pace you want it to happen at.

Courtney

The best thing about Rice are the people. The people at Rice are extraodinarily smart and talented, but they've found the balance between work and play. The same people who spend weeknights slaving away in the library spend their weekends enjoying the nice weather and beautiful campus. We like to complain a lot about things like construction, but deep down we know that our school is a magnificent place. If I could change one thing, though, it would be how small the campus feels. Since there are not a lot of students, it can feel claustrophobic, but there are ways to escape it. You can always choose to take part in the Rice community or to be detached a little and explore more of the outside world "beyond the hedges."

Amy

People react in two different ways when I tell them I go to Rice. Some will simply stare and say "Rice what?" or ask if that's an agricultural school. Others will be sincerely impressed; the difference is due to geography. Often called the "Harvard of the South", Rice is locally very well known, but where I come from (Ohio), Rice could just as well not exist. A better school there could hardly be, however. Located in Houston's Medical Center, it's in the center of one of the largest cities, although you rarely have to leave campus anyways. It's really easy to get involved at Rice, and there's tons of school pride (although there's arguably more College Pride-think Harry Potter houses...). It's relatively small, with 3,000 undergraduates, and guys: the food is actually pretty good here! Chef Roger's cinnamon rolls are divine! The best thing about Rice are the people; there are no cliques, no expectations. You are allowed to be who you want to be, no questions asked. It's a very low-pressure school where you are not judged. I also love the plethora of events and activities; there is never a dull moment at this university! I'll always remember....BEEEER BIKE!

Phil

The best thing about Rice is the people you will meet. The residential college system and small student body creates an environment where large interconnected groups of friends are formed. There are people here from every socio-economic background and because half of the student body is from different parts of the world it is a good place to really get a feel for the opinions of many different areas of the world.

Brian

Rice is amazing. The residential college system is a big plus; inter-college rivalries are an integral part of our community. I like Rice's size as it is now. When I tell people I go to Rice, they usually ask where it is since most people I talk to don't know of Rice - I think Rice is underrated as a university and should be recognized more. The campus itself is very nice, especially when all the construction is finished. School pride is very high; despite our competitiveness in intramural sports, we all band together as a university when cheering for Rice sports. I will always remember O-week, which was one of the best weeks ever.

Tammy

Best thing about Rice - There really is something for everyone. Also the worst thing, because everyone tends to have fairly small groups of friends. Yeah, you get to know everyone at your college, but most people make a small group of close friends at their college and leave it at that. However, if you make an effort you can overcome that and make friends across campus. Most people make friends here and there from activities, but don't seem to actively go out and make new friends after freshman year. It's too small for my tastes, but over the next few years they're increasing it. I wish it was that size now! About half the people I know up North have heard of it and they're impressed, the other half have no idea what it is and just ask me about being in Texas. I love that Rice is in Houston! Houston is definitely no New York, but it provides a whole new avenue of things to explore outside Rice. Whenever I get bored of Rice nightlife there's Houston nightlife to turn to. During the day there are great restaurants and shopping, and even if you don't have a car you can walk or take the shuttle to Rice Village. There are also a lot of museums within walking distance. Big name acts often come through Houston, and there are lots of other cultural things to do. Plus, there are tons of opportunities for jobs and internships, especially at the huge medical center across the street.

Sarah

Rice is amazing. The residential college system is so great. It makes the best pride and fun and family. People that go to Rice are always smart. This makes life her so interesting. Everyone has their dorky side, but hey thats what makes life so fun. Rice is small, I love this. You know most people, but never all people. Within your college, you will meet basically everyone, but there are always knew people coming every year. And all the people you meet are amazing, they are the people that you never knew existed, but complete you perfectly. There is always so much to do at Rice too. There are so many clubs, intermurals, activities that you can never be bored. Also the architecture and trees make Rice a beautiful campus!

Jo

It's just the right size for a small public school. One of the best things is the campus; it's beautiful! People usually assume I am smart since I go to Rice. Houston isn't really a "college town," and sometimes, it is hard that places around here close to early on weeknights. There is not much school pride; we have more dorm (called "colleges") pride. One really unique thing is our residential college system. It makes Rice more fun, I think. However, we do not have any Greek life. Honestly though, we don't need it. We compete with other colleges and still have rivalries, etc. Also, Rice is small enough so we can do things like have campus-wide water balloon fights, which are amazing.

Ame

Rice is an all around great school with a gorgeous campus.

Liz

Rice is a great university to go to if you want to be thoroughly educated in an environment full of very bright, very dedicated students. The university is small-sized (for the most part this is a good thing, although occasionally I've felt trapped upon realizing that I recognize the faces, if not the names, of most of the 3000 people on campus). Rice is divided into nine residential colleges where students spend the entirety of their four years here; the college system is great in that it helps you find your social niche and serves as a nexus for activities spanning from matriculation to the yearly campus-wide water balloon fight. Rice's name recognition outside of Texas (everyone in Texas knows Rice) is mixed; I'm from California, and when I tell people I go to Rice two-thirds of them have never heard of it; the other third are instantly impressed. This is improving with time, though, as we are becoming more and more competitive and getting our name out there with the help of a new administration. A few problems - students spend too much time within our relatively small campus, especially studying non-stop in Fondren Library. Houston really has a lot to offer in terms of culture and especially interesting ethnic restaurants, but with the vast majority of students staying on campus in any given year, it can be hard to get people to leave the comfort of The Hedges (the boundaries of campus).

Danielle

Rice is absolutely brilliant on an academic level. The teachers are responsive, the students are intelligent, and the classes are really fantastic (at least those that I took in my major). Unfortunately, the school is much too closed-off for me, and offers a really underwhelming social scene. The public parties are for the most part really lame and the college system invites all the awful bureaucracy of the frat system without any of the fun. Of course, most people love it, so maybe it just wasn't right for me. Basically, Rice is a great social scene for students who studied through all of high school and didn't go through any of the social drama of 10th grade the first time. If you had a normal high school experience, live off-campus in Montrose or West U, and try to stay out of the dorms. Houston is definitely not a college town, which is perhaps why it's so great to live here. It has great museums, restaurants, night life, and entertainment options. It's great to take advantage of these resources, but if you plan on doing that, make sure you have a car: the public transit systems in Houston are notoriously underwhelming. There's a lot of school pride at Rice; in fact it's a little bit like a cult. People also get really geared up about their individual college. Beer bike and O-Week are prime examples of that; I tended to steer away from those. Basically, I love Rice as a school and I got a great education, but I had to avoid the majority of the school-sanctioned student events, because they seemed sort of puerile and pointless to me. However, I reiterate that I'm definitely in the minority on that.

chris

Best thing about Rice is the people. Most of the campus is very friendly and open. Intellectual conversations happen all over the place, especially in the serveries.

Alex

Rice is an awesome place. The college system brings together students and gives them a certain level of autonomy in their college lives. Residential colleges receive a budget from the University that they can do whatever they want with. Parties are almost always free. Rice is just the right size. Although you see a lot of the same people around, you develop solid set of relationships. A lot of school pride is superseded by residential college pride, but Rice students still love their university. I think the administration does a good job of maintaining contact with the student body and keeps undergraduates in mind.

Natalie

One thing I would change: the athletic awareness at Rice. Rice is a smart school, but it also has some unbelievable, world-class athletes. There for sure is soem ignorance on both sides--from the student-athletes towards regular students and from regular students to the student-athletes. The situaiton is improving (develping respect for the strengths each group has), but this is a challenge, but in my opiinoin should NOT deter someone from coming to Rice. No school is perfect. Every school has its pros/cons.

Brittany

Rice is awesome! It's not a terribly small school, but you can still get to know a lot of people and get to know your professors well. It has good academic programs and its music school and architecture school are some of the best in the country. Houston isn't quite as lively as NYC, for example, but around campus we have a lot of restaurants and shopping areas. They are within walking distance. Also, the actual Rice campus is pretty. There are a lot of trees, and plenty of spots to just sit outside, especially because Houston can have some beautiful weather during fall and winter. Sports aren't particularly great here, and we don't win a lot of games. Because of this, there is less attendance at sports events, etc. Rice has a wet campus, and the different residential colleges have university sponsered parties where beer is served to students of age. There is a lot of construction going on campus currently and in the process of getting started because the university is going through a growing period.

Alison

Rice is small which makes for a more intimate living environment. There is some school pride but people generally aren't that interested in attending sporting events other than baseball which doesn't take place on campus. When I tell people I go to Rice, in Texas they tell me I am smart and in Idaho they have never heard of it. People take the saying "work hard, play hard" very literally.

Jacob

I like that the school is small, but by senior year it can feel to small. Especially if you have a tough breakup in a relationship it is very hard to avoid the ex. The campus is beautiful and I think its great htat so many people live on campus and it is so easy to have and go to parties. I was happy overall with Rice administration. Overall students are pretty apathetic about alot of issues and I wouldnt say the student body is as smart or goal oriented as I had imagined. Not sure if that is a bad or a good thing.

Katia

Best thing about Rice: Everyone here is really into learning! I know that sounds lame, but there are few slackers at Rice. The campus is beautiful (sans construction), and we've got some great professors. Personally, I think Rice is a bit small, but that's getting fixed right now (two new dorms are being built). Most people are sort of surprised when I tell them I go to Rice. Those that are familiar with it immediately says something like, "it's pretty wierd there, right?" or they just don't know what to think. I thinkn very few people have an accurate understanding of the environment at Rice. I lilve off-campus now so I'm either in the library, at the student center, or outside on a bench somewhere if the weather's nice. It's definitely not a college town. Houston is too big and spread out to be referenced as such. Biggest recent controversy on campus was something that happened over MLK weekend. a couple students got drunk and "vandalized" the copy machine and some walls, i think. They supposedly crumbled oreos every where. A couple black students took offense, I think any insults were smoothed over pretty quickly. I think it might have been blown out of proportion, but the Rice administration dealt with it in a very diplomatic manner. There is some Rice pride, but definitely nothing at all compared to University of Texas in Austin are some other University like that. To be honest, in terms of sport support as a measure of pride, Rice has little to none. some students attend football games, but not too many. and other sports teams have difficulty mobilizing the general student class to get out and get excited. they just don't seem to be too interested for the most part. My freshmen and sophomore year, there was some GREAT support for the women's soccer team, but we had to work to promote ourselves. Rice has some great traditions that add to its uniqueness and flare. Beer bike is an annual celebration that I absolutely LOVE!!! you won't find it anywhere else and EVERYONE is completely dedicated to it. Beer Bike is this: wake up at dawn, multiple kegs are at every dorm, music is blasting, everyone's happy and running around, then every college (dorm) gathers together and the huge university-wide water balloon fight begins. It's a lot of fun and everyone gets really into it. Trucks filled with trash cans full of balloons make there way down one side of the campus until they reach the bike track. there, selected members of every college race bikes and chug times while everyone cheers them on. there's free food and free beer everywhere. its a great experience. also, Rice has Baker 13, which is when a group of students run through college at night completely naked except for certain parts covered with whip cream... its pretty awesome. also, Rice's O-week (orientation week for all freshmen and transfers) is very unique. It's just a bunch of fun activities dedicated to you getting to know you're college and your class. most frequent student complaints I hear are that a lot of rice students don't know how to have fun or that there are a lot who are difficult to talk to because they aren't completely socailly comfortable (which is totally ok, it's just different). also, there's a good amount of work, but people seem to handle it pretty well without too many complaints. a lot of people gripe about the survery food but I didn't have a problem with it. Currently, my main irritation is all the construction on campus, but that's just something we all have to deal with.

Rory

best thing: community change: more people, more people supporting athletics too small either wow you're a nerd or oh you must be smart or you go where? where is that? not on campus hardly ever...the gym? big city administration: no opinion...they seem fine...parking regulations suck controversy: no clue...parking? school pride: eh, kinda unusual: college system always remember: beer bike frequent complaints: parking, social aspect, weather

Alex

The brilliant people who have come out of their shells since high school and are comfortable with being their fun-selves. I would increase the number of undergraduates to make it have a little more college-size feel. Too small. People are usually very impressed and react by saying something along the lines of "Wow! You must be really smart" Most of my time is spent at the athletic facilites for soccer because it pretty much consumes my days especially in season. Definitely "what college town" There isn't too much school pride especially when it comes to athletics - except for baseball maybe One experience I'll always remember was beating the number 8 ranked University of Texas Women's Soccer Team my freshman year. Played defense and we held them to no goals. Parking and the shuttles.

Cody

The best thing about Rice is the integrity of the degree. If I could change one thing it would be the lack of money given to the athletic department. When I tell people I go to Rice they automatically assume I am smart. I spend most of my time on campus in class. This is not a college town. I've lived here my whole life and the city does not revolve around the campus of Rice. I think the rice administration could care less about athletics. The biggest recent controversy on campus was the issue with the kids getting held up at gunpoint on the way back from campus. There is not a lot of school pride. There are somethings that are unusual about Rice, like the college system and beer bike. One experience I will always remember is playing on Friday nights under the lights at the stadium. The most frequent complaints that I hear are how the administration couldn't give two shits about athletics.

Carson

Rice is perfect. Its small student population provides for small classes and interactivity with professors (professors even invite students over for dinner). The campus is simply gorgeous and spaceful, and its location near downtown Houston provides accessibility to a variety of attractions. Its academic programs are very strong, and Rice has the status of "The Ivy League of Texas", meaning it is famous for its academic excellence, especially in the South (but elsewhere as well). Rice is also very socially attractive. The college system makes it very easy for even the most reserved person to make lots of friends, and most people here are very friendly. There is a lot of collaboration, as opposed to the cutthroat atmosphere you might experience at other top schools. Houston is an amazing city, a lot different from stereotypical Texas, and Rice is also very unique. You almost forget what state you're in. Rice is also considerably cheaper than its rivals, making it an all around bargain.

Alex

The best thing about Rice is the residential college system. Everything is unusual about Rice. Take, for example, the context of Rice. Rice is located in the city of Houston. Houston is a privatized society in a market-driven economy. Rice is generally free, open, embracing, and somewhat... socialist. Nevertheless, Rice and Houston have similar positive attributes. Houston has great sports teams (Rockets, Astros, etc). Rice has been consistently strong in baseball, tennis and track/field. Both Houston and Rice embrace progressive action. Houston is rapidly growing, as it has always been, and with support from community development corporations, many grassroots movements have emerged to tackle issues such as poverty, environmental degradation, and social housing. With ongoing construction activities and President Leebron's Vision for the Second Century, the Rice administration visibly promotes growth and wants to expand Rice internally and expand its influence externally through support for campus organizations and social and environmental justice clubs that work with the broader Houston community.

Melissa

The best thing about Rice is that I know when I graduate I will have something waiting for me, and anyone who hears that I go to Rice knows the same thing. The most common response I get from people is: "That's a great school" or "Wow, you must be really smart." I spend most of my time on campus (besides the gym) at my college. The college systems are really great. You will find a lot of your friends at your college but that still doesn't exclude friends from other colleges. The system is a great way to get to know people quickly.

Lane

Best thing about Rice- the college system is great when you are an underclassman. One thing to change- The social circle is very small. If you are in a fight with someone, it gets awkward because you see them at every social event. I would say the school could use an increase in size. When I was a freshman, however, I loved the fact that it was so small. The size kind of wears on you after a while, though. When I tell people I go to Rice, they usually are impressed and automatically assume I am smart, which is nice. Since I live off campus, most of my time on campus is spent in either going to classes or studying in the library. I really like Rice's location in Houston because there is so much to do. The campus itself, however, maintains a "college town" feel, which is nice. It is a perfect mix of the citylife and a nature-y feel. I am not a fan of our president. He is trying to change too many things at once. The school pride could use a boost. Everyone is proud to go to Rice for the academics, but it is very difficult to get any support for the athletic department. This might be due, in part, to the administration claiming that academics should always come first. I will never forget Beer Bike. It is one of Rice's greatest traditions.

Diane

The College system is the best thing about Rice. I'd like to change the parking situation on campus and make it easier and more accessible for on-campus and off-campus students to park without forking over a large amount of money. It's a little too small of a school just because everyone knows everything about everyone. I spend most of my time at the varsity athletic facilities. What college town? The Rice administration cares about its students, but implement a lot of ideas that do not reflect this (such as when our breaks are, or how they spend tuition money). The lacrosse hazing incident a few years ago. There is a lot more college pride than school pride in your first couple of years, but then it turns into school pride based on the quality of education as you near graduation. Rice is a wet campus with a lax alcohol policy while most schools are completely dry. I'll always remember my first Beer Bike because it was the craziest, most unique experience I could have. Most complaints involve the food in our serveries, even though the food is just fine, and also the wide-spread apathy across campus.

Jesse

The best thing about Rice is the networking that the college system infrastructure provides. I would change the traffic flow, improve the bus system by making it faster, and if it was possible, I would make the loop a two-way street. Rice is just the right size for a private school. If theyve heard of Rice, they usually gasp and there eyes get real big because they are impressed. If they havent heard of it, they just say, "Oh, where the hell is that?" Most of my time is spent in class or in the servery, other than that, Im OC. Definitely, "What college town?" The admin can be frustrating and sometimes its hard to get ahold of people. The missing student and the racial slur. YES! Unusual? hah, I think unusual is a trait marked by brilliance so, of course, Rice is unusual in many aspects. I will always remember walking through the Sally Port for my very first time. Most frequent complaints are about the food.

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