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University of Washington-Seattle Campus

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What is the stereotype of students at your school? Is this stereotype accurate?

At the University of Washington, while we strive to be a diverse community, with the steadily growing number of international and out-of-state students, it's a common joke that the Asian population is the true majority, while everyone else, white people included, are a part of the minority. It's just as common to hear Korean or Chinese as it is English, and rice is a staple at every major food center on campus. Most of the international students want to become engineers or doctors, dominating organic chemistry and biology classes, thereby ruining the curve for everyone else! Asian students are also known for stinking up the dorm kitchenettes, frying up smelly fish and not wiping up the microwave after their kimchi noodle bowls explode in the microwave. Regardless, while some of their habits annoy the American students, we usually tend to agree that the money they bring in with their hiked up tuition payments is worth it. In addition to Asian students, UW has a large Greek community, and for those of us who are non-Greek members, stereotypes tend to run rampant: frat guys are grabby, drunk perverts who start pre-funking for a 7:30 PM football game at 8:00 AM. Sorority girls are no better; party girls who wear slutty outfits Thursday-Saturday nights and sleep with frat guys, intoxicated or not. Rush is rumored to be the most socially cutthroat and cruel experience a shy freshman can experience (a la the movie "Mean Girls"), with outrageous rules like no talking to boys AT ALL during rush, not even casually. At times, I tend to forget that the Greek community is a part of the UW community unless it's a football game because they tend to isolate themselves on Greek row so much. Also, on the UW campus, it's incredibly easy to spot a Greek member: for the boys, they wear crewneck sweatshirts, baseball caps, basketball shorts, and socks with Nike slippers. For the girls, it's a crewneck sweatshirt, with lululemon yoga pants tucked into uggs, and their hair is always pulled back with a headband. It's stereotypical, but sadly, kind of true.

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Before I went to my school, the stereotype I heard most often associated with it was "nerds." In my math class in high school, these two guys in my class were discussing possible colleges and one of them brought up my school and the other responded by saying that it was a school "full of nerds." While this isn't a bad stereotype by any means, I find this inaccurate. Since going there, I haven't came across anyone who seems more "nerdy" than someone in high school. I think the collection of students at my college doesn't really differ than the ones that I went to high school with. People are more serious and less joking takes place, but there are people from all walks of life that go to my school and everyone acts pretty average. Also, when you factor in the enormous amount of "school pride" that exists at things like football games, it is hard to try to fit the students in the nerd stereotype still since people are actively participating in the jock culture as well. Because my college has over 40,000 students, I think it is hard to try to label the students as a whole just because there are way to many to try to stereotype with only one word. Instead of labeling the majority of the students as nerdy, I would probably say that the stereotype is that the students are smart. I think this is very much true since my college is one that is serious about academics and a highly ranked school. The students here seem to take learning more seriously than other schools so I think we should pridefully accept the "nerdy" stereotype since it really just means that students are smart.

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Students at the University of Washington are often labeled in the classic stereotype models: jocks and nerds. The ever present theme of school pride, publicized sports, and Greek Row (home to the university's fraternities and sororities) label UW students as preppy jocks. Students who are sports crazed, late night partiers, decked in school colors of purple & gold are countered with the alternative stereotype of preppy academics. Nerds who focus in fields of science and math, develop research, and are often from international backgrounds. Glasses, sweaters, and business casual wear are also included in the time old geek stereotype. These contrasting images, though classic in their representation of timeless high school archetypes, are not largely accurate about the University of Washington. Though there is a strong Frat foundation, a deep rooted passion for sports and a active nightlife. Alongside a dual community of top ranked academics, competitive research programs and high academic standards. That is not all that there is to the UW. It is a diverse student body with a broad range of academic and extracurricular programs. The students that attend this school are representative of it's multifaceted attributes. Never one thing and especially never at once, University of Washington students do not fit a specific mold because they encompass, break, and create new identities completely unique in themselves.

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Honestly, the main stereotype that is readily heard and said by current and interested students at the University of Washington (Seattle campus) mostly concerns race. Asians, are readily seen "everywhere". This stereotype is true in my opinion, as I myself belong to that racial group. There are a lot of Asian-American's on campus. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad thing. Though there may be a lot of Asians, I'm positive that it doesn't have a negative impact on our diverse community and most will find that the Asian community is relatively "chill". Beside the Asian-domination, the recent all-campus ban on smoking has, I suppose, deterred people from saying that the UW is a smoking community, even though I didn't believe that to be true before the ban. There are also the usual stereotypes about frats and sororities, where you go, get drunk, and get "laid", but those are not true, as plenty of my friends are in those frats and they do plenty of fundraising, volunteering, and honestly, they seem to be doing very well in their academic life as well as their social life. You can't escape stereotypes at UW but they are no way going to be negative to your experience at the University of Washington.

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The University of Washington Seattle location is difficult to stereotype since we are such a large campus. We do for the most part accept the Seattle "granola" stereotype, evidence by the numerous recycling facilities, compost bins, and newly expanded student farm. It's great being at such a big school because you can “stereotype” yourself how ever you would like to by joining any of the hundreds of student groups on campus or depending on which direction you choose to take educationally. The business kids are overly formal at introduction, drama kids highly animated, and all the sciences extremely studious. The University of Washington has also been stereotyped as being highly prestigious and the “Ivy League” school of the state. Students here are lucky to interact and be taught by professors leading research on international issues- anything from new business calculations to HIV treatment. These stereotypes are true as much as a person wants them to be. That’s what I love about UW- I don’t have to fall under one category because there are so many options and resources on campus that I can stereotype myself any way I want, however many ways I want.

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A stereotype at the University of Washington is that the school overflows with book-worm Asians who lack social skills. But clearly, this is not true at all. UW has an eclectic mix of students ranging from all different genders, races, and backgrounds. Through my experience at the school, I have met people from all over the world from Kenya to Russia right back to my home town of Seattle. Of course, there are Asians at UW just like there are other ethnicities, which creates an environment filled with diversity. It was not until I came to UW that I learned "Wow, there are so many different kinds of people!" Peeking from behind the doors of my private school education, I came to the realization that I was clearly in a new world. But I loved it. I learned that inside of my big school lies a smaller community that is not phased by these stereotypes about people's skin color or cultural background but who they are as a person. For a person considering applying to UW I would say don't be worried about stereotypes, because this one like many others is based off of silly assumptions that do not apply to the school or the character of people that go here.

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Diversity is a hot topic on campus, and the school tries to provide a safe and secure place for all people to be who they wanna be. No race, religion, gender, or sexuality preference is discriminated against, instead its almost celebrated to be different. I think thats probably the reason that people look at our student population as a bunch of liberal hipsters. It's just fine to go against the grain of society at UW. Another common UW stereotype is that its a foreigners school. Our school focuses on providing a high quality education, and in the rough times they have decided to take many more foreign born students in order to reap the benefits of their higher tuition rates. I can't argue with this stereotype, the UW has a noticeable foreign born population on campus, evidenced by the many cultural fraternities, organizations, class offerings and clubs on campus. I must however comment that the school remains a great place for anybody, and that the selection of food in the area is incredible!

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UW Seattle is known for our science geeks--our engineering programs and our School of Medicine are absolutely amazing. (UW Med even beat out Johns Hopkins Medical School!) We are known as a research institution, and that is where the big money goes. However, the school is so huge that we have all kinds of people--jocks, fraternity and sorority kids, and art students included! We are also known for being a green school. Our environmental science program is great. Our dining halls are extremely compost-friendly and organic, thanks to campus organizations such as SEED and the UW Farm (yep, we have a farm and various gardens on campus). Another unique thing about UW is our number of international students, especially from Asia. We certainly have campus stereotypes about all kinds of groups, but UW is big on diversity and open-mindedness!

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The school is very separated by the Greek System and dorm/apartment living. I joined the Greek System at the beginning of my freshman year and have a better view of the school from that perspective, but also have buddies that live in dorms and apartments instead. On campus, members of the Greek System tend to be stereotyped as a whole as people who tend to party more, be more social and live and hangout with a less ethnically/racially diverse crowd. Members of the dorms on campus are usually stereotyped by Greek System members as being "better students, study more and party less/know less people". In conclusion, you cannot stereotype the entire school, but instead there are stereotypes within the school that exist and are categorized mainly by living arrangement.

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UW has two very opposite groups of people. There are the Greeks- those who are members of a sorority or fraternity. The stereotype here is partiers, those who take easy classes, and those who are at school not to get an education, but to be social. Then there are those that take their education very seriously. This group is comprised of mostly graduate students. They come to campus to get to classes and otherwise aren’t associated very closely with UW culture. They are studious and are not involved very closely with UW outside of their education.

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