| Sort By:
| The money is NOT WORTH IT. McGill in Canada is a much better school for EXACTLY HALF OF WHAT YOU PAY AT GWU. Oxford and Cambridge are much better two for 1/3 of GWU tuition. Havard, Yale, Princeton, Penn, and Duke's prices are comparable, but the education is TONS better. |
|Jan 16 2008|| 2nd Year Male --
Class 2010 |
| The George Washington University does a great job advertising itself. For me, I was captured by its propaganda on undergraduate research opportunities. I was offered > 50% academic scholarships with almost every single university, but none of these universities had such great focus on undergraduate research opportunities in advertisement. To conclude a decision I argued research opportunities are abundant at GWU due to the much-publicized government grants GWU receives. My first year here shattered my expectations.|
Despite spending years experiencing my major (studying and executing), there was no hope for research here at GWU CS. Other than one professor (who is not funded as much as he should be), every single instructor/professor did not even bother looking at my resume (which is far from bare) before rejecting my offer to collaborate with them (even for free). I received condescending responses such as "Oh, in a couple of years once you have the knowledge you should ask around" (again, with no frame of reference other than that I am a freshman). Later I would find out that the other undergraduates that were offered research positions were either given trivial opportunities by the department (Java UI design for example) or were thrown to dying projects (funding ending or swindled). Staff members who noted lack of research at GWU are usually attacked by their own department heads or the school of engineering (and this has happened before).
My advisor? Other than staining my reputation in the department, was of no help whatsoever. This same advisor dropped my grade from the highest of the class to a C in his introductory CS class (he allowed other students to turn in a project he literally, lost, with an exception for me). A friend of mine literally provided a back-up of the project 2 days after me, and had his grade redeemed. I did not argue for my grade, as I have no interest in trouble. The professor, again, with 0 interest in any of my background or personal goals, would not allow me to take my choice of classes. He would enforce a specific schedule without question. One time I grew tired of his relentless badgering and disregard of my personal career goals that I insisted I take one class (which I had instructor approval for), the advisor *literally* started screaming at me (I requested for this class only twice during the discussion). I did not shoot down his unearned ego, I am not looking for trouble. I did ask for an advisor switch, which lead only to me being referred back to my advisor. The advisor responded to my request by reporting me to others in the department as "trouble". Another student, years ago, had made a complaint against the professor as being racist. I didn't really care. Some students have found values in their advisors, I am reporting simply on personal experience here.
Classes? Mostly instructors not familiar with subject matter (excepting 3 professors, and 1 instructor outside the department). These are professors that know their books but have no idea how specific technologies are actually applied in the real world (imagine a mechanical engineer that can tell you how a specific motor can be built in his frame of reference but cannot tell you where this motor is actually useful). Anyone can read a book, I'm not paying to listen to a person's regurgitation of a book. In computer science, in higher education, valuable knowledge comes from *experienced* individuals (the experienced are much better with articulating). Professors with this lack of knowledge do inevitably end up providing *a lot* of busy work. So much, that social life will almost definitely be consumed. Very few high quality classes in CS, be warned.
Community? For those aspiring scientists, engineers and hackers hoping to build an educating social circle... do not get your hopes up. Due to the amount of busy work in this department, you'll generally find that others cannot dedicate time for interesting time-consuming extra-curricular projects. If you are a geek however, and find value simply in individuals who do stroll with "geek culture", you might find something.
My advice is simple, if you're willing to slither your way to a degree with busy-work and cheating for only the sake of the degree, by all means come here. If you expect to gain insight and appreciation into the true values of computer science and the culture behind it, don't expect to find it here. Rare it is that a class will challenge you with real problems (even the traditional ones). If you're looking for real research opportunities, you'll also find the CS department unwilling to accommodate for you, most likely.
I was once an extremely motivated student, with a real appreciation for academia and the values it entailed. The years spent here have changed my outlook completely. I did not find the great mentors with strong personalities. I did not find the community that would allow for computer science to swallow my life (yes, I was willing to do this). I was not even provided the simple freedoms to be able to do the type of extra-curricular work I am interested in (and for this, I have looked outside the curriculum which has caused my grades to suffer). I have even experienced the corruption of the academic system (internals of research funding and allocation, propaganda and more).
Some of these problems administration itself has mentioned to me before and is constantly working on improving. So please, do give GWU a look but remember -- be objective. Their website is, obviously, propaganda and not an objective source of information. Also note that many of the more positive reviews posted here are not from Computer Science degree seekers.On the non-academic side...social life. If you like drugs, you will find them easily available. If you're not into drugs, yes, you will also find many people who are either anti-drugs or simply, not into exploiting illegal substances. Greek life? It is actually very big here at GWU. If you want to join a fraternity, you'll find it easy. Night life? DC is not a cultural capital or anything like that (it's a transition city). However, you'll find many mediocre night clubs around here. There are decent hookah bars in Virginia, no good ones in DC. Into practicing sports? The gym is great, and it should accommodate almost all your needs (except if you're into martial arts). Religious? There is a student group for you, if not at least a social niche. Racist? You'll find friends easily in this hyper-segregated university community and this city. If you're looking for breadth (not necessarily depth) in friendship, you'll easily find this at GWU.
|Dec 13 2007|| 4th Year Male --
Class 2011 |
| GW is a large school with a fair amount of the same people. Personally, I don't think the education is worth the money. While the education is decent, it's simply not worth over 50k a year. Your professors will be willing to help you, if you show them that you're willing to take the time and make adjustments. However, I don't feel like a lot of the students here care about their education. I know plenty of people who just don't go to class.|
A vast majority of the student body is very wealthy. This is the top of the top money-wise, and it shows. Designer everything and kids who do not appreciate the value of money have primarily been my main experience. It's hard to find people here who appreciate anything. Being a good sized school, you can probably find people you want to hang out with though, as all types of people do attend GW. The truth is, you may have trouble finding your type of people because of the size, if you're not one of the many who parties hard and doesn't go to class. You can walk the length of the campus without seeing anyone you know, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. In general, I've found people who don't truly care about their education, who ask Mommy or Daddy for everything (and get it), and who aren't all that genuine. But, like I said, there are all types: you just have to search for them.
The city of DC is amazing, and if you are attending GW for politics or international affairs or anything along those lines, GW could be a good decision. There are a ton of options in DC for internships, nightlife, random things to do on a Tuesday, and etc. You don't have to look hard for something to do no matter what your tastes are. GW is one of those schools with a really great location, and, unlike a lot of city schools, the campus is pretty nice. You can walk to much of what you'll need in DC. If you can't walk there, the metro is easy to use. A lot of the museums are free and the city is just an endless supply of options, if you're willing to head out into it.
The campus is also very safe. There are campus police around a lot at night, if you're ever walking home late, and even off campus you will often find local security guards or DC policemen around. If you're on the campus late at night, I really wouldn't worry too much. HOWEVER, if you stray off the campus late at night (past mid-night), you are taking your chances. Don't be stupid (travel in groups, try not to be off campus too late, etc) and you will most likely be fine.
The kids here party a good amount. While the Greek scene isn't huge, it exists. People typically head to clubs or party in the rooms. There's a fair amount of school organizations on campus, but most of them are political in orientation in some way. Small things to possibly note: GW does not have a football team. GW does not have a cafeteria, which can be very annoying at times. (You eat at restaurants or fast food places for your meals, if you don't have a kitchen. There aren't many options for freshman who want a dorm with a kitchen.) GW does have really nice housing, but it is expensive. GW has a really great community service program. And, as strange as this may be to mention, GW has a pretty large and active gay scene.
|Nov 27 2007|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2011 |