George Washington University
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George Washington University - Comments and Student Experiences |
The academics ran hot and cold for me. Most of my professors were Ivy educated (or foreign equivalent) so I felt I had access to some of the best minds in the field. I noticed a huge disparity in student interest though. There are lots of students merely going through the motions, while I also came across many ambitious and hardworking and intellectually curious people. In my first year it was quite common to be in a class where discussion would always be made up of the same three students (the other 8 or 9 not having done the reading and who are only taking the course to fulfil general requirements). In this sense, I think the notion that "your education is what you make of it" would fit very well as a description of GW.BTW, residential Foggy Bottom is very nice. The buildings look similar to what you'd find in residential Georgetown. The university's buildings are all ugly though. DC in general has more than its fair share of ugly architecture, but then I've never been a fan of Brutalism (like Gelman Library, for example, which looks like a prison).
The first is the diversity; GW's student body has about 10,000 people; meaning there is a whole spectrum of individuals, some of who are some absolutely incredible and wonderful people. While frats do have a presence on campus, it is very easy to have a thriving social life without having to join one, and it is very easy to have a social life without alcohol. DC itself is such a thriving and bustling city, and it has so much to offer. You can very easily access any part of the city via Metro or even walking from GW's campus.
As for academics, I have been challenged in a majority of my classes, and I have had to work very hard for the grades I have now. While I have been in a few lecture halls that had hundreds of students, I have also had classes with five people and a professor. And while some people complain about TAs, I have found that they can be even more helpful than the professor at times. However, a good amount of of my professors here have been very accessible, and have always been accommodating to my needs.
Additionally, access to jobs and internships at GW is one of the greatest assets that this school has at its disposal. If they are taken advantage of, any individual will be perfectly capable of finding work after graduation, regardless of major.
Ultimately, if someone comes here expecting the university to give them everything on a silver platter, they need to find a different school. But if he or she is willing to work for what they want, undoubtedly, it will be attained.Has my experience here been perfect? No. But it is the best school that I could have chosen for myself. I regret nothing.
The campus is primarily what sets GW apart from other colleges. This can either be good, or bad. Essentially, there is no campus. You will find that your classes are generally in the same area, but range from K street to E street, and between 23rd and 20th. There are maybe 2-3 small areas of grass where you can sit outside and do work or relax, but this type of space is limited. If you are an urbanite and love the city life, GW is for you. If you've never lived in a city before, it can be difficult. For the most part, the general area in which the school buildings are located is well-kept but there are a multitude of homeless people who like to take advantage of any grassy, quiet area even if it is on "campus".
The People Here:
If you live on the east coast and are thinking of going to GW, you'll fit in fine. Coming from the west coast (CO) I found the people here to be polar opposites from what I was accustomed to. Essentially, if don't own a pair of boat shoes, polo brand clothing, salmon shorts and pastel v-necks and some lacoste sweaters for the winter, you won't fit in. Everything here is about status so it is unheard of to leave your room wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. God forbid you might look poor. My class had 50% of people rush for frats or sororities so that also defines the population here well. The majority of people are snobby and it is rare to find down-to-earth people. Other than that, everyone is fairly open-minded when it comes to accepting people of all different backgrounds (unless you're poor). But if you lie and pretend to be rich, you'll be set.
Classes: The classes here are excellent. I have absolutely no complaints about my professors and their qualifications. GW does an incredible job of hiring qualified, english speaking professors. Technology at the school is also up-to-date. The majority of lecture hall classes have the classes recorded and put on itunes so you can listen to lecture later if you miss a class or just need to go back and review something. My econ class also had a video of the screen put on itunes for each class so that was great for graphs and formulas and whatnot. If you go to class, and get your work done, you will learn a lot!
Dorms: Dorms here are pretty nice. Some are old, but they are still decent. Freshmen dorms are usually the worst because they are smaller and don't have kitchens in the room, and sometimes you have to share a bathroom, but once you are a sophomore and up, the dorms are pretty good. Off-campus housing is a bit tricky. Housing in DC is so incredibly expensive (but so are the dorms) so sometimes it is practical to live off "campus" but most people stay on campus all four years. My friend is renting a one bedroom apartment in the neighborhood with small kitchen and living room and it is $2000 a month...which is a great price for the area.
What I don't like about GW.
There really is no cafeteria. Regardless of what they tell you about J Street (our "cafeteria") it is not good at all. There is no variety in the food and they only have maybe 4 main options for what you want to get to eat. There is the chinese food, an indian place, a diner where you can get a hamburger or chicken fingers, and then a hot bar with one main entree option that rarely changes. One time it was tacos for a week. They give you about $1000 per semester freshman year to spend at restaurants that are on Gworld (a limited number) but this amount gets decreased every year, and by senior year it is almost $0. There is one grocery store on Gworld (whole foods) so you're limited that way as well. Overall, food is so frustrating to get here IMHO and you are lucky to find lunch for under $10 and dinner for under $12-13.
I am a sophomore and still haven't found a good group of friends to hang out with. It is hard to fit in if you don't have daddy's credit card to spend frivolously on $5.00 starbucks drinks three times a day and on designer clothes.
There really is no campus. Its pretty much real life living in the city and going to school.
There are no decent athletics. We supposedly have a basketball team, but I've never met anyone who has gone to a game. No football on the weekends, like I said-this is not your typical college experience.
Everyone talks politics when they're drunk at a party. (comes with going to college in DC)
Transportation is sometimes easy with the metro, but the price of parking pretty much inhibits anyone from having a car. Parking right now is about $175/month whether you get it through the school or a parking company or your apartment.
The only grocery store on gworld is wholefoods. Safeway went out of business and trader joes is in georgetown and not on gworld so you have to use "real money"I just want college to be over. I wanted to enjoy college and experience growing up, but I don't feel like that is happening at GW. GW was not the right fit for me and GPAC (look it up on the gw website) prevented me from transferring because I repeated all the classes I had AP credits in so it put me a semester behind when I tried to transfer.
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