George Washington University
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George Washington University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Overall, I very much enjoyed my experience at GW, especially my academic experience. My courses in math and science were high quality and rigorous but not impossibly so, and the honors program had other fun and interesting courses that were intellectually stimulating. I took courses in classics/latin and music for fun and the curriculum is sufficiently flexible to allow for this (although engineering majors have much less flexibility, FYI). I'm glad I had the opportunity to do this, as I am a grad student at another university now and only take (really hard!) courses in my discipline.
I had internships at NIH and a private science company, as well as positions on campus. I believe my internships and research experiences (two thesis projects my senior year) helped me get into a top top school for my PhD.
There are people from wealthy backgrounds, but I didn't feel the need to "keep up with them." I am who I am, I eat where I eat, and I wear what I wear! I've also found that wealthy students can be found everywhere, even at public institutions that are much cheaper. Do not let it keep you from attending! I made a lot of good friends, and they just happened to be people I met at work or through friends of friends and were not current students. I recommend GW for the academic community, research opportunities, internships, and flexibility of coursework. The location is amazing, and most of the classes are small. I got to know several faculty members well and they wrote me fantastic letters for grad school!
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.
GW was a relative match/safety for me, so I really didn't know much about it when I came onto this website and became terrified of what my experience might be like. I was already looking into transferring before I even stepped foot on the campus.
Then I actually came here.
One thing I would really like to clarify- the people who say that there are kids who drive mercades and BMWs around campus could not be any less true- most people here do not have cars.
I also don't understand what people mean when they say the students like to "show they have money." Do you they mean clothes?- I've never noticed anything excessive, maybe I'm just not good at noticing those things.
You are less likely to see students wearing sweatpants to class- but that mainly has to do with the campus being on the streets than anything else
The people I have made friends with here have been amazing, I have never felt more like I belonged when I am with my friends here
It is true- there are snooty and arrogant people, I have met people who are so materialistic I've wanted to punch them: but in my opinion they are in the minority
There are some improvements the university could stand to make: I have been unhappy with the dining plan and my adviser
Living in DC is amazing- there is always something happening and you do not have to spend too much money to enjoy yourself.
The majority of my professors have been dedicated and effective teachers (i do recommend ratemyprofesors.com, because there are some bad apples)
So far I have enjoyed every class I have takenI do sometimes wonder if I would be better suited in a campus with rolling hills and a grander campus- but then I think about everything coming here has enabled me: all of the great experiences and amazing people I have met, and I realize that coming here was one of the best decisions I've made
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