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| First, let me get something out of the way. |
Do not come to Brandeis if you define yourself as a "party person". Do not come to Brandeis if you want to spend more time drinking than studying. Do not come to Brandeis if your life revolves around college football. And for God's sake, do not come to Brandeis if you absolutely must be surrounded by frats. You will be miserable here.
Now for the actual review: Brandeis is a fantastic school. Even its detractors will admit that it has an excellent, rigorous (maybe too rigorous for some) academic program, and it excels in preparing students for graduate school. Its science and economics programs are top-notch, and can easily compete with those of Ivy League schools. If you want your college experience to be defined by actually getting an education, this is the place for you. The only fair criticism that can be directed against Brandeis' academic quality is that it can actually be too difficult, particularly in the life science fields. The bar is set very high at this school. You are expected to put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears just to earn a B- in organic chemistry. Remember that.
Students are encouraged (and partially required!) to take a few classes outside of their major, and pretty much everyone ends up loving some random class that they took to fulfill one of their general requirements. I took classes in archaeology, French history, and Shakespeare, and I adored them all.
Most of the teachers here are top-notch, and there are plenty of opportunities to work with them in labs, research projects, etc. I would consider the vast majority of Brandeis professors to be laid-back, approachable, and eager to help students succeed. You will come across the occasional dud here and there--mostly the graduate students in lab sections or seminars--but they are the minority.
As for the school's social life, what can be said of it that hasn't already been said? Brandeis kids are awkward. It's the truth. Most have a small-ish group of friends and prefer hanging out in their rooms to attending massive parties. That's not to say that everyone is like that--there manages to be at least two or three geniuses who have to get their stomachs pumped at the local hospital every year--but the majority are pretty different from the popular kids in high school. Most people at Brandeis wouldn't consider that a bad thing, but I'm sure some prospective students might prefer a more sociable and, yes, attractive student body.
The other three big complaints you always see about Brandeis are that the food is awful, it's "too Jewish", and the campus is ugly. Let me go through those. I can't deny that one of the cafeterias (Sherman) is absolutely terrible, but the other one (Usdan) is just fine. It's standard college food. You're not going to starve to death for want of a decent meal at Brandeis. There are also smaller specialty shops (Quizno's, Einstein Bros. Bagels, a coffee house) that all serve good food, if you prefer. The campus is indeed pretty unsightly--not in an unkempt way, just in a clearly-built-in-the-60s way--but hey, no one comes to Waltham for gorgeous ivy-covered buildings. Fortunately, the school seems to be conscious of this and is trying to improve it. The recently-built science center and humanities center are both gorgeous, modern-looking, clean facilities with big (air conditioned!) rooms and comfortable seating. As for the Jewish thing, the school was founded by Jews and there are still a lot of Jews here. I don't know why that would be a problem, but if it is, this isn't the school for you. (It's your loss, really. This is probably the only place in North America that gets Shemini Atzeret off. I attended Brandeis for four years and still couldn't tell you what that means.)As a whole, Brandeis is a school that lives up to its promise, and its promise is to give you a superb education. It will prepare you for life after school, it will give you knowledge and experience in your chosen field, it will give you a safe place to live and a life-long group of friends. Not everyone belongs at Brandeis, but if you think that you might, you probably won't regret coming here.
|Oct 17 2012|| 4th Year Female --
Class 2011 |
| School spirit is too energetic and sprightly for this place. There are no football games, costume runs, bonfires, or fun college traditions of any sort.|
Expect unfathomable levels of narcissism, social immaturity, demotivation, closed-mindedness, and boredom.
You will spend countless hours of "the best years of your life" trying to figure out why you even went to school here, usually by having convos about "what makes Brandeis unique". You will pretend to be obsessed with Israel if you aren't, and probably wear a sweatshirt from the Ivy you didn't get into. If anything makes Brandeis unique, this is it.
|May 12 2012|| 3rd Year Female --
Class 2016 |
| The day that I visited the school, a promotional video was being shot for the college on campus. I met the dean and a good portion of students, all of whom were extremely friendly and welcomed my dad and I to become a part of the video. While many complain about the social life, there is no denying that Brandeis has a very unique and welcoming student body. There is a strong sense of community not because Brandeis has an amazing sports or frat scene(because they don't), but because of the accepting and welcoming nature of the students. |
|Mar 24 2011|| 2nd Year Male --
Class 2013 |