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Northeastern University - Comments and Student Experiences |
This is not a "party school." This is not a school to attend if you want to spend four years in frat house basements, chugging beer before football games. It's a lot of fun here (we're in Boston, for god's sake), but it's a different kind of fun. It's concert venues, art museums, the theater district, ethnic restaurants, and wandering around history-steeped neighborhoods. I think it's fantastic, but it's not the "traditional American college experience." We're not isolated on some grassy, idyllic campus in the middle of nowhere. The Northeastern experience is something a little closer to the real world.
The co-op program is amazing. Absolutely unbeatable. There's a reason this school is rated #1 in career services by the Princeton Review. I have friends who've worked (as in real, full time, paid work) everywhere from the United Nations to NBC to Goldman Sachs during their time here at Northeastern. Students work all over the country and all over the world. The experience is like nothing else, and makes us far more competitive in the job search when we graduate. For people who may not feel ready to start working during undergrad, you don't have to do co-op, but almost everyone here does.
Because of its size (around 15,000 undergrads) and global scope (a TON of international students and students studying abroad), Northeastern doesn't have the time to hold your hand or coddle you. They're absolutely there to help you, but it's your job to seek it out. I think that's a good thing. It better prepares you for life. It teaches you to advocate for yourself, to communicate with your superiors, to get what you want. Northeastern is there to provide you with an enormous range of opportunities - all yours for the taking. But you have to take them.
Overall, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world for undergrad. Boston and Northeastern have become home to me. This school has helped me cultivate my interests in ways I didn't think possible. I feel like I have a direction. I know where I'm going, and Northeastern is going to help me get there.
I enrolled at Northeastern in the fall of 2011, and was really excited to be a part of an "up and coming" school, the Co-op program sounded fantastic, and I bought into the "global experience" they were selling. I pretty quickly became unhappy. Looking back, I had no idea what I wanted out of college when I applied in high school, and Northeastern was not the place for me explore. Most students enter having declared a major, and you will be at a competitive disadvantage if you enter undeclared. The advisors and first-semester seminar leaders pressure you to declare by the end of your first year at the absolute latest, which for a lot of students isn't enough time. I found most students to be naive about the quality of the education they were receiving, and I wholeheartedly believe the administration would rather pour money into "show-me" things like a visitor center and televisions instead of the arts and sciences. My perception of the business school is that the professors are quite capable and the students who make it are driven. The sciences are well funded and have great opportunities, but the never-ending pursuit of a Co-op has warped students to the true purpose of a degree.
A popular refrain of Northeastern students is "man, we are going to compete so well in the job hunt," to which I snort at. As I prepare to transfer to a public state school in the south to pursue a communications degree, I have more faith in my ability to contend on the job market because of what I will do there, rather than through the Co-op hunt. When I met with my advisor (who was very helpful) there was nothing of interest to me, and simply, Northeastern was not the school for me to pursue the typical college experience.
Simply, Northeastern was a bad fit for me, and I chalk up a lot of how I feel about it to that. But, there is a lot about Northeastern that makes it very unique. If you want that typical college experience, Northeastern is not for you. Going to school in a massive city for Boston is not for you. The city suffocates the college atmosphere, I have found every club I wanted to get involved with to be small and ignored by the greater community. The city constantly clashes with the school on construction and use of space, the area of Roxbury where many students live is really run-down, and Northeastern plays second fiddle to Boston, Boston College, and Harvard. You can see that clearly during the bean pot, when those three school's massive alumni base come out in droves, while Northeastern's small and mostly blue-collar alumni can't be found. I knew I made a mistake attending Northeastern when I took the T home from the bean pot in my freshman year and saw all the Boston College alumni decked out in scarlet and gold.
Also, this point is just me, but I am absolutely disgusted by the number of international students at Northeastern. I believe the percentage has ballooned to 17 percent. They are admitted under the guise of "the global experience" but in reality it is because there is no financial aid and usually very limited scholarship money for foreign students. The business school really dislikes the number of international students because Co-op employers hate the additional paperwork required to hire them. The word "euro trash" most aptly applies to them, and it really shouldn't be a surprise that there are so many scandals at Northeastern. Look around online, President Auon, the administration, and certain professors are constantly in the news for the wrong reasons. I think a lot of that is because they've put together a very miss-mashed student body. I have been asked a lot of questions back home about Northeastern in the news, and it makes me sick to my stomach. Most of the student population is pretty apathetic and doesn't care, but I am someone who wants to take a lot of pride in my school, so this clashed pretty hard.If you are someone who is enticed by the idea of maintaining an off-campus apartment, taking business or science classes, and going to job interviews while your friends at other schools plan tailgates, than Northeastern is for you. If you are someone who grew up exposed to the "classic" college experience like I, I would strongly recommend not going to NU. My parents both went to Ivy Leagues, and my sisters both went to private colleges, having gone to their graduations and reunions, I was appalled by Northeastern's inability to match that standard. Maybe it's just me, but I don't understand Northeastern's national prominence, application numbers, or tuition. I will be just happy at my new school, and as much as I grew from the experience of absolutely hating my life at Northeastern, not a day goes by I don't wish I didn't go there.
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