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Carnegie Mellon University

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As someone who thoroughly read through the studentBrightOther
As someone who thoroughly read through the student reviews on the website prior to coming to college, I thought it would be only fair to contribute my two cents after my first year at Carnegie Mellon. I will try my best to give an accurate, honest account of my first-year experience (so take this all with a grain of salt, as my experience is not everyone's experience).

I will start with the bad first (sorry). Before coming into CMU, I had a lot of high expectations, not only academically but also socially. Due to the images presented to me in media outlets, I thought that college was some "magical time" to find yourself, grow, make your best friends, and of course, become the best four years of your life. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The minute I stepped onto CMU's campus for move-in day, I thought I was in the wrong place. Nonetheless, I held out hope during Orientation, but I still did not find my "best friends," nor did I like the school atmosphere any better. Additionally, campus was REALLY small, Pittsburgh was kind of ratchet, I wasn't interested in most of the club offerings, and sometimes the social scene sucked.I knew coming in that CMU is a nerd school, but I had apparently not thought about it enough. To give you some more context, I had also turned down an amazing offer to go to NYU (another note: I have dreamed of New York my whole life) due to a gut feeling to come to CMU, so that made me more disappointed that I didn't choose NYU. It's safe to say that I was certainly unhappy with CMU during those first few months, and even more upset with myself for giving up NYU. I was disappointed that my high expectations weren't met, and felt alone at school.

Now for the positives. Despite my struggles to fit in first semester, it got better towards the end of first semester and second semester. Although I still haven't found my "best friends," I've learned that relationships take time to build, and your lifelong friends may not become your lifelong friends immediately. I'm really glad that I met some of the people I did at CMU. I've also had pretty good experiences with the academic side of things. The professors I've had are generally willing to help students. While you will certainly have those large lecture classes with 100+ students, I've also had classes where the number is less than 10. If you reach out, professors will get to know you, and will go out of their way to help you learn.

As for some advice for freshmen considering CMU, make sure to do your research (i.e. what programs/majors you are looking into, what classes you must take, AP/IB credits, etc.). I would also suggest visiting and staying overnight if you can, so you can get a feel of CMU and go around Pittsburgh. If I could do my decision over again, I'm not sure I would choose CMU, but I'm also not sure if I wouldn't. Perhaps the most important thing to learn from this review is that if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to, it WILL get better. Freshmen year is a time of transition and a time to figure out this baby step into the real world. I hope this helps--you can do it!

1st Year Female -- Class 2018
Education Quality: A, Social Life: C
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CMU is a great university.Quite BrightAnimal Studies
CMU is a great university. It is really challenging for me and I like challenges. Most people don't judge one another so you can be your true self. It's really fun and the faculty are really nice. I recommend going to this college. I learned many things and this college is really helpful. Everyone is friendly and has school spirit. it's a great school.
2nd Year Female -- Class 2017
Education Quality: A+, Collaboration/Competitive: B+
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Students at CMU spend a lot of timeQuite BrightBiology
Students at CMU spend a lot of time working and professors have high expectation. This makes the social life not as good as a less rigorous college. However, I came out of CMU a much smarter person and better problem solver than I came in as. It is very easy to get involved with research, and there are a lot of students clubs. Pittsburgh is a decent city to go to college in. CMU also is a bit less bureaucratic than many other top tier universities is. CMU is a great size. It's big enough that there's lots of opportunities and recruiters know about the school, but small enough that you will be able to get to know your classmates and professors.
4th Year Female -- Class 2013
Education Quality: A, Social Life: B
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Carnegie Mellon University
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