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Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon will work you hard, and chancesQuite BrightArchitecture & Urban Planning Department
Carnegie Mellon will work you hard, and chances are good that if you get in and are reading this now, you're thinking, "I can take it." I know I was, but it is a constant onslaught of work that is taxing both in volume and in the mental faculties required. I found myself wishing for busy work, because I could do that in my sleep. Instead, I was exhausted 80% of the time because there was that much work, and not enough time to do it. Every professor teaches as though theirs is the only class that you are in, and you learn an exceptional amount. You also learn how to accept that you're not going to have the time to do your best on every assignment, and that sometimes turning a C-paper in on time is better than turning an A-paper in a day late. Attending CMU is an education in your limits as a student as much as it is an exercise in the persuit of academic knowledge. The downside to this is that it is very easy to burn out, but the upside is that everyone is in that boat with you. There may be competition between students, but you're all suffering through the same sort of self-inflicted, sleep-deprived torture, and it brings you closer together. CMU students, while almost always secretly thinking that our own program is the worst, have a bond of mutual respect wrought in the all-nighters of the computer clusters that runs as deep as the tartan that lines our hoods. Generally speaking we come for the academics, but we stay for the unique and crazy cast of characters that compose the student body, and we learn as much from them as we do from our professors. Carnegie Mellon will challenge you, and push you to the limits of your stess-meter; for other brilliant and talented individuals out there who are up for an emotional and academic roller-coaster, welcome to the clan!
5th Year Female -- Class 2011
Useful Schoolwork: A+, Collaboration/Competitive: C-
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Quite BrightPreMed and Medical
Challenging courses,but worth it in the long run
1st Year Male -- Class 2010
University Resource Use: A+, Innovation: B+
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Senior year of high school, Carnegie Mellon wasQuite BrightMechanical Engineering
Senior year of high school, Carnegie Mellon was my dream school. I'm not sure why, in retrospect.
I try very hard at this school. I give it my all and I never procrastinate, despite never having had to in high school. However, it never seems to be enough. My GPA is barely over a 3.0, although I devote huge amounts of time to working myself ragged, studying, and the like. I wish I had more time to simply enjoy myself but that's not possible here.

Much of the learning is "do it yourself." The lectures are alright to follow, but the homeworks and exams are given with the assumption that you're a brilliant genius. I spend most of my life in office hours just trying to do a few problems. Most of my time is spent trying to figure out how to do problem sets. (Also: Any programming course is taught as if you are a computer science major, which bothers me, as this is the top school for CS. I spend about 15 hours per weekend programming.)

The academic workload has been a direct precipitant to mental breakdowns for many people I know. And not just in engineering. This goes for CS, Art, Architechture, the Sciences, math, and business.

The dorms are pretty horrible. Excluding 1 or 2, they are dingy, and poorly kept, and occasionally tiny.

I often feel like CMU tries to suck the money out of its kids. Every year, rates for something go up. It's one of the priciest schools to attend. I have been forced to go off the meal plan, go off of campus housing, and still take out huge loans to come here.

Males are very unattractive. 90% (no exaggeration) of them look prepubescent, pale, or pimply. A few exceptions exist. Females are maybe 35 - 40% attractive, so that's not too bad. But again, there are few females.

The WORST part: social life is pretty horrible. I hoped to make friends, but literally, I have none. If you are unable to make friends in your major or first year dorm, you're essentially screwed for the rest of the time. I slipped through the cracks freshman year, and I'm incredibly lonely. I've found that engineers here (and in general) are very bland, socially. It's difficult for me to relate to other engineers/technical field people. I know too many people in a similar situation.

But, if you're a girl and happen to find a decent guy, people here tend to like relationships (as opposed to promiscuity and exorbitant hooking up). That's kind of a plus?

Pittsburgh isn't horrible. It caters well to college students. Stuff within walking distance, buses, etc. No shopping unfortunately.

Conclusion: I wouldn't recommend coming to CMU. Only if you make a solid group of friends, then it might be tolerable. But if you do make friends, your GPA will be horrible, even if you get no sleep.

I hold a deep and bitter resentment towards CMU. I will never give back. Most people hate it. And if you look at the rate of Alumni giving, you will see that reflected in the very low giving percentages. For good reason.

I will say, however, that CMU provides decent career resources and networking opportunities (for technical fields at least).

2nd Year Female -- Class 2013
Friendliness: A-, Scholastic Success: F
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