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George Mason University

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GMU has thus far provided me with positiveQuite BrightEngineering Department
GMU has thus far provided me with positive educational experiences. I have been challenged within my major and most professors have been helpful and approachable. The campus offers a wide variety of dining options, as well as many activities. GMU is not a 'party' school, but there is always an event to attend ( on or off campus) if you are motivated to find something. Surrounding areas of Fairfax, Mosaic District, D.C., etc. all have a lot to offer. Restaurants, shopping, museums, zoo, and various other activities are easy to get to.
2nd Year Female -- Class 1921
Surrounding City: A+, Innovation: C
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If you're looking for a traditional, party-fueled collegeQuite BrightPsychology
If you're looking for a traditional, party-fueled college ?experience?, this isn't it. Mason doesn't have a football team, and you'll get lost trying to find the Greek row (HINT: fraternity and sorority houses are scattered off-campus and disguised as regular suburban houses). While the majority of freshman live in student housing, Mason is primarily a commuter school. 74% of students live off-campus, and the campus is usually desolate by Friday afternoons?which is a shame, because the campus itself is quite nice. There are plenty of forested pathways to walk through on your way to class, and I?ve never felt unsafe while walking around on campus at night. The gyms, libraries and dining halls (check out The Globe) are decently impressive, and the only serious complaint I?ve heard about the meals being served came from a student who was used to having a private chef cook for him.

That being said, the lack of a vibrant social atmosphere can be depressing. Most of the student body is fairly introverted and nerdy, and you're more likely to see a Dungeons & Dragons game in play on a Saturday night than a frat guy chugging jungle juice. This won't really bother students who appreciate the conservatism of the school's surrounding area, however: Northern Virginia is an incredibly transitory place due to its high population of federal employees and close proximity to Washington D.C., so the culture that surrounds it is a mesh of affluent white suburbia and the numerous cultures of the immigrants who live here. Expect heavy traffic and an abundance of neurotic, type-A personalities. Expect a wide variety of amazing Korean, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants too (most of which can be found in nearby Annandale)?if you're not into keeping up with the Joneses or an adventurous eater, you'll be better off spending your four years somewhere else.

I?m halfway through my four years of not being somewhere else. At first, I felt indifferent towards Mason and considered transferring out after the end of my freshman year. I?m glad to say that I reevaluated my decision and decided to stay. Within weeks of starting my sophomore year, I realized that I really enjoyed my area of study (human factors and applied cognition) and the work associated with it. I took the initiative to talk to my professors about the research they were conducting, and I now work as an undergraduate research assistant for multiple cognitive psychology labs. Most of the psychology and neuroscience professors at Mason are incredibly helpful and are available to work with their undergraduate students?which is something that my friends at more prestigious universities (with detached, overwhelmed professors) envy. The amount of technology available for undergraduate researchers to use is also pretty sweet and unique, which includes but is not limited to fMRI, EEG and TCD machines, as well as a soundproof chamber and virtual reality simulators.

Needless to say, Mason's greatest strength is its ability to prepare students for the post-graduate world. There are a ton of ambitious students here who prioritize perfecting their GPA and resume over their beer pong skills, so it's easy to stay motivated to do the same. Go Patriots.

tl;dr: What GMU lacks in (traditional) student life, it makes up for in solid academics, friendly professors and a wide range of research and internship opportunities. If you're someone who likes to party, you'll either leave Mason for JMU or get so bored that you'll focus all of your energy on studying and building your CV?which is kind of what a college education is for, anyways.

2nd Year Female -- Class 2019
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Social Life: D
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George Mason University provides a solid educational experieQuite BrightPolitical Science
George Mason University provides a solid educational experience with opportunities to engage on an academic level with both students and professors. It is a large school with a 'small school' feel to it. Students need to take advantage of the campus activities as well as the surrounding areas. Fairfax is beautiful, and D.C. is an amazing place to explore. It is up to the student to take advantage of these opportunities.
1st Year Female -- Class 1920
Surrounding City: A+, Faculty Accessibility: B-
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