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| If you want to hear the real-deal about George Mason University, read this review.|
I'm a freshman at GMU and only decided to come here because of my parents financial hardships at the time of making a decision for college. I figured I would give the university a shot since my elders told me how up-and-coming GMU really is. Truth be told, GMU is an up-and-coming school, it just won't be as great as everyone think it is for at least the next five years.
I decided to live on campus and get the "full college experience". However, I was lied to by the GMU Patriot Leaders at orientation when they said the Triple rooms in Presidents Park are larger than the double. THIS IS NOT THE CASE and I have been placed in a small box room, cramped with two other people who didn't even receive enough dressers in our room due to the excess number of students living on campus.
Getting involved on campus isn't that hard, you just have to look into what you are interested in. Nothing is going to come to you. If you want a fun, social life at GMU you have two options: Join a fraternity/sorority (this means you are gauranteed to party) or don't go to GMU. However, these parties aren't even that fun. Mason is a dry campus and the police are out to get your on a friday/saturday night. Going to DC is an option. However, if you're from NOVA, like me, you are aware of how long it takes to get into the city unlike the out-of-state students.
If you want to be challenged academically, do not go to GMU. I was a straight A student in high school with AP and Honors classes. I currently have straight As at Mason. The work is not challenging and I barely study for tests and haven't gotten lower than a B. I would say if you were a C student in high school then Mason would be challenging for you.
Overall, I've definitely learned that Mason is not the school for me and will do not nothing for me if I continue my studies here. Students who are from out-of-state tend to love Mason, while in-state students find themselves stuck and bored. Every Virginian I have met so far plans to transfer to VT, UVA or William and Mary. I, myself, am planning to transfer to GW next fall. The Mason Nation is dull and unenthusiatic about their future and career. However, if you feel you can make the best of it, go for it.
|Oct 23 2011|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2015 |
| I just finished my first semester at Mason, and more than anything it has confirmed for me that college is whatever you make it. It matters less where you go and more what you do while you're there. I came to mason from my dying town in Ohio for the prospect of plenty of opportunities offered due to the university's location in the D.C. metro area; so far I have not been wrong. However, I'm not necessarily a walking poster-boy for Mason.|
First, the academics so far have been awesome. Yeah, you have to work a little bit; you can't show up hung over half the time and not the other half and hope for a good grade. I'm in the honors program, so it might be a bit more rigorous for me. Don't worry, though... I don't sit in my room studying constantly. Class sizes are generally smaller than most schools... the largest survey classes don't have more than about 60 people in them (small by comparison). For this reason professors are easy to access, and if they get to know you personally even a little bit you should be crystal clear.
The campus is pretty nice. It's young, so some of the buildings have corny, generic names (Innovation Hall, Enterprise Hall, and, my favorite, College Hall). However, it's no UVA; nor does it cost nearly as much. I've been on several college campuses, though, and this one is pretty good looking. My only complaint is the lack of big, open green spaces... there are some, but they're not like what you'll find at Maryland. When it comes to housing, I don't think Mason can be beat. As a freshman you have the opportunity of living in almost brand-new, suite style on campus apartments. Where else can you do that? Freshmen do, for the most part, live in the traditional dorms of President's Park. Still, the rooms are big compared to freshmen rooms on so many other big campuses. In short, housing here rocks.
Now onto the big one: social life. Remember what I said about college being what you make it? This is when it's important. As someone who nearly went to one of the strictest schools in America (Navy) and one of the biggest party schools (Ohio State), I have an interesting perspective on Mason's social life. I was fortunate enough to make friends quickly in my dorm, and never had a lack of people to hang out with. Some of my friends drink; some don't. It's true that the campus appears dead on weekends. It's probably not as desolate as it looks; a lot of people choose to hole up in their dorm rooms till nightfall- it does seem more lively then. Many people bash Mason for what seems to be an anti-party atmosphere; this isn't entirely untrue. Our president is vehemently anti-drinking and the campus is one of the driest in Virginia (statistically). In reality, if you want to drink, you can. It might not be at a raging on-campus party, but you can do it if you want. Just DO NOT GET CAUGHT. It's true that the cops LOVE nailing students on the slightest charges. Watch out for them going undercover at events, too. I'll be honest: Fairfax itself is not a college town. It's a suburb for people who have families and work for the Government in D.C. While there's no shortage of places to eat in Fairfax, there seems to be a major shortage of places to party. However, theres a HUGE other side to the argument that is generally never heard from.
People bash Mason for the lack of partying. They contrast us to places like JMU or Virginia Tech. Wake up call: both of those "party schools" are out in the middle of nothing. So yea, you can drink yourself blind there, cause good luck finding anything else to do. Mason isn't always known for its parties; but we have D.C., which often is. In my mind, I would rather have the option of going to D.C. and sacrifice on campus partying than have nothing else to do but drink all weekend on the same college campus week in, week out. And let's be honest, kids. As freshmen you'd probably just end up getting drunk in your dorm room with some friends and wandering around doing shit. People do that here just as much, trust me. Don't act like you're a party animal who plans on hitting raging parties all the time with reckless abandon; nobody really does that anywhere, and if they say they do, they're lying or sluts. D.C. is huge and accessible and full of clubs that make shitty, crusty frat houses at colleges elsewhere look like exactly what they are: shitty, crusty frat houses. So go ahead out to one of the "party schools" in the boondocks. Hope you really kick it out there in the fields.
In short, I think Mason's academics speak for themselves; there's really no argument as to the quality of the education you'll get here. Plus, the school is literally gaining recognition by the day (Obama gave his first major speech on domestic policy last week on campus). The housing is awesome, as the school has begun pouring money into transforming its image away from that of a commuter school. Partying on campus is limited. So get to know people. And then go with them to D.C. for a better party than most campuses anywhere can offer. Don't be a product of your environment. Make your environment a product of you.
|Jan 13 2009|| 1st Year Male --
Class 2012 |
| I am an out of state student from up North. I decided to attend George Mason because of its size, location, and reputable government and int'l politics program. I have been relatively disappointed with my college experience here and will be transferring out next semester.|
Mason is a commuter school and is trying extremely hard to shed that label. Its steadily and annually increasing tuition is an indicator of the major building projects being put into place in this school. As of now, however, the construction on this campus is an eyesore and makes walking around difficult. The main campus quad and Johnson Center (student center with fast food) are the nicest parts of campus and most populated during the weekday. The academic area and Fenwick library are attractive buildings as well. In 5 years this will be a great university that will offer a pretty comprehensive college experience to bright and motivated students, but is not able to provide that experience now.
The social life at Mason is relatively dismal. The school has some insane commuter population, I've seen on-campus student numbers as low as 11% from some sources. The campus becomes a ghost town on weekends and Fairfax is a suburban community that does not condone the average lifestyle desired by 18 to 24 year old people. Nothing interesting is within walking distance of campus besides the McDonalds at University Mall. If you want to walk off campus you will have to cross a number of busy parkways anyways.
The only parties held at Mason are by fraternities and you need to be affiliated if you are a male to get in. The fraternities also have to provide rides from campus to their parties because many fraternities rent houses as far as 7 miles away. The houses are dispersed throughout residential neighborhoods surrounding the campus and are often busted by the city police.
This brings me to another issue, the George Mason campus police. I have never been in trouble with the police on this campus, so please keep that in mind while reading this and know that it is not out of personal spite. Well, maybe a little spite, only because they are ruthless. If you are intoxicated on Mason's campus, chances are you will be arrested and taken to the Fairfax county jail. It is completely ridiculous, but the police are not there to protect students, like most campuses' police are supposed to do, they are there to issue fines, arrest, and generally make the student population that wants a social life miserable.
If you envision yourself at a college where you can take a 5 minute walk over to a friend's apartment or house, meet interesting new people and be with friends, and walk back to your dorm plastered at 3 in the morning, do not apply to Mason. If you do not join a fraternity as a male, you will have 3 weeks at the beginning of each semester to party at fraternity rush parties, then get ready to spend the next few months holed up in a townhouse with a case of Natural Ice and a video game console and 3 other dudes. Don't be too loud though, the police are idling in their cruiser outside and will probably enjoy every second of arresting you.
My section on academics will be short compared to my evaluation of social life. And this is not because I am not a good student, merely because I am not transferring because I am disappointed in the academics.Anyway, you will probably sleep through your Gen Eds. Just read the textbook.
The Mason administration is a group of people who probably have extreme inferiority complexes and cannot lead their peers because it seems that they enjoy making young peoples' lives harder, not unlike the campus police. The housing department will fine you for just about anything and everything, not to mention they will ignore your attempts to contact them. The judicial system will give you community service and probation for just about anything as well.This school has aged an depressed me in 8 months. And I went into my first semester with the most positive and excited attitude possible.
|Mar 10 2009|| 1st Year Male --
Class 2012 |