Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University - Comments and Student Experiences|
When I first got into VCU I was accepted into the biomedical engineering program and honors college. The dean of our program gave us great stats about the acceptance into medical school from our program so naturally me and the other freshmen were very excited. It turns out that our dean had completely fabricated those numbers in order to get more people into the relatively new program and many of us felt betrayed when we figured this out. (Professor gave a ~90% placement when in reality it was a 5-10%). Although we were naive in thinking that a 90% placement into medical school was realistic, that should've been the first red flag that this institution was overall dishonest.
I switched to Electrical Engineering because I thought that it would be a more marketable and useful degree in the future. I started to feel that students were not rewarded for trying to learn and would sometimes even be punished. For example, when I was taking my first programming class in C, I would be dinged on many points in my projects because I was trying to incorporate new concepts we learned in class that I hadn't fully mastered yet. However, instead of the professor looking through the code, he simply graded it on its results and students spammed this fact by only using if/and/or statements for the entire semester. So even though their code was over 300 lines long and mine was around 40 but marginally worse, I would get a lower grade and that just felt unfair to me in the spirit of academics and becoming a better programmer. I've also had a biochemistry professor insult students who asked questions and a math professor who laughed if you became emotionally compromised from stress.(not me but he chuckled at a student crying over all of his classes having their exams the same week).
I had a bout with Bipolar II that I was diagnosed with in my junior year and had to take a semester off. When I came back my engineering adviser told me that the 30 credits I had left would take two years due to the ridiculous pre-requisites on courses that were offered the same semester as the course itself.This is not strictly with the electrical engineering major either. I have known many seniors in engineering, the humanities, and other STEM subjects staying one semester more for just one capstone course because they couldn't get an override. There were hardly any summer courses that I could take advantage of and an extra year of tuition to take half a semester worth of credits each semester just wasn't worth it so I made my final switch to Chemistry where I could graduate closer to my original schedule.
Everything here is a struggle to get done. I had to go through extra work to submit a foreign language waiver because VCU had me as a transfer student in their system even though I matriculated as a freshman, and because of this I had to go through a different process (but not really because they had messed it up). The lady who was supposed to help me out left work every day at noon and wasn't even told that until the third time I showed up and she had left early again. My summer parking pass which is hundreds of dollars expires weeks before my actual summer classes do which charges me extra money. I have to call the parking department and fill out extra forms just so I can extend my pass to what it should've been in the first place. VCU does this a lot: they get you in small places with small dollar amounts that REALLY adds up over your four years. There are so many more things at this university that turned into days what should've taken minutes.The bureaucracy here is very clogged and inefficient.
The city is frankly dirty and dangerous. The brick sidewalks are in terrible condition, there are homeless people, panhandlers, and even mentally insane people wandering around campus and directly outside of campus. For those thinking I'm exaggerating, some of these people talk to themselves, yell at people, and come into the buildings and sleep (one guy came in and started singing in the student commons and had to be escorted out).I don't feel that the city is as dangerous but that is simply because I am a guy. I lived right next to campus and walked my girlfriend home every single night because I was worried about her safety. The one night I didn't walk her home a drunk guy outside of the City Dog's restaurant chased her down the street when she wouldn't respond to his catcalls. My girlfriend says it was his more sober friend that had to yell "What the fuck are you doing dude?!" to even get him to stop. This caused me a lot of grief because I felt like I failed my girlfriend at keeping her safe THE ONE FUCKING TIME I didn't walk her home. I've also had people come up and tell me at a distance they've had a gun and to keep away (I was not approaching them they did it unprovoked), and guys my age on bmx bikes cornering me and asking me if I've ever cut someone's kidneys out and suck on them to get high (yeah that actually happened).
There are a lot of off-campus crimes and on-campus rapes that are covered up. The fraternities are notorious for date raping their party-goers, and overall downtown Richmond is just a very sad place to be.
If you have any shred of conservative or Christian values here then stay out; you're not truly welcome here. Everyday you will be mentally assaulted with signs, protests, posters on the wall, or something that is supporting some ridiculous unnecessary movement(to be fair a lot of the movements and activism on campus are very honorable and should be commended). Many students here hate America and privileged white males all while ironically ignoring the fact they can say this is because of our constitution and the fact that they're in college which makes them more privileged than most in the world.There is a very kinky sex culture and free love thing going on over here. While that may sound good to many people on paper, it really screwed with my head. My first exposure to the adult world and thus what I thought was normal was through the perverted lens of this school.There is also a huge drug culture here.Faculty is not helpful either. I cannot stress enough that this school just doesn't have anything to offer that can trump the cons of it. Go to another school that is cleaner, safer, and more fun with a healthier student body. Better yet, go to community college and use Virginia's amazing transfer program to get into another university. You'll save tens of thousands of dollars. The graduate programs and the medical college are good, but I just wouldn't come here for undergraduate.I'm not on a crusade to destroy VCU, I'm just being honest with what me and many other students from different disciplines feel. We all feel tricked.
To any young people considering VCU, I implore you--look elsewhere. Go to community college, where the standards will be higher, the tuition cheaper, the administration more helpful, and you'll have an easier time of transferring to one of Virginia's good universities like UVA or W&M. I myself checked out of this sewer for a proper school and am glad to say I never look back, though the shame of having spent even one nanosecond on campus will remain with me forever (I usually tell people I came from community college since that's actually less embarrassing).
Some posters here will say, "Yes, the general academics are atrocious, but many individual programs are good." This is, of course, another comforting lie which VCU students repeat to themselves in order to make it through another depressing day in scenic Richmond, Virginia. At best, some programs are MEDIOCRE rather than downright garbage, and VCU students are wont to confuse mediocrity with success. Even the art department, supposedly among the top-ranked in the country, is considered merely average by professional artists, as it is EXCLUSIVELY the graduate program of 200 students that's actually ranked highly--not the undergraduate program of about 3000 students, contrary to VCU promotional materials.
Another favorite often pointed to is the engineering program, impressively ranked 125th in the nation by the USNWR, which I suppose is better than VCU's overall ranking of ONE-HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-ONE.
In short, this is a for-profit university that preys on the lazy and the naive, not unlike Strayer or DeVry. Some immigrants (usually Asian) who don't know better or who can pull off sizable scholarships send their kids here, and they're occasionally able to make something of their time at the worst public state school in Virginia. An easy GPA in STEM can take you someplace better. But the overwhelming majority of kids at VCU are immature potheads who sat in the back of the class shooting spitballs, middle class minorities too dumb even for affirmative action, pretentious art geeks who imagine themselves as the next Bob Dylan or Stanley Kubrick, and general failures from all walks of life. Many will drop out once the professors stop awarding them Cs just for showing up, but many more will graduate and tarnish your reputation by association.So please, avoid this university, unless you want to rub shoulders with future Walmart clerks and Richmond's burgeoning criminal population, or perhaps join them.
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