StudentsReview :: Brandeis University - How to Get into Brandeis (Undergraduate)
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Brandeis University

Brandeis says:
We evaluate each applicant in terms of the following 3 categories (they are listed in order of importance): Academics, personal qualities/extra-curricular involvement, and standardized test scores.
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Your Combined ACT:
*** reported for attending students
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SAT Math + Verbal:
*** reported for attending students
Your Chances at Brandeis
(on ACT score alone)
Your Chances at Brandeis
(on SAT score alone)
Men
Women
# Applicants
3,917
5,579
# Admitted
1,515
2,002
% Admitted
38.7%
35.9%
% Overall
37.0%

Students who got into Brandeis:

Tips mention: Interview (7), ACT/SAT (24), Grades (27), Sports/Extracurriculars (17), College Essay (12)
I was top 10 in my high school with a 4Dec 10 2015Psychology
I was top 10 in my high school with a 4.36 GPA and high scores on my ACT and SAT. I think I was fully qualified to go to Brandeis. I got in to several other schools, but Brandeis gave me more scholarship money than the other Ivy and high-powered schools.
ACT: 34 SAT: 1510 Female
If you're from a private religious Jewish school andOct 01 2014Unknown
If you're from a private religious Jewish school and your GPA is >3.0 you're a shoe in. Also, write your essay about a "social justice" - related topic.
Female
Have a fairly good high school GPA and SAT scoresApr 25 2014Psychology
Have a fairly good high school GPA and SAT scores. College essay matters. Make yourself stand out (interview, creative outlet such as a portfolio, written work, music, etc.)
Female
Brandeis is becoming more and more selective every yearJul 12 2013Music - Composition/Theory
Brandeis is becoming more and more selective every year. The Brandeis admissions committee stresses that they look at every applicant holistically. I recommend focusing on the supplemental essay and demonstrating true interest in the school.
SAT: 2330 Male
When I visited Brandeis, the first thing that struckApr 07 2012Physics
When I visited Brandeis, the first thing that struck me was how incredibly sullen and pale the students looked. The second thing that struck me was how the only scientific achievement brought up by the tour leaders was the formula for Healthy Choice Butter Spread. But, overall people seemed friendly, Brandeis was the best university I applied to, and when I got in I was a bit nonplussed. Since I figured its name would bring prestige, I matriculated.

After two years of attending this school, I can tell you that the label just isn't worth it. The professors are superb overall, but the vast majority of students here are, yes, sullen, depressed, ignorant, have inferiority complexes, and incapable of spontaneous, altruistic interaction - manifesting itself in extreme levels of immaturity and narcissism. I have never seen anything like this anywhere else. No conception of the Other. None.

Don't expect a day to go by here without experiencing something weird or mildly deranged. Just go to a lower ranked but better school, even if you have to take a year off.

Atmosphere:

"School spirit" is too energetic and sprightly for this place. There are no football games (we don't have a team), bonfires, costume runs, or fun college traditions of any sort. It is more common to see students wearing sweatshirts from all the Ivy League schools they didn't get into than sweatshirts from the school they are actually attending, and it has become a running joke. Interactions here mostly consist of students pointing out their own academic superiority in one way or another, while carefully avoiding any expression of enthusiasm or outside knowledge which may suggest they are more than just mediocre.

People here get offended very, very easily.

Academics:

Brandeis is in the top ten ranking for instruction in the United States. Professors are lively and make an effort to know your name. There are few places better than Brandeis to go for science. It is grueling, but the professors are helpful and you will get a very thorough education. Math is atrocious. Social sciences professors are also brilliant, but need to essentially dumb down their curriculum to accommodate the students' misinformed opinions and stifling (and hypocritical) political correctness. Four years ago, a prof was fired for saying "wetback" during a lecture on discrimination. Enough said.

Career Opportunities:

The Hiatt Career Center is universally regarded as a useless ulcer unless you know alumni or have rich parents. This significantly narrows your career options down to a few skilled but generic professional fields unless you do everything yourself. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing. Just remember that you are starting at a disadvantage, not merely due to the $41K tuition. Research opportunities are lacking. LSAT scores are comparable to state schools. Almost no companies come to Brandeis to recruit undergrads, in spite of its reputation. Some student clubs are trying to remedy the latter problem and are also known to be driven by their leaders' personal agendas - which shouldn't preclude you from taking advantage of them anyway. But many younger schools with lower rankings have none of these problems to begin with.

Social Life:

I partially covered this in the first and second paragraphs, but I'd like to reiterate: Brandeis' most depressing aspect by far, and its most unique! There is a complete and utter lack of fun due to the extreme awkwardness and banality of the students, who generally don't feel comfortable outside of their little cliques. You will in all likelihood make a few friends to sit and study with/play apples to apples with/smoke weed with all day. A few parties happen, but only on the weekends, are lame, and only function as excuses for some clique or club to get drunk together. Greek life is not acknowledged, so their houses are about a mile away from campus on foot, and is generally lame as well.

- Clubs and "Social Justice"(tm)

This needs a separate section. Social life revolves around the clubs. You hear this at orientation and it is basically true. However, they are really just cliques formed by people who take the same classes together, lived on the same floor freshman year, went to the same high school, or were in the same clique in high school. Breaking in is a long and difficult process, and even then you probably won't really be accepted. If you work too hard too soon, in an effort to show your dedication, they will usually get jealous and ignore you.

Also owing to the lack of creativity among the students, the vast majority of clubs and therefore events revolve around a kind of weakly defined political or cultural agenda termed "Social Justice". "Social Justice" is regarded as unique only to Brandeis, the "Social Justice school".

What this really means is a preponderance of upper middle class white Jews, and a creepy obsession with Israel impossible to avoid. Unless you go on Taglit-Birthright (the free trip to Israel every Jewish college student is entitled to) you will never understand what Israel truly is. The other overused topics are Africa (the abstracted, homogenized version) and the environment. Students are *expected* to go abroad for internships Junior year, which of course usually means a second all-expenses-paid trip Israel, or a period of going clubbing in a foreign country for a year (the only time most Deis students ever do so) that will add another $40K to their expenses.

Living:

Students are subjected to a labyrinthine housing process. Dorms are of average quality, except Shapiro in Masell Quad, which is physically dangerous and houses freshmen. Spring entries are guaranteed the most modern dorms on campus, but supposedly have so many problems integrating with Fall entries they have their own senator in the Student Union. Everyone on campus must get a meal plan, meaning $16.00 for every oily cheeseburger you get from upper Usdan, or the food from Sherman which has been known to give people dysentery. We have a bagel shop, a late night restaurant, and a Quiznos as well. Everything pretty much shuts down on weekends for the Sabbath except Sherman.

"The only time a BranVan driver comes on time is in the back seat" said one Brandeis meme, so if you are going into or out of Waltham, you are better off taking a taxi unless you or someone in your group knows the driver. Coming back from Boston in the free Brandeis shuttle could mean a one to three hour wait, and weekend trains back from Boston cease at 11. No Boston nightlife unless you have a car or can afford a $100 taxi ride back to campus.

Athletics:

Brandeis varsity is in the UAA but nobody goes to their events. Intramural sports are underfunded and have fewer opportunities to compete. Teams are close knit. People joke that the most popular sport is Quidditch.

In conclusion, choose a school not because of the label, or because it is "familiar", but how it will help you break out of your shell and function as an independent adult - which is so much more than academics.

For the most part, you will simply not find that here.
Male

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