Carnegie Mellon University is unlike any other school. Sure, there are many elite STEM and arts schools across the country; but when you fuse the best of those and add a hint of afternoon-bagpipe-playing-in-the-middle-of-campus, the result is profoundly unique. It’s true, each student has their own reasons for selecting Carnegie Mellon—as well as varying experiences at the school itself. This post will be dedicated to my own opinions about CMU; and following, an examination of the reasons why I decided to attend CMU.
Carnegie Mellon Students
I found out early on that CMU students are motivated to work hard for themselves as well as help out others in need. This kind of academic environment helps all of Carnegie Mellon’s students to succeed. As someone who was recruited as an athlete for Carnegie Mellon, I was fortunate enough to travel to Pittsburgh and experience the school firsthand on a recruiting trip. This visit played a large role in why I selected CMU. While there I found that the school’s student body and culture were unlike any other school I visited.
As at most intense academic schools, students are highly focused and work hard. After all, CMU’s motto is “My heart is in the work.” This was very true, but in addition, students and faculty were especially supportive of one another despite their own academic commitments. When my recruiting trip host had a calculus exam to study for the following day, his teammates volunteered to take me out to dinner and show me around the city. When I arrived too late to join a student guided campus tour, another student guide volunteered to take me on an individual tour.
CMU students have a strong sense of community, but most importantly, everyone at CMU truly cares about maximizing themselves and as well as their peers.
Carnegie Mellon is most notable for its computer science (CS) and engineering programs; and deservingly so! The CS program at CMU does all of the following:
- works with world–renowned faculty;
- still produces many award winning computer scientists;
- and currently ties for being the top computer science program in the United States.
Furthermore, CMU’s College of Engineering is the school’s largest college by enrollment and is ranked top 10 in the nation.
Many people don’t realize, however, the depth of CMU’s academic prowess. CMU boasts a top 10 ranked business school with 9 Nobel Laureates and a number 1 ranked drama school with 9 Academy Awards, 44 Tony Awards, and 114 Emmy Awards. This means that 4 out of 6 schools at Carnegie Mellon are ranked top 10 in the nation.
Surrounding your student with so many intelligent peers integrates their education throughout school. At CMU, I knew I’d be surrounded with the best and brightest. I felt confident I’d discover my passion since I had the option to switch to other top programs if I did not enjoy my intended major.
Of course, the prestigious reputation of the school was enticing and largely drew me to attend CMU, but it was also slightly unsettling. Since I came from a sports background rather than a highly academic background, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to achieve sufficient grades. Although CMU courses can be difficult, it’s not impossible to succeed. In fact, I ended up finishing my freshman year with a 4.0 GPA after lots of hard work and long nights in Hunt Library.
Carnegie Mellon oftentimes has a reputation of being a “nerd school.” I won’t defend against this notion because it’s absolutely true – most students are nerdy and I love it. For example, CMU has nerdy traditions such as the “Mobot” competition in which students design robots and race them throughout campus. In addition, CMU has an odd, but fitting, sense of Scottish pride that most students grow to love. Our colors are plaid, our mascot is a scotty dog, and our school band wears kilts and plays bagpipes. Although most students embrace the nerdiness and Scottish pride, there’s always a group for you if you don’t. CMU also has an active Greek life and a variety of different clubs and organizations to join.
Any downsides to Carnegie Mellon? Well, the weather can be cold and the courses can be tough. However, I wouldn’t choose to attend anywhere else. I chose CMU because of its elite academics and high quality students and staff, but I’ve chosen to stay because of its close-knit culture, uniqueness, and opportunities for students across various fields.
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