Disclaimer: I flunked out of Mudd after 1 year
with a GPA of about 0.76 (because they dont
count your first semester towards the GPA,
just the second) so I might be a little biased.
But here goes:
" . . . the best nerd college experience. . . . "
I would greatly appreciate some
insight as to the best places to
receive high-level education and be
surrounded with bright and interesting people.
This is extremely vague. You need a better
idea of what you are getting into. Go visit come
campuses, sneak in and sit at the
back of the lecture halls at various
classes, walk around the dorms, the bookstore,
library, professors offices, etc. Ask people
extremely stupid questions. Take long walks
on the beach and ask yourself what you want
to do with your life. When you are in your
dorm and you wake up at 1PM saturday after
partying all night, you will
not feel like doing homework the rest of the day.
If you have contemplated things a bit more
philosophically, perhaps you will be able to
logically persuade yourself to go ahead and do it.
Every college is full of 'bright
and interesting people'. After having been
to a public state college for a few years, I came
to the conclusion that the main difference
between the students at fancy schools
like Mudd and CalTech is that the people
who go to the fancy schools are more often
wealthy, elitist, and white, but that is about it.
Yes, there are 'slackers' even at a place like
Mudd who let their group members do their work
for them, who cheat on tests, etc etc etc.
Then there are people who are building their
own audio-amplifiers, starting their own companies,
etc, just like any other school.
The professors, now, that is a big difference,
as another poster said. Professors at a school
like Mudd probably have more freedom to
choose what they teach and how they want to
teach it. They also have several thousand
dollars worth of equipment to let students
get a hold of and use in experiments. For example
at Mudd there were 8 or 10 gas chromatographs
for a freshmen chemistry class or a bunch of SGI
workstations for a sophomore graphics class.
(its been 6 years but those are close to the facts)
The professors also have more time to have individual
one-on-one sessions with students to build that
whole 'networking' thing. Also at
Mudd as a senior (somtimes junior) you do a
'clinic project' where you do some research and/or
engineering project for a 'client' (read more on the web).
and the professors help set this up and work closely
with the students. This happens at state schools
too but it is less common.
Research: 1. Go to groups.google.com and look
around for old posts talking about Mudd. They
will be there. 2. Go to the harvey mudd student
web pages. Each person has their own IP in their
dorm room, so undoubedtly they set up all sorts
of linux boxes with web servers running on them
to publish stuff. They will give you a bit of insight
into the sorts of people who go there and
if you will 'fit in' or not.
Dorms: If you are a 'nerdy nerd' try to get
in Linde or Case dorm, stay the hell away from
West dorm unless you enjoy having beer enemas
,listening to death metal at full blast all
day long, and burning your furniture in a pit fire
when you get frustrated. Yes, they will haze you,
by putting your head in the toilet and flushing it. This
is called 'being whirled' if i remember correctly
and living in a less odious dorm will
probably keep you whirly-free
(although nobody is really safe).
Keep in mind that Mudd has an extremely small
number of possible majors. There is no
petroluem, environmental, industrial, etc.
Thus unless you know EE is 'your thing' always
keep the idea that you might transfer out of
Mudd to another school if your interests change.
Or heck, if you know you want to go to
Enormous State U for their Civil Engineering
degree, ask them if they will accept you into
the masters or phd program if you have an
EE degree from Mudd.
Keep in mind that Mudd still costs 20,000 dollars
or more unless you get some major financial
grants.. Then keep in mind that if you get those
grants you will be paying back 80,000$ worth
of loans for the next 10 years of your life.
At a school that is say 7000 a year you will have
maybe 20,000 in loans to pay off. That is a huge
difference. It may seem like pie in the sky
now but just put yourself in the shoes of the
fresh college graduate, ask yourself if you are
ready to work your ass off paying back 80,000
worth of loans straight out of school. I know
some people who have 'felt trapped' being
in this situation because deciding something
when you are 18 feels alot different from
paying for it when you are 23 or 24, although
you will probably not have much trouble finding
a job you may have trouble liking it.