Washington University in STL..rumors, are they true?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: Washington University in STL..rumors, are they true?
By Batman123 (Batman123) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 07:59 pm: Edit

I have a question about Wash U in St Louis. Many people have told me that the workload there is much larger than you would expect, even more so than some ivy leagues. I looked at the one guidebook I have, and it says nothing about huge workloads. Does anyone hae an answer?

Also, any other ideas on the big fish in a small pond theory? In other words, that its better to stand out at a place like UNC or Wash U than to be good, but not outstanding at an Ivy?
many thanks

By Anotherdad (Anotherdad) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 10:54 am: Edit

Wash your mouth. There are a number of really top universities such as WUSTL, Tufts, Northwestern, that are not official Ivy League, It would be a big mistake to assume that it would be easier to stand out there than at an Ivy. WUSTL has a lower student faculty ratio than Harvard; higher SATs than Cornell, etc.

By Abz1986 (Abz1986) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 01:02 am: Edit

I visited Washington less than a week ago. It was a pretty nice campus and the people there were real friendly (except Wash U's subway workers... :(). But its not easy to "stand out" at Washington University, I mean Wash U isn't exactly what I'd call a "Small pond".

By Abz1986 (Abz1986) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 01:03 am: Edit

By subway I mean the fast food restaurant

By sydneycarton on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 11:56 pm: Edit

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By Sydney (Sydney) on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 11:59 pm: Edit

I graduated from Wash. U. two years ago. I loved my experience there and would go back in a flash if the "real world" didn't beckon me. Regradless, I can tell you that is not particularly easy to become distinguishable, unless you are in a small department. I majored in Biology and Religous Studies at Wash. U. Bio is a HUGE department and religious studies is a small program. I had very different experiences in both as a result. I actually suggest that if you decide to go pre-med or to be a science major that you also major in something that is completely diffent from science. Because no matter where you end up, you're gonna start to get sick of the competitive atmosphere and large lecture classes. Outside of the sciences, the classes tend to be very small and more discussion-oriented.
If you are trying to decide between Wash. U. and UPenn, don't do based on name recognition. Because Wash. U. has the name recognition in circles that count. And UPenn is academically in the same league as Wash. U. Really, any top 25 university is going to give you an incredible education. But each has very different communities. You MUST visit each school before deciding. Rememeber this is the next 4 years of your life.

By Alita (Alita) on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 08:46 pm: Edit

Sydney- do you know anything about the middle eastern studies program at wash u st louis?

By Sydney (Sydney) on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 11:03 pm: Edit

It's called Jweish and Near Easter Studies at Wash. U. I know a little bit about the department because I took a few classes for religious studies major crossed onto it. Do you have a question in particular?

By Sydney (Sydney) on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 11:04 pm: Edit

Sorry...messed up that last post pretty good...

It's called Jewish and Near Eastern Studies at Wash. U. I know a little bit about the department because a few of my religious studies classes crossed into it. Do you have a question in particular?

By Alita (Alita) on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 01:43 pm: Edit

how are the profs, and what style of teaching is it-mostly discussion or lecture?

By Sydney (Sydney) on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 05:06 pm: Edit

The classes typically are smaller, ranging from 5-20 people. So that kind of size lends itself to more of a discussion atmosphere. Though it generally depends ont he professor. Some professors will lecture for half the class and have discussion the other half. There are also upper level seminar courses that are completely discussion. Generally, in the school of arts and sciences (outside of the sciences), classes involve more discussion.

The professors are pretty good in general. At the least the ones I had. The director the of the JNE department is Hillel Kieval -- he's an excellent professor and extraordinarily knowledgable. Also not a bad person to talk to. The directot of my religious studies program is Ahmet Karamustafa -- he is a really, really nice man, nad great in discussion, though can be a bit boring in lecture style classes. Thankfully, he doesn't do much of that! I can get you contact info of either of the profs listed above if you'd like.

By Sopranosweety6 (Sopranosweety6) on Friday, September 19, 2003 - 09:23 pm: Edit

Sydney: Since your a WUSTL grad and you seem to have information on various areas of the school, I was wondering what you could tell me about the music department at WUSTL. Specifically I was wondering about their preformance programs and oppurtunities but anything in general would be great. THANKS!

By Sydney (Sydney) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 04:47 pm: Edit

I actually know quite a bit about the music department, as well as student-run performance groups. I took piano and sang in one of the choirs in the school of music, and I also sung in two a cappella groups at Wash. U. One is the Amateurs (www.theamateurs.org), a co-ed a cappella group, and the other is Staam (www.staam.org), a Jewish co-ed a cappella group which I helped form.

The music school at Wash U. is small, and some would say a bit too small. The music school itself is not a college in it's own right. It is a department in the College of Arts of Sciences. It has some nice practice spaces, but not enough unfortunately. And there is, also unfortunatley, very few performance venues outside of Graham Chapel and Edison Theater. But from what I hear Wash. U. is working on building more performance spaces when they renovate Mallinckrodt Student Center (which will be very soon) and are already working or more practice spaces on the South 40 (the student residential area where all the dorms are located). The performance teachers are very good though. I assume you are a singer (from your screenname), so I won't go into instrumental teachers so much. John Stewart is the director of vocal performance, and he is really an amazing man. He directs the Chamber Choir, which I was not in but had many friends who were. The choir is quite good, considering Wash U is not well known for its music. Chamber Choir is made up of Wash U students only, mostly undergrad. I was in the University Choir, which is composed of Wash U. students and a few members of the St. Louis community. It is not as good a choir as the Chamber choir, mainly because it is more of an extracurricular choir and not very intensive. I did not have time for the chamber chour because I was so involved in other performance groups. The individual vocal teachers are quite good, from what I heard from my friends. So if you do want to become vocal performance major, you could be very happy.

If you are more interested in majoring in other things but pursuing singing as more of an extracurricular activity, it is very possible to do so. There are 8 a cappella groups at Wash U., and most of them are pretty good. The co-ed groups tend to be the best, which include the Amateurs, The Mosaic Whispers, and After Dark. These groups sing more modern pop/rock/r&b music. There is also a co-ed group called More Fools Than Wise that performs madrigal pieces (and they are quite good as well). Staam is a Jewish co-ed group that performs modern Israeli pop/rock music and some liturgical stuff. There is also two all male groups called the Pikers (the oldest of the groups) and the Stereotypes (the youngest of the groups). There is one all-female group called The Greenleafs. I can tell you a lot more about the a cappella scene if you so desire. If you do play an instrument, there are several small ensemble performance groups that can be taken as a class in the music school. In addition there is a flute choir and an orchestra that plays outside in the main quad two times a year. If you have any specific questions about the music department, I can also direct you to some friends who are currenetly still at Wash. U.

By Sac (Sac) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 05:11 pm: Edit


Know anything about what it's like for a jazz musician at WUSTL? Thanks.

By Sydney (Sydney) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 07:26 pm: Edit

t know much about jazz programs. I know there are a few jazz ensembles, both vocal and instrumental, but other than that I do not know much else. You can refer to the music department's homepage at http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~music/ to look up basic info. But I do not have first-hand experience with that area. I can probably get you in contact with someone who might know something about it. E-mail me at dbsoffar@msn.com

By Tsuriken (Tsuriken) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 10:17 pm: Edit

what are you doing now?
are you working, internship, etc?

By Sydney (Sydney) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 12:54 am: Edit

I live in New York and work in a research lab at a place called Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. It's a basic science lab, working in Development and with fruit flies. I had a lot of research experience at Wash. U. and a couple of summer programs. Prepared me for this job. But I was in a social justuce program before this and also tried a stint at teaching science in middle school. Yikes!

By Nealp (Nealp) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 06:12 pm: Edit

Hello Sydney, quick question: are the undergraduate research oppurtunities plentiful and easy to obtain or is that too very competitive? thanks

By Sydney (Sydney) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 11:02 pm: Edit

Opportunities for research experience are abundant. I actually started first working for a lab as a part of work/study. Later, I worked for a different lab for academic credit. It is not difficult at all. If you are majoring in the sciences, your major advisor could hook you up, or you can go to the bio/chem/physics department and ask directly for a position. Wash U. wants you to do research so they won't make it difficult on you. If you are a bio major, you can work in a lab in the med school or on campus. And because Wash U. has such a great med school, there are tons of opportunities for either basic or clinical research.

By Nealp (Nealp) on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 08:07 pm: Edit

sweet. i just did research with ku med school and loved it. i bet research at wustl med would be much much better. (also, research at the ug level doesn't translate to cleaning out rat cages and washing beakers, right?) thanks

By Sydney (Sydney) on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 01:01 am: Edit

Well, research at the undergraduate level does not have to mean cleaning cages and washing equipment. If you're a work/study student, you will probably have to do some of that. If you have a bit more research experience (as it sounds liek you do), they will probably start you out on small project. If you are doing research for academic credit or for a thesis, you will certainly have your own project.

Research at KU is probably very similar to research at Wash. U. The difference between the two schools probably has a lot more to with politics than anything else. Wash U is able to attract more leading investigators and it probably has more diverse individual programs. Though I have learned that being happy in a lab has much more to do with the lab than the school where the lab is.

By Nealp (Nealp) on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 06:21 pm: Edit

very true (about the last part). thanks

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