Which schools have the most demanding undergrad curriculums?





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Discus: College Search and Selection: June 2004 Archive: Which schools have the most demanding undergrad curriculums?
By Admissionsrep (Admissionsrep) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:34 am: Edit

I have heard that Davidson, Swarthmore, U Chicago discussed frequently for their level of academic rigor. Occasionally I hear Reed in this list. Of course if we focus on engineering programs I'm sure schools like Cornell will come up.

What schools have I not mentioned that warrant being on this list? Does your anecodtal experience with Chicago, Swarthmore and Davidson warrant having them make this list?

By Coureur (Coureur) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:40 am: Edit

Caltech.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:44 am: Edit

When I was at Williams back in the stone ages, Swarthmore students visiting campus got respect for being at one of the few schools where even more work was required.

Is the reputation deserved? Probably.

By Markm2004 (Markm2004) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 01:01 am: Edit

My cousin attended Davidson and she frequently commented on the rigor of the undergraduate curriculum, however, she loved it there and praised the challenge as well as the intellectual excitement that a Davidson education offers. Chicago can get intense, especially in programs such as Economics and Mathematics. Other programs that are academically demanding are in schools such as CalTech, Rensellar, M.I.T., Stanford, and Duke.

By Parentofteen (Parentofteen) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 08:54 am: Edit

Wake Forest can be added to the list. The nickname "Work Forest" was used when I attended in the late 70's and still very much applies according to recent grads and current students I know. No one places out of foreign language, and all must take it through the literature level. In addition, there are no courses that meet basic requirements for non-majors in those areas. Besides, there are very few courses from which to choose that fulfill each basic requirement area. I think the average GPA is around a 2.6 - exactly what I got my first semester as a freshman there! (Dean's List requires a 3.0 - much lower than most schools require because it is so hard to attain) Nevertheless, I absolutely loved my years there and would still highly recommend it to anyone. The strong liberal arts curriculum really builds a well-rounded individual.

By Soulofheaven8 (Soulofheaven8) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 09:11 am: Edit

Cornell and Columbia are two Ivies that can be said to defy the general assumption of Ivy grade inflation. Cornell's undergrad is intense as any, and studying time is very much a premium. Columbia, with its rigorous Core, is also very demanding on its undergrads.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 09:26 am: Edit

From the most rigorous:
Caltech, MIT, Berkeley, Cornell, U of Chicago, HYPS, Lower Ivies + Duke + RPI + LAC, the rest :)

By Kimfuge (Kimfuge) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit

From most rigorous:

MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, Swarthmore, U of Chicago, Cornell, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, Penn, Amherst, Williams, etc.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:23 pm: Edit

I'd add St. John's in Maryland (and Santa Fe) -- it's the only school with a true "classics" education - you learn ancient Greek, Latin, French, math, philosophy, science, etc. by reading all of the great books of history. No lectures, just discussions.

By Enarang (Enarang) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 12:58 pm: Edit

Babson is pretty tough with their curriculum too. I think in the Princeton Review guide it stated that inorder to be successful at Babson one needs 36 hour days and free time is very hard to come by.

By Undecided086 (Undecided086) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 02:10 pm: Edit

The College of William & Mary, is known for grade deflation :(

By Jwtullis (Jwtullis) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 05:29 pm: Edit

I'm fairly sure that Harvard, for most majors, can be taken off that list.

From what I hear from someone who is a sophomore there now, the professors pretty much take the attitude that if a student is good enough to get into Harvard, he/she shouldn't have too much trouble with any of the clasess. And they rarely give grades lower than Cs (using the same basic logic that getting in is the hard part). Thus the recent issue of grade inflation.

By Enarang (Enarang) on Tuesday, June 22, 2004 - 06:26 pm: Edit

I can tell you as far as business education goes your going to have a sh**t load of work at Babson. There is always some business plan or paper or something to write. The first year is reffered to as business boot camp. But you'll learn alot. Wake Forest is also hard they give out notoriously low gpa's. Like you saw the 2.6. Babson is pretty bad with the grades too I think but not as bad. There are many people with over 3.0's. So if you want to work you A*s off picking one of these schools. If you don't want to work so hard in college DO NOT GO TO ONE OF THESE SCHOOLS THAT WE MENTIONED.

Well anyway good luck

By Dke (Dke) on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - 06:07 pm: Edit

I went to a LAC "back in the Stone Age" like Interesteddad....and was in an acapella singing group...we sang with most of the IVies and top tier LAC's.....the only 2 "schools" where anyone ever talked about academics in a serious way were Williams and Yale...sounds like things haven't changed all that much!

By Ellemenope (Ellemenope) on Wednesday, June 23, 2004 - 06:46 pm: Edit

Carolyn, I think St. Thomas Aquinas (CA) also has a Great Books sort of curriculum.

By Admissionsrep (Admissionsrep) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 01:24 am: Edit

I just talked to our valedictorian about Harvard; he is a freshman and was an A to A+ student in a very rigourous academic program.

He told me it's challenging to get an A at Harvard, but it's simple to get a B.

Another one of our students who went to Princeton said the same thing; students are really ticked off that Princeton is no longer giving more than 30% of the class A's. A lot of students are obsessing about how this will impact grad school.

By Admissionsrep (Admissionsrep) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 01:26 am: Edit

I just talked to our valedictorian about Harvard; he is a freshman and was an A to A+ student in a very rigourous academic program.

He told me it's challenging to get an A at Harvard, but it's simple to get a B.

Another one of our students who went to Princeton last year said the same thing; students are really ticked off that Princeton is no longer giving more than 30% of the class A's. A lot of students are obsessing about how this will impact grad school.

Neither of these students talk about the work load the way the students who go to Davidson talk about the work load.

By Foreignboy (Foreignboy) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 01:43 am: Edit

Caltech caltech caltech caltech. Bloody suicide factory.

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 09:39 am: Edit

Foreignboy

Are you the one from Malaysia ??

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 10:48 am: Edit

Ellen, yes, Thomas Aquinus does have a great books program but what makes the one at St. John's stand out is that they actually read many of the classics in their original language instead of in translation. And, Thomas Aquinus has a definite religious atmosphere (Catholic) while St. John's is not affiliated with any religion.

By Foreignboy (Foreignboy) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 11:15 am: Edit

Um, yeah I'm from Malaysia. How did you know that?

By Rtkysg (Rtkysg) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 03:20 pm: Edit

Well Foreignboy, i think you disclose your profile in one of the threads :)

Btw do you know that NUS, your neighboring country's university, is just as bloody as Caltech, I heard it's even worse because they employ extremely harsh grading (no one get perfect GPA there).

:):)

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 03:57 pm: Edit

Princeton Review did a survey a few years back of "professional boot camp schools." Now, all rankings etc should be taken with a few grains of salt... but they came up with, top 3: Johns Hopkins, MIT, Tufts.

I do think that a lot of it depends on the major. Engineering almost anywhere is tough. Grade deflation contributes to "rigor," as you are working a lot harder for a B or a C.

By Kousuke (Kousuke) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 06:50 pm: Edit

but PRs "students never stop studying" has Caltech as #1.

By Hubbellgardner (Hubbellgardner) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 07:59 pm: Edit

Just finished my freshman year at Davidson; worked my ass off as a premed for a 3.1 GPA; I am taking a physics course at a local State university this summer to fulfill a med school pre-requisite-I have an A+ in the course-doesn't even compare to a Davidson course; when they say no grade inflation, they mean it.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit

I don't know how hard Reed classes are, but I know that although the entering GPA and SATs are comparable to students entering Yale, Stanford & Berkeley!(1450+ and 4pt), the average GPA of Reedies is a 2.90
They also require a year of organic chemistry for a plain old biology degree and reccomend a year of physics and French or German along with other required courses.
BTW I just recieved a book called organic chemistry as a second language to help my daughter and it looks great. ( well if you like O-chem)


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