How hard are the top schools?





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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: How hard are the top schools?
By Neelesh (Neelesh) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 09:43 pm: Edit

I have heard the the top schools are hard, but how hard are they actualy?
Like, these schools:

John Hopkins
Cornell
Columbia
Brown
Dartmouth
Northwestern

stuff like that. ivy leagues, top 20 schools of the nation.

i have heard that some people even commit suicide because of the stress load and the difficulty of the classes.

do the professors actually try to make the students get bad grades? LIke i have heard that profs try to make the class so hard, that barely some people pass the tests, and that if like more than 4 people get A's, they get all mad, and decide the test was too easy, and make it like 3 times harder..is this true?

i want to go to a good college with a good academic recond, but i dont wanna kill my self if u know wut i mean.

By Swimmergrl50 (Swimmergrl50) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 09:49 pm: Edit

My sis goes to Hopkins and she hates it there. Her lectures have roughly 300-400 people and the professors don't even know who she is. Also the grades are curved so that everyone fails the test and then whoever gets the highest grade (like a 55) gets an A, etc. She really doesn't like it there at all (one of her big probs with it is that everyone except her drinks and then throws up in the hallways...) but she's just staying to graduate from their with a JHU degree. That will help her get a job. But she's working her butt off to graduate a semester early if that tells you anything. Now, this is just one perspective on one school, but it's an honest one from my sis. Hope this helps.

By Palmbeach12 (Palmbeach12) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 09:56 pm: Edit

My sis goes to Hopkins and LOVES IT! I guess this is one perspective also.
I've visited many times and will be applying ED.

BTW, My sister is not the "partier".. I am :)

By Cornellhopeful (Cornellhopeful) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 10:33 pm: Edit

interesting, my friend's sister just graduated and thought it was just ok. Basically, it's all subjective. What the sister did say was that you really have to love JHU to succeed there.

By Im_Blue (Im_Blue) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 02:10 am: Edit

"Her lectures have roughly 300-400 people and the professors don't even know who she is. Also the grades are curved so that everyone fails the test and then whoever gets the highest grade (like a 55) gets an A, etc. She really doesn't like it there at all (one of her big probs with it is that everyone except her drinks and then throws up in the hallways...)"

In other words, it's just like every other university.

By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit

That's not a typical description of every university, and should not be the standard by which one selects his/her university. There are plenty of colleges/universities that offer better student-teacher ratios and more personal atmospheres. My university has nearly 15,000 students and I have still yet to encounter a 300 person lecture. In fact, most of my classes have only 20-40 students.

In answer to the original question, I have friends at Cornell, Brown, and Columbia, and they all say the work is hard but not unbearable. Each of these students was in the top 10% of their class at a somewhat rigorous HS.

By Im_Blue (Im_Blue) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 02:52 am: Edit

I think "her lectures have roughly 300-400 people" is an exaggeration anyway. According to US News, JHU has 58% of classes with under 20 people and 16% of classes with over 50 people. There might be a handful of introductory freshman classes that huge.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 03:03 am: Edit

But that is indeed the case with most research universities. Schools like Harvard, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Northwestern, Brown, Michigan, Cal, Columbia, etc... They all have some classes with over 200 students. As Im Blue pointed out, classes over 50 students are not at all common at any of those top universities and are mainly limited to introductory classes which do not require much individual attention.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 03:10 am: Edit

I went to one of the ivys on your list in the dark ages, graduated in '81, and I can tell you they wanted every student to succeed. Profs bent over backwards to help you to do well. In a recent alumni magazine the cover story was on grade inflation, leading me to believe it hasn't changed.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 09:34 am: Edit

I would hope that one's college challenges them to think like no other place they have studied before. Some people call that hard, but a lot of students will think that that's what they came for and many will think tht is what they are working outside jobs to pay for. As has been said numerous times, college is what you make of it.

By Asianalto (Asianalto) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 10:41 am: Edit

It is said that there is a bridge over a gorge at cornell where students jump from when they get overwhelmed by the work.

By Newnudad (Newnudad) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit

re Northwestern:

Only 9% of classes have over 50 students, and 71% of classes have under 20 students.

Regarding the work/stress levels - I think that if you can get in, you can do the work if you apply yourself.

Good Luck with your decision!

By Kk19131 (Kk19131) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 11:59 am: Edit

My intro classes at Northwestern (except freshman seminar, with only 15 people) have an approximate enrollment of about 220 people, however, all the upper-level classes, seem to have approximate enrollments between 50-60. This also depends on the studentís major and the school in which he is enrolled; arts and science classes tend to be larger because of the distribution requirements, while classes in education and communications tend to be smaller. And out rockin' journalism school is almost always busy!

By Shyboy13 (Shyboy13) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit

"everyone except her drinks and then throws up in the hallways"

This is so funny it made me laugh out loud at work. That means that about 4,176 students throw up in the hallways. There must be some really dirty halls at John Hopkins! Do the students do this regularly? Why dont they just throw up somewhere else?


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