Impressions Of
Harvey Mudd College

Academic Experience

Male Engineering Major C/O 2021

Is there anything you feel your major’s department has done especially well or poorly academically?
The major is General Engineering, and they almost advertise the major as a five in one because you take classes in a wide variety of engineering disciplines. I’m taking an engineering mechanics course, and in the past, I’ve taken a thermodynamics course. In the future, I’ll take some Electrical Engineering courses. This is a really cool part of the program because for me it really exposes you to the main engineering disciplines, so you know what you want to get into. Once you take the broad engineering classes, you have to take the more specialized tech electives in a certain engineering field.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always gravitated toward the math and sciences, like Physics and Calculus. Once I got to Mudd, there were only a few majors to choose from. I know that Mudd has a very good Engineering school, and for me, it was the best fit for what I think my strengths are. As I’ve been taking the courses, I’m enjoying the curriculum so far. For the first three semesters, you only take Core Curriculum classes, which are classes in each of the major disciplines offered. You get to see the broad picture which helps you figure out what you really want to take.

Female Engineering Major C/O 2019

Can you describe the weekly coursework for Engineering?
It’s a lot of problem sets, group work, and exams here and there. You take so many classes, so it gets tiring. Each semester I’d take five or six classes, which gets tough sometimes.

Is there anything you feel the Engineering department does especially well or poorly?
I think they’re very good with the flexibility of making your own major, or making the requirements more lenient. I’m trying to go to medical school, and I can take a chemistry course at Pomona and count that toward my major.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
I’d say it’s very collaborative. I feel like people can do the bare minimum and get the degree, but a lot of the students love learning and working, so it allows people to go the extra mile to do well in the class.

Male Engineering Major C/O 2019

Can you describe the weekly coursework for Engineering?
A couple of my classes have had heavy lab work, and we do a decent number of problem sets. There aren’t too many exams, but it does vary by class. The major grades are pretty evenly split between exams, homework, and final projects.

Is there anything you feel the Engineering department does especially well or poorly?
In terms of getting hands-on lab work in a lot of courses, they do it really well. They give a nice broad view of engineering and how it can be used in the real world.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s super collaborative. It’s not competitive at all, which is one of my favorite things about the school.

Social Opportunities

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Harvey Mudd?
Generally, swing dancing. My first year the club held events on Friday or Saturday nights, or in the afternoons. Last spring and this fall I’ve been going to an off-campus dance every Friday night with some friends. That’s in L.A., so we drive about an hour and stay there for a few hours. I’ll occasionally do homework, but not usually.

How happy are you with the weekend activities or nightlife at your school? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I found really good friends in the dance community, and so that’s why I’m spending all my time with them. If you want to go to live music concerts, most of those happen in L.A., so it’s a little hard if you don’t have transportation to go to the concert halls.

Male Engineering Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Harvey Mudd?
Since there’s not much around the campuses, people generally stay on campus and go out at night to a basketball game or parties on campus. The Claremont schools do things called the 5 C parties, which are themed parties that anybody from the 5 Claremont Colleges can go to. They are advertised school wide, so everyone knows they’re happening. We’ll sometimes hang out in the courtyard because our dorm is a U shape.

How happy are you with the weekend activities or nightlife at your school? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’d say I’m pretty happy with what we have. Considering it’s such a small school, there’s not a ton we can change. Going out on the weekend is always a good time. Mudd is known as the school with most of the introverted people, and some might think of Mudders as weird, but they just don’t get to know the people. I would generally say people from Mudd are less social than people from any of the other schools. Every weekend there are still things going on, it’s just from the other campuses point of view that we are less social than them.

Female Engineering Major C/O 2019

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Harvey Mudd?
I usually just party with my friends in our suite on the weekends.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Usually Saturday night.

How happy are you with the weekend activities or nightlife at your school? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think it’s pretty good because within the Claremont Colleges they do the best that they can, and there’s nothing else to do. I really like the Mudd party culture because they don’t care if you party or not, as long as you maintain yourself. Some people go out a lot, at least three times a week. There are certain dorms with more outwardly social people.

Campus Culture

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the overall social scene at Harvey Mudd?
At Mudd, there’s a lot to do with dorm culture, and each of them has their own personalities. A few are considered party dorms, and they usually have music playing Thursday night through Saturday night. I haven’t been to those at all, so I assume there’s socializing that goes on there. I’m in the what’s considered the quiet dorm, and it’s hard for underclassmen to get into it because seniors usually want it. I’m a sophomore but got pulled into it by seniors. Within my dorm, we don’t socialize much because we have suites, so people hang out in there rather than the common area.

How would you describe the student body?
The overarching thing that’s similar to most people here is their love or passion for STEM. Some people love STEM and know exactly what they want to do, and there are people who have no idea what they’re doing. Some people are athletic and sportier than I was expecting. I thought it would be a school full of nerds who aren’t athletic at all. There are lots of artsy people here too.

Male Engineering Major C/O 2021

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Pretty much 100%. The school is very open-minded, liberal, and everybody is accepting of anybody’s differences. We mix races and hang out with people of different sexual orientations. It’s not an exclusive community, and people are always very inclusive of one another. [The population is 31% White, 3% Black, 20% Hispanic, and 19% Asian.]

Do you feel like you are more of a student of Harvey Mudd or a student of the Five College Consortium?
I’d say I’m definitely more of a student of Mudd. You really feel the Mudd community when you go here and are in classes with the same people. We do take all of our technical classes at Mudd, so we’re around Mudd’s campus the majority of our time.

Female Engineering Major C/O 2019

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think they mix really well. Overall, the 5 C’s do a good job with feminism, gender equality, and the entire LGBTQ+ community. Sexuality wise it’s very accepting, but for race, I’m not too sure. I hear stories here and there, and a lot of my Black friends tell me there aren’t many Black people here. [The population is 31% White, 3% Black, 20% Hispanic, and 19% Asian.]

How has the size of your school influenced your social experience? [The total undergraduate population is 889 students.]
I think it’s affected it a lot. I’ve felt lonely because I couldn’t really fit in anywhere here, so going to a small school was hard, but I think it was a good experience. There are a lot of nerdy and introverted people here, and I am a nerd myself, but I feel as though I’m socially aware.

Do people generally seem happy with Mudd by senior year? Do people leave loving your school?
I think there’s a love-hate relationship. They love the fact that they have graduated, but they are definitely bittersweet about the memories and friends they have made.

Claremont, CA

Pros of

  • “We have access to the mountains and are fairly close to Joshua Tree. You can also get into LA in about an hour.” [Joshua Tree is two hours to the east, and the San Gabriel Mountains can be seen from campus.]
  • “The weather is really nice.”
  • “It’s a fairly safe town, and the weather is super nice. It gets a little colder in the winter than I expected, but my definition of cold being from San Diego is like 50 degrees.”
  • “We are part of the consortium, so we have the other colleges right here which provides a unique environment.”

Cons of

  • “There are no bars or clubs around so everyone has to party within the school, and it gets lame pretty fast.”
  • “You have to have a car to get anywhere, and Uber gets expensive.”
  • “It’s a problem when it rains because no one knows what to do, and it’s hard to get to my Pomona classes. I usually bike there because I have 10 minutes between classes. If it’s raining I can’t bike and then it would take me 20 minutes to walk, and I’ll be late.”
  • “If you’re trying to get off campus it’s pretty far from anywhere lively. We’re about an hour from downtown L.A., but then again, we’re pretty busy.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
This is something that varies year to year, but in my freshman year, a lot of people hung out in the dorm lounge. There was some homework going on, but there’s also a ping pong table so it’s generally a very chill vibe. The dorm culture in the lounge isn’t as strong this year as it was last year.

Male Engineering Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective athlete may want to know that we haven’t touched on yet?
That it’s a joint program and you’ll have friends from the other schools, so you shouldn’t worry about being super isolated here.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
A tour might miss half of the campus, because Mudd has a giant underground network of labs, classrooms, and auditoriums. Above ground, the campus is pretty small and contained on one strip. If you were just here by yourself, you’d miss that underground network, which is probably the nicest part of Mudd because we have so many resources that can be used for experimenting.

Male Engineering Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about Harvey Mudd before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew it was okay to take a while to figure out your major, so I didn’t stress about that early on.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I would find a student and ask them a couple of questions, which is something most people don’t tend to do.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Harvey Mudd College

To Attend

  • “The professors here are super helpful. If you need to use them outside of class, they are super helpful in figuring out what classes you need to take and how to structure your schedule.”
  • “Everybody here is always super respectful of each other. I’ve never gone to another college, but Mudd has policies called the Honor Code, and they are guidelines for what you should and shouldn’t do in order to be a good person. Take home tests are a nice byproduct of the honor code, because teachers trust that you aren’t going to cheat yourself through the test.”
  • “The dining halls. As a student of the 5 C’s, you have access to the dining halls on any of the 5 C campuses. There are seven dining halls, and you can go to any of them if you want, and the food is very good.”
  • “Because it’s mostly made up of STEM majors, you have a lot in common with most everybody around you.”

To Not Attend

  • “It’s rigorous, and I have friends who have not done so well in the core classes and will probably have to retake them. It depends on your high school background for how well prepared you will be.”
  • “If you want to go to a school that has lots of social people who are always willing to go out, or who ditch work to party, that’s not the culture here.”
  • “If you want to meet new people all the time, this place might not be good for you.”
  • “You can get stuck in the Mudd bubble, so you might not see a lot of people off campus.”
Notice: Harvey Mudd College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Harvey Mudd College.

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