Washington University in St. Louis
BackgroundInterview Date:Summer 2018
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: I went to a private school in New York City with a graduating class of about 100 students. The majority of people went to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minor: Computer Science
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a sorority. I am part of a neuroscience club where you teach kids about the brain and do fun activities. I am part of Campus Kitchen, where you cook for homeless shelters a couple hours a week.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I met a lot of cool people through Greek life. The other two clubs I’m in have allowed me to explore outside of the Wash U community and go into the St. Louis area. It’s very diverse when you step out of the campus.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
For Math, it’s just homework packets or web work online. There’s typically a midterm every month or so.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I think there is a good range of courses and various topics offered by the Math department. They have guest lecturers and speakers about different topics. The main thing is it can be half and half with professors in the Math department whether they’re good or bad.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I don’t think it’s competitive at all actually. For every homework assignment I’ve done I worked with a group of people. That’s another way I’ve met people at Wash U too.
Favorite class in your major?
Foundations of Math, which was a proof-based class. The professor was great. I think the professor makes a big difference whether you like the class or not. The amount of coursework wasn’t too much or too little, and the topics themselves were pretty interesting to me.
Least favorite class in your major?
Multivariable Calculus. The main reason I didn’t like it was the teacher didn’t teach the material that clearly, and it wasn’t that interesting.
How accessible were your professors?
All the professors have scheduled office hours. Most of them have between 2 and 4 hours a week. Also, pretty much every professor I’ve had is very accessible by email.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I started off on the pre-med track, and I decided just to take the math classes, and I really liked the material. I enjoyed doing the homework, which is kind of rare.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Umrath Hall in a double and we shared a bathroom with another double room.
Sophomore: Koenig Hall in a suite of four singles with a common area
What was your favorite living situation?
Definitely sophomore year just because I had a single. I still lived with my friends because I had three roommates, but having a single makes a huge difference.
How was transitioning from Manhattan to St. Louis?
I personally didn’t find the transition that hard. St. Louis is a much smaller of a city than New York, but I felt like I needed a change because I’ve lived in New York since I was born. They had a lot of orientation events. I met my friends the first weekend of college, so I was never really homesick because I had that small group.
Favorite off-campus restaurant?
Favorite place to get away from campus?
Forest Park. It’s a huge park right next to campus, and sometimes I go on runs there.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve always felt pretty safe. On campus is really safe, and there is security pretty much everywhere. Also, it’s a closed off campus, so I’ve always felt safe. There is a street called The Loop, which is like a 10-minute walk from campus and where a lot of restaurants are, and sometimes it doesn’t feel safe because homeless people tend to approach people. The walk to the Loop is safe because the Wash U police officers patrol it and sometimes they patrol the loop too.
Pros and Cons of being in St. Louis, MO?
Pros: (1) It’s cheap.
(2) I find the people are really nice.
Cons: (1) It’s a smaller city, so there’s not that much to do in terms of exploring and going out in the city itself.
(2) The first two months and last month of the school year the humidity is crazy in Missouri.
What kind of nightlife do you like to participate in?
Mainly frat parties.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Freshman year I would go out Friday and Saturdays and sometimes Thursdays. The workload increased sophomore year, so it was mainly just once a week on a Friday or Saturday. Most nights are either a mixer or a party thrown by the frat.
What have been your favorite times at Wash U?
Once a semester we have a concert on campus called Wild. Freshman year we had Jason Derulo. On those days there are parties starting at like 1PM that go until the concert. It’s one of the rare days that people don’t really do work. Students at Wash U are very serious, they spend a lot of time studying and doing work. They still go out, but just not as often as other schools. That one day is the day that people relax and have fun.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
The majority of events at night have to do with Greek life. There are other events, like acapella performances and campus events. Other than that, it’s mainly Greek life oriented.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Wash U? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m personally pretty happy with it. I find the events to be really fun. It’s not every night of the week, but I’m also not the type of person that needs to go out more than once a week. Personally, I have been happy with them, and I always feel safe at them too.
How did you meet your closest friends?
A couple of them I met the first weekend through my roommate or some orientation event. I met my closest friends through Greek life and a couple doing homework with each other through math classes.
How would you describe the social scene?
It revolves around Greek life. Your life doesn’t change that much if you’re in Greek life or not, but if you want to go out there’s not much to do other than going to Greek life parties.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I mean the majority of Wash U is White. I feel like socially it’s not the best when it comes to mixing together.
How would you describe the student body?
There are very few minorities at Wash U, but it’s mainly White people. People are definitely hard working, but I’ve found the majority of people are willing to work together and cooperate. I haven’t felt that competitive. People genuinely try to help each other.
Do you feel people are happy with their choice of Wash U by senior year?
I think so, yeah. I’ve spoken to a couple of seniors, and I think everyone that I’ve talked to is very happy, and I think that stays beyond graduation as well.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
Mainly Java. I haven’t taken any classes that focus on Excel, it’s mainly the business classes that focus on Excel. I’ve only taken three Computer Science classes and they all have focused on Java.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
Something you wish you knew about Wash U before entering as a freshman?
There are a lot of resources for students to use that you should take advantage of. Resources both academically, and if you’re stressed or having personal problems.
Something a prospective student interested in Greek life should know that we haven’t touched on?
If you’re looking to go to a school that’s Greek life heavy, then Wash U is not the place. I have met a lot of cool people through Greek life, but it hasn’t taken over my life, which is good for me. It has also been a pretty small time commitment.
Something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Definitely the athletic center. That was recently renovated. Then also just walking through the library, that’s also been recently renovated. Also, make sure to walk through Forest Park.
Reasons to attend Wash U:
1) People are really friendly and nice.
2) It’s a very collaborative environment. Even though it’s such a highly academic school, I think it’s rare to find one that’s still collaborative.
3) The food and dorms are really nice on campus. All the dorms have Tempurpedic mattresses and are beautiful.
Reasons to not attend Wash U:
The main con is if you’re looking to go to college in a big city, it’s not that type of school because St. Louis is small.