Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Percent Women: 43%
Tuition (one year): $46,962
Most Popular Majors: Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Science and Theory, Chemical Engineering
Greek Life: Yes
Acceptance Rate: 27.8%
For more information about financial aid, scholarships, majors, study abroad, and average test scores, visit CMU’s website at http://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/.
Why choose CMU?
"I chose CMU because of it's amazing academic reputation and because it was a small campus in the middle of a city. I liked that feeling of being connected to the city, but isolated at the same time."
"CMU offered my major of choice, Information Systems, and I knew that not a lot of schools offered it. Not to mention, their program was ranked very high. I came here for pre-college and loved it, so it was my first choice. I think that CMU is a great choice for anyone looking to major in engineering, computer science, or information systems."
"I chose CMU because of the myriad of research opportunites. I knew that I really wanted to do research with professors and have that experience, and CMU gave me the chance to do so. I also liked the small size, diverse student body, and strong academic programs."
"I chose CMU because it is strong in so many different fields of study, and the graduates are sought after by employers. Both of those were very important factors for me, and CMU delivered."
"I thought that this was the one place where I could do everything that I wanted to do. The students were involved in a lot of different activities on campus outside of the classroom, and I wanted to do that, too. Stepping foot on campus for the first time, I had 'that feeling' that this was where I belonged. I got in, and the rest is history."
"When I visited, it felt like a grown up version of my magnet high school for arts and sciences. Everyone was a little nerdy in their own little way, but really welcoming."
"My favorite part of CMU is carnival, a four day period when classes are cancelled and student activities are in full swing. From booth and buggy to day-long parties that trickle into the night, carnival is something that I look forward to all year. Outside of carnival, the concerts and musicals at CMU are professional quality. There are also concerts put on by the Activities Board ranging from rap to electronica all semester long."
"The best part of CMU is hands down the guys in kilts."
"I love buggy. It's the coolest CMU tradition I think. Basically, organizations build small vehicles known as buggies, and they are driven by small girls down a hill. You have to see it to believe it."
"My favorite tradition is booth. This happens during Spring Carnival, and organizations build two story structures on a parking lot, which turns into Midway for a week. It's unbelievable. People are so passionate here, and booth is a great representation of that. Where else can you be a construction worker for a week with your sorority or organization?"
"I like the availability of resources here. From tutoring to career advising, it's all offered to students for free. I also love that every single person is so nice and will help you whenever you need it."
"I like CMU's traditional week-long orientation because once school starts, everyone gets super busy and no one has time to make friends and hang out with them. Orientation is the opportunity to do so."
"The cold weather can be kind of depressing. CMU can't really change that, but one thing they could add is a 24/7 cafe closer to the dorms. There's one in the library, but that's too far in the cold!"
"I don't like how normal it is to be ridiculously stressed here. You don't even realize it until you go home or leave for a weekend."
"My least favorite thing is how little support is given to the humanities departments and their students. All of the attention and money goes to computer science or engineering."
"I don't like that it's so competitive and that students spend most of their time on school. There's not time for much else."
"The food and dorms definitely leaves a lot to be desired. I visit my friends' dorms at other colleges, and I'm so jealous. I think that the food has improved in recent years, but there's still some work to do there."
New Collegiette on Campus
"As a first year, you make friends super quickly. Everyone is really welcoming and supportive of your academic and extracirrucular endeavors, and you're bound to find other first years who share your interests. The campus isn't huge, so you find your way around easily, making CMU feel like home quickly. Orientation week is incredible- take advantage of all it has to offer and get ready to make life-long friends in only a few days!"
"At CMU, there is separate first year housing. Freshmen have a choice of living in ten different houses. During orientation, we have House Wars where we dress in house colors and do a variety of competitive activities against other houses. This builds a lot of comradery within the houses. Aside from House Wars, thee are at least ten different activities for freshmen to attend every day of orientation week. It's also fairly easy to get to know upperclassmen, especially if you get involved in different organizations on campus."
"Orientation is great because it allows you to make friends before you are thrown into the intense academics. A lot of people still have the same friends from their first week, so it's a great bonding experience."
"It's definitely common for first years to have upperclassmen friends. From making friends with Orientation Counselors to joining Greek life or other organizations, there are a ton of opportunities to meet and become friends with upperclassmen. Being friends with upperclassmen in your major also creates a great support system."
All About Academics
"The most popular majors are definitely engineering and computer science. That's what CMU is known for. It's not like they overrun the school, though. It's easy to meet people in all sorts of majors. The workload varies depending on your major, but expect to come to CMU and work really, really hard, no matter what your major. Even 'easy' majors are very work-intensive."
"The workload is intense, but you get a lot out of it. There is very little 'busy work' after freshman year. I have two large client projects as 'capstones' for my major, which is very exciting and makes my program unlike any other program. I personally spend a ton of time in the library and coffee shops around campus."
"Course registration here is like The Hunger Games. It's very hard to get into popular classes as an underclassman, but as an upperclassman, you get priority, so it's a lot easier. Everyone has different registration times, and you go online and register for what you want to take. It's pretty easy to fulfill general academic requirements because a lot of them are big lectures that are easy to get into because so many people can take the class at once."
"People spend a lot of time in the library. The library is always full whether it's 4am or 4pm. I think it depends, on the person, but people either study in the library or in their room."
"I think the usefulness and quality of advisors varies a lot. It really depends on who you get, which is usually random within a department. I have friends who talk to their advisors all the time, and I have friends who barely know their advisor's name."
"The workload here is very hard to manage because courses tend to overlap in terms of test dates and due dates for projects. There are many times where you end up with a 'hell week' for this reason."
"It's really easy to take classes across the spectrum, regardless of your major. CMU has a very collaborative, interdisciplinary environment and focus."
Learn from the Best
"Randy Pausch is by far the most famous CMU professor, and while you can't take classes from him, his book The Last Lecture is required reading here. Plus, the faculty who you can take classes from are just as passionate at what they do as Dr. Pausch."
"My favorite professor was my Interpretation and Argument professor. 'Interp' is a required freshman writing course where you choose from many different topics. My professor was really engaging and passionate about what he was teaching, even though it was just a general frshman english class."
"I think office hours are definitely really well-attended here, especially for classes that are known to be difficult, like Computer Science classes. The professors and TAs are always very willing to help, and it's definitely wise to get to know them through office hours."
"I've loved all of the creative writing workshops I've taken, and I also recommend the Beatles course offered every fall, although you won't get in as a freshman."
"Professor Kosbie in the Computer Science department was the best professor I've had. I learned so much in his class!"
"Professor Handron is a really great professor for math classes. I've had him twice. He's very helpful and nice, and he played the guitar for us on the last day of class."
Interests & Involvement
"I am in one of the six a cappella groups on campus and I love it! It boosts my confidence when I perform in front of an audience, and I've made some lifelong friends with a shared passion for singing. On a similar note, there are dance organizations, a student-run theatre company, religious groups, and everything in between. If by chance CMU doesn't offer the club you're looking for, you just need to find a few other people and then you can start an official student club. The possibilities are endless."
"Almost everyone here is involved in something outside of academics. Each person is crazy about something unique and sometimes quirky, but nevertheless, it makes it all worth it because people here are just that passionate."
"A lot of people join extracirriculars on campus. We have a student organization fair every semester, and that's how freshmen usually hear about organizations and start joining them. In my opinion, ASA (Asian Student Association) and Greek organizations are the most popular on campus."
"Not only is it easy to join student organizations, but I've also found that it's easy to have a leadership role in most of them. There is definitely a large percentage of students who hold a leadership role in one thing or another."
"Everyone here is so involved outside of the classroom because everyone is so passionate. I think it's a little too common for students to spread themselves too thin because there are so many different clubs, but I think that's just the overachiever coming out in us."
"Honestly, sporting events aren't usually a big thing here. To put it into perspective, the attendance at our homecoming game was like half a stand's worth. That being said, I am starting to notice people are attending basketball games more frequently. Generally, you can probably find a friend to attend any sports game with you, but showing up may mean you'll have a lot of room to yourself in the stands."
"CMU has almost entirely DIII athletics, so we're not really big on sports culture. There's a lot of intramural and club sports that people are really into. In general, I think people are into the sports they play, even if it's an intramural, but they aren't very interested in watching."
"There is definitely a lack of interest in sports at CMU. People mostly go to support their friends or for a charity event during the game. The football stadium here is about the same size as the one at my high school, and I think my high school football games were definitely more crowded."
"There is definitely a bit of a separate athlete culture in the sense that they are really the only ones who care about sports, but I don't think that they are only friends with each other in any way. They are definitely well spread throughout campus organizations and majors, so chances are, you have a friend who is a varsity athlete. And they are definitely not your dumb jocks."
"Intramurals are pretty popular here, especially for Greek organizations, but a lot of people just don't find time to take them very seriously in their busy schedules."
"Being a woman on campus is both exhilarating and frustrating. Exhilarating because the possibilities are endless in terms of reaching your academic and professional goals. You're not going to run into some jerk who tells you that you can't get an A on the test because you're a woman, because, let's face it: everyone here is smart and driven. On the flip side, being a woman at CMU can be frustrating because the ratio of cute guys is a little off. Initially the guy possibilities seem endless, but by the time you're an upperclassmen you may feel like you're running low on eligible (i.e. attractive) hook up options."
"Wearing a warm jacket and water/snow proof shoes is trendier than being trendy. Regardless of your gender, CMU is more about practicality than fashion, although 'popular brands' do exist. Think Hunter rain boots, Northface jackets, and Longchamp handbags."
"The gender ratio you look up online when you're applying is not real because it doesn't tell you the ratio of 'dateable' men to women. The odds are good, but the goods are odd. Don't come here if you think you're going to have a higher chance of getting in a relationship because you'll already be in one with your workload."
"There's no pressure to dress a certain way here, as a girl or anywhere else on the gender spectrum. We have a feminist interest group called Miss CMU and a chapter of Society for Women in Engineering, among other things."
"Joining a sorority is definitely a good idea if you're a woman on campus. They are not the stereotypical sororities, everyone has unique interests, and having older sisters who have gone through the same CMU struggles as you is the best resource there is."
Food & Drink
"CMU doesn't have a cafeteria-style dining hall. Instead, it has small little places where you can get variety of food including sushi, curry, burgers and etc. They also have cafes where you can get awesome pastries. My favorite is Taza D’oro in Gates! As an upperclassman, I mostly eat lunch on campus because of my schedule. I sometimes eat dinner on campus if I have to stay on campus but mostly I eat at my apartment. As a freshman, you are required to have a meal plan, so most people eat on campus most of the time. We also have great places we can go to eat in walking distances or couple stops by bus."
"Food is very accessible on campus but you get sick of the same food very easily and very fast. A lot of people eat off campus on weekends."
"Like any college, there are some dishes that are terrible but there are other options that are decent. For a quick energy boost, you can swing by the Underground in the Morewood Gardens dorm or Skibo Cafe for a PB Banana Crunch sandwich- whole wheat bread, peanut butter, granola, and bananas."
"The food ranges from fair to decent. There's a lot to choose from no matter what kind of food you're craving. I like eating in the coffee shops Tazza D'oro or La Prima. Some people are on a meal plan all 4 years as it is convenient."
"The food isn't that great, but they've been working on improving it. I'm a vegetarian, and while there were a decent amount of options, I was pretty disappointed in them. Past freshman year, most people get off the dining plan, and most upper-class dorms have kitchens. It's easy to get to grocery stores by bus, too. But as far as restaurants go, Pittsburgh as an awesome restaurant scene. Nearby Craig Street has some great options for eating out, as does the rest of the city."
"Contrary to common belief, CMU does actually have a social scene. Granted, people generally only go to parties on Fridays and Saturdays. You won't find too many Tuesday night parties here, sorry. That being said, if you're looking for a house party on a Friday or Saturday night, there are always options. When you get older, the bar scene is a big deal too, and there are lots of options that are not too far of a walk from campus. On the flip side, CMU students don't face any pressure to drink. If you want booze, alcohol is available, but you're guaranteed to find people who choose to stay in on weekends, too. Some popular alternatives to drinking include going to movies, going out to eat, or just cozying up with friends and watching re-runs of sex and the city. With the broad range of student weekend activities, people are generally open to mixing friend groups. I know a lot of people who have their 'going out' friends and their 'staying in' friends, but it all depends what you're looking for. Generally, you will run into the same friend groups at parties, but new faces are usually never turned away. The only exception is guys and fraternity parties- generally a non-Greek guy who shows up at a frat party will be turned away, but most girls are allowed in."
"Sororities are not allowed to throw parties at their houses so most people go to the frat parties. There are also parties hosted by other organizations on campus such as Asian Students Association and SPIRIT. Sports teams also throw parties, especially when they have won a game. There are definitely more parties during Spring Carnival. Alcohol is pretty prevalent here, but there's not pressure to drink."
"Some people go out, some don't. Lots of people study."
"Don't come to CMU if you're looking for anything remotely resembling a party school. While it's not totally impossible to go out every weekend, parties are scarce. Things can easier when you're 21; there's a lot of college bars around. The Panther Hollow Inn or 'PHI' is especially popular, but it's closing at the end of the year. On the flip side, there's no pressure to drink or do drugs here; it's totally up to what you're comfortable with."
"Freshman dorms are actually pretty eclectic. Everybody wants to be in Mudge House because it's structurally the nicest sine its a converted mansion. However, speaking as a Donner girl, where you live really doesn't matter. Sure, Morewood may be a little creakier than Stever, but at the end of the day each dorm has its charm. Don't be bummed if you don't get your first housing choice; I find that no matter where you end up, you form bonds with the other people in your dorm. Room size and age varies a lot between dorms, as well as whether or not they have air conditioning."
"As far as roommates go, you can pick them but I've seen people randomly assigned who get along just fine. If you're nervous about living with a stranger, I would suggest Facebooking other girls who seem similar to you and asking if they'd like to room with you. No shame."
"Though the freshman dorm experience is one of a kind, it is popular for students to move to off campus houses or apartments when they get older. CMU offers a few apartment buildings within a short walk of campus. There are also houses on the 'Party Street' Beeler, but a lot of them are competitive to get into. I've always found that people are happiest in apartment style living where the maintenance is less and noisy neighbors aren't as much of an issue. It's also somewhat popular to live in Greek as an upperclassman."
"There are different housing options. I live in a suite so I have my roommate and we share one room but I also have suite-mates whom we share the bathroom with. Hence, four girls share one bathroom. I like the suite style because the bathroom is not communal and clean. Dorms are very safe because you have to use your ID card to get in. Some dorms are close to academic buildings because they are right on campus but other dorms are not. You have to cross Forbes Avenue to get to campus from most dorms. Each dorm has its own system, but the freshman dorms all have floor bonding activities that RAs usually plan such as weekly snack nights."
"I really appreciate restaurants on Craig Street sometimes because they are close enough that you can go during your 1.5 hr lunch block and are in reasonable price range. I also like different areas in Pittsburgh such as Southside which is very hipster and young, Strip District which is very cultural or Mount Washington which has amazing food and views!"
"I love Pittsburgh! Sure, people complain about the weather and the fact that the public buses are sometimes untimely, but as a whole, the Burgh is a super livable city. CMU is located in between Oakland, Shadyside, and Squirrell, which is a college friendly area teeming with restaurants, bars, and boutique stores. As a freshman, I limited my off-campus exposure to Oakland, but since then I've explored other areas of Pittsburgh which have proven to be really eclectic and exciting! As an added bonus, CMU tuition covers the entrance fee of most of the city's museums which are actually really good. My favorite is the Carnegie Museum of art, located a convenient 5-10 minute walk from campus. I highly recommend exploring off campus, but sometimes students go for days without leaving campus because of all the activities going on."
"There is an event called Pierogi night that is very fun if you like trying new food. There are also gallery crawls to enjoy. Freshman do not go off campus very often but upperclassmen spend a substantial amount of time off campus. There are many restaurants within walking distance."
"Pittsburgh is a great city to live in- there's a big sports culture, tons of restaurants, and lots of cultural activities. CMU students get free bus fare, though the buses are known to be pretty unreliable. The weather in Pittsburgh isn't the greatest, but you get used to it. There's a lot to do if you get off campus."
HC's Complete College Guide: Carnegie Mellon University
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