So I just got off the wait list at WashU to study Operations and Supply Chain Management at Olin; before I knew I'd clear the wait list, my plans were to study Industrial and Systems Engineering at USC. Half my friends think that WashU is the best school in the world; the other half think it's in Seattle. I just wanted to get some independent opinions on what my course of action should be in here. (Yes, I did search, and what I've gathered from similar threads is that the network at USC is significantly better, especially in SoCal, but WashU seems much more nurturing to students, encouraging double majors, study abroad, etc., and everyone who goes there seems to love it. I wanted to see if I could dig up any more reasons to choose one over the other).
Thanks for the advice.
Location: New York --> Washington University in St. Louis '15
I think something to definitely consider is if cost of attendance is the same for both schools. I chose WashU over Tufts and Middlebury, so I'll tell you what I liked about WashU (in no particular order).
*Campus is GORGEOUS
*Food is great and dorms are lovely (the modern suite-style dorms were especially nice, but all the dorms seemed pretty spacious and clean)
*People were always SMILING (I walked around on a regular day and I wasn't holding a folder so it didn't look like I was a pre-frosh and random people smiled at me anyway)
*Forest Park across the street
*Easy to switch between schools/majors (important for me because I'm extremely undecided)
*Excellent in many areas (also important for my indecision)
It's hard to quite put into words what I loved about the school. At first, I was pretty disappointed with my college decisions (haha Ivy mania...) and I expected to hate WashU but after spending a couple of hours there I realized how perfect it was! I didn't think that I would find a perfect school. The only thing I would worry about is that the Loop didn't seem to be the safest area, but if you go with a group of friends and use common sense, you should be fine.
Also, when I stayed at the Ritz Carleton St. Louis, even the concierge there said WashU is wonderful to put on your resume. It's really the big-shot school in St. Louis and it definitely holds its own throughout the rest of the country. I even know quite a few internationals are going there (one I happen to know personally from Asia).
If you're from California, leave the state and go to Wash U. If someone is deciding between whether to attend a school in-state or out-of-state I always recommend to leave - provided that major cost differences don't matter. Even if you want to go back to Cali after graduation, Wash U has a lot of companies that recruit here from that area and has a strong alumni base in every major city if you want to utilize alumni connections.
If you're not from Cali, then choose Wash U if you want:
More personalized environment, easier to navigate and talk to the people that make decisions, etc
A fun school, yet probably has a *generally* greater pervading campus focus on academics
A city that you don't need a car to get everywhere.. or at least where it doesn't take 45 minutes to drive 2 miles
Free public transit for Wash U students
A school that has an exceptionally greater amount of geographic diversity
Nicer amenities like dorms, food, pretty campus, if that stuff matters to you
Laidback, friendly environment (not that USC wouldn't be, because Cali obviously has a pretty laid back feel overall, but it's just different in the midwest)
Choose USC if you want:
Still a "smart" school, but a greater pervading campus culture of partying than Wash U would have
To be in LA
Has something specific you want to study that Wash U doesn't have
Also - to the OP - if you were accepted into Olin here but were going to study Engineering at USC... you can do both at Wash U, or at least switch your college from Business to Engineering later in the summer if you wanted to. That's not a problem here.
Last edited by flashmountain; 05-05-2011 at 01:24 AM.
Yes, I am from California and no, money is not a huge concern as both schools would cost roughly the same. I think it may be worth venturing outside of my home state, but I've never heard of anyone complain about the weather in SoCal either. Both schools are looking just about equal at this point, as both have enough strengths to overshadow their weaknesses, but I don't think I'll be unhappy at either school. Decisions, decisions.
If you want to work in southern CA, USC would beat WashU hand down in terms of networking. But, IE and business are very different majors. WashU supply chain curriculum looks very lightweight compare to a standard IE curriculum. I haven't looked at USC IE specifically, but being an engineering major, it's whole lot more difficult. On another hand, many students change their major at least once. Or you could end up wanting to double major. For that, I'd think WashU affords you the flexibility, including outside the business school. Marshall also has an operation management, that would more apple to apple comparison to your intended major at WashU. Just wondering why IE at USC?
WashU is in a beautiful part of town (western edge of St. Louis) with lots of trees and USC is very much a city campus. When you are at USC, notice all the bikes around in which you don't see as much at WashU and that tells you the pace of the two. You will just tend to bump into more people and stop to chat at WashU. There is no campus housing after freshman year at USC and the housing at WashU is very plush. On the other hand, USC has a lot of school spirit because of a stronger sports culture. Two very different choices and it depends on what you are looking for.