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George Mason U vs. James Madison U

TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Registered User Posts: 338 Member
I was accepted into both and was wondering if anyone knows a lot of either of these schools. They come off as pretty similar. Public VA schools w/ good academics and similar price, size, town, and prestige. I have heard JMU has really good food which is a big plus. Any one?
Post edited by TarHeelBound on

Replies to: George Mason U vs. James Madison U

  • pierre0913pierre0913 Registered User Posts: 7,652 Senior Member
    Here are some reviews of both schools from The Princeton Review:

    James Madison University

    "Offering “great facilities and great prospects for the future” through “tons of valuable experiences such as a great study abroad program and internships,” Virginia’s James Madison University “prepares students for the future” with a mix of broad-ranging general education requirements and career-oriented majors. Students grumble about the “gen eds,” which require classes in the arts, humanities, and sciences and consume about one-third of all undergraduate credits. But students also admire the school’s commitment to “educating students in all areas, not just a] major concentration” and concede that the classes provide “foundation knowledge every graduating student should have.” Standout offerings here include undergraduate business, education, and music programs; the School of Media Arts and Design; and the School of Communications. Students also tell us that “The study abroad program at JMU is fabulous” and that “A large number of students study abroad” thanks to an “absolutely flawless” Office of International Programs. JMU’s “very good and unique” Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) program emphasizes cross-disciplinary problem solving and innovation that are “applicable to the real world.” All students here benefit from “great recruitment fairs and internship opportunities,” “small classes,” professors who “go out of their way to help you understand a concept,” and administrators who “strive to meet the demands of students and have undertaken many projects around campus to help with the overwhelming expansion of the student body.”
    "The face of JMU may well be the “Ugg-Northface-pearls-sweatpants-wearing sorority girl” (one student observes that “That’s difficult to get past with the 60:40 ratio of females to males”), but those who dig deeper discover “different crowds” clustered about campus. “A lot of student at JMU are prep kids from up north, but…there is also a great downtown crowd made up of very creative and artistic people. There is a group for everyone.” Undergrads tend to be “involved in multiple organizations and clubs while balancing a substantial course load. We tend to be go-getters, we’re very motivated to succeed, and we love any and everything JMU.” And while the campus “is not known for being as politically involved as larger institutions, JMU finds its niche in community service. Service organizations are extremely popular at JMU, especially the Alternative Spring Break trips (these are so popular, a raffle system has been implemented to cope with the demand).” The student body is “pretty white,” and “Although the Center for Multicultural Student Services has a definite voice on campus, whites seem to significantly outnumber other races. In recent years, an effort seems to have been made to diversify campus.”
    "“There’s tons to keep people occupied on campus” at JMU, including the campus hangout Taylor Down Under (a place “to catch up with one another, grab a smoothie or some coffee, attend events like open mic night or watch the comedy club, etc.”), the Graffton Theater (“which shows two different movies each week” at a $2.50 admission price), “sports, bands, frats, a cappella shows, interest groups, everything that a huge university offers but that here is really accessible to everyone”). In addition, there is “a significant amount happening off campus.” “A bus line takes you to all the different apartments day and night” as well as “to the different restaurants, the close Wal-Mart, tanning salons, and local mall.” In warm weather, “students flock to the quad to sunbathe, play guitar, and play Frisbee” or “go on day trips to go kayaking, rafting, horseback riding etc. through UREC…or swimming in Blue Hole.” Off-campus apartments are home to a robust party scene; reports one undergrad, “For fun, people party. Sunday though Wednesday people are involved in school and their clubs and study. Then Thursday through Saturday it’s house parties. The beer is free…just with the understanding that when you get a house and you are 21 you flip the bill once or twice.” Hometown Harrisonburg “is a great town” with “lots of excellent restaurants, outdoor opportunities, and a great music scene,” but “the Harrisonburg community conflicts with the students due to the weekend partying.”"

    George Mason University

    "George Mason University, a school in the Virginia suburbs just outside of DC, has spent the past few years trying to get beyond its reputation as a commuter school, and it looks like it has been doing a good job of it. This innovative spirit and focus on “finding a new way to do what every other older school does” is one of Mason’s greatest attributes, and though complaints about construction may pop up from time to time, the school is pushing through “the developmental stage” on its way to becoming a top university. Well-known for having one of the best nursing programs in northern Virginia, as well as a similarly strong school of management and economics department, the location of the school means that “students take their own initiative in finding internships and jobs to better their career prospects.” Students are happy with many of their professors, but quite a few people complain that the number of adjuncts teaching make classes too easy, especially for the required courses. “I feel like I’m taking the same classes I took in high school again, just with more homework,” says a freshman. However, “once you get into your major courses the classes as well as professors improve.” There are many tutoring service and other programs available for students who need help, and due to the close proximity to the nation’s capital, the school has the opportunity “to host a large number of guest speakers/special lectures including politicians, CEOs and other professionals from major defense contractors in the area, and non-governmental representatives.” At times “it may seem that the administrators are out of touch with reality,” but they “generally receive student input well.”
    "There are a “wide variety” of students found at this big school, with commuters and non-commuters representing “a mix of traditional and non traditional students,” most of who are “moderately preppy” and come from in-state. There are a fair number of international and Muslim students, and “simply walking through the student center you will hear at least three different languages being spoken.” Mason has “very little if any discrimination,” and in general most students are very aware of global issues and different cultures. With this physical diversity also comes academic diversity, “where some students like to study a lot and some students like to party a lot.”
    "While the school has undertaken massive efforts to drop the commuter label by providing more residence halls and events (on-campus housing availability is now completely caught up to demand), most agree that both the quality and the advertising of the weekend activities could use some work. “There is always something going on every weekend, but it may not be exactly what every student wants to do,” says a senior. Many of those who do stay on campus for the weekend think the school should “make a better effort to acknowledge that people actually do live on-campus during the weekends…we are all capable of making our own fun, but when the food hours and locations are so restricted we don’t feel like we’re even supposed to be there, that’s taking it a little bit far.” Still, the school is doing its best to amuse its students, and programs like Every Freakin’ Friday ensure there’s an event, well, every Friday, and over 200 organizations (including a strong Greek presence) keep students occupied. Trips to the city for eating, shopping, and nightlife are frequent, and from November through March, basketball games are also popular. The school is almost legendary for its “serious parking problem,” which can be a very real concern for the commuter majority here, and people “party pretty hard to relieve the stress accrued from parking on-campus.”
  • TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    Yeah, thanks for that, but I already have the Princeton review, haha
  • DRla84DRla84 Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    i live near GMU and my dad went there for his BS and MBA along with a few people I work with who go there. Everyone really likes it. Its an upincoming school and is in a great location because its close to DC. They have been doing alot of work on the campus. Some of the people i know think that there isnt that great of an on campus scene, alot of them go into DC for concerts, clubs and bars. JMU is also a great school. It has a much better nightlife than GMU however the location isnt as good for jobs etc becuase it is kind of isolated.
  • TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    Yeah, thanks for the response. I do like the fact GMU is close to DC. Interesting that JMU seems to have a better nightlife and maybe a better party scene?
  • DRla84DRla84 Registered User Posts: 128 Junior Member
    Yeah. It is definitely known for its parties. But it also has a solid academic rep so if you are looking for both it's a good place to be.
  • CDKCDK Registered User Posts: 390 Member
    Be a Tar Heel....
  • TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    True That CDK. This Q is mainly for my buddy from HS. He's the main one wanting to know the main differences between these , but they are so alike in many ways.

    Sports are relatively the same at both campuses too I hear.
  • gbesqgbesq Registered User Posts: 1,779 Senior Member
    Strictly based on academics, my ranking of Virginia publics would be:

    UVA > W&M (although arguably better than UVA for undergrad) > Virginia Tech > JMU > GMU. ALL of them, however, are good schools.
  • Rutgers89Rutgers89 - Posts: 275 Junior Member
    JMU is definitley a better place to be than GMU. I heard George Mason is a "suitcase" school.
  • TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    Yeah, I am thinking James Madison is a bit higher college life experience w/ more academic prestige.
  • TarHeelBoundTarHeelBound Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    sorry to do this, but bump
  • mephist0mephist0 Registered User Posts: 734 Member
    FWIW most people in my NoVa school who are applying to both have JMU as their first choice, GMU is the place where you go if you want to stay close to home. Both are good schools academically, GMU is great for poli-sci and computer science.
  • pedsoxpedsox Registered User Posts: 598 Member
    Absolutely no comparison. James Madison hands down.

    Please look at the CDS for both schools. You will see that across the board, JMU boast a much higher GPA, SAT's, etc.

    George Mason (good ball team) despite it's close proximity to DC and grand diversity, is still primarily a commuter school.

    If you have the fortunate option of either. Take JMU for the prestige, and mostly for the quality of students and profs.

  • pedsoxpedsox Registered User Posts: 598 Member
  • atlgrl1234atlgrl1234 Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Well where I live (about 20minutes or so from GMU), many students apply to GMU, JMU and the other state schools (UVA,VTech...) In my opinion GMU is more of a commuter campus, whereas JMU is in a very rural area so most students are close by. GMU is right outside of DC, 2hrs from Richmond, & 1 1/2 hours from Baltimore, so you can understand why students arent always around. But I must say GMU is up & coming with great school pride & solid academics. As far as internships I would say GMU is your best bet. But if you want a true residential college experience JMU is your best bet, plus its a great school!
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