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***Harvey Mudd Class of 2021 ED1 Applicant Thread***

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Replies to: ***Harvey Mudd Class of 2021 ED1 Applicant Thread***

  • newdavidlnewdavidl 6 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    edited April 2017
    @NWhummingbird I'm sure that was quite a confusing time to visit. The Wabash report highlighted some of the few issues some students have with the school including excessive work culture, incidents of offensive comments from faculty, and an "arms race" where tech professors assign more work so students will focus on that class, which has the result of deemphasizing humanities classes and extracurricular interests. However, there are a couple things to note:
    1. The researchers for the report did not get a good response rate from the student body, so they resorted to using wellness groups. This is a BIASED SAMPLE because those are the students that are having the most problems.
    2. Any top-tier engineering/hard science program has a somewhat similar level of work required. This is receiving attention here because it is a small private school with co-governance (it is amazing that students have the kind of input on the curriculum, classes, and faculty/admin decisions that they do) and because we are admitting an increasingly diverse applicant pool, who are equally if not more capable but might not have been exposed to as much STEM as the majority, and may need more time to catch up. In addition, at many other schools, a significant amount of the important learning is accomplished outside of classes in projects, extracurriculars, or research. Mudd wants to ensure that every student has those kinds of important learning experiences, so many of them are put into formal classes, which could make it seem like we have less free time.
    3. One of my friends put it well: "All the problems people have with the school boil down to workload. Without that issue, Mudd would be the perfect place." I certainly agree, as Mudd has countless resources combined with an AMAZING students/faculty/admin/staff community. I am also proud of the steps the community has taken since the report. We've had a community forum, assignment extensions, assignment cancellations, class cancellations, offers to move 8 AM classes to the evening, essay shortenings, and increased mental health services. This is on top of our preexisting support systems: responsive and available professors, free tutoring, subsidized massages, wellness groups (as mentioned earlier), the Office of Institutional Diversity, counselors/advisors, Peer Academic Liaisons, and the helpfulness of students in your class year (they're all taking the same core classes so there's help everywhere if you ask). Mudd cares immensely about each and every undergrad, which is not the case at many other schools.

    Personally, I do not identify with the students in the report, but I had a more preparatory high school background (10 AP classes, Multi Calc & Lin Arg at community college) than most of my class, so I have less catching up to do. Odds are, if you're on College Confidential, you likely had a similar AP-intensive high school. (One thing I did have to get used to was doing every assignment or problem set diligently, as my high school was very test-focused.) I'm involved with a couple clubs, a 10 hr/wk off-campus job, and dorm events. For the end of this semester, I'm planning on making more time for hobbyist electronics/building projects because I think those are really important in keeping me excited about what I'm learning. Overall, I am incredibly happy at Mudd.

    I hope this helped clarify some things. During this tumultuous time, we are working to ensure Mudd is a place in which every admit can thrive if they continue the effort they put in during high school. You'll likely need to get over perfectionism, improve time management, not compare yourself to peers, and prioritize learning and a balanced lifestyle over grades, but if you can do that, Mudd is definitely the place to be.
    edited April 2017
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  • SalvagesSalvages 1 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Hi there @NWhummingbird. I'm also a current Mudder (senior this year.)

    I'm pretty much in agreement with @newdavidl about most of the report. I would like to reiterate that they got a <1% response rate on their randomly selected study, and instead used students who came to talk about work-life balance.

    From what I've seen and heard from my friends, it is not at all representative of Mudd as a whole.

    I'd also like to add that I wasn't at all well-prepared by my high school. I almost failed three classes my first semester, and another two over the next year. (pulled all up to a C or better before the end of the semester XD). So when I say that I agree with him, it's not just that top students don't need to do as much work. You have time to do the things that are important to you.
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  • muddmom20muddmom20 8 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    My son is a freshman at Mudd. He knew when applying there that he would be challenged if he became a Mudder, and that's what he wanted. He and his buddies are working extremely hard, but they all make time to have fun. In his group, some are active in clubs, a couple are gamers and let off steam that way, and they often go to various events on campus like game nights, movie nights, band performances, hackathons, go off campus to try new restaurants, and so on. Every time I talk to him, he tells me about something fun he's just done. They are all working their tails off, but they all support each other. If you asked him if he would still choose Mudd knowing what he knows now, hands down he would say yes.
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  • profpapaprofpapa 10 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    edited April 2017
    There seems to be an informal acceptance that workload at Mudd is the most rigorous. This is partly because most students who thrive see no need to tell the world that they are fine. My Mudder has had no problem with workload, or any form of discrimination. Get 7-9 hours sleep every day, and never have to stay beyond midnight to finish homework. Also said that most friends seemed to cope with workload just fine. Of course, like any top tech school, a few students struggle and are sleep deprived. Those who have problem will voice out, which is reasonable. I'd claim, however, that workload is directly related to study quality in tech fields, and is normally designed to respond to industry demands. Escalation of workload in educational institute is not for increasing profit like in workplaces. BTW, there are parties held pretty regularly at Mudd. So I believe that most students don't have problems cited in the report.
    edited April 2017
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  • NWhummingbirdNWhummingbird 45 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Thanks for the input. Your input really helped. I was definitely convinced that because it was a small sample of people, it might not be accurate. However, the latest news was sent by our son's college counselor - the size of the protests indicate this is not just a few people. It does seem like many are fine and thriving, but I'd say many are not. I know it's a bummer when you hear negative stories about your college - but this seems to really be something that needs to be addressed. I think it's off our list. There are too many great engineering schools that have great rigor but seem to have a better balance and more supportive faculty. I bet Mudd will address and maybe in a few years when my daughter is ready to apply, it will be a healthier environment! Good luck to you all - latest article from our college counselor attached. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/04/18/harvey-mudd-cancels-classes-after-student-protests-over-issues-race-workload-and?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=2f7ff04d9f-DNU20170418&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-2f7ff04d9f-197329493&mc_cid=2f7ff04d9f&mc_eid=a0b0c49d59
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  • intparentintparent 36272 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,916 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Just an observation, you may want to let your son drive that decision. No one should go to Mudd without an understanding of the rigor. But my kid (who has had her struggles there) picked it precisely because it was rigorous and she would be pushed. I think she is very proud to be an (almost) Mudd grad, and believes her knowledge as a scientist is deeper and more nuanced than many of her HS friends received at other colleges. She picked it with her eyes open, and would not trade it. It would be a shame to see students who are okay with a high level of rigor turn away from a top notch scientific education due to the current debates on campus. There literally isn't another education like it in the country, and there is plenty that is good there along with the current controversy.
    edited April 2017
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  • NWhummingbirdNWhummingbird 45 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Thanks @intparent - my son is definitely driving the decision. He doesn't post here. Glad your daughter has had a great experience. But don't say that people who don't choose Mudd are doing so because they don't want rigor. There seem to be more than a few problems on campus now with the faculty, attitudes, etc. Mudd is not the only school in the country with excellent rigor. We are looking at many. But there is rigor plus a supportive faculty and environment and happy students and then there is rigor plus just misery. I think that was the attitude we saw. And again, I know we seem to have visited at a low point. But even our tour guide answered all the questions in this manner...he was very cautionary and stressed it wasn't a fun place but the work was very challenging, and that the shared misery was a bonding experience alumni like to look back upon. This is why you visit colleges and talk to people who go there. My son expected it to be his top choice, and we have gotten some positive reports. But there is enough smoke to say there is fire. This is more than a few unhappy students if they are cancelling classes. The demands for more mental health counseling, the faculty statements in that report and what we heard on campus are concerning enough for my son to take this one off the list. Again, we would look again in a few years to see if things change by the time his sis is ready for college. Just our observations!
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  • newdavidlnewdavidl 6 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    @NWhummingbird I'd like to hear about this school that has a similar level of rigor as Harvey Mudd but the students are always happy! Don't say Stanford or MIT because students there do their best to appear OK on the outside while they're in turmoil on the inside. I'd say Mudd is a much healthier environment in that it is accepted, even encouraged, to say that you're not OK and ask for help. This is what the protests are- asking for MORE help and support on top of all we already have, and the school HAS listened. "Even as many campuses face tensions on race and other issues, it is rare to shut down for even a day as a result" (Article you linked). Unfortunately, there is inherently a certain level of unhappiness 1) at extremely rigorous colleges where students spend most of their time studying (where students that used to be at the top of their class are now all ranked against one another) and 2) in STEM majors (sometimes because students are pushed into STEM without truly loving it). I was doing not so good in my physics class for a time, and I was quite unhappy about it. But I pushed myself and now I've learned more physics than I ever thought I could learn in such a short period of time, which I'm incredibly excited about. That being said, if your son is not in love with STEM, he is not going to be happy here. I have fun outside of class with my friends every day, but a lot of my fun also arises from "academic work." It's not reasonable to think that everyone finds this quantity of work fun, and that's OK! Cal Poly SLO, for example, has a less demanding program, albeit one that is very solid and which employers look favorably upon. I was seriously considering going there. But it just doesn't compare to a community that loves learning STEM for its own sake. I wish your son luck with his decision.
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  • NWhummingbirdNWhummingbird 45 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    @newdavidl I never said that there was a mythical place where students are always happy. That's a little reductive, don't you think? But saying that it's the only place for people who love STEM is a little insulting too. He goes to an only STEM high school, and indeed loves it and is committed. Just because we didn't find Harvey Mudd to be fantastic doesn't mean 1) it's the only school with rigor and 2) the only place for people who like STEM. Not everyone has to share your opinions. If he feels it's not right for him, it's not for you to say why and make excuses. The school and students didn't make a great impression for a mentally healthy, balanced placed. IMHO, some students truly groove on the "it's so miserable that is a character building thing and I'm better than others" vibe that just isn't for us. If you're convinced that makes a better overall education, great! (A little arrogant, but great!) There are other places that offer an excellent education as well - if not better - without the the self-flagellating. So glad you found the place for you - no need to tear down others who don't find it so. Thanks to all who added useful info to us on this thread.
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  • newdavidlnewdavidl 6 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8 New Member
    @NWhummingbird I sincerely apologize if I insulted you or your son, that was not my intention. My "not loving STEM" comments were not well written and were intended as just one example of a very good reason not to come to Mudd- of course someone can love STEM and not choose Mudd for an infinite amount of reasons! I just have a lot of school pride :D and am getting a little defensive when people are calling my home a miserable place. I'm confident that your son and others on the thread will decide which school feels right for them.
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  • intparentintparent 36272 replies644 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 36,916 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Mudd is special. But if he doesn't feel it and it isn't the place for him, that is fine. I do think the number of faculty who have "attitude" problems (as you described it) is pretty small. My kid has had mostly very good experiences with faculty. She can name a couple that fit the report description, but can list a lot more who have been very good.
    edited April 2017
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  • profpapaprofpapa 10 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    @NWhummingbird "I was definitely convinced that because it was a small sample of people, it might not be accurate. However, the latest news was sent by our son's college counselor - the size of the protests indicate this is not just a few people. It does seem like many are fine and thriving, but I'd say many are not."

    Harvey Mudd 4-year graduate rates have been around 85-86% in the past six classes, which are significantly higher than before that (https://www.hmc.edu/institutional-research/institutional-statistics/institutional-statistics-graduates-and-alumni/graduation-rates/). So 15% of students can be considered struggling, according to the workload complaints. Including SJW, activists, and friends who chose to support despite having no problem themselves, the size of the protesting group that you perceived can be expected. Many or not is about the ones who actually struggle, however.

    The sample size of students in Wabash report is extremely small (24), and there is no survey report for the opposite opinions. The report should be taken with awareness of its one-sidedness.

    Graduation rate within 6 years has been rising above 90% (significantly at 93% in 5 years for the latest batch). These figures are comparable to top tech schools like Caltech and MIT. So the number of students who are struggling, objectively, should not be that different.

    On the sexism/racism, Harvey Mudd is well reputed as the leading tech school that accepts high proportion of women, and their openness to diversity can be observed here https://www.hmc.edu/admission/discover/.

    Problems do exist, but I'd argue that they are significantly bigger than what exist at similar institutes. Measurable improvement over the past years also indicates that problems have been aware and handled.
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  • profpapaprofpapa 10 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 10 New Member
    On my comment above, "I'd argue that" is a mistype. I mean "I'd argue against that".
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  • NWhummingbirdNWhummingbird 45 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    Thanks @newdavidl @intparent @profpapa. It's great to have an open minded discussion. And if anyone was negative about my alma mater, I'd jump down their throats. :) But you are a credit to the school and make me think more highly of it than before. Maybe we will keep it on our list and circle back in the fall to see how things are going! A friend goes there and loves it, so have been trying to reconcile our visit with his report. Maybe it's just not for us - maybe we visited at a bad time. Who knows? But no doubt, an excellent school for STEM, and I think all graduates are extremely impressive. Thanks for taking the time to respond.
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  • ClaremontMomClaremontMom 2364 replies41 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,405 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    To any parent on this thread...in case you didn't know, you also have a resource to reach out to other Mudd parents (admitted, current and alumni) through our Facebook group. https://www.****/groups/1647584125496753/


    (replace the asterisks with facebook dot com)

    or search for "Harvey Mudd College Admitted Families"
    edited April 2017
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