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How tough is it?

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Replies to: How tough is it?

  • zenkoanzenkoan Registered User Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    Stanford's campus is indeed very expansive, but most of the day-to-day activity, and much of the housing for undergrads, is fairly concentrated. Almost everybody here bikes around campus. And yes, Stanford is in a bubble of sorts, but to me it has so much to offer that I only occasionally feel the urge to get into SF. When that urge strikes, the Cal Train is just across the street from the northern edge of campus. Bottom line: you really need to come here and see it for yourself. :)
  • earthwiseearthwise Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Congrats to your kid Dungareedoll! I am an undergrad here majoring in an engineering discipline, and I love Stanford. I have found the atmosphere more collaborative than competitive, even though everyone likes to do their best. Stanford really is beautiful, and this isn't just limited to the campus - the people and the opportunities are also wonderful and one of a kind. Even so, I have definitely been challenged by my courses even though I went to a pretty challenging high school, and I have had quarters where I've felt overwhelmed but I make it a point to lighten the workload every once in a while. It really is what you make it, but if your son makes the effort to put himself out there, I think attending Stanford would be an extremely rewarding experience.

    As for your second question, I personally think Stanford is definitely a "bubble" but I don't think that's a terrible thing. There is quite a bit on campus to keep a person busy and if you want to get out, you have to make the effort to. The campus is big but all the parts you need to go to on a regular basis are ~close if you have a bike.
  • DungareedollDungareedoll Registered User Posts: 967 Member
    My S tends to like the "bubble", as do I. I think it makes you feel very cohesive and close. We weren't crazy about schools that had major road ways running through them, like UVA, UNC and William and Mary. It just felt disjointed and large. I think he felt like you could get lost in the vastness, which then took away from a more cozy feeling. I don't know if I'm explaining it right. When we visit we will see for ourselves. Thanks for your help.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,217 Senior Member
    With the absence of snow and ice and extremely cold weather, biking is very popular all year round. This reduces the size of the campus for all practical purposes. I'd say it is self-contained enough to have a bubble feel, but with Palo Alto right there and SF a train ride away (I know my freshman daughter went to the city a couple of times already), it's not too isolated either.
  • ajimmykidajimmykid Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    Everything you need on campus is within a 1-15min walk. Stanford is the second largest campus because it owns a crapload of land behind it, but it's all hills and there aren't any buildings there.
  • DungareedollDungareedoll Registered User Posts: 967 Member
    I just contacted the admissions office and then spoke to someone in the student advising center. I was really calling to see how AP credit worked but while we were conversing the topic of 3 quarters v. semesters came up. My S wants to be a bio major, although he is not interested in premed. When I spoke to the advisor for bio she explained that bio majors take tons of chemistry. They even take Pchem, which is weird for a bio major. In addition, the 'quarter system' seems so much more rigorous than the the semesters. It appears that kids take the same course load in 2 quarters, like chem, that the rest of America is taking in 2 semesters. The difference is that a quarter is 10 weeks, where a semester is 15. Thats quite the consolidated curriculum. To take chem 1 and 2 in 20 weeks, while everyone else is taking it in 30 weeks, seems pretty hard. The thing is that Chem is already hard and sitting in a classroom of Stanford students makes it tougher, considering that everyone there is a curve buster at any other normal school. So why put yourself through more torture. Or least thats how it appears.... Whats the appeal? Are there any bio majors out there that can comment on this?

    Thanks
  • zenkoanzenkoan Registered User Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    Dungareedoll, I'm sure a bio major or two will chime in here, but I think the appeal is that Stanford's biology programs are unsurpassed in their excellence. I'm not a prospective bio major but I have taken rigorous courses each term, and you're correct that there's a high level of academic demand and a fast pace here. But it's not "torture" by any means, because the atmosphere is largely collaborative, and because there's an amazing array of support available, from the accessible faculty to all kinds of study groups, coaching, etc. I do think having solid time management skills is key in this environment. Cheers. PS: I would think bio majors at most top universities these days would be encouraged to take plenty of chemistry, since the fields are merging in many significant ways, and since molecular biology is a very rapidly-developing area.
  • DungareedollDungareedoll Registered User Posts: 967 Member
    During this college process we have visited over 25 schools, Stanford will be the last for the admit weekend. However, no one has to take Pchem as a bio major. 99% of all bio majors take gen chem 1 &2, and orgo 1&2, and in some instances they might take bio chem but never all three plus pchem. Thats great if you want biomolecular engineering/chemical engineering, but I'm still surprised with the extreme level of difficulty for just a plain bio major. Again, I would love to hear from some bio majors out there.
  • zenkoanzenkoan Registered User Posts: 1,118 Senior Member
    No arm-twisting from me, Dungareedoll, just trying to respond to your concerns. If taking pchem is that a big deal to your kid, then maybe he'd be happier in another environment. Good luck in his decision.
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