ASP comments welcome

<p>My D attended the ASP and got home tonight, having given the rating of A++ to her experience at Mudd this weekend. I am posting this because I have a few questions for other parents of admitted students/current admitted students who are class of '15 and even for current Mudd students:</p>

<li><p>She mentioned she didn't get a feel for whether there is anything like a Freshman Seminar class (that are offered at traditional LAC) which are capped at around 15 students and usually reading/writing intensive.</p></li>
<li><p>She said she didn't see the library and wondered if it is used much? She likes big libraries for study areas etc. </p></li>
<li><p>Is there a student union at Mudd (is that the Linde Activity Center)? If so, is it a central hang-out and/or study spot?</p></li>
<li><p>DORM question -- she wondered whether people who live in Atwood (is that the suite dorm) meet as many people as say, those who live in a more traditional dorm like N, S, E or W, or even Case where there are central hallways....?</p></li>

<p>Her experience was such that "I didn't want to leave!" she said. Is this indicative of a good fit in anyone's opinion? I realize that she liked just about everyone she met, and also that many of these are admitted students but they may not actually matriculate. Do you still think that what she experienced was a true fit? She is looking at another college next weekend on the East coast, a completely different school, and wants to remain open-minded, but she loved loved loved Harvey Mudd. She didn't even mention anything like "it's a geek school" so the social fit must have been quite comfortable for her. She felt she could truly be herself, thought people were very welcoming and friendly, and overall just loved the time there. Also, she said it was humbling, since she's used to usually being one of the top students in the class, she could tell that everyone there is very smart, which she liked.</p>

<li><p>Yes, there is a writing intensive freshman course. The core has changed a little bit since I got here, but she will definitely be taking a writing oriented course with <20 people. </p></li>
<li><p>There isn’t really a library at Mudd anymore. Sprague, the tall building at the end of campus is now a “teaching and learning building”. It has a few dual-boot macs, nice ergonomic chairs, a bunch of white boards, and couches with little rest thingies to put your notebook/laptop on (instead of on your lap). It just got remodeled last summer and is an AWESOME place to work, in part because the frosh are too silly to have learned how to study in ac-end yet, and the upperclassmen forget that it exists (I’m a junior and practically live in Sprague these days. It’s awesome, and I shouldn’t be letting people know about it so it will stay relatively quiet). The second and third floors are locked and reserved for CS and Math clinics, respectively.</p></li>

<p>As for libraries, the 5C library (Honnold-Mudd) isn’t too far away, and it’s a decent place to do work too. They even have an “absolute silence” floor, which I quite frankly find <em>too</em> quiet for my taste. All of the books that used to be in Sprague are now in Honnold-Mudd. Also, the ground floor there is a cafe that has really tasty food that you can buy with your flex dollars (including cheesecake! andbagelsandcoffeeandwrapsandsushiand…), but it’s a pretty loud environment to try to do work in. There’s also Denison library at Scripps, which looks like it came straight out of Harry Potter. It has slightly weird hours, but it’s a pretty cool place (I just discovered it this semester, and wish I had known that Mudders were allowed in there earlier).</p>

<li>There is no “student union” at Mudd, though I’m not really sure what that’s supposed to mean. The LAC has a gym, weight room, computer lab, coffee station, massage chair ping pong/ice hockey/pool, movies, and a ton of random stuff that we’re allowed to check out (for example: marshmallow skewers, nerf guns, board games). I’m probably missing something. But quite frankly, the LAC is pretty underused. I only hang out in the LAC about once a year. </li>

<p>The central hangout place is probably Platt. If you went on a tour they probably took you there - it’s the big room with all the nice brown leather couches, and the tables + whiteboards in the back. There are people there doing homework at all hours of the night, but the location isn’t very conducive to actually getting work done efficiently. When I go there I expect to get caught up in random conversations and trip to Jay’s Place (the food place just downstairs). People also play board games and D&D there on weekends (as well as a few week nights). The dance team hosts salsa night there every other week or so (the couches are pushed aside to reveal the wooden, but sometimes sticky and not good for your nice dance shoes, dance floor). There are practice rooms in Platt too, so if you’re musician it’s pretty convenient. When I was in piano lessons I would run into other piano players and random friends all the time on the way to the practice rooms, and we’d hang out and work in Platt later on.</p>

<p>The other social center is the inner dorms. Most of them are pretty open to anyone walking in, especially if you start dropping by during the first few weeks of school so they get used to you. West usually has a fire going in their courtyard and people hang out there. Lots of people hang out in East’s lounge, and you can typically find people there who will be happy to join you in a board game or card game (yes they have homework in their lap, but Easties are very distractable when presented with anything else to do!). The partying type will go to North on the later nights of the week to play beer pong and hang out. Things happen in South too, but there isn’t as much of a guarantee that you can find people in the lounge or courtyard.</p>

<li>That is a tricky question. I imagine it’s a lot harder to get to know people if you are placed in an Atwood Suite as a frosh. That said, I think they normally try to take that into consideration and place people in there who will be willing to wander to the inner dorms and elsewhere to find new friends. Atwood frosh can also hang out with other Atwood frosh - after all, there is a dorm lounge that they can take over (same is true of Sontag and Linde. In fact, Sontag’s lounge is frequently taken over by its frosh residents). For the upperclassmen in the suite, meeting people isn’t that big of a deal. They’ve already found their friends, and they pulled this suite with some of them, so they’re happy. They’ll probably either visit people in other dorms (if they have an inner dorm connection, they might try to get their frosh involved with that dorm) or always have a bunch of friends in that suite. Atwood, Sontag, and Linde all have the potential to be the loneliest of dorms for the freshman, but each year I’ve only seen a couple of people who look like they were really limited by their location. </li>

<p>It’s impossible to tell whether Mudd is a good fit for someone just based on a blog post. However, the fact that she “didn’t want to leave” and doesn’t appear to have been turned off by anything is probably a good sign. The administration definitely puts on a show for the students, which can be a bit of a problem, but hopefully she spent some time wandering the campus on her own last night (or played frisbee or ITR games, both of which have current students and give a pretty good picture of Mudd life, in my opinion). My final choice was down to an east coast school (University of Virginia) and Mudd as well. The schools were so different, but it was ridiculously hard for me to decide for who knows what reason (it might have helped if I had gone to ASP…). Best of luck with the decision!</p>

<p>(Sorry about the length of this post. I just wrote whatever came to mind, and I’m not going to edit it because I really should stop procrastinating on sleep)</p>

<p>@Miru, thanks for answering each of the questions, much appreciated. Are you pleased with your decision to attend Mudd? What is your major?</p>

<li>Additionally, frosh take classes with other frosh (except for their one hum elective), so it’s easy to get to know people. People also do work at the Academic Excellence workshops and in Platt, so I would say where you live isn’t the only factor that affects socializing.</li>

<p>Just chiming in here - we are just back from ASP as well. The freshman English course is fairly like most at good schools, but with a Mudd twist - it’s not taught SOLELY by English profs, but rather across the board. I believe there are about a dozen of them, with various focus topics, and that frosh will probably get a first or second or third choice. I’m not sure, however, if it is one or two semesters.
A ‘student union’ is the common term for a large hangout space - sometimes there are rooms for clubs, and various student services like tutoring and food, etc.
It looks like there are plenty of places for students to gather at Mudd, none are called a union.
I also have more of a feel now for how connected the colleges are - I didn’t know that most Mudders end up taking classes at the other colleges. It’s also only a moderate walk all the way across the campuses and there are back paths that avoid traffic (Not that Claremont has a lot of traffic) and give the place more of a feel of one large entity.
As a parent, I didn’t end up seeing the dorms (I did see them last year, but I don’t remember them well. There were tours but I did other things.) Any thoughts on which dorms are 1) quiet and 2) music orientated</p>

<p>nemom, re dorms, it’s best for a parent not to overthink dorm placement. We don’t have input on that and we’re not a part of the process. Prefrosh complete an extensive survey (not quite like, but not far off :D) for dorm placement and roommate matching, and they’re told explicitly not to complete the survey with us around because the student’s honest answers are key to the student’s happiness with his placement. From my son’s experience and what I hear overwhelmingly from other parents and Mudders, the system works very well with few exceptions. Students may not be ecstatic with their roommate/dorm placement, but they generally find the placement satisfactory at least.</p>

<p>After first year, they go through a complex, arcane process called Room Draw, which includes mock draws and extensive negotiating in (from what geek_son tells me) a friendly atmosphere with the goal of making sure everyone is pretty happy. The parents’ only part in this is to make sure the room deposit is paid on time so the Mudder doesn’t get the suckiest number by default.</p>

<p>Thanks, geek_mom! Part of the reason we went to ASP was so that I could start letting go! It helps to know more about the school and to just walk around , so that next year I can visualize whatever my son is talking about a little.
I do like the very honest way that HMC breaks the kids off from the parents too (even if I still want to know what’s up…)
Thanks for the info on Room Draw - I had heard it mentioned and wasn’t sure if it applied, somehow to first year as well.
The proctors talked about the survey - it does seem like a very good thing.</p>

<p>nemom - is your child definitely attending HMC?</p>

<p>thanks, geek_mom.</p>

<p>Yes, indeed, clarino. PM or email me if you want to talk.</p>

<p>My freshman daughter said that the first rule about the draw is don’t talk about the draw… she found the process a little hard, but maybe it depends on which dorm you are hoping for… that said, her freshman roommate and her are great friends and will be living together next year, so from my D’s perspective they did a great job matching!</p>

<p>Letting go is hard, but really Mudd takes great care of their students from my D’s experience this year. And, the admin seems pretty open to talking with the parents, in my limited experience.</p>


Both of these statements match geek_son’s experience and mine. Mudd is a family. They really care about the students, and parents are allowed in as extended relatives. :)</p>

<p>Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, Clariano. I am indeed happy with my decision to attend Mudd. That happiness has waned a bit since freshman year and there have been times when I’ve seriously considered transferring, but overall I’m still happy with my decision. </p>

<p>In more detail:
Languages and linguistics are my nonscientific passion, and while at Mudd I often feel that I love them much more than my actual major of Computer Science. When things get bad, it’s easy to imagine myself at the top of my class at the state flagship, with an internship in Germany through their international engineering program. Or at Pomona, doing collaborative CS/Linguistics research (not open to Mudders due to lack of funding), only needing to take 4 classes per semester to graduate, and still able to take whatever Mudd courses strike my fancy. At either place, I could much more easily double major, or even switch my major entirely if that seemed reasonable. When I’m failing classes and not getting jobs, it’s easy to feel like I’d be much better off somewhere else. </p>

<p>However, that’s probably not true. My work ethic has increased tremendously since coming to Mudd, just to keep up with the classes. Failure and some intense conversations with friends have brought me to think more seriously about school and learning. Outside of the classroom, I’m more involved because it would feel strange not to contribute when I’m already receiving so much from my peers. I participated in an REU last summer because that was a normal thing for my Mudd peers to do, while most of my friends back home had never heard of such a thing and spent the summer chilling at home with a part-time job. If I’d gone to one of those other schools, I probably would not have grown in the ways that I have at Mudd. The opportunities that I now covet would be there, but I wouldn’t have the tools to see them and seize them.</p>

<p>So, in theory I could be better off somewhere else. In practice, I would just be sitting around getting A’s because it feels good to be the best, not doing much of anything outside of class because I “wouldn’t have the time”, and not at all prepared for the more important things of life because would never have been challenged. This is probably an exaggeration, but for a student like me it’s close enough to true. I’m lazy, and I needed some good Harvey Mudd butt-kicking to get me up and running.</p>

<p>I missed the edit deadline for the previous post, but I should probably mention this anyway:</p>

<p>I don’t intend to continue checking this thread for replies, because I really need to kick my CC habit (there are much better ways for me to be spending my time). If you have any questions, feel free to PM me (it goes straight to my email), but otherwise, so long and best of luck with decision process :)</p>