Interaction Between CMU Schools?

<p>My son wants to apply to Carnegie-Mellon as an Industrial Design major. He is looking at CMU because the school has a strong reputation in both technical subjects (engineering, computer science) and the creative arts, and he is really interested in both. But is there really any interaction between the two? I have heard that the engineers stick to themselves and the theater/arts majors keep to themselves, and that overall, there is actually minimal social life on campus. Can anyone tell me if that is true?</p>

<p>It's been quite a few years since I've been on campus, but the perception that students from different schools stuck together was fairly accurate. Social life is what you make of it - there's a Greek system, dorm activities, and plenty of ECs. Pitt is 5 minutes away, and there are a few small colleges in Oakland and the surrounding area.</p>

<p>I think the fact that CMU has strengths in both arts and technology is a major strength. There are official programs that try to exploit this, but I also think a motivated student will be able to access some resources on his/her own. There will be a natural segregation of majors in later years, but the opportunity for interaction still exists.</p>

<p>I'd recommend a visit and/or e-mail contacts with current students to cover specific areas of interest to your son. Good luck!</p>

<p>My S is an acting major at CMU and LOVES it!</p>

<p>The reason most actors at CMU seem to "stick together" socially is because of their schedule. It is packed! for the most part my S has an 8am to 11pm day with classes, rehearsals for class work, and tech assignments for shows. Due to the schedule it is hard to mix with other majors. Not to say it can't be done. Every student will find a way to make things work if they so desire. CMU is for students who are passionate about what they do.</p>

<p>I agree with Mr. Dooley. A CMU visit, an interview with a CMU grad, and having disscussions with current CMU students are the best way for you and your s to learn more about CMU life.</p>

<p>CMU offers sleeping bag weekend visits that can give the student a good idea about the social life at CMU. Do take advantage of them. CMU is really an unusual school in that it does have the very disparate departments that are truly excellent. There is a lot of cross over and the Oakland area is a true college town with Pitt, Duquesne, Chatham all with a mile of CMU. There is a lot to do there. CMU is also intense in the athletic arena, and though the sports are not a big deal for many of its students, it does support an impressive array of athletics from football to many of the less known sports. </p>

<p>Though the performing arts is conservatory level, and because of the intensity of the programs, the students who study there do tend to stick together and work together, that does not mean that the disciplines are closed to outside students. When I lived in Oakland we went to many of the Scotch-n-Soda productions which are made up of non theatre majors, and the quality was very high. Many students are active in many different venues of performance and not just in the fine arts school. Some of the top musicians there are not performance majors but are engineers, and there are opportunities for them to showcase as well. Our family depended on CMU quite a bit to fulfill our cultural desires, and there was always something happening on campus that was very interesting. I miss it to this day.</p>

<p>Thanks, jamimom. Your info was especially helpful, because my s is really interested in theater but only as an extra-curricular activity. Some of the schools he has looked at do not give any opportunities for participation to non-theater majors. He does hope to attend a sleeping bag weekend at CMU, but cost is a major factor for us because we are on the other side of the country.</p>


<p>I went to CMU pre-college program and I really liked it there, so I decided to apply to CMU for regular decision and I got in. I was debating bt. Penn and CMU, so I decided to visit CMU one more time. I would say CMU's student body is rather shy. I went an engineering discussing and the person in charged took about half an hour to come and we all sat in the room and NOBODY said ONE word until 20 minutes after. I was rather odd... Also, I went to a student and faculty dinner and instead of talking with us, the students sat by themselves and would not tell us much about CMU.... I REALLY did not like that, cause it shows lack of school pride. Social interaction is pretty big for me cause I am international student and my family does not live close to me. That terribly dissapointed me and also looking at the financial aid said, CMU did not offer international help. That changed my mind terribly. It may have been a bad experience. What I can say though is that professors at CMU are terrific. In summer school, my profs were awesome, easy to understand and very approachable. I would say they are better profs than many other schools don't have. It may be because they care a lot more about teaching than researching...</p>

<p>Hope that helps...</p>

<p>Kid has similiar interests as yours, but uses arts as a way to take his mind off of the technical stuff. Also he uses the music to think his way into a problem. Maybe you should think about going to the The Da Vinci Effect, at Long Beach CA in Nov. or other locations. </p>

<p>Really don't understand your concern about the cost factor for a visitation. Granted a visitation doesn't tell you a whole lot and they're pretty much a sales job; but the costs of doing a visitation would amount to $500 for 1, all expenses whereas going to CMU and not liking it would be a $40,000/yr mistake.=> Unhappy kid and poorer parents. </p>

<p>We likewise didn't know much about CMU, also being on West Coast, but knew it had a very stellar reputation. We inquired around and eventually found allumni and parents of current CMU kids within driving distance and certainly within our phone budget. We also attended their local recruiting roadshow-free cookies and coffee. </p>

<p>Be aware that CMU is very rigorous. The students are ALL very bright and motivated.</p>

<p>Don't forget IM sports. Even if you're not great, you can have such fun. We had an co-ed intramural water polo team, lost EVERY match, and still had a great time!! Also get involved with clubs that cut across school/major boundaries.</p>

<p>CMU does have interdisciplinary majors. I remember reading in some forum (lj, studentsreview, epinions?) of one boy who felt that taking his interdisciplinary major helped him avoid the polarization that some students dislike. I do think the social life at CMU is different; I think angel_girl sums it up pretty nicely.</p>

<p>WorriedMom, I just took a tour of CMU. My daughter is interested in Communication Design. The design school has about 25 credits of humanities requirements (outside of the basic English and Psychology) courses that they need to take. These requirements can be taken anywhere such as engineering, math, english, music etc. As you can see, a student can get quite a strong minor in almost any other area of the school. This is in addition to the departmental electives. They really allow for a lot of flexibility in fulfilling their non-design humanities electives.</p>

<p>In dorms, your son will meet lots of different types of kids. In short, he will meet many different types of students and can expose himself to any and all of their schools..</p>

<p>That said, be aware: this is a HARD school. They work their kids a lot! There are few fluff courses and no fluff majors. Everything is conducted on a very high level. I recently saw this year's senior design project options, and I must say, it was like doing a thesis. </p>

<p>For example, one of the project options was to design a program in conjunction with design and engineering majors to teach math in a better way using digital media, sound and annimation. The key was to provide a program that will reach kids who don't respond well to simply memorization of facts and formulas. This is a very sophisticated problem involving cognative knowledge, educational pedagogy and design.</p>

<p>taxguy -</p>

<p>Yep, that sounds like a CMU project. I also think that CMU is a school where you will work hard, and is, in my opinion, a great launching pad for graduate school.</p>