Pros/cons of Emory?

I was recently admitted and so far I’ve been reading about a lot of cons, like how there’s no school spirit/social life and it’s filled with, and I quote, “snobby ivy rejects.” Are these true? What are some other pros/cons of going to Emory?

Emory’s Ivy rejects (note that most non-Ivy AND IVY schools are full of Ivy rejects ; This is just reality. They may have overlap in “admits” but most who end up matriculating at many non-Ivies outside of rank 10 and lower Ivies were not just full of options from Ivies or even other top privates and publics for that matter. That is what happens when all these places are flooded with applicants. And just because someone is an Ivy reject, does not mean they were not Ivy caliber. A huge chunk of deserved students will be denied at all of them and even schools “lower on the list” like Emory. At the end of day, these people cannot take every damned body) aren’t particularly “snobby”… That isn’t the reputation. Some other schools, now that is a different story. Folks at some other non-Ivies act like they are over compensating and want to actually pretend they are at some like HYP level Ivy at that, and it just isn’t true and they know it. In fact, Emory students are almost sadly humble about the school’s caliber and air more on the side of “chip on shoulder” to the point where they are unaware or purposely oblivious to what the school offers. THAT is problematic, but at least Emory students are not so stuck up to the point where they think the school is beyond criticism. And it looks like schools where the undergraduates have much more of a “critical culture” end up doing very well over time.

A lot of the top 10 schools are like this. You go to the student publications of Harvard, Duke, Yale, places like that and you will see students being very blunt and saying unflattering things about what they think of certain campus issues or the direction of the school. Many schools, you will see sort of low level/petty criticisms because I guess they don’t wanna look bad to outsiders that may read it. Such student bodies seem more about image than the actual progression of the institution. I think Emory students are more likely to give that type of criticism, but as indicated in another thread I participate in, I think Emory students may see issues and will point them out to each other, but since they don’t necessarily view themselves as part of something bigger, they won’t necessarily take concerns further (like to an administrator.

And yes, Emory has no traditional sports or rah rah oriented school spirit. If you don’t like quirkiness and multiculturalism as a substitute, I recommend elsewhere. There are numerous threads on here discussing various pros(and cons) and you can just rigorously go through the key Emory websites and stuff to find things that you like and don’t like. Go read the Wheel to see what we have going in/bringing controversy to campus life, or what is on students’ minds in the political arena, etc.

Thank you for the reply, I was actually just reading your replies from 2015 on an Emory post haha. So far Emory is my top choice and I am going to visit soon to help make my final decision. I’ll continue to do research and look into some of things you mentioned. If you have the time to answer, what are your favorite things about Emory?

@sugasuga : I feel as if my background may make me biased as I was more academic leaning to begin with and not as much into Greek life and that type of partying and was down for alternative methods of enjoying campus life such as going to music concerts, seriously exploring Atlanta, and enjoying the outdoors(with respect to outdoors, I think Emory is sort of like an “urban Duke” where Emory’s core is very dense with buildings but you have these forested areas within it and ALL around it and the Clifton road area and I just loved it! Like Lullwater, Hans Woods, are classic especially when fully explored! The suburban neighborhoods along Houston and Mason Mill are really nice too) with my friends, and house/apartment parties. If one is creative, I think it is rather easy to make Emory very fun outside of Greek parties and the events put on by various organizations and stuff.

Either way, Emory was a blessing to me, because when I came in 2008, I was invited to become a part of the INSPIRE program (defunct, a casualty of the Great Recession, but arguably, Emory has made its formal research programs much more robust since then) which gave me instant access to more advanced course work, special labs and most importantly MENTORING from the get go, and all this without having to be an Emory Scholar. And oddly, I think Emory is great if you seek closer faculty relationships and mentoring (I know it is far better than most peers if in STEM because the section sizes, especially in intro classes are generally 1/2 the size of peers, including near peers). It kind of seems to hold on to some of those “We were a regional teaching university” roots despite its enrollment growing a bit. Professors want to get to know students (the mentoring was very important to me as I am now a PhD student after a long journey. Keeping key faculty contacts was critical…Also, I was the type who applied to much smaller LACs and HBCUs that I knew would give me that feel so I am very pleased that I was able to get it from Emory), especially those who take learning seriously or have an interest in the subject. Emory never felt like a “machine” to me and shouldn’t to anybody (but if someone wants to waste their money and give themselves a “machine” like experience, be my guest so that you can perhaps fund more Emory Advantage recipients :stuck_out_tongue: ). Some people are opposed to the “in your face” multi-culturalism, but to me that was a key feature that helped me make great friends and gain exposure to many different ideas, cuisines, etc. It is nice to learn from fellow colleagues not only in the context of our relatively high IQs and academic potential, but for the ideas we have and where they come from.

Also, despite Emory being quite liberal, I find that the higher level of SE diversity and ethnic diversity leads to more nuanced conversations. It isn’t like people are preaching to a choir. I remember a conversation me and my core friend group were having about universal healthcare and we were able to go beyond a purely academic angle (and believe me, we could do that, because this core friend group originated from the INSPIRE program and the ORDER seminar in which we were group members and chose a project highlighting differences in healthcare systems. It took a lot of research and we considered at least publishing in a campus research oriented journal) because some of us were from “not even middle class” families so some of us could actually cite personal anecdotes about struggles with insurance companies, which is less likely if we were all wealthy and well to do (there were a couple in this group like that and indeed, sometimes we had to put a bit more effort in explaining certain things much like they had to with us. A classic conversation is two of my friends, both brilliant, one middle class"ish" and one well-off, a Fulbright, squared off on the effects of labor unions on certain corporations. You could see the differences in interpretation that not only came from background, but region as one was from north Florida and one from Michigan).

I could go on and on, including about the academics…I know people just expect that all top 20 or so schools are just generically excellent academically in this vague way, but I truly do believe that Emory does some things exceptionally well especially versus key near peers. When I hear of anyone claiming an “eh” academic experience at Emory, I tend to believe it is by choice. Emory is one of those places where there is definitely a dramatic increase in quality, for the most part, as you take on more challenging instruction (which is professor dependent). If you are deliberately in constant “GPA protection” mode and do not want to work for grades in anything/think things should be simple, then most easier instructors will range from bad to extremely lackluster. The best experiences seem to come from professors who demand at least a moderate amount of effort and really try to use very engaging teaching techniques (and mentor students outside of class), even in larger classrooms (and surprisingly, there are tons like this), so to get the most out of Emory, you have to be willing to populate most of your schedule with at courses and professors that are of moderate difficulty. It is certainly okay to have the one class that is kind of just there to balance and help you distribute time to more demanding/interesting courses, but you shouldn’t find yourself constantly looking for the easiest people for every class, especially those for one’s major.

If you value Emory for more than just the transcript and prestigious degree you get in the end, you will get a very rich experience in and out of class in my opinion. Emory is really not the best for “fun in the sun and work hard for good grades when needed” type of attitudes. Though sadly people go to it with that in mind, it really just isn’t designed for it. The design of many majors even suggests so. A lot are quite stringent and don’t just want students “exposed” to a bunch of topics but aim for depth of knowledge and development of specific skills/understanding methods in a field so will say things like: “You must take x amount of writing seminars which give writing projects of at least this length”, “we have a capstone”, or in the case of lots of social science and humanities: “70% of your electives need to be at the 300-400 level” whereas many schools are much more lax and flexible and any curricular reforms tend to trend towards more flexibility. It is departments’ way of saying, “we don’t want students doing the bare minimum or taking a checkbox mentality to their major”.

Emory is great for “I want full immersion even in the academics” (believe it or not, this is not necessarily the case among most attending college, even top universities) types. I would even say “intellectual” types could easily like Emory despite it being largely pre-professional. The fact is, many students (maybe because they really want to chase these pre-prof. options or want a fallback if they don’t make it) have substantial overlap between academic and social/EC lives. It isn’t one of the environments that it seems almost everyone tries to deliberately keep the spheres separate. And no, I am not alluding to the bland concept of “late night conversations about philosophy” that students think of when you talk “intellectualism”. More like, “a research project or voluntary co-curricular/intellectually oriented activity takes up a significant chunk of my out of class time and I am very happy to tell you about what I’m up to” (likewise people are willing to hear about it) as opposed to “leave it in the classroom or labs, my brain is off, let us just go party or do nothing” (though of course there is plenty of this if that is what you like. Point is, neither attitude is dominant and nor is it even constant among an individual).

@sugasuga: To which other colleges & universities were you accepted ? What is your intended major ? What do you want from your college/university experience ?

I was accepted to the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida. My intended major is neuroscience. I would like a close and diverse friend group and a community where people love to learn and enjoy being on campus. I’m not into the party scene. I would also like small class sizes where I can get help when needed.

Emory will definitely offer the smallest classes & the most tame party scene. But, if you are a Florida resident, wouldn’t UCF & Florida be drastically less costly ? Almost free ?

Yep, that’s kind of my dilemma. I have a full ride to UCF and UF is only $3k per year. Emory is $11k per year for me. That’s why I’m looking at the pros and cons to see if it would be worth it.

Emory at $11,000 a year is amazing ! Does that include room & board ?

Florida & UCF offer a great deal, but Emory is an elite university–so it is easy to understand your dilemma.

Yep, that includes everything! They gave me a $5,000 per year scholarship and a $45,000 grant. It was way under the price from the net price calculator so I was happy about that. I have until May 1st to decide, and I’ll be visiting Emory next weekend. I’ve got some serious thinking to do haha

@sugasuga Neurobiology is one of the strongest departments at Emory. There’s a wide range of classes, research opportunities and fellow students in the field because of its popularity at Emory.

Emory doesn’t have D1 sports and the rah-rah sports atmosphere that goes with it.

Emory actually has one of the highest proportion of Pell Grant recipients among top ten schools. Any reputation for snobbishness is undeserved.

According to the sortable chart in the linked article, 19% of Emory freshman in 2015 were Pell Grant recipients. That greatly exceeds just about any private university or liberal arts college.

More recent numbers show that 23% of Emory students received Pell Grants compared to just 9% at WashUStL and just 10% at Notre Dame.

Correction “top twenty” not “top ten”

I’m too looking for pros and cons of Emory. I visited and liked the campus, small class size, and how some professors know their students by their first name. One big question for me, as stupid as it sounds, is the lack of name recognition. I’m from the west coast and literally none of my friends or classmates know what Emory is. Is it an issue?

@collegefind1234 Well, a lot of people in Atlanta have never heard of Pomona or CalTech. And UCLA is just a state school in California. Take that for what it’s worth.

@collegefind1234 grad schools and employers know it, and that’s what matters. I am on the east coast and I can tell you I never heard of Harvey Mudd or Pomona until I looked at CC.

@collegefind1234: Just tell folks that it is affiliated with Oxford College.

@collegefind1234, your question isn’t stupid. The answer is that you shouldn’t expect most high school students to know much about colleges that aren’t in their backyards, play big time sports, or are Ivy League schools. Emory is a national university and you will never need to worry about explaining that to anyone you are involved with later on in your professional years.

If you wanted to attend college games, you could watch the Yellow Jackets. Emory does have some varsity teams too, just not at the D1 level.

Emory is outstanding academically and at $11,000 per year, a strong bargain.

@Publisher : haha shady!