The General Stanford Atmosphere (Students, Alums?)

<p>Hello there. I'm currently trying to decide between Stanford and Rice (admitted to both) as a physics undergrad.</p>

<p>1) What's Stanford's atmosphere like? How laid back is it? In general, how stressed out are most people that you meet? How much work do you have to do compared to how much you had to do in high school? Furthermore, what's the social scene like? I know there are a lot of geeky people (which I am definitely myself)- are most of them fairly cool geeks? How social are they?</p>

<p>2) How hard is the school work? On average, how much do you have to work a week? How competitive or intimidating is it? How much work does it take to get grades? And furthermore, what kind of grades do you need coming from a school like Stanford to get into a top graduate school?</p>

<p>3) And finally, what's something that you didn't expect when you came to Stanford as a freshman?</p>

<p>"Cool geeks" is a great term to use to describe Stanford--smart, interesting, geeky people who know how to have fun. Very social and Stanford goes to great lengths to make sure your freshman year is fun and memorable. Just the right amount of alcohol--its around but not overwhelming. I wouldn't have traded the Stanford atmosphere for anything in the world. You do study a lot, but it never seemed out of proportion, and there is plenty of time for general "life". Exam week is always stressful, anywhere, but Stanford never struck me as place where everyone was on their last nerve. People are happy--and why wouldn't you be?!</p>

<p>School work is challenging, but not impossible, and definetly not competitive. Intimidating? Maybe the first week when you look around your Math 51 class, and realize that your 5 on the Calc BC test is pretty much par for the course, and you don't stand out anymore. But after the initial shock, its fine. Its hard to put an hour amount on studying.... Grades, grad school? If thats what you are concerned about, you should def. go to Stanford. </p>

<p>Something I didn't expect? Wow.. so much... I didn't expect to love Stanford basketball as much as I did, I didn't expect to become such close friends with the people in my freshman dorm, I didn't expect the weather to be so perfect, I didn't expect to do as well academically as I ended up doing, I didn't expect to take so many ski trips or go to so many lectures or take an anthropology course, etc, etc, etc!</p>

<p>Lol, the first thing I heard at stanford (some students biking to the caltrain station) was "I wonder what the angular velocity of my bicycle wheel is?"</p>

<p>Any other thoughts?</p>

<p>Do you have specific questions? I have lots of other thoughts... not sure what you're questions are.</p>

<p>Oh no, not necessarily from you. I was just seeing if there were any other students/alums on the board- I was pretty much bumping</p>

<p>I've heard that Stanford is like a bubble as in its very closed off from the 'outside world', and some ppl say they regretted going there because of it? Can some students/alums expand on that? It's a bit worrying!</p>

<p>How hard is it to get A's at stanford? And furthermore, how high does your GPA need to be to get into a top 10 physics graduate school?</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a>, search Stanford...has a lot of reviews of Stanford written by current students/alums concerning all aspects of the Stanford experience.</p>

<p>some of those reviews are... hmm....not so great. i dunno how are you meant to know whether stanford really is the place for you? i hear totally contrasting things about academics as well as the social life! some ppl say stanford is great for small classes, others say its notorious for large classes... social scene is great vs. there is no social scene apart from greek life etc.</p>

<p>It's a true University--it's anything you want it to be.
There's no diametrically verifiable viewpoint on any aspect of life at a University; the most useful thing for a prospective student to do is to get an idea of the gamut, the whole range of experience, the motley. [A lot of it depends on major...] And how to fit oneself in at some unknown place along the line, depending on what you want to become at any of the infinite number of moments in time</p>

<p>it kinda makes sense that most people who post on sites like <a href=""&gt;;/a> are bitter about their experience. Don't be scared by bad reviews because for every bad experience, there are at least 10 good ones that aren't posted.</p>

<p>I think that most of those posts are probably posted by procrastinators; I can imagine a Stanford student sitting up late at night avoiding a term paper thinking "man, this sucks."</p>

<p>My son is a senior at Stanford this year, and he has really enjoyed it there. He has had some disappointments. He did not get into the fifth year engineering program, because his science/engineering grade average was only a B. Science and math classes, at least for my son, were quite difficult, and it was not easy to get an A. "Fuzzy" classes, on the other hand (humanities and such) often seemed easier to him. Of course, that could just be his particular bent. He had planned to major in Japanese and go on for a master's in engineering, but now has decided to stick with Japanese, which really has become his passion over the years.</p>

<p>Speaking of physics, my son really enjoyed his introductory physics class, taught by a Nobel prize winner (can't remember the name right now, but I think it starts with an O.) It was a large class, but there were sections for small group work. While introductory classes tend to be large at Stanford, there are plenty of small classes available, too. Freshmen have special seminars they can choose from, which are small classes, too.</p>

<p>The atmosphere is open. People tend to be friendly, and there really are all types of people there, so most people can find a niche where they are comfortable. A wide variety of clubs and interest groups. Fun dorm activities. You do have to work hard to get good grades, but the atmosphere is not cut-throat by any means. People seem quite willing to help each other, rather than compete against them. And everyone seems to find enough time to relax and play.</p>

<p>One of my son'sbiggest surprises as a freshman was that there are goof-offs at Stanford. He figures they must be the kids whose parents pushed them to work hard in high school so they could get into Stanford, and now that the parents are not around, they don't care. Some of these shape up when the grades come in; others drop out. </p>

<p>Overall my son has loved his time at Stanford. He spent a school year in Kyoto, Japan, which was probably his best year. He has a great group of friends. And he hopes to study Japanese in grad school there.</p>

<p>What about the political atmosphere among Stanford students? Here on the East coast, I hear mixed reports, and I am not sure who to believe. Is it more liberal or more conservative?</p>

<p>The political atmosphere? Definitely liberal. no doubt about that. There are conservative groups within the school, but overall it is quite liberal.</p>

<p>Lol, my physics teacher told me "You're going to Stanford? Watch out for all the liberals." Little did he know, I am one.</p>

<p>Thanks Susan and UncleFeezus, that's what I thought, but some people have told me that Stanford is conservative, so I was not sure because I have never been there myself.</p>

<p>What about social sciences? How good is Stanford in economics?</p>

<p>From what I've heard, Stanford's social sciences are generally pretty strong with some extremely strong individual departments (such as psychology). Stanford's stronger in the natural sciences and engineering, but its humanities are definitely not bad. As for econ, I think that Stanford's is really strong. The graduate econ programs are ranked very high, and its business school is tied for 2nd on USNews (this doesn't necessarily mean that the undergraduate program is that strong, but still).</p>