WashU or Rice

For an international student having good transportation to the college/university from a major airport is relevant- but once you get to the college/university transportation becomes a different thing- especially at the smaller, private universities: most of the students, foreign or domestic, won’t have cars either. In other words, transportation is not quite the issue you might think, looking at it from a distance.

The question of location and internships has several parts. One is that the field matters- and you don’t know yours yet! Most students, in most subjects, who do research/internships/placements during the term doing them on or near campus and being in a city is not necessarily essential.

You clearly don’t love either school, and the “advantage” of WUSTL that you keep coming back to (interdisciplinary) is more common than you had initially realized. The only other real advantage of WUSTL is that they like students from your school so (based on past admitted students) you know that you have a good shot. Have you talked to any of the people from your school who are at WUSTL now? Maybe it would be more helpful to back up and reconsider why these two schools?. Why not some of their peer schools -say, Vanderbilt? Brown? Wesleyan? Northwestern? Notre Dame (which is deep in the heart of nowhere, but has great school spirit, an amazing alum network and a relatively high % of international students @ almost 16%)?

Unless things have really changed, Houston does not have good public transportation and neither does St Louis.

Rice is self sustaining so you dont need a car to go to school but the city is huge and if you want to go beyond the campus, you probably need a car.

If you want good public transportation, you may want to look at Northeast schools.

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Thanks for the response! Yes I do think our school has a good relationship with WashU, and probably because my school is very academic. It is great that people from different areas can get internship opportunities across the country!

Thanks for the reply! Yes I do know Northeast schools have a good transportation system, I looked at a few of those. In both Rice and WashU introduced they have shuttles or city metros that can go into the city, so I think that is enough. I mean if I have the chance, I would probably get a car or something. I just hope the commuting between airports and the school is not a big problem.

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Yeah I think you are right, some of the factors I talked about might not be an important thing at all. It is awkward that I don’t know any of the kids who went there two years ago (who can share real living experience in WUSTL). I have only talked to a student who will start his WUSTL life l in a few weeks… It is quite odd how come I don’ know any of the admitted students.

I knew Brown and Northwestern, these two are so so selective that I don’t think I could get in. Notre Dame is great, but just like you said, the location is not really good, maybe I look at that in RD? Vandy is great too, but I haven’t look in-depth yet. I always have the misconception that Vandy is similar to Rice…

Thanks for the information! I haven’t really thought of the working part as an International student. But I am curious, how come WashU doesn’t have much school spirit?

Have you considered USC? It has much more “school spirit” than either Rice or WUSTL, and it’s very interdisciplinary-friendly and strong in all of your areas of interest, with a very strong alumni network. It’s diverse, and <20% Greek (similar percentage to WashU). It has the urban access your want, is 20 minutes from a major international airport, and is in a progressive state. I know your current focus is on picking an ED school, and USC doesn’t have an ED cycle, but they do have EA, and the EA deadline is also the deadline for merit scholarships. Your question about Rice and WUSTL, given the attributes you’re looking for, reads to me like, “Which of these is more like USC?”


Yes USC! I like it very much. But for USC I apply as another major, not sociology, and that major in is in a separate school, which only take application during RD… USC is also hard to get in, so it is very competitive during RD. I still needs to find some school like USC in ED though. Do you have any recommendation?

My D also applied to Vandy. Vandy is like Rice is some ways but the culture is quite a bit different. Social life at Rice is centered about the residential colleges which people like to compare the the houses in Harry Potter. You are sorted randomly and then that becomes your home base for 4 years. If a Rice alum meets another Rice student the first question will be “what college”? Vandy on the other hand has a greek system so a lot, though of course not all, go that route.

Also, about public transportation in Houston and St. Louis: We used to live in a St. Louis suburb and I don’t remember there being really much public transportation. I’m sure there is some but not like there is in other major cities like New York or Boston. But I also highly doubt all the kids have cars so there must be some transportation options to and from the airport. Houston has the metro and Rice students get free metro cards. The students do use it at times to get into the city and some to the airport (there are 2 major airports in Houston). But I’d say most carpool to the airport (the students created a carpool app) and/or use ubers. Rice also provides shuttles on the weekends to a local Target and a grocery store and there are walkable options for drug stores and food. Though quite a few students have cars, the majority do not.

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The ones that come to mind as similar, in the tier that you’re targeting for ED, are Northwestern (which I think you’ve already assessed to be too competitive… although their ED acceptance rate is a hair higher than Rice’s) and Notre Dame (which doesn’t have the urban-adjacent quality that you’re looking for).

Another EA school to consider would be UMichigan - certainly strong in all of your areas of interest, and with great school spirit.

Syracuse and U of Miami could be worth a look; I don’t expect you’d go for either one as an ED choice, but they could be possibilities for your RD list (and Miami has EA). U of Richmond has invested a lot in fine arts and could be one to check out as well.


Doesn’t the light rail line in Houston have a stop at Rice U/Herman Park? If yes, that takes you to downtown, to the Texans stadium and other places. Unless you have a burning desire to get to the suburbs, Rice U’s general area along with places accessed by light rail should be more than fine.

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I don’t see much similarity of Rice to Vandy. Vandy has a strong frat/sorority presence. Rice has none. Rice’s residential college system is like Yale’s (modelled after Cambridge and Oxford). Vandy has some upperclassman residential colleges as well as traditional dorms and living/learning communities., but a separate freshman dorm/commons area (sorta like Duke East). While Vandy isn’t big, its undergrad enrollment is almost twice that of Rice. My older s went to Rice and would not have been a good fit for Vandy. Younger s applied to Vandy but went elsewhere. He wouldn’t have been a good fit for Rice Hope that helps.

Yes, definitely. It’s just not quite the same as the public transport in some other cities. But students definitely do use it to get into Houston.

Wow thanks for the school recommendations! Does Northwestern really have a higher ED acceptance rate than Rice! I love Northwestern. By the way, is it in Chicago? I have heard a lot of frightening things in Chicago, mainly the safety issues…
Yes UMich is great, and very selective.
Oh I have heard of Syracuse and I know they have a great architecture program! These two I will definitely go look at! U of Richmond I will look at that as well!

I can see that Greek life in Vandy is a big thing. But as an international students, is it easy to get involved in Greek life? Would people treat me differently if I am not in it? I am not familiar with what people do in Greek life though… Is it just partying and living together? Or it is a group of excellent kids get together and build social network?

Northwestern is in Evanston, which is a suburb immediately north of the city of Chicago. It shouldn’t be any more worrisome safety-wise than the other schools you’re considering.

Here’s one summary of ED/RD/overall acceptance rates, showing Northwestern at 25%/7%/9%, and Rice at 20%/10%/11%. Early Action and Early Decision vs. Regular Decision Admission Rates Keep in mind, though, that these numbers don’t mean that your chances as an ED applicant will be 2-3x greater than they would be in the RD cycle. The ED acceptance numbers are inflated by recruited athletes and other “hooked” applicants. ED does help your chances a little at these schools, but the numbers could easily mislead you into overestimating the “bump.” It certainly shouldn’t sway you toward submitting a binding application to a school that isn’t your true first choice.


@Selena2 Do you plan on applying for financial aid? (You may have clarified this before and I just missed it.)

Also, you mention Syracuse’s architecture program. Are you interested in studying architecture? Both Rice and WUSTL have excellent architecture programs, but they are structured differently.

In reading your initial comment, I don’t think you should apply binding ED to either. The potential small bump in likely acceptance doesn’t seem to outweigh what seems to be a little uncertainty of your preference. In addition, its not clear from the thread whether finances are a consideration. As another response mentioned, your actual financial aid results could vary widely. Would you go to WashU for $52k instead of Rice for $18k - if yes, then apply ED. If no, then it follows that you should apply and evaluate your options after you have more information. With stats to be a competitive applicant at either of these schools, you may wish to apply widely to a number of other schools and consider those results as well. There are many special programs and cohort scholarships with amazing opportunities. I think ED should be reserved for “I have the money to go without question and in my mind there are no other options that are close to my ED school.”

Things change a lot over your senior year. You may have a different analysis in April 2023 than you will now.


One comment about Rice… all of my son’s friends who went there applied ED. Rice is a school that definitely looks at interest. They offer an overnight option that allows applicants to room with a current student, tour the campus, and get a feel for the living community. I would highly recommend doing this … if they still offer the option. Additionally, if there is an opportunity to interview with admissions or alumni do that as well. Spending time on campus and with current/former students will allow you insight into the school and the potential opportunities.

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Hi! I am not applying for financial aid and I will not study architecture in college. I intended to apply as a sociology major.