What is the typical WashU student like? Will my D have fun there or just study the whole time? What is the college experience?

Will my D have a great college experience or not at WashU

My experience with Washington University in St Louis is rather limited. I did visit one time and participated in a seminar as well as get a tour of the university and of a bit of the research going on there.

I thought that it was a very positive experience. The students in the seminar were intelligent and participated actively. They asked good questions and seemed genuinely interested. The campus is beautiful.

I have quite a bit more experience attending different highly ranked universities, and I would include WUSTL in the list of “highly ranked universities”. You definitely need to be dedicated to your academic work to do well at a highly ranked university. You should expect classes to go fast, and that there will be quite a bit of homework. I do think that attending a highly ranked university for my bachelor’s degree did detract quite a bit from other things that I would have liked to do, such as participating in clubs. By the time that I was a graduate student I wanted to work this hard and was ready. At that point it was a great experience but it did require a lot of focus on academics. If you fall behind it is stressful. It requires a lot of work and dedication to keep up, but if you do keep ahead in your work it can be exhilarating.

I would not have wanted to be in the bottom 1/4 of entering students at any highly ranked university. Fortunately I was not in this position.

I think that the bottom line is that it is a lot of work to attend a university at this level. If you want to do it then it can be a great experience. However, you have to want to do it.


It definitely is a collaborative school. There are study groups and peer tutors for many classes. Social life seems to vary, there are frats/sororities but only a minority of students belong. It’s in a city so there are baseball games, clubs, restaurants & lots to do nearby. Huge city park with running trails, museums & zoo right across from campus. Last year, socialization was limited due to covid restrictions. But, students seem friendly and outgoing although they certainly all spend some time studying.


Hi!! I am currently an engineering student at WashU! I am on multiple sports teams and in multiple social clubs and I don’t feel like all I do is study. I know some people who spend all their time studying and still don’t do well in classes, and I know some people never study and do great. Finding time for other activities and being successful here depends solely on how your D manages her time and if she has effective mechanisms for studying.
Despite us not having the best sports teams in the country (or even being close!), a lot of us love watching the games our school puts on.
Also, most weekends, students will go to cardinals games, the galleria, or just explore museums (we love the city museum!). I am a competitive mountain biker, and I am able to bike for 1-2 hours each day at forest park, easily.
Your daughters experience will simply be what she wants it to be, but she will have to work hard.

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