Would my son fit in at Chapman?

Hey! I’m hoping to connect with Chapman students or parents. We are out of state, and my son really likes the sound of Chapman-- he’d be majoring in computer science. He is nerdy is the best kind of way: passionate about learning, loves to play D&D, love to participate in theater and play music, loves to hang out with his friends, and enjoys wearing hand-knit winter sweaters un-ironically. He is not the least bit preppy, and would not enjoy being at a college with a lot of preppy students. And he is not interested in joining a fraternity.

He would love a college where there are other students who share his interests, and where he can pursue D&D, theater, music, and good, clean fun like humans vs. zombies (nerf gun wars) and simply hanging out in dorms with friendly, down-to-earth people.

Is Chapman a good fit for him?

Cannot comment other than to say that frats & especially sororities have significant membership at Chapman.

Hi, My son sounds a lot like yours in interests and personality, and is choosing to go to Chapman in computer science. We met lots of students there who seemed to fit this category of fun-loving in a creative, wholesome way. Only ⅓ of students join the Greek system, and I believe it’s non-residential, so more of a club than a lifestyle.


I’m the director for the computer science programs at Chapman, and, as luck would have it, also a graduate of the program (2001). Between my time as a student and my faculty appointments, I’ve been affiliated with the university for over 20 years. One of the things that has kept me at Chapman for so long is the fact that the University in general, and the computer science programs in particular, are a tight-knit community where all types of people work collaboratively to do amazing things they could never accomplish alone. There is a sense of belonging and welcoming for all students, regardless of interests, how “cool” or “nerdy” they were in high school, or whether they like to play D&D or do the Greek life thing in their spare time. In the computer science program these folks will spend time together both inside and outside of class because of their shared intellectual interests, their excitement for writing code, and the fact that we manage to have way too much fun with the state-of-the-art equipment at our fingertips. Most importantly, they do not just see each other as classmates, but as friends who genuinely enjoy each others company. I can say from personal experience that it is a pleasure to both study and teach in that type of environment.

From the way you describe your son I have no doubt he would enjoy the computer science program at Chapman and it would be a perfect fit for him. Not only will he leave with the skills he needs for a successful career, but he will have a lot of fun, meet great people, and build meaningful relationships that will last long after he graduates. That has certainly been the case for me.

If I can answer any further questions, or connect you with other CS students or alumni, I’d be happy to do so. You can find my email with a quick google search.


Erik J. Linstead '01, Ph.D.
Fowler School of Engineering
Chapman University

My daughter is a junior in Schmid College of Sciences. While Chapman has a good amount of students who you might traditionally label as “the popular” students who enjoy more outwardly social lives (Greek, parties, etc), there are also students who you might traditionally label as “nerds” who enjoy different activities. And there are many students who defy those labels…I think it is because Chapman has a strong film school and their science program is becoming stronger every year. My daughter has roomed with a quiet homebody type who never went out, a girl who thrives in a very social Greek life, and girls who live in the lab (between classes, labs, research, and tutoring). While my daughter most identifies with the lab rats, and did not join a sorority, she seems to be fulfilled socially. That’s not to say that she hasn’t felt some scorn from those who wonder why she never goes to parties (it’s just not her thing) but not to the point that she has felt uncomfortable. Chapman is a beautiful campus with lots of exciting things happening so I would encourage a longer visit, arrange for your son to sit in on some classes, wander around and see what students are doing in their free time. Good luck as your son makes his choice.

Sounds a lot like my son who is headed there in the fall for Film Production (maybe they can play D&D together, my son even wrote his common app essay about it!) They also just added a musical theatre minor my son has his eye on.

The only way my son IS preppy is the way he dresses, which (ironically) is more for comfort and flexibility–he discovered he can dance and do parkour far better wearing Lululemon slacks than wearing jeans!

My daughter is there now and is in a sorority–but she is far from preppy and quite quirky herself. Greek life IS big on campus, but it’s a bit more nontraditional than most Greek life because they don’t have houses and there is a lot of diversity in Greek life there as far as types it attracts (ethnically Chapman is pretty non diverse sadly). My daughter goes to the formals and stuff because she likes to dress up, but isn’t part of the party scene–she prefers to hang out with people she’s gotten to know through internships (though she did get her first great internship through her sorority big).

Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to share your experiences, and especially to @csprof . My son is now even more excited to apply to Chapman this fall-- he loves the size and location of the school. We’re not visiting OOS schools until we see where he’s been accepted and what his aid packages are like, so it helps to have parents/students/faculty give us a sense of the school’s student life. Thanks!