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WUSTL vibe

rileygrlrileygrl 28 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
We are thinking of adding this to my son's list. It checks a lot of boxes for him (right size, beautiful campus, residential community, less cold than northeast, friendly, strong academics.) However, I can't get a read on the vibe/culture. Some say collaborative, some say intense/competitive (not what we are looking for.) Can anyone help clarify? Not afraid of hard work/motivated students but trying to avoid cut-throat, stressed environments. Will major in STEM in some capacity, but not pre-med, probably not engineering, not CS, in case that makes a difference. Thank you!
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Replies to: WUSTL vibe

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2453 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My son is a rising junior Biology/History double major (and for good measure a CompSci minor) and he hasn’t experienced any cutthroat/gunner types in his classes. It is definitely a collaborative environment where students help each other out.

    Classes are going to be intense though. A lot of the introductory math and science courses are weeders, but that because instructors emphasize concepts instead of rote memorization. The intensity will be from the difficulty of the classes, not competition from fellow students.

    Of course your mileage may vary, but our experience has been positive so far.
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  • ChicagoSportsFnChicagoSportsFn 493 replies0 threadsRegistered User Member
    My DD is a senior now. From her experience, no cutthroat stuff going on. All collaborative. Plus, LOTS of free help available to students who may be having difficulty understand the concepts in a particular class.

    No doubt though, it’s a stressful environment. The intro classes (eg gen chem) are tough. Kids who were academic studs/studettes in HS are now getting 60s/70s in chemistry and that won’t sit well with their psyche.

    Before the first big chem exam, my DD said there were a couple times she saw ambulances in the South 40. Kids were freaking out and stressing themselves over the exam. It’s understandable kids who never or failed very little in all aspects of their life all of a sudden realize failure (pick your definition of this) is a reality and don’t react well to it. Not trying to scare you here but trying to set expectations from my DD’s experience.

    I am SO lucky my DD is resilient though. She loves WashU. She’s not straight As like in HS, but she’s rolling with all of it.

    What she’s learned at WashU has been a practical asset because she knows the material well. She didn’t just memorize the stuff for the exam. She knows the concepts and can apply it. She helped her younger sister with chemistry and calculus in HS. Her younger sister is now a plebe at West Point. Just the other day, her younger sister texted her big sister for help on a chemistry assignment. Even though chemistry was 3 years ago, DD was able to help. She still knows the material.

    The students get a lot of advisors. She had a lot of touchpoints with her 4-year advisor during her freshman year.

    @Hamurtle is always spot on with these posts. Mileage will vary. All collaborative and not cutthroat. Classes are intense.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2453 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 14
    From my son’s experiences, Chemistry classes will be tough, but they are well taught. And in some years, that 70% is a solid B+/A-.

    The first class of the Introductory Chemistry sequence is fondly referred to as ‘Baby Quantum Physics’ by the professors. If Loomis is teaching, by all means take his class. He’s the Chemistry Department graduate school advisor and knows his stuff and is an excellent lecturer. Doesn’t give out that many A’s (son got a B+ which was better than a lot of kids), but he felt it was one of his most favorite classes.

    General Chemistry has changed at WashU in that there is another sequence (105/106) which can be taken by STEM majors instead of the 111A/112A series of classes. Supposedly 105/106 does not go into as much detail about physical chemistry and might be more watered down.

    Organic Chemistry has a life sciences version for premed/bio majors which is watered down as well and not as brutal as the other 261/262 sequence.

    I would advise that if you have AP credit for Calculus BC, use them. Calculus 1/2 are not taught very well according to some students.

    Calculus 3 used to be more straightforward and better taught (lots of kids got A’s) but the scuttlebutt from students is that it’s been changed to make things harder.
    edited September 14
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