Washington University in St. Louis–St. Louis, MO
50% Work, 50% Play, 0% Sleep
What it Feels Like to Go Here:
“Our school spirit is that we have no spirit,” Rishil Mehta said. Hey, whatever unites the squad, amirite? But, with an amazing 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, there’s no lack of spirit for excellence at WashU. Once you step foot on campus, you’ll be among some of the best doctors, architects and artists of the future. Surprisingly, it’s not as competitive as you’d think. “At any other school, a curve is cause to panic about cutthroat jerks. Here, everyone ignores it and helps you anyway,” computer science major Ben Stolovitz said. At WashU, you’re not among competitors—you’re among teammates. And that’s actually #SquadGoals.
Though their school spirit game might be weak, Washington University’s alumni are #OnPoint. American playwright Tennessee Williams, who wrote the play A Streetcar Named Desire among numerous other stage successes, astronaut Robert L. Behnken and actor Peter Sarsgaard all received an education from this esteemed university. DJ and producer 3lau also studied at WashU and won a remix competition with his version of Tiesto’s “Work Hard, Play Hard,” which might as well be the anthem for this institution. Not to mention that one of its previous chancellors, Arthur Compton, won a Nobel Prize in physics. You know–casual.
Where We Hang
Besides offering a high-end education, WashU also offers high-end everything else. Just look at the campus. Seriously, go on Instagram and get lost for a minute—or an hour. It’s a wonder anyone would want to leave the picture-perfect campus in the first place, but the electric energy of The Delmar Loop can pull you away for weekends at a time. Just north of campus, this strip features enough food and entertainment to impress you and your friends visiting from out of town all year ‘round. But if you’re stuck on campus and want to study or play (or let’s be real–do both), check out the Danforth University Center. It literally has everything. So if you can’t find what you need at the DUC, you probably didn’t need it anyway.
Q & A
1. How’s the party scene?
Even when they’re half drunk and ready to party the night away, you’ll still hear talk among the students about that time someone wrote a kickass paper the night before it was due. “That’s so typical of someone here,” Stolovitz said. “That’s WashU. We’re not here for the parties, we’re not here for the learning. We’re here for both.”
2. What would you tell incoming freshmen about WashU?
Everyone knows you gotta manage your time and go to office hours, but what freshmen really need to know is that they have to explore the city more. “It’s a great city, and you can learn a lot from it. Don’t be scared to be adventurous,” anthropology major Priya Suri said.
3. What’s your favorite part about campus?
The grounds are stunning, and the academics are off-the-charts, but the people are unreal. “I’m pretty sure WashU is the nicest college in America,” Stolovitz said. “People holding the door open for one another actually causes mini traffic jams. My best friend complained that people pick up his pen too quickly when he drops it.”
4. How much sex are students having?
“I feel like [hooking up is] as common or more common than relationships,” biology and music major Ben Klawson said. “People going to parties looking for hookups can usually find someone if they play their cards right.” So…play gin and chill anyone?
5. How well do you get along with your professors?
Again, with an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, you’ll get to know your professors pretty well. “I loved a lot of my professors,” said Suri. “I had amazing conversations with a lot of them, and they truly expanded a lot of my thinking on different issues.”
“There’s a lot of diversity in the students you meet, in terms of where they’re from, what they’re studying and what they’re interested in…It’s really easy to meet and talk to people who have had life experiences that are completely different from yours, so you can have a lot of interesting conversations.” — Patricia Chen, Class of 2016
“Not only are the [dorm] buildings beautiful and full of amenities, like huge rooms and laundry rooms and kitchens on each floor, but they are very community focused. Each dorm is part of a residential community and there is a lot of dorm pride and spirit! There is so much support…with RAs, Faculty Families, Faculty Fellows, ResCollege Directors, student technology staff, Rescollege Peer Mentors and more!” ― Annie Pudvah, Class of 2016
“My favorite campus event is WILD, a school-wide concert [that happens] every semester, because it brings everyone together on one day to a huge party and everyone is loose and relaxed. It’s a good chance to see a lot of friends since most people have less to study during WILD weekend.” — Ben Klawson, Class of 2018
“When you need dead silence, the East Asian library is [the] number one [study spot], but if you focus better with some ambient sound, I spent a lot of time in the DUC. When studying for finals, I definitely recommend College Hall. The library’s atmosphere was a bit too tense for me, and also College Hall is nice and close to the freshmen residence halls so you can get extra books if need be.” — Shana Zucker, Class of 2016
“Being in an environment where pretty much everyone is smarter, more impressive and more capable than you in some meaningful way can be very discouraging. I had to learn to use the people around me as role models for what I aspire to be instead of being envious of their success. I think this is a challenge many at WashU had to overcome.” — Rishil Mehta, Class of 2018
Top 3 Majors
2. Social Sciences
3. Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
1. Lunar New Year Fesitval promotes awareness for Asian culture while supporting a different philanthropy each year. Celebrating the Lunar New Year with well over 100 performers and even more students working behind the scenes, LNYF puts on an annual show three times over the course of two days. “Being surrounded by students with different backgrounds, yet the same love for Asian culture [has] been such a memorable two years so far,” said math major Natalie Wen. “Through LNYF, I got to experience being part of a second family, and I hope to continue creating memories and gain more insight about our heritage and culture.”
2. The Diversity Affairs Council is an executive branch of the Student Union that tackles issues regarding diversity on campus. “I was attracted to the DAC because of the incredible group of passionate people involved in it,” said biology and political science major Ruby Arora. “The DAC sits at a unique intersection in our role on campus because we work with both administrators and students. This unique goal means that DAC members get to interact with administrators to really make their voices heard.”
3. Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue, corn moon? Me neither. But have you ever wanted to join an exclusive, Disney a-capella group? At Wash U, you don’t have to wish upon a star to make that dream come true. “All of my best memories in college have been with Aristocats,” psychology major Nicole Cooper said. “We’re just a really fun, wonderful bunch, and it’s always going to be my home base at Wash U.” After all, everybody wants to be a cat.
Wash U is among one of the top national universities, so get smart if you want to get in. However, “smart” isn’t just about high test scores or top-notch GPAs. Are you involved in sports? Clubs? Volunteer? Okay, but how’s you commitment? Are you a leader? Do you take initiative and push yourself and your peers to the best of your abilities? Good. Now, show—don’t tell—Wash U about your accomplishments and your aspirations. While building your application, also consider which of the five schools (College of Arts & Sciences, College of Architecture, College of Art, Olin Business School and School of Engineering & Applied Sciences) you plan on applying for and cater the details to match. The university knows you can look up the stats for their acceptance rates and scores and such, so do everything you can to make them look at you.
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Basic undergraduate tuition: $48,950
Student activity fee: $490
Student health and wellness fee: $330
Average undergraduate room and board: $15,596
Total Cost on Campus Undergrad: $65,366
Undergrads Enrolled: 7,543 (as of fall 2015)
Grads Enrolled: 7, 649
Total Enrolled: 14,942
Acceptance percentage: 17.1%
Percent Admitted who Enroll: 34%
Percentage of Male Students: 48%
Percentage of Female Students: 52%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 57%
Percentage Receiving Financial Grants: 7%
Percentage Receiving Federal Loans: 30%