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Spotlight Carnegie Mellon University

July 9th, 2024

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Educational Advocates

Our objective is to guide the family in finding options where the student will not only get admitted, but thrive and find success once on campus.

Spotlight Carnegie Mellon University

A statue of Scotty, CMU's official mascot.

A statue of Scotty, CMU’s official mascot.

Touring colleges is an important part of our role as educational consultants—and an enjoyable one as well. I recently visited Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with a group of consultants where we heard from faculty, a student panel, and the admissions office. CMU is renowned for its cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary approach, and offers a robust campus experience with guaranteed housing for all students. Over 90% of students live on campus, fostering a strong community atmosphere. The university hosts six undergraduate colleges, each with distinct programs, while encouraging collaboration and cross-disciplinary studies.

Engineering is the largest undergraduate program, admitting about 400 first-year students across six areas. Freshmen gain immediate access to engineering labs, with three new buildings enhancing the learning environment. Students have a year to declare their major, allowing exploration before committing.

Fine Arts is another standout, particularly in architecture and theatre. The professional BArch program leads to licensure, while theatre students undergo a rigorous process of portfolios, prescreens, and auditions. Fine arts students prepare intensively for professional careers, supported by a strong faculty.

Humanities and Social Sciences is the second-largest college with 300 students. In addition to the offerings you might expect, it also offers programs such as creative writing, film and visual media, and humanities analytics, which prepares students for careers in technology, cultural commentary, museums, and journalism. There are also unique majors in decision science, behavioral economics, and public policy and management. Students have two years to declare a major so there is plenty of time to explore all the interesting options. There is a strong emphasis on research and developing analytical skills that are typically associated with graduate studies.

Information Systems explores the intersection between computer science, business, and information technology and offers five concentrations: Data Analytics, Health Information Systems, Technology and Arts Enterprises, Technology and International Development, and User Experience (UX) Design. The major prepares students for careers in consulting, manufacturing, consumer products, finance, and technology.

College of Science students also have a year to declare their major. More than 70% participate in research. The innovative Cloud Lab, a robotically aided wet lab, operates 24/7, and is the first of its kind, allowing students and faculty to operate a life sciences and chemistry lab from their computers.

Computer Science (CS), one of the most competitive programs with only a 3% acceptance rate, admits 215 students annually. The curriculum covers CS, AI, robotics, and human-technology interaction, focusing on the theoretical foundations and practical applications of programming languages.

Business enrolls 170 students, offering a BBA with a quantitative approach. Students can concentrate in various areas and often pursue dual concentrations. The entrepreneurship center provides funding and mentorship for startups, open to all majors.

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

The BXA Intercollege Degree Programs combine arts and technology, allowing students to merge fields like psychology and music for careers such as music therapy. This program requires admission to the College of Fine Arts and an additional academic review.

Campus Life and Community

CMU’s vibrant campus life includes a wide range of traditions and activities. The iconic Buggy races, involving design and engineering students, and the Spring Carnival, featuring rides and performances, are highlights. The university also offers diverse dining options with more than 35 places to eat, and facilities for cooking, including kosher and halal ingredients.

A beautiful area at CMU where you can relax or get some studying done.

A beautiful area at CMU where you can relax or get some studying done.

Athletic and Extracurricular Activities

While sports aren’t a primary focus, CMU’s golf team recently won a championship, and women’s lacrosse is notably strong. Intramural and club sports are popular, with 40 different options available. Unique clubs, like the Cheese Club and Juggling Club, add to the vibrant campus culture.

Support and Resources

CMU prioritizes student well-being with a new athletic center that includes counseling and wellness facilities. The university’s tutoring services, and supportive Teaching Assistant (TA) staff help support academic success. Mindfulness rooms and various mentorship programs, such as the Tartan Scholars for underrepresented students, enhance the student experience.

City Integration and Industry Connections

Located in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, CMU students benefit from a city rich in healthcare, technology, and education. The university’s close ties with local industries facilitate internships and job placements. Over 200 startups, including Duolingo, originated from CMU. Students enjoy unlimited regional transit access with their ID, making the city’s museums, theaters, and professional sports easily accessible.

Walk to the Sky Monument at Carnegie Mellon.

Walk to the Sky Monument at Carnegie Mellon.

Admissions and Financial Aid

Admission to CMU is highly competitive, especially for programs like CS and musical theatre, which have acceptance rates of 3% and 2% respectively. The university employs a need-blind admission policy for domestic students and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need.

Carnegie Mellon University stands out for its interdisciplinary approach, innovative research facilities, and strong sense of community. With a wide range of academic programs and a vibrant campus life, CMU prepares students to make significant impacts in their fields and beyond.

Learn more about how the Educational Advocates team guides students in their college journeys by scheduling an introductory interview with a college admission consultant.

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