- Class: Senior
- Major: Music
- Gender: F
- High School: Friends School of Baltimore
- Transfer Student: N
One of the best things about Rice is the Residential College system. There are currently 9 colleges (though there will soon be 11), and there is a lot of college pride. In fact, there are many more cheers (and anti-cheers) for specific residential colleges than for Rice as a whole. Most people have a lot of college pride, which comes out the most certain times of the year: O-week and Beer Bike. O-week is our orientation week that freshmen have the week before classes start. Everyone gets put in a group of about 8 people and basically learns why their college is the best. Beer Bike is the biggest social event of the year - it involves a huge, campus-wide water balloon fight, bike relay races (that used to involve chugging beer, thus the name), and pranks (college vs. college). The college system is great because it provides a community within the university that is diverse in terms of majors, ages, and everything else. Whereas at a lot of schools, upperclassmen tend to move off campus, most people at Rice try to stay on campus all four years. Many people get kicked off each year, which is one of the downsides of the housing system, but it is nice to have a strong community on campus that people fight to be a part of. Rice is in the middle of Houston, so there is always plenty to do. Every student gets a pass to use the lightrail for free, so even if you don't have a car, you can still get around. There are always performances, shows, and concerts going on, and often free tickets are given out to Rice students. However, Rice still maintains a beautiful campus in the midst of the busy city.
The academics at Rice are generally very strong. The general distribution requirements are pretty flexible, so if you want to focus on the challenging courses within your major, you can usually find "easy" classes that make the requirements less burdensome, but you can also use the requirements to expand your horizons. The quality of the classes varies by professor, but there are always plenty of people around to give you sound advice - along with your assigned advisor, there are student faculty advisors at every college, and upperclassmen are always willing to help out underclassmen. Most people at Rice are incredibly smart and interesting, yet also laid-back. A lot of people study a lot and work hard, but generally there is an atmosphere of collaboration rather than competition. As a music major, I've really appreciated the lack of hostility and cut-throat competition that can be rampant at other music schools. I really appreciate the diversity of academic interests at Rice. About half the students seem to be Pre-med, but these students major in everything from Bio-engineering to English. About half the students also seem to be either double-majoring or triple-majoring. At Rice you become friends with insightful philosophers, intelligent musicians, passionate mathematicians, talented writers, and surprisingly hip computer geniuses.
The Rice student body is incredibly diverse and generally interesting, but in general I'd say we work hard and party hard. Half the student body is from Texas, but the other half is from all over. As someone from out-of-state, it has been interesting getting to know Texas culture, but I have also met many students from my home state (Maryland) and many international students. Most students are laid-back, wear comfortable clothes to class, and are often politically apathetic. People are generally pretty down-to-earth, and most people mix and mingle. The athletes are one group that often keep to themselves, and certain ethnic groups do form, but in general everyone is friendly with each other. The college system encourages people from all different backgrounds to interact and get to know each other, especially because all freshmen live on campus.
The Best Things
Residential College System
The Worst Things