Even though Carnegie Mellon has origins as far back as 1900, this university did not become known by this name until 1962. This was the year Carnegie Institute of Technology (founded by Andrew Carnegie as a technical school for the children of the blue-collar workers in Pittsburgh) and Mellon Institute merged. The campus is located in the affluent Oakland section of Pittsburgh and its facilities are built in the Renaissance style – buff-colored brick arches and piers, tile roofs and terra cotta and granite details.
Here are a few quick facts about Carnegie Mellon:
Freshman retention: 96%
Freshmen out of state: 89%
Most popular majors: computer science, electrical and computer engineering, business administration, mechanical engineering
4-year Graduation rate: 86%; 6-year: 93%
Student Community Diversity: 4% Black; 9% Latino; 22% International
Housing: Housing is guaranteed all 4 years if students stay within the university housing system, which about 58% of students do. While freshman are not required to live on campus most (98%) choose to do so. The most popular residences are the university-owned apartments, which tend to fill up very quickly, with upperclassmen getting first pick. There are a number of resident halls specifically for first year students.
Instead of buffet-style dining halls, there are several themed eateries on campus which get good reviews from students. Thanks to the comprehensive security program, students report they feel safe on campus.
Academics: The hallmark of Carnegie Mellon’s curriculum can be described by the term they have coined, which is a “liberal-professional” education. CM is known for being equally strong in technology and the arts and strives to give both types of students a well-rounded education. Two-thirds of classes have fewer than 20 students, and students agree that professors are passionate about what they teach.
Students at Carnegie Mellon who are looking to sharpen their professional skills can pursue 5-year dual-degree options and co-op programs, and have access to advising and other resources through the Career and Professional Development Center. Research opportunities are available across the curriculum. Students can also participate in service learning through local outreach efforts to strengthen youth STEM education. Opportunities for study abroad are offered at Carnegie Mellon, but many undergraduates have difficulty fitting it into their already packed schedules.
Due to the rigorous nature of the curriculum, Carnegie Mellon has taken steps to help students counteract stress. Every day features a “meeting free” time for students so they can be sure to have time to study and engage in other activities. There is also a “mindfulness room” on campus where students can take a much-needed break from schoolwork, with weekly visits from trained therapy dogs. Students are encouraged to use counseling services, and the Academic Development Office offers tutoring services and resources. Students are supportive of one another and do not attach a stigma to taking advantage of necessary support.
Similar colleges to consider: Brown, UC Berkeley, UChicago, Columbia
Social: The most visible social scene on campus is centered on Greek life, with 16% of men and 11% of women pledging. Carnegie Mellon offers late-night events and concerts as well. One of the most popular on-campus events is the annual Spring Carnival – a 4-day weekend festival during which student groups set up themed booths as well as put their design and engineering skills to the test by designing, building and racing buggies made out of lightweight alloys. Off-campus, students will find plenty to do in nearby Oakland or downtown Pittsburgh ranging from coffeehouses to concerts to cultural performances to sporting events.
The CM Tartans compete in Division III, and the Kiltie Band (clad in kilts) rallies the crowd during home football games. The most successful teams in recent years have been men’s soccer, women’s volleyball and tennis, and men’s and women’s cross country, and swimming and diving teams. Students also have 40 intramural sports to choose from.
Financial: Carnegie Mellon offers primarily need-based financial aid, with no athletic scholarships available. 50% of students have their financial need fully met. Although the tuition and fees are $72,300 (same for in- and out-of-state students), the average financial aid package is $37,500. 59% of students receive some type of financial aid.