Thursday, April 23, 2015
Become a World Changer. In Plaid.
By May 1, about 1,450 prospective CMU undergrads will make their decision to #TurnTartan. Let's hear from a few who have already committed.
For Morgan Morrison, the decision to enroll at Carnegie Mellon University didn't revolve around factors like academic rigor or world-renowned faculty.
The schools that offered her admission, which she said included some in the "Ivy League," all make similar claims in those areas.
What struck Morrison, she said, is how CMU continues to embody founder Andrew Carnegie's famous quote, "My heart is in the work."
"Most of the prestigious schools I applied to emphasized diligence and hard work, but none conveyed the importance of being passionate about your work like Carnegie Mellon did," said Morrison, of New Rochelle, N.Y., who will enroll in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
CMU received a record 20,547 applications for the 2015–16 freshman class, up four percent from the previous year, which includes students applying to multiple schools at the university. Admitted students are 49.6 percent female, 15 percent international, and 16 percent underrepresented minorities. By May 1, the 4,863 admits will narrow to the approximately 1,450 who choose to enroll.
And if enrollment is below capacity in any of the target areas that Director of Admission Mike Steidel must factor in for the various schools and colleges, he said there are exceptional candidates on the wait list to round out the class.
"We could enroll a whole new class from our wait list and not see a significant decline in student quality," he said.
Steidel said his staff works to convey the "unique heartbeat of Carnegie Mellon" in its communications with prospective students, including during April visits to the university and "sleeping bag" weekends where prospective students stay overnight with current undergrads.
"It's a challenge to communicate how the disciplinary threads from engineering and science are woven together with those from the arts, humanities and social sciences, that make this place unlike any other," he said.
This year, the Admission office sent a swatch of the official tartan fabric to admitted students to provide a tactile reminder of the unique patterns that they can create during their time at Carnegie Mellon, urging them to "Turn Tartan."
Morrison said an important factor in her selection of CMU is the opportunity to explore her passions and forge her own path.
"Carnegie Mellon's interdisciplinary programs make the bridge between other disciplines and the arts easier to cross," she said.
"My biggest goal as an undergraduate is to conduct research on the effects of music on the brain, specifically on neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's," she said, adding that she hopes to eventually attend medical school to become a psychiatrist.
For Jack Ronayne, the interdisciplinary nature of CMU was also a draw.
"What sold me on Carnegie Mellon was the admitted students visit this April. After talking to professors, counselors and students, I realized that CMU's tight-knit community was a place I could call home," he said, adding the low student to faculty ratio was reassuring.
Like Morrison, Ronayne intends to continue pursuing his interest in music in one of the university's many ensembles, perhaps the Kiltie marching band.
"By senior year, I want to take up a leadership role in the student government in order to help run major events on campus. There is much I aim to accomplish during my college career and Carnegie Mellon offers chances for academic, service, and musical achievement," he said.
He added that CMU stood out for its emphasis on entrepreneurship.
"Once I have established myself in my career I want to explore my options and maybe even start my own business. The entrepreneurship skills I hope to develop at Carnegie Mellon will be key in becoming my own boss," he said.
So while the Class of 2019 won't arrive on campus for another four months, it's clear that for many, their hearts are already here.