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  • Writer's pictureAlison Merzel

School Spotlight: Carnegie Mellon University

Despite the frigid temperature during my February visit, I was extremely impressed by Carnegie Mellon. This medium-sized private institution has a strong appeal for many students, but particularly for those that have an inclination towards STEM fields and the arts.

Here are 5 fun facts about Carnegie Mellon University:

1) CMU has the only bagpipe major in the country. CMU founder Andrew Carnegie was Scottish, giving way to the school's Scottish Terrier mascot, "Scotty," the athletic team's "Tartans," and the "Kiltie" marching band's signature kilt attire.

2) CMU has strong traditions like painting the "Fence," which is used as a billboard for student organizations and events. Student groups guard the fence and can only paint it between midnight and sunrise. They have been known to camp out with sleeping bags and tents and sometimes battle other groups for the claim to the fence. Before its collapse, it was one designated the most painted object in the world.

Another cool tradition is the racing of buggies, which happens every year during Spring Carnival, a four-day event that attracts people from all over Pittsburgh.

3) Students with strong interdisciplinary interests may be excited to learn about CMU's BXA degree option, which combines an arts major with another major on campus. The X represents the academic option that can be paired - such as Humanities, Science, Engineering, or Computer Science.

4) Undergraduate students interested in biological sciences, math, chemistry, or physics will find ample opportunities to conduct research at this institution. 70% of Mellon College of Science students conduct research here. Research is certainly supported across academic departments at CMU. The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) offers a $3,500 stipend for students to engage in research. Meeting of the Minds offers students the opportunity to share their research with others in the campus community.

5) CMU's School of Computer Science introduced the country's first Artificial Intelligence degree in 2018. Curious about other innovations coming out of CS at CMU? Duolingo. Twitter hashtags. Emoticons.

Curious about famous arts alumni coming out of CMU? Andy Warhol, Ted Danson, Holly Hunter, Ethan Hawke, and Olaf (oops, I mean Josh Gad) are just some of the celebrities with arts degrees from Carnegie Mellon.

CMU offers Early Decision and Regular Decision deadlines, as well as an Early Admission plan for high school juniors who are prepared to graduate early and head off to college. While standardized testing was optional for Fall 2022, they have not yet announced their testing policy for Fall 2023 and beyond. The current website language says "we'll consider the results if you want us to." My interpretation - plan to take the SAT or ACT, as a good score may end up helping you.

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