Parent to Parent: Y Mudd?

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Gary Hunter, a parent of one of the members of the Class of 2021, shared his thoughts about the cost and benefits associated with attending Harvey Mudd as part of a recent Facebook conversation. With his permission, we wanted to share his words with you:

“It sounds like you’re not convinced it’s worth the money. Frankly, it is a lot of money, so it would be odd not to question its value. I cannot speak for other parents, but I will offer my experiences and opinion about investing in Mudd and what sold me on Mudd as a “pre-frosh” parent. 

Having worked for large research universities myself, I feel that I have a pretty good idea that what really separates HMC as an institution of higher education is the actual learning experience. At Mudd, students learn more than they would elsewhere. In my mind, what makes Mudd most unique is the absolute dedication to undergraduate teaching by a faculty with strong research skills. At many large research universities, publishing research is what drives faculty value. Faculty are rarely rewarded by academia for their  efforts in the classroom. So, quality teaching, for a research-capable faculty member, has to be driven from an internal motivation. At HMC, quality teaching is part of the culture. Yet, the faculty still publish quality research. Typically, to get research done at research universities, faculty turn to graduate students for help. At HMC, with no graduate students, they turn to our undergraduates. The result is that HMC students not only get quality teaching in the classroom, they also work with faculty on quality research outside the classroom. The faculty will engage your Mudder and help them develop a career path, but also help them get started on it. They are remarkably selfless. The final factor is that the HMC student body is not only brilliant, but also collaborative. The students work and learn from one another while trying to reach the extraordinarily high expectations set for them by their faculty. In a nutshell, this is what I thought the investment was about on the front end, and what we experienced over the past four years.

Reflecting as our Mudder awaits graduation this May, it was indeed worth it for him. He learned so much from his classes that he scored very high on the MCAT (med school admissions test) with relatively little preparation for the exam. He then gained admission to an excellent medical school without taking a ‘gap year’ despite the extraordinary level of competition for med school admissions. Medicine is not even a focal profession at HMC, and still the education our son received from Mudd has helped him reach his goals. If your students interests are in CS, engineering, or STEM academics, those are all more proven paths. A lot of students have similar stories in different STEM areas that align with their career goals. As such, HMC students can literally explore their STEM interests and start their careers from ideal positions.

Without question, we would definitely do the HMC investment all over again. Yet, it is a personal choice and you should consider your options fully. What you should know is that, by making HMC an option, your child has put you in a very desirable position. Congratulations on that!

Welcome to Mudd!”

As your family gets ready to make your college decision, we invite you to read much more about this and other family perspectives on our Admitted Families Facebook Group.