Rice University
Houston, TX, USA

Reviews

Rice University
4.45 Average Rating

Bianca from Angel Fire, NM

a current student here
39 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Most professors teach well, and expect students to attend lectures and read the assigned material, which leads to good retention of information. Unfortunately, the workload can be somewhat heavy at times, depending on classes taken.
Am enjoying being here
The residential college system at Rice is the best nonacademic part of the university. It allows new students, including transfers, to get to know lots of people besides their roommates. Students are affiliated with the same residential college throughout their time at Rice, although they may transfer to a different residential college. It helps form a close-knit community of people living in the same building, which allows for greater social contact, homework help, and the like, all of which make Rice exceptionally enjoyable. Also, Rice provides students with a Metro pass which allows them to ride the MetroRail and MetroBus to explore Houston, a fun activity on long weekends.
Bang for the buck
Rice is fairly expensive, but the cost is a bit less than many private universities. Also, scholarships are given out to incoming students who have demonstrated an aptitude for research, and have participated in lots of community service in high school.
Tips for prospective students
Visit campus and learn about the residential college system. If possible try to visit campus for a couple of nights as a prospie (prospective student) to see if you like the atmosphere. However, remember that, if accepted, you may not end up in the college at which you were a prospie, and, Rice students do actually study, but they also like to throw parties when there are prospies.
Great for these types of students
Students who are smart, who know when to buckle down and study, and who enjoy having fun are perfect for Rice. Classes are hard, but the drug and alcohol policy is very loose. Also, each residential college throws a big party or two every year, so there are always opportunities to have fun.
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Emily from Catasauqua, PA

a current student here
24 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Rice University is an all-around perfect school. The quality of life her is top notch; we have some of the happiest college students in the country. Of course, academic opportunity is well worth its cost.
Tips for prospective students
Take those AP exams. Some of the toughest courses at Rice are the beginning level math and science courses. Take the AP exams in high school so you don't have to take the courses here. It will also help you graduate faster.
Academic Rigor
Rice is a very challenging school. However, the student to faculty ratio and culture of care certainly make up for that. Every student here is brilliant, but uniquely down to Earth and willing to help. Office hours and TA sessions are always accessible and you get to know your professors on a personal level. I have yet to meet a professor who doesn't truly care about his/her students. Rice may push you to work really hard, but it's clearly because they care about the success about each of us.
Dorm Life
Rice dorms are broken up into 11 colleges. You stay at the college you are assigned to for all four years (kind of like houses at hogwarts). The college becomes your family and you are guaranteed housing three out of the four years you stay at Rice. Almost everyone who can stay on campus does, because living with your college family is priceless. However, quality of rooms depends on the college you get into so it can be luck of the draw.
Food and Dining
Rice has 6 serveries that are an all-you-can eat style buffet with excellent food. The chefs are award winning and like to have fun with the menus. The nice thing is, if you don't like what one servery is serving that day, you can just go to another one. They serve really nice food from fried chicken and waffles to stuffed flounder and crab bisque.
What to do for fun
Sometimes, it is difficult to get off campus, but Rice offers a lot of activity on campus. There are parties almost every weekend, the club and IM sports are very fun and welcoming, and the campus offers study breaks that include ziplines, pool parties, and petting zoos with kangaroos. Also, it's a small school, so a close friend is never too far away.
Bang for the buck
Rice gives financial aid to anyone who needs it (though many students here are pretty rich). They are understanding and helpful. Rice also works really hard to land you internships and jobs so that you end up successful. Rice is especially motivated to invest in their students because they are private-not-for-profit. This means that they depend a great deal on successful alumni to donate back to the school (and many do so quite generously). Many low-income students come to Rice to break out of their class status and climb up that economic ladder.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There are some pretty fun events, but the first event is O-week. This is your first experience at Rice. You show up to your assigned college, and the fun begins. As you drive in your name is shouted from upperclassmen welcoming you. Your car is unpacked and moved in by everyone but you. You then spend the entire week making friends, getting help, and learning about how to adjust to college. It's the most priceless experience and can't really be found anywhere else. Each college has their own traditions, but almost all of them eventually wind up soaked and a mess. You'll just have to wait and see why.
Great for these types of students
Rice is great for open-minded students. This university is known for their diversity. When you are surrounded by so much cultural diversity a great amount of tolerance is developed. Rice shapes new thinkers and bright minds. If you can accept new experiences, you will gain so much from your time at Rice.
Clubs and Activities
Everyone has something they love to do here. From learning a brand new sport like Ultimate frisbee to volunteering every weekend, Rice has something for everybody. If you want to try something new, all Rice students are kind and helpful so nobody feels afraid of being judged. Rice students are unique and make becoming involved in the small campus life easy and exciting.
Greek Life
There is no Greek Life at Rice, but we are proud of our Residential College System. This system is best described like houses at Hogwarts. You are assigned one of 11 colleges to become a part of for your next four years. This college becomes your family, your home, your community. Often times, you will see more students sporting their college gear (Brown, Martel, Jones, etc.) more than Rice gear. Each college has its own traditions, cheers, and pride. Unlike Greek life, it excludes nobody.
Campus Safety
There aren't too many issues with safety at Rice because the campus is located in a very good neighborhood of Houston. However, more could be done to prevent incidents. There is a history of homeless people managing their way into the colleges, or the occasional mugging. Because the school is small, most incidents are reported and made aware to the entire student body. They are taken care of quickly and most students feel safe living here.
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Alexander from San Diego, CA

a current student here
22 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The professors are great and they teach really well, aiming to make sure we learn lots but all the while ensuring that it's manageable and most importantly understandable. The TAs also hold many review sessions a week to help reinforce lessons from class and also aid with homework.
Am enjoying being here
Rice deeply cares about your standard of living. The food is great, our new servery has fresh made crepes for lunch and dessert during the week. The dorms are beautiful, as a freshman I have a double with our own bathroom which is cleaned once a week. Everything here is set up to be responsive to the students, especially our awesome college system.
Bang for the buck
Rice is definitely cheaper than just about every private school. It's also worth going here over larger public schools. The personal attention from everyone, including the university president who responds quickly to emails you send him make you feel much more like an important person. Make sure to visit, especially for Owl Days if you're admitted.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure you remember to maintain balance in your life. Most people here are selected not only because of their amazing academic abilities but also because they have strong experiences outside of the classroom.
Great for these types of students
Students who like a sense of community and belonging will definitely profit from the college system.
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Scott from Crown Point, IN

a current student here
21 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Rice does a cool thing with general education. Instead of requiring certain courses in several areas, they require 12 hours in each of three distribution lists. This means that if you're a humanities major you don't have to take Chemistry or Economics if you're an engineer (unless for some reason it's included in your major requirements).
Am enjoying being here
Campus life at Rice is great. When you get here you are placed in a residential college (think houses in Harry Potter) which you will be a part of for you career as an undergrad. College assignments are random to promote diversity which means that you will be close to people from every major and background instead of just people in your major. The college system also creates a sense of camaraderie across campus without hurting the common Rice affiliation.
Bang for the buck
The only downside is that Rice is pretty expensive compared to public alternatives. I received significant financial aid though and ended up paying about what I would for a standard public school.tionwide for 3 years in a row now and you are paying for The bottom line is that Rice is a top quality school with amazing campus life and you are going to have to be willing to pay for something like that.
Tips for prospective students
Get involved, colleges love students who show interest. Take a campus tour or do an overnight visit. You will be shown around by a current Rice student who can share their own personal experiences at Rice.
Great for these types of students
At Rice we're all a bit nerdy but that is the only common trend. We have athletes, bookworms, people who party, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and everything in between. You will fit in no matter who you are and your college family will treat you just like a real family member.
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Janet from Carmel, NY

a current student here
19 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Rice is outstanding in all areas of college life, from academics, to partying, right down to the weather. I was a little hesitant to leave New York for Texas and pay a little bit more than my other college options, but honestly Rice was worth the other sacrifices. There's always something to be done at Rice, and I have never found myself bored.
Tips for prospective students
Of course it's important to keep your grades up, but Rice puts a particular emphasis on finding genuine, fun loving people who recognize that life is more than just what you put on your resume. If you can, schedule an interview - honestly, I believe it's what got me in. That way, you can showcase who you are in a casual atmosphere and the admissions office can get a sense of who you are as a person.
Academic Rigor
Get ready to work hard. I'm a health science and psychology double major (arguably some of the easiest majors offered at Rice) and although I don't find myself completely overwhelmed with work, it is important to manage your time wisely and study effectively to do well here. My friends who are engineers or pre-med have it the hardest, and are usually the one's overwhelmed with work to do.
Dorm Life
Rice is infamous for their college system of dividing freshman randomly into residential colleges that you spend all four years living in. There are positive and negative sides to this - yes, you gain a really tight-knit community of people, but students often use their college as a safety cushion and don't bother getting to know other students at other colleges. So if your a freshman, don't be afraid to explore!
Food and Dining
The servery food is usually pretty good and there's plenty of options for people of all different dietary needs. It seems to get repetitive, but I definitely miss having the servery around when I go home. The servery is closed every Saturday night to give you a chance to explore Houston restaurants..which can get kind of expensive. Usually there's events on campus that offer free food if you go, so definitely take advantage of the one's hosted on Saturday.
What to do for fun
Rice has events almost on the daily, but the most fun are college public parties. Each college hosts a party for the other colleges and they always have a theme (80's, Don't Mess with Texas, etc.). It's a lot of fun.
Bang for the buck
Rice is pretty expensive, but financial aid makes it possible for many students to afford attending. You get a lot of individual attention and I constantly find myself thinking about how happy I am that I decided to attend.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Beer Bike and Bake 13 are the most unusual traditions at Rice and they involve shaving cream, nudity, water balloons, bikes, drinking, and happiness.
Great for these types of students
Students who are willing to work hard and play hard would fit in perfectly at Rice. Prepare to be open-minded, because there are so many different kinds of people from all different backgrounds.
Clubs and Activities
Rice has plenty to get involved with, but sometimes it's a bit difficult since many, many people often apply to get involved in something with limited spaces. Unlike in high school, everyone at Rice is distinguished and extremely competitive, which is what makes obtaining a spot so challenging. Don't get discouraged if you don't get accepted to a job/retreat/activity/whatever you're applying for, because they'll be plenty of opportunities to try again for something else.
Campus Safety
On campus, Rice is a pretty safe place. There are very few reports of crimes relative to other college campuses and Houston as a whole. That being said, crimes do occur and you should be wary when venturing off campus into the city of Houston. RUPD (Rice University Police Department) does a very good job at keeping students safe and under control during campus-wide events.
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Rachel from Oklahoma City, OK

a current student here
16 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The people--students, professors, staff--are kind and open, establishing a great atmosphere to make friends, have fun, and of course, learn. Academics are difficult as expected, but the help that is accessible to you really does get you through the class. The activities outside of classes are limitless, ranging from cultural clubs to athletics to tons of study breaks and parties.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure to fill out the College Board CSS Profile and FAFSA to make yourself eligible for financial aid.
Try to always be on good terms with your roommate. You do not have to be best friends with them, but just make sure you keep them happy. If you they are happy, most likely, you will be too.
Time management is key to doing well in college. Although it may seem that you do not have a lot of work, it will definitely be more than expected when accounting for the time you take to eat, have fun, exercise, etc. It is a good idea to get a head start on work or reading assignments just so you have an idea of what you have to work on either for homework or in class.
A bunch of clubs seem like fun and a good way to de-stress, but make sure you are not overloading yourself, because each club requires time, and you also need time for yourself and school. Just be cautious what you get yourself involved in.
Academic Rigor
School is definitely difficult, regardless of where you went to high school. I have heard this from several students ranging from all years. Although the classes are hard and challenging, there is plenty of help available such as teaching assistants (TAs), professors' office hours, other students, and possible study sessions hosted by the professor or TAs.
Some classes require a large amount of time just to do homework, so you have to make sure that you arrange your time accordingly. No matter how hard school gets, you have to let yourself relax a little by doing something you enjoy. It will help your academic performance as well as boost your morale.
For most students, school is hard, and sometimes, you feel like you are failing and the worst in your class. But chances are that you are about average because there are several other students learning the same material and struggling through it just like you, so keep your head up and strive on. Things could turn out good in the end (e.g. possible curves), because nothing is set in stone until the end of the class.
Dorm Life
Dorm life varies from college to college. I am very happy with mine though. My dorm is a suite of four people with two bedrooms, a common room, and one bathroom. The rooms are roomy and comfortable. Our trash is regularly emptied throughout the week and any kind of cleaning or maintenance requests are quickly taken care of. Also, if you have a huge problem with your roommate, it is okay to request for a different one. It is better to make this known early on, so you do not have to struggle with incompatibility issues, because you will have bigger challenges such as academics.
Food and Dining
There are six different serveries at Rice, and with a meal plan, you can eat at any of them. Weekdays, there are three meals a day; weekends, there are two meals a day (Saturday - breakfast and lunch, dinner is on your own to encourage you to explore downtown Houston; Sunday - brunch and dinner). You will never get tired of the food here, because they have so much variety and the meal plan allows an all-you-can-eat style meal.
There is always a salad bar and cereal if you do not find anything appetizing, but chances are, you will want to eat one of the new entrees served. You can also eat inside college commons areas, outside, or even in your room. Food at Rice will definitely keep you satisfied.
What to do for fun
There tons of clubs and activities on campus. Also, being in downtown Houston has its perks because nearby are numerous restaurants, museums, the Houston Zoo, Hermann Park, and other places to explore right across the street. To make it even better, Rice students usually get a discount at certain places or free admission to museums or the zoo. One of Rice's Program Councils also provides free tickets to the Houston Ballet, Symphony, Opera, and other events throughout the semester.
If you have a car, then you can go with a group of friends to the Galleria (the mall), Chinatown to try new foods, or to the movies. There is so much to do that you will never feel bored here.
Bang for the buck
Rice has money, so the financial aid is all right. If your income is below $80,000, you are fully covered, but most of the aid is based on your FAFSA and College Board CSS Profile. I think the value of the education and college life is worth it though.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Each residential college has its own government, and every semester, each one organizes a public party, open to all undergraduate students. These parties typically take place on Saturday nights and are totally optional. Normally, there are other alternatives to these parties such as movie showings in another college or something along those lines.
We also have one week in the spring semester called Willy Week where there are fun events throughout the week, including Beer Bike, which is a relay race among the colleges where there are people from their respective colleges who chug water (due to safety hazards) and bike.
Each college has its own culture, so whichever college you are put in, you will learn the unique traditions and gain pride for your college.
Great for these types of students
Rice is for pretty much anyone who is willing to work in a rigorous academic environment while having a social life and having fun doing things they love with other students who have similar interests. The students here are so diverse, so you are bound to find a friend or friends that you can click with.
Clubs and Activities
There are so many extracurricular activities that students usually make the mistake of joining way too many. There are intramural sports (men's, women's, and co-ed sports), cultural clubs (Korean student association, Vietnamese student association, HACER--a Hispanic service group, etc.), Environmental Club, Campanile Orchestra (for non-music majors), Student Association (similar to student council), leadership positions within residential colleges, and much more. No matter what you join, as long as you are passionate and open, you will have fun and learn new knowledge and perspectives.
Greek Life
None
However, we have a residential college system where each dorm (11 in total) is like your house or family on campus. Each college has about 400 students (freshmen to seniors), faculty residential advisors, and college master(s). These small communities pretty much serve as your extended family while at Rice.
Campus Safety
We are in the middle of downtown Houston, so no matter where you are, you should be wary of your surroundings. For the most part though, campus is safe. We have a police station and emergency medical service on campus that is available 24/7. During the day, campus always has people, but it is best not to travel at night, but if you must, do so with a friend.
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Nkemjika from Pearland, TX

a current student here
16 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Rice University's motto is unconventional wisdom, and the university promotes just that. Rice is a small private school that allows for people to have an opportunity to make a change, and for you to build relationships not only with other students, but with the faculty and staff as well. If you are looking for a place to express yourself and be challenged academically, then you have chosen the right place!
Tips for prospective students
When entering Rice University, don't feel like you have to compare yourself to other students. A school of that caliber does, of course, have a lot of students that have accomplished many prestigious achievements, but that doesn't mean that you will not succeed. Enter with an open mind and know who your resources, don't get overwhelmed, you don't have to cram everything into one semester! Remember you have four years here! Relax, and pace yourself!
Academic Rigor
Rice is ranked number 17 in the nation for universities, so naturally it will be academically rigorous. It is nearly impossible to succeed at this university without studying the course materials everyday. So if you are not an individual who is not ready and willing to cut out a huge portion of your time towards books, then this school may not be for you.
Dorm Life
The dorm life at Rice is unique and exciting. The summer before your matriculation into Rice, they sort all of the new students into 11 dorms randomly. That means each dorm is full of a mixture of athletes, engineers, pre-medicine students, pre-law students....basically if there is a major offered on campus, there should be someone with that major. The advantage of this residential college system is that you are exposed to people who have different interests than you and there are always resources. You compete in intramural sports against other residential colleges, and ultimately, because these will be your dorms for the next four years, you find life long friends within your dorm!
Food and Dining
Because each dorm has its own eatery, the cook does not have to serve a huge amount of people to serve, they are able to be creative and serve delicious food! Our dining halls do respect religious traditions such as serving fish for Catholics during lent and offering foods from different regions of the world. The only downside is that no dining halls are open on Saturday nights in the university's efforts to force the students to go beyond the hedges and eat around Houston and experience the attractions Houston has to offer.
What to do for fun
Rice is in the heart of sweet old Houston. Luckily for Rice students, we are within walking distance from the zoo. We are also given Metro cards so we have access to public transportation like the light rail and the bus for free. Rice students generally have free or reduced admission to a lot of the attractions in Downtown Houston such as the zoo and the museums. Rice also sometimes offers tickets to students to events such as the opera and the ballet for free or reduced prices. Rice definitely has a lot of things to see and do without breaking the budget of the broke college kid
Bang for the buck
Rice does come at a hefty sum, but most of our public transportation is free, the campus always looks beautiful, the professors that are hired are there because they know what they are doing and plan to be knowledgeable resources, and Rice covers a lot of the costs of fun activities such as picnics, admission to sporting events, and shows off campus.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Every year, Rice University's residential colleges compete against each other in a relay race known as Beer Bike. Before you consider another college, beer bike does not have to involve actual beer. In this relay race each college produces chuggers, the people who chug water, and bikers people who actually bike around the track. This relay is a fun way to bond with the other members of your residential college as well as promoting a little healthy competition between the colleges.
Great for these types of students
Rice is great for any kind of student that is willing to work, as the academic rigor is high and those who are looking for a challenge, will find one here. It is good for athletes who want a good education, because the programs support them when they are on the road and in class. Rice is good for students who want to make a difference, whether it is a big one or a small one, because it has the resources and it has those with the experience to guide you in the right direction.
Clubs and Activities
Rice has numerous clubs that students can join. And the greatest part of all is that everything is student run! If you want to join a club, its easy and fun and a great way to make friends. On top of that, if there is a club that you like but Rice does not have it, its so easy to start a club of your own!
Greek Life
Although Rice does not have a Greek life, we have something better. The residential colleges are like fraternities/sororities that you do not have to rush or go through an awful hazing to get in. Additionally instead of all girls or all boys, you live in mixed company. However, just like sororities and fraternities, residential colleges instill a lot of group pride in their members, have their own team cheers and chants, have their own gear (t-shirts, pants, sweatpants, sunglasses, etc.).
Campus Safety
Rice University has its own security/police force, who are always within 3-5 minutes of where you are. At nights, Rice locks all entrances but 1, making it harder for intruders to enter. They also have emergency poles all around campus so that no matter where you are, if you are in trouble, you have access to emergency response. Rice has very few criminal threats and attacks and they do a good job of dealing with them quickly. Rice is honestly one of the safest universities you could attend.
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Andrea from TX

a current student here
12 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Very rigorous academics. Loving and welcoming environment. Extremely friendly and helpful people.
Tips for prospective students
Must be well-rounded. Find your special talent, what makes you unique, and hone your skill to present to the Rice acceptance committee so that they know what you would bring to the community.
Academic Rigor
Very tough school, but definitely worth it. Forces you to learn the material well and everyone knows Rice as a tough school so your efforts will not be unrecognized.
Dorm Life
Very safe and friendly environment. Everyone is pretty respectful and takes care of each other. Also, if there are any maintenance issues, Housing & Dining takes care of it amazingly fast. If you submit a work order early on in the day, you will probably get someone to help you that very same day, if not, ASAP.
Food and Dining
Very healthy food and a wide variety of clean, yummy options to choose from. I actually lost weight going to Rice from my increased consumption of fruits, veggies, and healthier options I was getting there.
What to do for fun
Parties every weekend and the best part is that they're all inclusive. No one will judge you for what you want to wear, whether you drink or not, etc. Very welcoming and inclusive environment.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Baker 13: Every 13th and 31st of each month (if there's no 31st, they do it on the 26th), whoever desires to participate can join a group of students that run around campus completely butt naked except for shaving cream that covers the most important part of your body - your face.

Beer Bike: You stay up the whole night previous to this day & all morning to pregame, dance, and partake in festivities that lead to the world's largest water balloon fight between the 11 residential colleges. Afterward, all the colleges compete in a cycling race to see which residential college(s) will take home the glory. Basically a ton of drinking (if you want to), dancing, cheering, fun & college pride. Typically also referred to as being better than Christmas.
Greek Life
NO Greek Life. Thank God.
Campus Safety
RUPD does an amazing job of keeping us all very safe and you are always encouraged to call them without hesitation even if you have the slightest bad gut feeling. They are super nice & eager to help.
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Fernando from Houston, TX

researching this school
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will enjoy being here
The campus is beautiful. It is surrounded by trees around and not visible from the outside, the city. It has lots of trees and luscious, green grass to sit and enjoy nature.
Bang for the buck
Although Rice's tuition is very expensive compared to other great Texas state universities such as University of Texas and Texas A&M University, it is worth it.
Great for these types of students
Scholars who enjoy being academically challenged and like to be in a educational environment but also next to the city. Scholars who will greatly use all the resources Houston has to offer such as the renown Texas Medical Center and various research opportunities.
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Juan from Spring, TX

researching this school
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This university is great for people wishing to pioneer in an intellectual environment. With people from all backgrounds, even visitors will get a chance to meet people from places they've barely heard of. At Rice, it seems that they value the well-being of their students and of their student community.
Tips for prospective students
Do everything you can: visit, interview, follow them on social media, learn about them, respond to surveys- showing genuine interest in this school will distinguish you from a multi-talented and bright applicant pool.
Academic Rigor
I sat in at a class here. The pace of the classes is fast, but very insightful and understandable. From what I heard, it seems like the academics are on par with Ivy league schools, but it's easy to balance your times so you can enjoy college life to the max. Either way, easily one of the most rigorous schools in the South.
Dorm Life
Dorm life here is a very important part of student culture. Rice replaces Greek life with a Harry Potter-esque dorm assignment system, where each dorm college serves as a house for which students compete against other houses. Therefore, students are dedicated to their rooms, and are happy with the housing provided. Although rooms are somewhat small, each student puts their own unique spin on them, so they certainly feel like home.
Food and Dining
It really all depends on taste, but Rice offers good variety within its own campus, and of course, there is surrounding Houston, where opportunities are infinite. Rice even has a system which encourages (or essentially forces) students to go out and eat in the city one night of the week.
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