I am going to examine the two universities of George Mason and James Madison. Is it just a few letters that make them different? Most defiantly not. First I'll address size, even though JMU holds the longer name, GMU is the larger school. I don't have a preference for a small versus a larger campus, but I would like to be able to go for a walk and stumble into some people I do know. If I had to choose I would probably go with a more selective, small class, school.
James Madison felt like they were trying to be a large campus school because they had their campus so spread out. However, both seemed to have just as many buildings as the other. I didn't like how they both had classes that were taught lecture style, and how they considered a small classes one that had a group of 30 students, but hey it is what it is. I would rather have a personal 1 to 1 connection with the professors, like William and Mary.
Both atmospheres seemed safe, and friendly. Both had your average buffet styled selection, however it felt like JMU had more to offer. JMU also was more focused on education degree I am looking to obtain than Mason was.
Now socially, James Madison has more of a reputation for being a party school when compared to George Mason. However, I feel if you look at the right review, or talk to the right people, anyone could convince you any school was a party school. It truly depends on the people you hang around in college. I do realize that the schools that are labeled as being party schools may have environments that are harder to get away from. Anyways, dorm life was... interesting. They didn't suck like Virginia Commonwealth University, but they weren't top notch like W&M, so I would say that I enjoyed them both the same.
James Madison University was definitely a sport orientated school, because they had an enormous stadium. I asked about the cheer program they had and apparently there are seven different levels which is crazy to think about. I'm looking forward to cheering for not only football, but for basket ball as well, since at my school basketball doesn't get the cheer team, rather they get the dance team.
If I had to choose William and Mary would be my number one college choice, but James Madison University follows closely because of the fact that although it seems the same as George Mason University, I see that it offers just a teeny bit more.