For those of you who applied to Stony Brook and were accepted, congratulations! I am a current Stony Brook student and want to share with you some facets of Stony Brook from as objective of a viewpoint as I can to help you decide whether you want to spend the next four years of your life here.
1. Pro: We're extremely strong in STEM and don't have much grade inflation
Everyone knows just how insane grade inflation is and how it reduces the value of a college's degree. However, Stony Brook, from what I have seen, centers grades at around a B-/B range for most classes, so inflation is not rampant. It is not impossible to get a high GPA, but it does require effort. From my own experience, Stony Brook provides an Ivy-level education (I do take mostly science classes, so my perspective is a little skewed). Not to brag (okay, it's a little brag), but Stony Brook's applied mathematics and statistics program is ranked number three in the country.
2. Con: Half of the incoming class is pre-med
Isn't it great to be surrounded by thousands of like-minded peers who all want to achieve one goal, get into medical school? That's what I thought. The pre-med competition here is insane with several people who are gunning for medical school and breaking the curves, with the rest of the students at each others' throats in some classes like bio lab where the curve only lets two students get an A per section. If you see half of your class as a biology, chemistry, psychology, or health science major, chances are they're pre-med.
3. Pro: We're VERY affordable
Stony Brook is a very affordable campus, even for a SUNY. This is not the case, of course, if you're out-of-state, but for those of you that are in-state (especially NYC/Long Island), you can apply for TAP in addition to FAFSA to help pay your bills. It's not too hard to get financial aid, and Stony Brook itself offers dozens of opportunities for scholarships.
4. Con: The campus is dead on the weekends
One of the biggest perks of living 50 miles from New York is that I don't have to commute and can dorm instead. But over half of the school population comes from Long Island, and 45% of the student body commutes. This means that the campus life comes to a near-halt during the weekends when the students in both NYC and Long Island go home.
5. Pro: We have extremely strong research programs
Two (inter)nationally renowned laboratories are within driving distance of Stony Brook: the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and researchers within those two tend to offer prestigious research opportunities to them. In addition, Stony Brook's medical school campus is right next to the main undergraduate campus, and both campuses have research labs. The entire school is based on research, especially scientific research. Therefore, finding opportunities is very easy.
6. Con: The dorms can be overcrowded at first
Many of the dorms that students occupy as freshmen and sophomores are not designed to hold large amounts of students. This leads to the unfortunate situation where students have to be tripled (three people staying in a room meant for two). However, this situation lasts for a short time, and detripling efforts are made very early.
7. Pro: We have a train station on campus
Not many universities can brag about that. We have access to a Long Island Rail Road station right next to campus, which means that accessing the rest of the country is very easy. I have heavily used the railroad for many weekends when I felt homesick and wanted to spend some time with my parents or to visit friends who are still living in the city.
8. Con: Only a few dorms have AC
If you sweat a lot, you're in for a grueling month or two while the weather is still warm in the fall and spring. Only some of the dorms (in Roth Quad, Lauterbur, Yang, and a few others) have AC. If you want to survive the heat, I recommend staying in the lower floors of the dorm and/or bringing a fan.
9. Pro: We're very bike-friendly
Our campus is very bike-friendly, with its own bike share that was recently implemented. There are dedicated bike paths, along with several hills and bumps that make riding a bike more fun and satisfying. They are removed in the winter for safety concerns, but while they're here, they make getting around the giant campus even more fun.
10. Con: We are a little too left wing here
While the school is setting an example for others in its aim for diversity, it is still politically-wise very liberal. While I have no problem with this myself, people who align more with the conservative side of the spectrum might feel isolated and suppressed.