All of my professors know me by name. My favorite class is definitely Chamber Singers. It's a group of all of the top choral vocalists on campus. Students are always studying depending on the class. I am a Neuro and Music double major so I'm hitting the books a lot (especially for my science classes). Participation levels depend on the class. Some prefessors like people to be involved others lecture but most do a combination of both. Whether or not students have intellectual conversations out of class depends on the student. Some people here are ridiculously smart all of the time while others like myself use out of class time to be chill. Students can be competitive but once again it depends on the students. From my experience I've seen that people are always supportive of each other no matter what. The most unique class i've taken so far is a neuroscience class. I am a Neuroscience and Music double major with a minor in Latin. Allegheny has a great reputation for it's science program and now that i'm here on campus and in the classes I see why. The music program isn't as well known, but is still spectacular. It often gets cast aside though because people want to concentrate on other majors here with music just being there minor or distribution. It's nice though because you don't even have to be a music major or minor to audition for ensembles. I often go to office hours for help with work or just to study with some extra help. The professors are great! The school does require a lot academically but it's completely managable. You have plenty of time to pick what you want to do with your life because you don't even have to declare a major or minor until the end of your sophomore year. I feel like the classes are preparing me for learning and grad school and that the career centers and learning common opportunities on campus are preparing me for potential jobs.
Small class sizes and very close relationships with professors are two things that come to mind when I think of academics. Academic buildings are even laid out with these principals in mind- there are study areas outside of every professors office and every professor has 6 scheduled "office hours" a week, making them very accessible. Intro chem (chem 110/ 112) are probably the largest classes on campus. My 110 class had at most 35- 40 students in it and was taught in a classroom, NOT a lecture hall. Allegheny is very unique because we have a seminar series that develops and culminates with a senior project or "comp." As a freshmen you take an FS 101 then 102 class. 101 and 102 are geared towards getting settled in school, making new friends and improving your writing and discussion skills. These are things that you will draw from for the next 3.5 years at Allegheny. You also get a peer leader- an upperclassmen associated with the class that helps guide you through your first semester. (I was never very close with mine because I made friends quickly, and being on a sports team I had a slew of peer leaders, but my non athlete friends really enjoyed theirs.) Soph year you take a FS201 that is within your major... lots of writing, research, speaking, presentation, etc, but it is within your major. Junior year is a junior sem which prepares you for your comp Senior year you work on your project. It is designed to mimic a masters or PhD thesis. In other words, you carry out your project and present it to a panel of professors (and sometimes pres Mullen!) point is, Allegheny prepares students very well for excellence inside and outside of the classroom. We have extremely high acceptance rates to grad programs, and the seminar series is one of the reasons why.
Academics at Allegheny are tough. There really aren't any 'joke' or 'easy' classes, but that doesn't bother the students. The professors are supportive and reasonable. They also love student participation, and even lecture based classes with have discussion days. There is a good amount of homework, but professors tend to not assign busy work, so your homework never seems like a waste of time. The students are motivated, which means a lot of them like the challenge presented to them. Because class size is usually around twenty students, it means the professors always know your name, and greet you when walking around campus. The professors attend the students shows and participate in different events. They were even judges for our annual Trashion show. Allegheny doesn't have standard required classes, only a distribution requirement so you are able to take classes you want. The interdisciplinary classes are really fun because they tie together different departments, for example I'm taking history of neuroscience next semester which is co-taught between a history professor and a biology professor. My favorite class right now is Environmental Literature because it is filled with English majors, Environmental Science/Studies major, and Biology majors. It results in a lot of debates over different perspectives. I have left that class still arguing points over with other students.
"How was the game!?" was a questioned asked to me by our President, Jim Mullen. He knows my name. He remembered that I had just finished cheering for my first football game of the season. I'm not just another student to him. If this can be said about the president of the school, a man with 2,000 students and many more faculty and staff, I'm sure you can imagine how well our professors know us! Classes sizes are typically 13:1, although in my experience that number is high. This has allowed for more discussion and a deeper understanding of what I'm learning. It makes me feel like they are teaching me so that I can be successful outside of these four years, not just for the sake of sharing their hard earned expertise with us for their own benefit. I have been challenged and pushed past what I was sure was my limit. I'm capable of more than I thought I was. School is hard, there is no denying that. Allegheny gives us every tool to be successful. You will do as well as you choose to.
The smaller class sizes at Allegheny College allow for a great connection between students and faculty. In my experience, class participation has played a vital role in the courses to demonstrate understanding of the material. More importantly however, class participation is used because of the understanding that it is essential to exchange ideas in class discussion to promote Allegheny College's mission of expanding student thinking through this exchange. The focus on communicating and forming ideas through the different disciplines prepares students for the professional world. However, rather than having a strict emphasis on vocational training, an Allegheny College education provides a more rounded experience of personal and intellectual enhancement.
The academics here are wonderful. I have been to two other institutions and Allegheny is by far the most challenging and the most rewarding. Though the workload is really stressful, a lot of students have a hard time adjusting sophomore year when it really picks up, in the end it's worth it because the students graduate with the type enough knowledge to compete on the job market. Class discussions in the humanities and social sciences are very common, and every student has to participate in seminars throughout their Allegheny carer to hone their academic skills. Professors are very available, I have had them answer emails at one am and give out their personal cell numbers so that students can contact them with questions and concerns.
Classes are small, the largest class on campus has 80 students in it. The small class sizes allow for more interactions with professors and other students in the class. Allegheny is a great college for premed/health majors. It has a fantastic program. Other majors are offered and have wonderful departments. Not the best school for the arts but still has some solid programs.
Considering Allegheny College is a school of unusual combinations, not one person fits in one stereotype. I have heard that all the students that attend Allegheny are 'rich,' but that is not necessarily the case. Allegheny works hard to help each student with the tuition, board, and miscellaneous expenses.
Allegheny definitely has a really heavy workload, but the student-teacher ratio is very manageable so over the last three years, I have really gotten to know most of my professors. Learning here is very student driven, as the curriculum allows us the flexibility to have a major and minor in two different fields of study, and take distribution classes in the third field of study (the fields are Humanities, Social Sciences, Life Sciences.) We even have the ability to create our own independent study courses and our own majors. I view my academic career as having limitless options. The most unique class I have taken thus far is a Neuroscience and Art class.