Professor's remember your name if you talk to them after class or during their office hours. Least favorite was the fucking required english courses that I had to take and the stupid general engineering course. The core Mechanical Engineering courses are pretty good. I don't think students are really competitive here, but in engineering you get tons of homework, so engineering students are always busy doing something. Academic requirements at Clemson are pretty good. The education at Clemson is geared towards both getting a job and also learning for its own sake. Most engineering professors here have 10 to 15 years of work experience, so they know what students need to know when they're looking for jobs.
I only did my masters work at Clemson so the people I hung out with were always in my related field and we discussed class topics outside of class all the time. Spending my undergrad at Texas A&M I can say that classes at Clemson are a little smaller in size compared to those of a much larger school. Core classes can have more than 200 people, but more specialized classes are less than 20 people. Most teachers like to know your name and encourage participation. Clemson geared our program on learning the subjects from the ground up. This knowledge helped me tremendously when applying for jobs.
Clemson once again has a great balance. There are some big classes freshman year like some gen-eds where a lecture may have 130 kids (30 ususally show up). Professors are easily accessed though. Students study a lot but know how to balance their work. Staying in a Thursday night to study is the worst, but you usually do it maybe once a month. The Academic Success Center is really helpful, use it! They offer tutors, study groups, study hints, help you pick a major with tests and then sit you down to review your results, how to study classes, adjustment to college classes, and SO much more.
My professors are the best at any university around. They are friends and advisers because they are all willing to help at any time. I don't have a favorite class because I have enjoyed so many but I guess the most unusual was Plant Medicine and Magic. It was amazingly interesting. Every student spends a lot of time in the library and in professors offices because the classes are challenging. Each class is designed so that it may help us in the future get jobs, get into graduate schools, get into law schools, or get into medical schools.
The academics at Clemson are world class. We are working toward the goal of becoming a top 20 public college in the next couple of years. So far we are moving in the right direction and I believe we will continually do so because our school is so motivated to succeed academically. Students are very competitive at Clemson and hate to get lower grades than their classmates. I am in Chemical Engineering and the department is pretty good, not too many complaints. The education at Clemson is geared towards getting a job definitely.
You will spend the vast majoirty of you time doing busy work, that is unimportant and will be graded by a TA (teaching assistant), not your own professor. You will spend at least one hour per semester in the office of your professor hearing him repeat the same confusing lecture he has given you all semester, just on a one-on-one basis. You will be completely unable to ever carry on an intelligent conversation with your professors--they are always too smart for you.
Classes range in size, depending on how general the subject is. For example, an intro Bio class will be about 230-250 where a more personalized class, as you get deeper into your major, will only be around 15-25 kids which is awesome. You'd be surprised the number of intelectualites walking around the halls. I've had a number of stimulating conversations with people that includes politics, religion, sports, and everywhere in between.
As a science major, the majority of the classes I have been in have been large lecture classes and so the professor does not know my name. I believe the classes I will be taking as an animal and veterinary sciences major will prepare me for getting a job. I will get hands on experience with animals which will get me into vet school. I will be taking a class that teaches me how to show different animals at Livestock shows.
As far as my major goes, architecture, it is quite rigorous, requiring large amounts of my time in studio. My professors are very expectent of professional grade results in our projects. I find that I can generally connect with my professors very well, in and outside of class. Even outside of class, I find that students are very enlightening conversationlist on a number of topics that interest them the most.
Academics are very strong (I was a mechanical engineer), particularly in undergraduate education. Overall, the quality of education available at Clemson is top notch, although no one will hold your hand. You really have to be assertive and take the initiative. Faculty are enormously responsive and willing to help, but will not actively engage slackers.