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Colgate University

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What are the academics like at your school?

Name: They all know my name. Serious. Favorite class: Archeaoastronomy. The professor who teaches it practically invented the field. What more can I say? Least favorite: "Western Traditions" -- what a waste. Study frequency: It ranges, depending on the student's time management skills. But it's safe to say that 95% of us are stuck in a state of either studying or thinking about studying. Intellectual conversations: Well, you learn that most of the pseudo-intellectual bullshit you spit out in high school to differentiate yourself as "the smart kid" was, well, bullshit. At Colgate, we don't pretentiously get caught up in intellectual discussions to justify our status as intellects since, well, everyone here is smart. We talk about normal stuff. About experiences. About life. About girls. And when the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics happens to sneak itself into a conversation, it's genuine. Competitive: No, almost not at all. That's a real distinguishing factor about Colgate. For our prestige, we're surprisingly uncompetitive. It's refreshing. It's how it should be. OK, so we're not Reed College, but still... Unique class: Again, archeaoastronomy. Major: Physics is awesome. Profs outside of class: Yeah, you see them in the lounge, talk with them at seminars, go to office hours, see them at the coop or the barge. Colgate's Academic requirements: They're fine. Education - job or learning: Here's another distinguishing factor about Colgate. Students are here to learn, not to get a job. I was stunned when I first came to Colgate, and about 90% of the freshman had no idea what to major in. So they explored. They learned. I like that. Students here are generally oblivious to the post-Colgate life. Fuck, I'm a senior with 2 months to go and I haven't a clue what I'm going to do. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Fuck well-worn safety paths in life.

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Colgate offers an enormous selection of classes with expert Professors in each field. With the smaller campus size and low student to teacher ratio, nearly all Professors remember your name (given you make the effort too). Class participation is commonly a large percentage of your grade but really helps in learning the material. With so many intelligent students at Colgate, discussions can get very heated and usually turn into a debate and sometimes carry-on into conversations outside of class. The most unique class that I took was Archaeoastronomy with Professor Anthony Aveni who is actually credited as being one of the subjects founders. In the class we learned about ancient civilizations who constructed their homes and cities to align with celestial bodies in the sky. I even had the opportunity to then travel to Yucatan, Mexico with my Professor and some other students to help him measure Maya ruins for astronomical alignments. The other great thing about Colgate is that because it is a liberal arts school, you are required to take classes in many different fields. In doing this students get the opportunity to experience many different classes and some even choose to follow those classes by making the subject their major. It also gives the students a much more well-rounded education.

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Academics at Colgate are comparable to those of the majority of similarly directed liberal arts colleges. The class size is generally small, with 20-30 kids in most lower-level classes and even smaller classes when you start to specialize. The professors are, in my experience, always helpful and available when you need them, although there always a few that no one likes. The core curriculum at Colgate is interesting but really not entirely helpful in the long run. The concept sounds more interesting than it really is. It's the distribution requirements that are more useful. They force you to experience subjects beyond what you think you're comfortable with, and that's actually a really good experience for a student to have. Getting a job after school is a big reason for coming to Colgate; we have a great alumni network for that, and Colgate is a good name to have on your side if you're looking for a job. However, the students are fairly diverse in their focuses. We've actually discussed the position of education in society in both of my core classes about Western thought. I see both scholars and motivated job seekers at Colgate. It's really a very good place to be for anyone.

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Professor make it a goal to know your name. In the beginning of each semester they are given pictures of all the students in their classes and most of them memorize it. I know all of my teachers pretty well and they know me. I have had amazing conversations with a majority of them. In fact, in the beginning of the year I had such a great conversation with one of my professors that I ended up researching for him over water rates, something that I am quite passionate about. Not many colleges can offer freshman research jobs. Academics are rigourous and sometimes you lose the big picture in all the details you need to know. I have fallen in love with the geography department, which is a social science at Colgate. I am know taking a global warming class "climate and society", which is brand new and quite pertinent to the climate today. I have heard that some students have stolen notebooks for their peers so that exams are not as competitive, but otherall most students are quite fair and competitive only in a good way. For example, in group projects my group members have always desired to get a good grade.

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Most classes at Colgate are small, and the professors will almost always learn your name. There are some requirements that force you to take classes outside your major, which is good. I feel well-rounded, and everyone finishes those before the end of sophomore year. The "best" part about academics is that you only have to take four classes per semester to graduate, or sometimes three if you have AP credits, summer classes, etc. It's interesting that my friends at state schools are taking five or six per semester, but I'm getting a "better" education than them. The majority of classes I have taken have been no work, then study for the mid term, then no work, then study for the final. I think this reflects on the academic attitudes of Colgate students pretty well. As an econ major, I'd say that Colgate's education (despite actually costing $45K/year) is "cost effective" since you get a degree with a good name for not that much work. As an econ student, I notice people only care about getting good grades in order to secure a good banking job. The good thing is, a lot of people do get those jobs.

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The academics are definitely difficult, but the material is really interesting. I have learned so much at Colgate. Likewise, there are a plethora of different classes offered to the students. Any given student could take a wide assortment of classes ranging from a class in neuroscience to one in performance arts . Similarly, students are granted access to a number of resources provided by the campus. Aside from the conventional resources like the library and food services, a student can also experience resources such as the various technology labs, the museum in the Ho Science Center, and so much more. The academic and research opportunities are endless. I realize what academic major I want to pursue, I know the true definitions of conservatism and liberalism, vastly improved upon my Spanish, and most importantly I have really learned how to write. You are offered so many academic opportunities . You really are able to experience any concentration and learn what you really desire to pursue.

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It seems that about half of the students at Colgate are economics majors (including myself) and this is a great department. However, you can't really go wrong with any major within Colgate's liberal arts education. The requirements are all interesting, and they include a class entitled "The Challenge of Modernity" which was simply remarkable. Furthermore Colgate mandates that students take a wide array of courses across all departments and which creates well read, interesting students with a wide array of knowledge. The professors are awesome for the most part, and it never ceases to amaze me how a professor teaching a lecture of 75 students can manage to memorize each and every students' name. However, lectures of 75 are generally rare and most classes a comprised of about 15 students in which class participation is highly encouraged. This creates for lively, stimulating class discussions.

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Some professors know my name, some don't. Favorite classes were SOAN classes, least favorite classes were POSC classes. Some study way too much, some don't study enough. In big classes participation is not important. In small classes they are important and common. I don't have intellectual conversations outside of class very often. Students are VERY competitive. Most unique class - Museum Studies. I am a POSC major. I dislike the teachers but like the material. The teachers are too serious, for the most part, and boring. I never spend time with profs outside of class. I like the requirements, it makes students take different classes. Education at COlgate is geared towards thinking and learning. Job/life skills are not emphasized. Career services is a terrible department.

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The professors at Colgate are great people and even better teachers. Most of them make themselves very approachable and want to be involved in the students lives. The classes here are all so interesting, I wish I had more time to take classes outside of my major. Cheating (on exams, projects, or papers) is not very common, but it does happen. Academics as Colgate is education for the sake of education, but professors realize that students want the security of a career after college, so if you talk to a professor about life after Colgate they'll suggest all sorts of internships or programs that will help you. As a freshman, I have not gone to the Career Services department yet, but I hear it is helpful -- resume writing, job interview practice, etc.

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The professors at Colgate are very accessible and the opportunity is there to form lasting, mentoring bonds with professors. I have never had a Colgate professor who did not intimately know their subject, however, I have had two or three who really did not belong teaching a class. But, they are the exception. Colgate students are most certainly smart- the requirements to get in make sure of that, but Colgate students are not intellectual. School work belongs in the classroom and the library so if you are hoping to stay up all night discussing Nietzsche or have other such random intellectual conversations won't find them here.

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