Davidson College Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Jordan

Academics at Davidson is one of it's distinguishing characteristics. Class sizes are limited to 16 or 30 people, but it's not uncommon to have a class with just 4 or 5 students. The professors care about your opinions and since there are no grad students around, you aren't fighting for the professors attention. You also won't have classes taught by TA's, which is a plus.

Emily

Classes are always small, and professors take the time to get to know their students.

Lauren

Academics are great here. All my teachers know me and I've been to professor's houses for many occasions. Everyone studies super intensely. All nighters and caffeine are common. But there isn't a sense of cutthroat competition. The biology major is fantastic. I've done research since sophomore year and there are many opportunities to do so. The hands on experience is really valuable and unique.

Margaret

At Davidson, academics is at the heart of the community. If you came to college to receive a stellar education, you came to the right place.

Emily

You really will work harder than anywhere else, thats not a joke; however, the lessons I have learned from this kind of discipline will follow me wherever I go. Its not unmanagable, you just have to be responsible. Its a pretty unique place, a lot of your classes will be around 10-15 people and you spend you class listening or picking the brains of some of the most intelligent, accomplished and caring professors in the country. I know each one of mine very well and feel comfortable going to talk to them about anything, most professors also invite you over for dinner and introduce you to their family. All in all, its a unique place that will challenge you and show you the kind of person you are.

Jennifer

Students study a lot here...like maybe all the time. It's almost unheard of to have a "day of rest" when it comes to hitting the books. But really, studying is a personal choice. You really have to learn what work is necessary (writing a paper, for instance) and what can be pushed to the back burner or ignored completely (like that reading you're not going to be tested on). Despite the work, students don't compete with each other, which is really nice. The person talking about their GPA at dinner basically gets eternally shunned from the conversation. Competition exists on much more of a personal level. People here are highly self-motivated, and push themselves to excel.

Dale

Extremely rigorous and rewarding, professors are the best, not only do they know you by name but they attend your plays, recitals, and sports games

Austin

Academics at Davidson are very demanding, but in a good way. Your professors really care and take time to help you and to get to know you. I know all of my professors really well. There is a lot of work assigned, but since everyone has it, it is easier to be motivated to get your work done. Classes are very small with anywhere from 10-25 people. Although a few intro classes might have 30-40 people. Some classes are strictly lecture, but class participation is also a big part of some classes. The teachers really want to hear what the students have to say and so they work hard to include everyone in conversations. Students aren't too competitive. No one seems to talk about grades and share grades like they did in high school. I am a Spanish major and so I have gotten to take a lot of Spanish literature classes. The Spanish department is really nice and very helpful in assuring you get all the classes you need, etc. I do go visit my professors during office hours to ask questions or even just to chat. They are always available and helpful. I think the requirements to graduate are very managable. You basically need one class in every department including a lab science. In your major, you will most likely have to take 10 courses that fall into specific categories. By taking a class in every department, you are able to get a feel for all different subjects. You don't have to declare your major until spring of you Sophomore year which gives you time to try out different classes and departments before then. Davidson's education is very much geared towards learning for its own sake. Because it is liberal arts, you are not focused on one particular department or career from the beginning. You develop very good reading, writing, and problem solving skills which will help you in whatever you do.

Ryan

I had a terrific Spanish professor my first semester. I used to go to office hours all the time and we woud just talk. After I went on a service trip to Nicaragua over spring break I sent him and email and we set up a lunch date so I could share the experience with him. It was great - he genuinely wanted to hear about some of the difficult things I encountered in Nicaragua and had some very thoughtful ideas to share. Professors aren't just professors here; they are mentors, they are friends.

Kelly

All of my professors know me by name. My favorite class is Classical Buddhism and my seminar, Renaissance Revenge. For english classes you have to participate. Students do have intellectual conversations outside of class, and are rarely competitive with eachother. They are very competitive with themselves. I sometimes have coffee with my advisor, and I often go to professors' office hours. Education is for learning for its own sake.

anne

grade deflation's a bitch.

Sarah

I am very satisfied with the academics at Davidson. I find my classes very challenging, but my professors know me by name and generally make themselves very approachable.

Virginia

Classes are generally pretty small so its easy to be really close to your professors. My favorite class so far was a literature and composition course called Beyond Prince Charming because my professor was fabulous and the class was really small and got very close because we were all freshmen and starting this new journey together. Students study quite a bit...the workload is pretty intense. It's manageable, though, if you learn to time manage and prioritize. Sometimes you just have to accept that you can't physically get everything done and stay sane.

Ginny

Academics at Davidson are very challenging and often frustrating. But the professors definitely know your name and are always willing to help out. Students work alot and are very dedicated to their studies. Requirements are good because it is a liberal arts school and everyone gets a great mix of classes and this makes it easier to figure out what you are most interested in and what you should major in.

Courtney

Professors are very helpful and friendly. One even invited me to her home for Thanksgiving.

Reese

I love the discussion classes here. Because they are small, kept under 20 students, and Davidson students are all very engaged in learning. I feel I learned the msot from my discussion classes, that will help me forever. The professors discuss as if also part of the students body but then bring in new insights and help keep the disucciosn going. I took a Racial and Ethnic Relations class and loved it. The professors are always helpful outside of class and really want you to do well if you show interest.

Marie

Challenging

Cristina

Academics are the focus of Davidson. People here want to learn, and will do whatever they can to become exposed to as many different things as possible. Students are always having intellectual conversations, the community promotes that type of learning.

Kyle

Academics are extremely rigorous. Nearly impossible to get an "A".

Emily

I love the small class size and the individual attention students recieve from professors. My professors all know me outside the classroom and genuinely care about me. Just this week I ate dinnner with my entire class at my professor's house.

Kelly

The personal attention students is unique to Davidson. Students are encouraged to get involved with professor's research and are given the opportunity to do research that only the grad students at bigger schools get the chance to do. All my professors know be by name and can talk about my progress and work without even having to pull it out and look. The personal connections are unrivaled by other schools. I feel that the grad school process will be easy given my preparation by the professors.

Sarah

Although some teachers take longer than others, teachers know all of their students by name. I still talk to my teachers from freshmen year showing the solid bond that you make in your class. They are truly invested in your life. As for work, every student here works hard. But this work ethic is not a competitive, cut-throat mentality. We all bond together over the fact that we work frequently. But the work is extremely doable as long as you are good at staying on top of it. Like every school, you can make it as hard as you want.

Blake

All my professors know my name, some even have classes over for dinner. Academics are extremely difficult, and there are many people who find they are not cut out for Davidson academics. Students are very competetive and spend the majority of their time studying. Intellectual conversations are part of everyday life at Davidson. As a liberal arts school we have the opportunity to take many classes in different areas, giving us the ability to broaden our minds.

Rachel

Class sizes at Davidson are very small which means that your professors definitely know your name. This is an advantage because it means that you are not just another number to them and they are always willing to help you. The professors definitely want to see you succeed, but this doesn't mean that they are easy graders at all. If you get an A you have definitely earned it because very few people ever do get A's in any given class. However, be warned, one disadvantage of having small classes is that you do have to do all of your reading for the class because the professor will not be afraid to call on you to answer a question...you can't just hide in the back of the room and hope to get by or skip class because they will notice.

KC

The professors are generally great. Classes are small and all the professors know your name. For example, in the history department I have one class with 30 people and one with 14. Particiaption and class discussion are encouraged. You will not find this anywhere else.

Laura

There is a lot of grade deflation at Davidson, which makes the academics much more intense. However, this is unfortunate because we are not as well-recognized as we could be, so for some people their low GPA at a small southern university hurts them. I like the fact that Davidson has core requirements, but I do think that they could cut back on a few.

Hannah

GRADE DEFLATION. The average GPA at Davidson is around a 3.18, which is not high at all when compared to our peers. All of the professors know your name and notice when you aren't there. Small classes. Most disscusion based. Science classes for majors are ridiculously hard. I feel like i have learned so much and i am only a freshman!

Dawson

The academics are certainly rigorous, however, you're surrounded by students that are equally as passionate as you and professors who supportive, accommodating, and want to make you as enthusiastic about the subject material as they are.

Emily

Davidson students study A LOT. Even though the standard course load is 4 classes, we work our butts off. The professors are tough graders, but really willing to help. Almost all of them are approachable and pleasant. Many classes have a discussion component, which is something I really enjoy because it makes me feel more a part of things. Davidson is a place for people who genuinely enjoy learning and want a solid education. Sometimes people get bogged down in the academics of Davidson and forget to take advantage of the many other opportunities to get involved. There's so much going on here all the time; you really have to pick and choose.

Rebecca

The academics at Davidson are hard, but worth it. The professors are great people who really like to get involved in their students' lives and campus events. They are all very approachable and eager to help you outside of the classroom if you are having difficulty. The classes require large amounts of work, whenever I have free time I always have something I could be working on. The fact that Davidson is a liberal arts school, its great that you can take classes that you're interested in, but you don't have to stay within a certain genre.

Amanda

Academics are wonderful. For a small school we offer a significant variety of classes. Also the professors are so approachable, they make a real effort to know their students and be there to offer help and advice. As a freshman I have already gone to dinner at 3 professors homes. I feel that the variety of core requirements and range of classes that are required give you a basis and foundation in many areas. The work load is demanding and does require a significant amount of attention but it is manageable if approached from a pro-active, can-do perspective.

Jordan

Academics at Davidson can be tough, but it is worth it. It is not like high school where kids compete for grades, though, it's more personal motivation. Class sizes are small, which is great for being able to talk about your ideas. The professors are also really accessible and helpful, though you don't have to be close with them if you don't want to be (I'm not, and they don't penalize you or anything). The education here is much more geared to learning for its own sake than learning for a future career (I'm a history major, for example). I think it is great to get a liberal arts education and then settle into a career more after college. Davidson is also a great place to come if you are interested in going abroad. A large percentage of the campus goes abroad, and the office is great with organizing and facilitating your experience.

Katie

All professors know your name. They are amazing and very helpful. Classes are a little limited but there are lots of interesting ones. I am designing a major through the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and it is such a unique opportunity. It's very much geared towards learning for its own sake.

Cody

All of my professors know me by name and most of them know me as an individual. Class participation is very common, since classes are small and often discussion-based. Davidson students definitely study a lot, and intellectual conversations are not limited to the academic setting.

Alissa

very intimate academic community, professors are readily available for students both in the classroom and during office hours or inviting them over to their house for dinner, dessert, etc. Davidson's workload is extremely demanding, but that's what you're looking for when you come to a school like this. It's really hard to get B's, and in some classes seemingly impossible to get A's. Their menu of course options is unimpressive, however. they need more diversity amongst majors offered as well.

Claire

Academics IS Davidson. The classes are small, most under 20. The professors all know your name. My Spanish professor from first semester freshman year still says "hi" to me when I run into her around town, even though I haven't had her as a professor in almost three years. Students study a lot; the workload is heavy. We may joke about it, but the library is really social--if you want to find a student after nine on a week night, chances are they're on the first floor of the library

Alana

The academics here are probably the hardest part about going here. I mean I know that I'll end up getting a good job once I graduate but in reality every single class is increasingly challenging so I'm usually pretty stressed a lot of the time. But for the most part professors are great, I learn a lot and always get to know my professors outside of class. Everyone is here at Davidson for the academics- thats the first reason everyone came here for and what everyone stays focused on.

Heather

ballsy hard! If you are looking to make A's in college- don't go to Davidson

Liza

My professors knew my name after about the second week of school. My favorite class so far was probably my English class, Films by Alfred Hitchcock. Students work hard and there is a challenging academic setting, but nothing impossible to handle. I wouldn't say that students are competitive, but many struve to do well. Education is geared toward learning for learning's sake, and the core requirements promote this sort of attitude towards academics.

Blake

Professors are great and really engage the students. They are easily accesible and are constantly available.

Julie

I love the close contact with professors. I think the curriculum is pretty solid. I wish we could take more classes per semester.

Alanna

Professors are always very accessible and easy to talk to. Class participation is stressed and a huge component of almost every class. Academics are challenging, but doable.

Laura

Very rigorous academics, but professors are willing to help and very supportive.

alison

academics are challenging an the professors usually know their students fairly well

Bianca

My professors definitely know my name! My favorite classes are all of my sociology classes. Davidson studdents are prone to having intellectual conversations in and out of the classroom. Students and professors have wonderful relationships. I have often been asked to dinner, evenings at their house (a lot of professors live near the school) and i see them all the time in town.

Maria

Davidson professors do know my name (at least the one's I've had). It's not hard when classes are small. My favorite class is Humanities which is a 2 year program where we read lots of books and come discuss them in class. We write a few papers throughout the year and have a couple tests. I mostly just enjoy the class interaction. Class participation is very common, depending on the type of class. Even students who, at first glance, don't seem like they'd be particularly smart, often surprise everyone. Everyone has some idea of what they're talking about. And if they don't they're good at BSing it. Students are almost all competitive. Not necessarily with each other, but mostly with themselves. Almost every student here pushes him or herself to accomplish his or her set goals. Students most definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class. It was one of the more surprising things I came across when I got here. It's always refreshing to over hear two girls talking not of boys but rather of politics or the environment. A good way to spend time with professors outside fo class is to invite them to lunch. If they're invited to lunch by a student, they get into the cafeteria for free. Some professors are a lot of fun to hang out with and you don't necessarily have to talk about school.

Ginnie

Academics are challenging, however, professors are almost always available to talk with students. Professors also take the time to know your name and many even know students on a personal level. Students are very competitive, but many students also know how to joke about academics outside of class. There are many intellectual conversations outside of class, but many of these conversions take on a more comedic format. As a history major, the history department has History Happy Hour for 21 year old students at the local tavern, which allows students to get to better know their peers and professors in a more informal setting.

Allison

Since we have a small population, we have small classes. Professors are genuinely interested in their students and show that by investing in them in an academic, as well as personal level. Just two days ago I was at a professors house for dessert. The week before, I visited another professor for dinner. I have met with professors whose classes I have already finished just to talk about life and my studies. First semester, freshman year I had a class of 12 students, and since have had many similarly small classes. Academics are rigorous. People study. That said, there is no need for your life to be consumed by the library. You can easily succeed here academically while also pursuing interests outside of the classroom. No one competes with other students, but people are competitive with themselves. They hold themselves to high standards and want to do well. People are constantly talking about all kinds of academic issues, political issues, economic trends, and social topics. Academics is not at all confined to the classroom. Distribution requirements helped me to discover my major. I had never taken a Religion class before coming to Davidson and I had to to satisfy distribution requriements. I took one, then two, then three and I was completely hooked. The department is incredible and I have learned so much in two short years. Last year I took a great class called "Protestant and Catholic Ethics". Some other favorites include "Reformed Theology" and "Systematic Theology", both of which are small discussion classes. I took a class on American Musical Theatre and got to analyze musicals that I would otherwise watch for pleasure. Also, I am a Spanish minor and have found great opportunities in the Spanish department. Davidson also makes it very easy to study abroad (about 80 percent of us go abroad during our 4 years) so I will be studying Spanish in Ecuador next semester.

Michelle

Davidson has a wonderful science program that will prepare me well for medical school. I know all of my professors well, due to the small size of Davidson and general sense of community emphasized by the school. Davidson students take pride in their work and are some of the hardest working individuals I have met in my life.

Alex

Yes, my professors all know my name. I have never had a professor who did not know my name. My favorite class in Western European Politics, in which we compare the British, French and German political systems. I like it because the professor has a real passion for politics and has traveled extensively in Western Europe, including work in the UK and Germany. One particularly cool part of this semester is that some major players in European politics actually studied at Davidson back in the 70s, and were in class with my professor. Students are extremely competitive, but students are more competitive with themselves than with their peers. Everyone is very driven. I am good friends with a few of my professors, but it is mostly within my major that I develop good friendship with professors. Davidson is a very traditional liberal arts school in that we learn for learnings sake and are held to a fairly strict set of requirements.

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