Being a liberal arts college, students are required to take several classes outside of you major. This is to help broaden your understanding and learning capacity. Some students take these classes as blow off classes, but your effort in the class reflects in your grade. The professor make the classes so that if you stay on top of your work and put an effort into learning the material, you will do fine in the class. IC does not have any "weeding out classes." The introduction classes to Biology or Chemistry are the larges classes, with a maximum of 80 students, however the classes meet once a week for a lab time and the maximum for a lab is 20 students. So, even in these classes the professors make an effort to get to know the students on a personal and academic level. Another great benefit of being a liberal arts college is that it forces you to expand your knowledge. One of the requirements is two semesters of a language. I started taking beginners German, never learning anything beforehand and now am majoring in German. This happens more often then most people think. So, if you are not sure what you want to study, come with an appetite for learning and an effort to apply yourself and IC will follow through with an abundance of knowledge.
Academics at Illinois College are very personal. Professors know you by your name rather than a number in the grade book. Classes average 18-20 students with a few beginning lecture classes topping off at 75 students. That is the biggest any class on campus will be. In fact, many classes fall below the average size which allows for more one on one time with the professor. With such small classes, majority of the classes are discussion based. It is not very often that a professor just lectures the entire class. Instead, the professors want to get the students involved in the class. One thing I really love about Illinois College is the general education requirements. While some students see this as a hassle and a waste of time, it has really helped me find my way toward the right major. The general education requirements require you to take at least one class in each field of study. This is beneficial for those students who still do not really know what they want to study in college. This way, you get a basic knowledge for the different fields and can hopefully have a better understanding of what will suit you best.
Being a small school, you have the oppertunity to get to know your classmates and as well as your professors getting to you! You begin to look up to those around you, and learn to trust in one another. Illinois College is a liberal arts so which means you have an oppertunity to take a wide range of classes and experience something you may not have had the chance to otherwise. I plan on majoring in elementary education and one thing I love the most about Illinois College is that you get to dive right in your freshman year. You're able to go out into the schools and tutor those kids who need a little extra oomph! One on one attention helps drastically when a child is struggling. The requirements at Illinois College aren't impossible by any means. They just allow to become fully qualified in the area you plan on majoring in. The education at IC is one you will forever be grateful towards.
All of my professors know my name, what I do on campus, and where I want to go after college. They show up to my concerts, sporting events, and other functions. My favorite class thus far has been mass communication, because it has showed me how much the media affects our daily lives. Music theory and music history are a pain in the butt. Class participation is in fact part of my grade in most courses. The professors want to make sure that you are engaged and understanding the material being presented because it is relevant. I have had many deep conversations about class materials over lunch or during a passing period. Students are extremely competitive, especially when trying to get into prestigious classes and internships. Education at Illinois College will indeed prepare you for the workplace, but it will also aid you in finding the person you want to be.
The professors make a great effort to know your name by the third week of class. It's really nice because they can call on anyone and start a discussion. Most students spend a lot of time studying. Some weeks you have a few tests, so you spend more time that week studying and doing homework. The next week you may only have a quiz or two and a paper, so you may have a little more free time. Most students will have about four classes and usually study for an hour or two each night for the class. Students can be competitive here, but are always willing to help each other study. The professors are very understanding. Some will give paper extensions if you have a reasonable excuse to why you need more time. Most will also let you make up a quiz if you are sick. At IC, we have free tutoring in most subjects. They harder you work, the better you do.
Since Illinois College is a small school the teacher to student ratio is also small. Every single one of my teachers has known my name either before I walked into the classroom or within the first week of school. The professors are there to help support you in your learning, not to make you feel inadequate in the classroom. My professors have office hours and love to have students come and talk about whats going on in the class or even their lives. I have went to my professors offices many times to discuss things about whats going on in my life or what I wanted to be doing after I graduate from Illinois College. Overall the classes are small, with maybe up to 30 students on average in a class, with professors who care an want to see you succeed.
I feel like all of the professors want to do their best at trying to know all of their students on a personal level. My favorite professor and class so far is my first year seminar Women of the American West with Jenny Barker-Devine. She is a wonderful professor, and really loves getting to know her students. I have her as a friend on Facebook! We have taken a few fieldtrips, and I feel like she really wants us to get hands-on experiences. Class participation seems very common at IC. The education department is very well known, and a lot of companies are willing to hire someone majoring in education at IC. It is a very rigorous schedule, but well worth it in the end.
The professors at IC are extremely approachable and available to students. They have reasonable expectations for their students and push them to set and exceed goals. Most professors classes revolve around student participation and reflection, and the educational experience is definitely geared towards learning how to apply classroom topics to real world problems or goals. It is common to see professors on campus and in the community, and most professors will recognize students for the remainder of their college career.