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Illinois State University

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What are the academics like at your school?

As with any school I'm sure, some classes are harder than others and some professors are a little tougher than others. Overall though, I have been pleased with the academic aspect of ISU. I have never had an issue with a professor, and find that they are all willing to help you when you seek help, and they want you to succeed. Some classes hold my interest more than others, but like I said, that happens anywhere. Freshman year I remember thinking that a lot of my classes Junior year of high school were actually more difficult than the classes I was taking at ISU, so in that case I think it was good that my high school well-prepared me for college academics. Another difference from high school is that homework doesn't necessarily get you as far as it did in high school. You must put priority on doing well on tests and big projects/papers. Also, it is KEY to not slack at ANY POINT. Even if you think all your classes are easy freshman year, first semester,you should not get too comfortable because the moment you slack, it becomes harder to catch up with points and with learning so that you can earn the A that we all want. I think professors are typically pretty good with learning their students names, and they make that a priority in the first weeks of school. I think that they typically learn my name really quickly because I am a Black (bi-racial) student, so I am frequently the only one who looks like me in my classes. Class time is usually very valuable; professors don't like to waste your time or theirs, nor your money. Some of my favorite classes have been my educational psychology classes because I am really interested in learning about adolescents and their development, because I will be teaching adolescents upon graduation. Freshman year can be a little tougher for some students because they have to take general education classes before taking certain classes for their major. However, even some general education classes I found to be quite interesting- such as the criminal justice class I took and math (even though I tend to really dislike math). I'm an English major, so I was not happy about taking a math class, but MAT 113 was actually pretty enjoyable and helpful because we go through some basic math and skills that will help us with important things such as figuring out our own GPA or figuring out what we need to get on a final to get an A in a class, etc. Then there were some general education classes I didn't enjoy so much, such as physics. I just found it to be really challenging for me but I ended up earning a C. I'm not a student used to getting C's in classes, but I actually was ok with the C and wasn't surprised that that's what I ended up getting. I think it's interesting when students get a C or lower in a class and seem totally surprised, but we have to be honest with ourselves. We know when we are understanding material and when we're not, when we're doing our absolute best and when we're not, and we also need to be keeping track of grades we get throughout the semester on different tests, quizzes, and assignments. There is no way you should be surprised at getting a low grade in a class because you need to be responsible for what you're doing and be aware of what you've been doing in the class, even from the beginning of the semester.

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At every university there will be a spectrum of professors. Each and every student has good and bad experiences of classes, but the best tool I can recommend is looking up your professors online on professor reviews before signing up for a class! As I mentioned before, ISU professors are very accessible and willing to work with their students. ISU professors do research studies and other work for the university outside of the classroom, but they do not let that take away from their job as a professor. With a few exceptions, I have to say that my overall impression through the years has been that the professors truly care about each of their students! It is refreshing and makes students feel comfortable in the learning environment. Class participation is common, lectures are common, and in my major we do a lot of presentations and practice lessons. I am a Family and Consumer Science Education major at ISU, which is in the College of Applied Arts and Sciences. Our entire curriculum we will be teaching is hands-on, so much of what we do in class reflects that. One class I took was a preschool development course where we observed in the childcare center every week, while others had us tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club, or sewing children's t-shirts to donate. I love my major, and every professor I have had for any of my major classes have been amazing! The requirements for education students to get certified are a lot at times with how many things there are, but ISU really and truly is an amazing school to go to if you are considering education. ISU is know for their education, as well as business and nursing. Students are on a spectrum here, so some are competitive while others just want to graduate. Teachers have office hours here, and I have also never met a professor that was not willing to work with the student if they needed to meet at a different time.

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There are always large, anonymous gen-ed lecture classes, but once you get into your major classes, you'll find that you get on a first-name basis with your professors and one-on-one time with them frequently. The amount of time students spend studying obviously varies from student to student. It's impossible to generalize the study habits of over 20,000 students. Class participation also varies from class to class, however I have been the only one who ever talks in multiple classes. I do overhear a lot of intellectual conversations between students walking to and from classes, and have them amongst my peers and myself as well. This is an awesome thing. I am a Family and Consumer Sciences major with a concentration in Interior and Environmental Design. I love my major, my classes, and my professors, but it took me a while to get into the groove. It's very important when you start you major classes to talk to people, make friends, talk to your teachers, and join a club associated with your major. Otherwise you might end up in the dark. The education at ISU is geared toward getting a job AND learning for it's own sake, which I think is fantastic. The gen-ed requirements are not too ridiculous, but there are a lot of them. If you enjoy learning and pick classes that will interest you, it'll be fine. As for getting a job, I'm only speaking from my point of view, but there are usually classes built in to your major that help you with the different aspects of job searching (and keeping). ACC 131 is the most failed class at ISU. If you don't absolutely have to take it, don't.

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Academics at ISU are good, faulty and staff really care about the success of students. There are FREE tutors for alot of general education classes with a writing assistance lab where tutors review papers you have wrote and critique them.The library is the place to be, quiet place to study and during finals week the library is open 24hrs and they give out FREE FOOD. If you ever get tired of the library there is many other places of campus that offer places that you can study at. General Education classes are ok, there should be more variety, but your major classes are WAY better, your study is more focused and applicable to getting a job. The career center helps students obtain internship, jobs, mock interviews and critique resumes. I would belive most students are competitive when it comes to their academics. One thing I have noticed is that students really do care about each and there academics. I have seen countless time students going beyond the call of duty to help their fellow classmate. The professors are mostly approcable and if you need assistance in the class they will help. My program is the Medical Lab Science program it's a small major with 30 students and 2 professors, so we get that one on oneif we need it.

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Most often freshman year is filled with general education courses, which are most commonly in lecture halls. My lecture halls freshman year ranged from 150-300 students per class. Taking advantage o professors office hours for these classes has proved to be a huge help for me. There are also smaller classes like the required English 101, and Communications 110 in addition to required math classes. Those classes are typically 20-30 students and are comparable to a high school classroom, in the sense that students get to know each other pretty well, they often work together in small groups, and form a relationship with the instructor. To be successful, attendance is mandatory. It is all too common for freshman to start skipping classes when they are given that freedom. Skipping classes can make the difference between an A and a C. Classes that are lecture based require attendance, but smaller classroom settings require participation in addition to attendance. So long as you are attending classes, keeping up with assigned readings and assignments, there should be a smooth transition from high school to college.

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I think the academics are definitely challenging. They are not extremely easy, nor incredibly hard. The teachers seem to care and are available for help. Professors do know my name in the smaller 30 person classes. Class participation is definitely common. Yes, there are some students who have intellectual conversations, but you have to "find" those people. The average person walking around campus is not so much concerned with enlightening conversations. My favorite class so far was my business and ethics law class. I had a great professor, with real-world experience as an prosecutor who was super witty named Dr. Solberg. But I have enjoyed many others. The General Education is broad and to some I think a lot to get through, but I enjoyed it because I enjoy diverse topics. I am a HR major in the College of Business and the business curriculum, is diverse and covers the different business fields from Marketing, Finance, Accounting, and Management.

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Many of my classes have been small classes just like my classes in high school. These teachers know my name and get to know the class on a basic level. In the few lecture classes I have been in (there is a good balance between lecture hall classes and small classes), the teachers learn your name if you are the one asking questions and coming in outside of class to talk to them. In some classes, it doesn't make a difference whether the teachers know your name or not. When it comes down to it, the material is the most important. If the teacher knows you well because of all the outside effort you are putting in with them, that may benefit your grade. Class participation is often asked of the students, especially in the smaller classes.

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I don't think that I could ask for a better staff here at ISU. They are nice, are always willing to help, and they want to get to know you on a deeper level. Being a psychology major, of course my favorite classes are my psychology classes. However, I have enjoyed other classes, such as my music class I took and the geography (of Africa) class I am in now. The work is hard, there is a lot of reading, but if you attend classes, take advantage of your professor's office hours, and form friendships with classmates, you will do fine :)

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I have had classes with 300 people and 30 people in them while attending this university. In the lecture classes, it is harder for the professor to have communication with all of the students. However, I am in a sociology class right now and we will have group discussions every class period. If you are in a larger classroom and you are struggling, the teacher will always offer office hours that you can meet with them for any questions. Many classes that large also have a graduate assistant that you can also meet with.

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The academics here at ISU is great. Since some of the classroom sizes are small the professors are able to know you by your name, and some professors make that their goal. My major is Broadcast Journalism and the School of Communication is a great department the staffs here do all they can to make their students successful. They are excellent teachers and teach you all they can, so you feel confident when you leave to graduate and enter the real world. They prepare you for that.

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