The best thing about academics is that there are no core classes. I hate history, and I never have to take it again! I also really like how open the professors are. Due to the amount of office hours they hold, I know my professors personally. They teach me how to learn for the sake of knowledge, not for the sake of getting a grade.
Depends on your major, if you take Civil Engineering courses then you will know your professors very well they will know you and there will be great interactions between student and professor. If you take econ, not so much. The larger the major the less likely you are to get to know any of the professors.
profs know the people who make an effort to be known. i'm a sophomore, favorite classes are rare this year. people study a lot depending on their majors. distribution requirements don't put much strain on you, which is nice. students aren't really competitive with each other, just hard on themselves.
Some professors know my name and some don't. You really have to make an effort to get to know your professors in big science classes. I love that there are no required classes to take here and that a lot of my major classes overlap with my outside interests like psychology. (I am a Biology major)
Professors know my name and I have several that I could ask for recs. My favorite is Professor Thornton who invites me over to his house to go over my term paper topics. It's a nice walk through a residential neighborhood and then I get to discuss politics with a former foreign service officer.
Classes are tough, and there's no grade inflation. Students study a lot, and learn a ton. The workload is more than at other schools. It's normal to take 5 classes a semester. Professors care about their work and want you to go to office hours. No core curriculum, which is awesome.
Academics are rigorous. There is a lot of work and you will need to put forth a lot of effort to maintain a good GPA. You will have to make a choice about which GPA is acceptable depending on how many other parts of the college experience you want to incorporate.
The pre-med classes are gigantic, but that's just the way it has to be. To compensate, much individual and group help is offered that students often do not utilize to its biggest potential (like free drop in tutoring), but is always available.
The workload, depending on your major, is definitely intense. However, it is very manageable and professors are more than willing to help you out!
The academics really challenge you and you have to be committed to what you're doing, but it has proven to be rewarding again and again.