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Michigan State University

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What are the academics like at your school?

Profoessors in my classese usually know your name. The classes are typically large, especially for 100 and 200 level (freshman and sophomore) classes. The largest class I ever had was also the most fun. It was a 600 person lecture, with the most charismatic professor I have ever met. We are still occasionally in email correspondence. Most of the professors like to meet and talk to students, which makes your anonymity a personal choice more than a result of the system. On the other end of the spectrum, higher level classes sometimes have very few students. I had a math class with 10 people. There are lots of conversations about classes outside of the classroom. Especially in higher level classes when you are beginning to have lots of classes with the group of sutdents in your major, and the homework gets hard enough where doing it alone is perilous, everyone likes to get together and work together (which is usually encouraged by professors). This sort of experience makes you realize how many talented intellectuals attend a university like MSU, as just about every day the students are teaching each other as much as the professor is, which is--just to clarify--definately not a bad thing. Students try to help each other on homework and understanding, but many courses are graded from the average (curved) so students have to be competetive to get good grades. I feel like this is a bad educational system, but it is pretty muchuniversal. The problem is that theoretically, a 3.0 could be very close to a 2.0 or a 4.0, however, this is getting into semantics and hair splitting. The most unique class I have taken was a communications class with 600 people (referenced above). The class was tought by Steve McCornack and his wife, and it was on relationships. Even though this course was way outside my major, it was the most fun class I have ever taken, and the way the lecture was given, it was almost like going to a comedy club twice a week. Using humor as an avenue to teach, I ended up learning a lot in that course. I am a physics major. There are probably 400 students in my major, but way more than half are freshman and sophomores, so in the classes that you really need help in, the student to faculty ratio becomes reasonable. For the freshman and sophomores, there is a lot of help provided by the upper classman on those classes. The professors are often willing to help as well. There are a lot of professors in East Lansing too, so sometimes you see them outside of class. I acutally play Ultimate (frisbee) with several professors at the institution, and I will be doing a 300 mile bike trip this fall with several other professors. You will find that the professors are very real people, and not just teachers as they sometimes are in high school. MSU's degree completion requirements assure that you will have a basic grasp on the subject, which is the goal of an undergraduate curriculum. I would say that the classes that are required are--although sometimes annoying--almost always beneficial to the fireld that you have chosen. Your educational experience at any institution is really what you make it, and what you put into it. That being said, typically the more important upper level courses are geared towards what you really need to know in a job or in the "real world" and sometimes the other stuff gets pushed aside a little bit. Usually it is coverred bu not emphasised. This is neither good or bad, but just a philosophical statement of how my professors have been on average. Some of my professors have been just the opposite. It just depends on their goals and interests.

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Most MSU faculty are pretty young or really old. It kinda sucks. Not that they don't know what they're doing or don't know how to teach, but it can't get a little dry. Don't worry about it. Try getting interesting profs, like the one I got for my ISS class. I can't recall her name, but she was visiting from New Orleans and always picked great books to read. She gave good lecture as well and I felt like I had actually learned something in the end. Always be open-minded to classes. Sometimes a class you thought was gonna totally be a blow off turns into one you never want to miss. Also, don't skip classes, it's dumb and demeans the whole point of going to a university. You pay a shit load of money not to attend class, but class is where you learn the most even if you don't know it at first glance. Later you'll be talking with friends and start recalling something you heard in class or want to read a book your prof talked about in lecture. However, in the end, MSU is directed to teaching practical skills rather than thought-driven skills. By the way, if you're in Journalism, then it's very important to take your Journalism classes as early as possible. Journalism at MSU is highly competitive, if you want to get those super cool jobs. The State News, I've heard, is pretty political. They also force you to work for only them, if you get a job there. Meaning no freelance on the side. Professional Writing on the other hand is pretty lax. It's definitely a more open-minded atmosphere than the journalism classes. There's more theory in the Professional Writing major than this cold, hard kick-you-out-the-door kind of style for the Journalism major. It also is more technologically driven than journalism, which uses theory for addressing technology . So basically, journalism is ultra-structured writing style; and prof. writing is theory with some structure writing style. You also learn how to manipulate html and how to publish books under my major, which happens to be professional writing.

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Honestly, the academics are the same scene as your general take on the school. You can let size and personal interactions with a prof. (or lack thereof) overwhelm you, or you can choose to be involved, known, and learned. As far as level of education, the professors are top notch and even if you do have to deal with TAs some time, there is always a professor above them that you can choose to talk to instead. The school uses Angel to transfer most electronic files, powerpoints, and notes or homework ( and sometimes tests and quizzes). If you don't know what it's like or have anything to compare it to, think of it as an organized email account that makes everything in your life a thousand times easier. And leave it at that until you decide to come here. Class sizes can be big, but it's all about where you choose to be. A class is only as big as the number of people you sit behind. It's easy to chill out in the back of a huge lecture having a good time with your friends, and that's cool if you can handle the material. If you can't, then you can sit up near the front and pay attention and it's like you're in a much smaller class- none of the other people behind you matter because they aren't interupting you. Another good idea is honors classes and the honors college- you'll tend to be in smaller and have professors that are much more interested in helping you personally understand the material.

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Academics are what you make of them here at MSU. We have amazing professors and researchers and it is really important to get to know them. Some of these bonds with professionals can last a lifetime and get you to places you never thought possible! My favorite class so far has been "Criminal Procedure," simply because the professor was mind-blowing. He was an amazing lecturer and really cared about pushing his students to their fullest potential! Even though our campus is very large, I often see my professors walking around and usually stop to chat with them! People here are generally very personable and willing to help outside of class. Yes, of course, some students (like any other large university) choose not to work hard. However, these kids are just setting themselves up for failure later in life too! One of the biggest struggles you may find at MSU is balancing schoolwork with activities and a social life. If you can create a good balance between these, then your four years here will be not only EXTREMELY fun, but rewarding and memorable.

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Academics at MSU are stressed and are obviously the main reason for the school. The classes are challenging and school is NOT easy. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and assignments stack up. Having good time management skills and an ability to stay focused is crucial. It is easy to get carried away in all the extracurricular activities that surround the school so it's important to go easy on your schedule early on. I would recommend incoming freshmen to take no more than 12-14 credits their first semester. It'll be a lot easier to adjust with a more manageable schedule. Other than the challenge, the classes are usually very stimulating and the professors are top notch and experienced in their fields. Very rarely are classes taught by a T.A. and bad professors are few and far between. I found the classes to be very useful and applicable to the field I'm going in to. The education at MSU is geared towards not just getting a job, but putting the student in the position to create and manage jobs.

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people underestimate the academics here. Granted I have known many people who have graduated and all gotten jobs right away, in fact all of them have. But in terms of Michigan it is often seen as the MSU crowd is more social and the U of M crowd has the brains. So not true, plus where does anyone go with no social skills and brains, we have the perfect combination of both, way smarter than western Michigan and central and the impeccable social skills of a big 10 school. Some professors suck, and we actually have alot that just suck at speaking English but they can be avoided if you are frustrated by the whole not understanding what your professor is saying thing. I have avoided it and now I live off of professor reviews and have been more than happy. No I don't spend time with professors out of class. That is weird, and should not be done at any school.

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Academics are the most important part of college. Everyone likes to make new friends, join a sports team or a sorority, and party, but the reason you go to college is to further your education. At Michigan State, academics are taken very seriously. Some classes can be as large as 600 students, and some as small as 20. Professors don't necessarily know you by name but you have to make an effort to connect with them. Many professors encourage class participation, even grade you on it. Usually you will find that your favorite classes are the ones where you become more concentrated in your major. My favorite are my classes for my major and my least favorite were the boring Gen-Ed classes that I could care less about. Regardless if you like the class or not, it is important to try your best with everything that you do.

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I am a little unique, as I am part of one of the smallest majors, plant biology. They graduate about 10 students per year, which is nothing when the whole student population is about 47,000. The plant biology profs know my name, as there is usually only 12 people in a class. But I have been in 500 people classes. That doesn't bother me; I actually like a mix of big and small classes. The amount of studying really depends on your major and your commitment. I am in Lyman Briggs, which is a residential science college. So most students in the college are pretty serious about school and often grad school. I also like MSU for the undergraduate research. I have been in a lab since my first semester. The experiences will definitely help me get into grad school and get a job.

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Professors at MSU don't necessarily know your name. However, if you make the effort, I'm sure most of them would be willing to get to know you/help you. Students study pretty often. I'd say on average the MSU student studies/does reading at least 10 hours a week. We're not too competitive, I don't think. My major is Urban and Regional Planning. There were only 23 of us to graduate from this program in May, so we're very close. Everyone is very helpful. The Urban Planning program is definitely hands-on and very practical when it comes to doing well in the "real world" after college. Our final class is called practicum, and we do a full on project for a municipality in the area. For example, my group did a 100 page report for the City of Lansing.

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Professors DO NOT know your name! Depending on your program/major, you may have class sizes anywhere from 100-600 students, unless your in a small program. But in my dance specialization classes there was never more than 25 students, so that was great. But belonging to the largest college at MSU (Social Science) My core classes were huge. No professor ever knew my name. You must go to office hours if you want the professor to know your name. Students' study habits vary. I, like most students tended to study at the last minute. Class participation is not common, in a lecture class, you just take notes. are competitive, depending on the program. Most unique class, DANCE! The university requrements are just a waste of time and a way to make money.

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