Oberlin College Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?


No. At least not the dirty, grungy hippie one. If you've heard about 'those really smart kids at Oberlin who work too hard,' that's probably more accurate. The majority of students have trouble focusing on one interest and are typically overwhelmed with the amount of activities they're passionately involved with.


For the most part, they are. But I don't think that's a bad thing. Sweeping generalizations in any context don't always apply, but the student body of Oberlin College tends to engage in life more intentionally than the average college student, and most everyone has a not-so-mainstream passion that they're not afraid to share.


Hippies/Hipsters: When I arrived, there were lots of hippies. When I left, there were lots of hipsters. I would say this stereotype is generally accurate, although your idea of whether there are 'lots' of either will depend on your tolerance of them. People who hate hippies/hipsters seem to think they are unavoidable, when in actuality you don't have to see them if you don't want to, for the most part. Ultra-liberal: I will say that I met few if any 'conservative' people on campus, but most of my friends were quite moderate liberals, if not moderate overall. I rarely interacted socially with people who were ultra-liberal and outspoken about it. Lots of gay people: Again, 'lots' will depend on your experience. Certainly, I would assume, more than at other schools, but that is a good thing, no? When I say 'more than at other schools' we're probably talking like, 4% of students at most.


Let's just say that if you are a somewhat shy introvert, you are going to lose your mind at Oberlin.

David Arnow

The stereotype is a joke and has undergone little change in 40 years but there is truth in a joke. Just don't be surprised to discover it disproved in some way in every person you meet at Oberlin. Except in the case of Rachel. She is the one granola-munching, showerless vegan in Oberlin who ... just kidding. And be prepared for the occasional massively politically incorrect College Republican type.


Some are. There is an acceptance of "hippies", though most students neither identify as such nor would be considered hippies. There is pot, but no more than any other college I have visited. Many students do have an interest in one or two projects to make the world a better place, but are pragmatic enough to remain well-rounded and maintain social ties outside of their work.


Clothing stereotype is correct but not that much. Whatever, I didn't find any major defeciency on college level. Interestingly, some students are weird but still the most intelligent which is what college is all about and is a new experience.


Not really. These kids do exist here, but so do plenty of other kids. Also, even the students with the most extreme views are accepting of virtually anyone else's viewpoint. Oh, and we all like sex. We just can't all get it.


By and far, this is not COMPLETE absurdity. Sure, in comparison to the average state school Oberlin may have more of "this kind" of student, but all in all this is ridiculous. Obies are free-spirited on the whole, but on average are simply representative of the more liberal side of any place in the country.


It depends on who you're asking. In general, I would say that Obies are incredibly versatile, inquisitive, and extremely creative. Furthermore, no matter what kind of persona you choose to adopt, Obies tend to be very accepting of you and even genuinely friendly and interested in you as a person.


We are a nerdy bunch of people and we are fairly odd.


Mostly, yes. But the professors are *awesome* and enough students are reasonably normal that the whole thing is definitely worth it.


Very liberal--yes. Quirky--not really. I find the population very homogenous, there is much less diversity than one might suspect, especially ideologically.


To some extent, yes. But while they are people who make their own clothes, don't shower every day and study environmentalism, there are also people who dress in business casual clothes, are registered as Republican voters and so on. There are a wealth of people and ideas at the school, but I think we all share a love of learning for its own sake, the desire to go out and make a difference in the world in whichever field we love so well, in whatever scale we can make a change. People are inquisitive and friendly and very humorous.


As with any sort of stereotype, the reputation that oberlin carries is not entirely accurate. The school is indeed a very liberal place, and extremely progressive-- it definitely lives up to its history of forward-thinking and being on the cutting edge of social and environmental change. But the students aren't totally weird- we're totally normal, I promise!


For the most part yes but Oberlin does have a diverse student body and the only thing you can say for certain is that we're all smart. When we first arrived my roommate and I were shocked at how many jocks lived on our floor in Dascomb. We had no idea that there would be the typical chest beating musclebound athlete at Oberlin but there are quite a few. It is of course an exaggeration that we're all gay but we may have more LGBT folks per capita than in most places. I find that Oberlin is paradise for Lesbians but gay guys struggle a little more. Because Oberlin is so excepting there is little need for community and the gay groups on campus leave much to be desired.


For the most part, yes. Of course, not everyone falls under the "ideal" Obie - however, everyone finds their niche here and they find a way to become part of the community, without their own input. It will suck you in.


Not really. There are some people with conservative outlooks. There are also some people that have really liberal views on one subject and conservative views on another, depending on their past experiences and backgrounds. There are some hippies. They're great.


Kinda, but it makes for a much more open and interesting society! Ha, we're not all "awkward", we're just not conventional. And that makes us look awkward to the outside world.


It's kind of true, at least as far as the socially awkward and hippies. Of course, now that the college has its new "Fearless" ad campaign, it's attracting a different kind of student - more "mainstream," I suppose, and definitely more hipsters. And while I'm certain that my class feels entitled, it seems like the classes below mine are just more so. That said, there is not a person who doesn't deserve to be at Oberlin, though at times it seems like some dumb themselves down in social situations. Even people who claim "slacker" status are only slackers by Oberlin standards, and would be the hardest workers at some other schools. And woe to the person who tries to get into an argument without knowing what he's talking about, because every student at Oberlin is extremely intelligent, at least as far as their major is concerned.


The stereotypes are not necessarily true of everyone. There are those that devote their lives to ending the struggle in Darfur, working towards a free Palestine, tutoring local low income children, etc. almost at the expense of their school work. But this is only a small percentage of the student body. You can, however, find people who are REALLY excited about what they're doing, even if it's not humanitarian work. The best thing about Oberlin is the overwhelming enthusiasm exuded by most of the students towards their life's passion. And we're not fearless. We just try to welcome and accept the unknown.


In certain aspects, but all students are intelligent and incredibly friendly.


Maybe somewhat externally, but I find that I get along with the people I meet at Oberlin more than I get along with anyone else. Of course everyone you meet is generally intelligent (though maybe no socially so). Maybe we get too stuck in our small liberal arts liberal perspectives mindset, but I think we're pretty tolerant of everyone.


The first two - not as a stereotype, no. But there are a fair share of hippies and drug addicts to be found on campus, it just isn't the majority of the Oberlin students. I would say that if you are inclined to become a hippie or already are, you would find an inviting and open reception here, more so than at many other schools. As for the stereotype of Oberlin being extremely liberal, yeah. true.


Yes, but there are many many more people who do not fit these categories


Not wholly.


the musical one and study habits are correct, but to me to hippie idea is very created by the students to project "how hippie" they are.


To a certain extent; Oberlin definitely tends more towards a liberal view of the world, but there are still a multitude of differing opinions on campus, especially with the input from Oberlin Conservatory students. In terms of our "weirdness", Oberlin is a very open and accepting place, so many people do feel free to act and dress differently than they might if they were afraid of being judged. However, there are a lot of people who like to dress and act more "normally"; most people are just about being who they are, and it's nice to know that however you choose to be, you will be accepted. Regarding Oberlin's socially conscious and political atmosphere, it's definitely present and GREAT to be around.


1. Of course not. But then again, I'm one of these ugly, awkward weirdos, right? For real, Obies are beautiful in a very ecclectic and refreshing way. We were all the semi-awkward/oddball ones in our groups of high school friends, so things get weird sometimes when we all get together. As for being pretentious, I don't think Obies are any more so than anyone else. 2. Yes, yes, yes! So true. It's always shocking to interact with non-Obies for the first time after a semester.


Yes they all are but I think that people dont realize that at Oberlin there are definitely those people but there are many types of people too. There are even jocks!


Only partially. It applies to some of the student body, but there's so much more going on at Oberlin.


While progressive hippies make up part of the Oberlin student body, the college draws a variety of individuals: committed musicians, philosophers, political activists, and passionate environmentalists.


Maybe in the past. These days the hippies are dwindling and everybody is becoming a hipster.




It is a weird group of people. Generally really open and accepting- and a little nerdy. Most people are not artists, though. It's oddly a huge science school- something nobody assumes about us.


not all of us are weird. most of us are somewhere in the middle. there are some people who are a little out there, though.




It is true that there is a large gay population as well as a significant marijuana smoking culture.


Somewhat. There really aren't that many hippies, but there are a lot of socially awkward people and Oberlin is a safe haven for them. You will not find a republican, unless they are in the Conservatory, and we all do support Obama, except for the hard core feminists who support Hillary. They tout buttons saying "bitch is the new black" which is honestly not accepting of all races. The people are very active on campus about the environment, but most of them are misinformed. My friend drives a Hummer which is heresy on the Oberlin campus. Some students thought that they were being activists when they keyed it. That's not really accepting either. There are vegans and vegetarians on campus, but you can usually sense them by their body odor. We're politically active, but since we're in the middle of east bumblefuck Ohio, it doesn't really matter. Actually about 60 % of men are gay in the con, but there aren't many trannies. We are accepting of all genders, races, religions, and gender orientations except heterosexual couples and anyone who is not White. Yeah. That's the truth!!!!






We certainly have both hippies and hipsters here in larger proportions that many other schools, but there are many, many other kinds of people too. You won't find a huge number of students that would classify themselves as "mainstream" but though they generally don't admit it, they do exist.


There are some very strange people. There are some shy people. There are some hipsters. I don't think we're particularly rich or elitist though. We have all different types, just that there are not many frat boys/sorority girls. Instead, the upper social strata are occupied by hipsters.


Like most stereotypes, the ones about Oberlin are only part of the truth, products of exaggeration and exclusion.


All of those stereotypes exist on campus but not every student at Oberlin fits those stereotypes. Not everyone is an activist but most people have issues that they are concerned about. They may not march in protests on a regular basis but they try to affect their cause in other ways. While there is a liberal bias I think that in my time here Oberlin as a whole has become more aware of and ready to listen to conservative views. Finally, while there is undeniably a drug culture on campus there is no pressure to be a part of it if you don't want to be. Overall Oberlin is very accepting of who you are and what you're interested in.


The stereotypes are partially accurate- the general view is very liberal, but exceptions occur. Although there is undeniably a lot of smoking and sex (the college sponsors 2 dances- Safer Sex Night, and Drag Ball) these activities only apply if you want them to.


YES! Their are a lot of really crazy people who discriminate against others (White men take the biggest hit) and sacrifice everything to be "PC." Then again, their are people, like myself, who don't fall into the extremist camp. While their are many dope smoking vegans, some people drink a nice red wine (or seltzer water) with their steak.


Yes, but those kinds of people are really just a very vocal minority. There is an OC Republican club, several Christian groups, and the students in the Con are much more politically diverse. When students for animal right's protested the neuroscience department's use to (gasp!) lab rats, most of the student body did regard it as ridiculous. The hipster scene is kind of annoying, and the college does pour a lot of money into sports. So, the stereotypes aren't the full picture of Oberlin.


Yes. Incredibly, incredibly accurate.


not for everyone, it's a balanced mix between all kinds of people. i think of it as the place where high school misfits belong