Diversity is stressed within Oberlin. I won't lie - there might be times where you feel alone, depending on who you are. Of course, this is only if you go by appearance - there are definitely students on campus that are just like you, but they might not look like you at all. This encourages students to approach others on campus and to interact with each other. It is a little tough for some students to accept all of this change at once, and there might be times where you encounter people who share a completely different viewpoint from you based off of their own background. (We're all human, after all.) However, even if the largest body is upper-middle and Caucasian, they are nowhere near overwhelming, and the college stresses diversity based off of several factors. Oberlin is definitely politically active, and know that most of the student body is indeed left. Again, Oberlin is a place where we all learn to grow as individuals, and this tests us to see how we go about in making it happen.
Like I said before, people are smart. That is something I liked about Oberlin very much. In terms of the 'academic-makeup' of the student body, I don't think there is anyone who wouldn't fit in. I was friends with physics majors, art majors, politics majors, creative writing majors, music majors, etc. There is no type of student that dominates the student body. I would say, however, the while ethnic and personal diversity is abundant, geographic diversity is not. At least 75% of the people I knew were from either the NY metropolitan area, or California. NYC and San Francisco alone make up a large portion of the student body. Can't think of anyone I knew who was from the South. Also, as an Alum, I can safely say that while Oberlin does trumpet its success in sending students on to higher degrees, I knew few people with such aspirations. But perhaps that will change once they see their UG degree won't get them far by itself.
There are a ton of groups that deal with oppression and social justice on campus. They bring cool speakers and discuss interesting topics, but a lot of times gender politics overshadow everything else, and sometimes the school is too PC for its own good. Students interact with all different types of students, and on the whole, Oberlin is a pretty laid back place. Students are not overly concerned with their image, or at least those who are convey a pretty non-traditional image (hippie, hipster etc.) Oberlin is definitely a place full of privileged people, but the endowment rocks and there are a lot of students on financial aid. Oberlin is really left-wing. Even liberals sometimes feel like it is too over the top, but that PCness is not impossible to avoid, but it is something you can feel on campus. Oberlin is definitely not a place where people try and brag about their socio-economic status, the opposite in fact.
Conservative students would feel out of place here. There is a good effort to make Oberlin an all-inclusive, and socio-economically/color blind. Oberlin is more successful in that vane than most other places in the world, but does not realize utopic proportions. Modes of dress: there is the bathrobe guy, the guy wearing a onezie he made out of leaves, the guy dressed as dick tracy, the girl who looks like Flashdance, the girl who is wearing the same jeans and a sweatshirt from 7th grade, the girl dressed as Rocky from 3 Ninjas, others with thick-rimmed glasses and a melange of neons...very wide range of self-expressions. Many students are from NYC, the DC area, the Bay Area, and other wealthy liberal-minded places. The average quotient of political awareness far exceeds the majority of the U.S., and it is considered a mark of soullessness to be politically conservative.
What are your experiences with racial, religious, LGBT, socio-economic, and/or other groups on campus? none. · What kind of student would feel out of place at Oberlin? Too serious people, uninspired people. · What do most students wear to class? relax pants and t-shirts · Do different types of students interact? not so much. · There are four tables of students in the dining hall. Describe them. The football team table, the hipster/or hippes table, the black table, mainstream white table. · Where are most Oberlin students from? New york, elsewhere, and international · What financial backgrounds are most prevalent? 70% well-off, and 30% are not so well off. · Are students politically aware / active? Yes Are they predominantly left, right or center? Left, and a center · Do students talk about how much they'll earn one day? Never.
The Oberlin campus is very accepting towards LGBTs, and has a lot of clubs and classes dealing with such social issues. I think athletes would feel the most out of place at Oberlin. Most students dress pretty casually, but are more adventurous in their wardrobe now that high school is over. Different types of students certainly interact, but I feel like racial groups are still a little separated, due to placement of program houses (Afrikan Heritage, Jewish Heritage, and Hispanic house are all the way in south campus). Students are very politically involved, there's always some sort of discussion going on about foreign issues or the upcoming elections, and lots of encouragement to vote. Most students are rather liberal. I have never heard anyone talk about how much they'll earn in the future.
Oberlin students are very liberal and very socially aware but they do not tend to be nearly as radical as their stereotype makes them out to be. We have a lot of vegetarians and vegans -sometimes I feel like more than half the people I know are vegetarians- and a lot of concern for LGBT and environmental issues. Oberlin students are generally extremely nice, well adjusted, and down to earth. There is very little clique-ishness - I always feel comfortable introducing myself to the person next to me in class. No one makes a big deal about wealth. I have no idea what socio-economic background my friends come from. It would be safe to assume that we are all well-off (it is a private college after all) but the campus is almost completely free of designer label-like status symbols.
The student body is very diverse and extremely accepting. A wealthy, egotistical, narrow-minded, Republican, devout Roman Catholic, sports-obsessed, music-hating, sheltered prep from the South would probably feel out of place here. People wear what they want to class. It's not exactly a huge school so all types of people interact and get along pretty well. Students sitting at four tables would be: Musicians, Athletes, Hipsters, and Hippies. Most students are from the East Coast, specifically NYC. I'd say most students are middle to upper class. Personally, I'd say students are less politically aware than I expected but they're still much more politically aware than college students in the rest of the nation. We're definitely left-leaning.
The student body is liberal to the sake of absurdity in every sense of the word--overly politically correct, Marxist economics, communes, hippies, you name it. I don't really think sexuality exists here--I could call myself straight and hook up with thirty guys and no one would blink an eye. Sex is an extremely open discussion on campus. Two huge events, Safer Sex Night and Drag Ball, promote the pro-sexual, anti-gender-norm environment. Geographically, Obies are an extremely diverse bunch. I know someone from almost every state, along with a handful of internationals. There is a bias against greed and materialism, thankfully--the on-campus "Free Store," the co-ops, and frequent crews of anti-capitalist dumpster divers enforce this image.
There's sort of a divide between North Campus, where the athletes hang out, and South Campus, where there are more co-ops and program houses. The college is diverse supposedly for what it is, but I was struck by how rich and white it was, particularly the co-op I was in freshman year (Harkness). But there actually is a lot more diversity outside of that and a lot of awareness and discussion of identity issues. People wear all sorts of kooky and not so kooky things. It's entertaining. A lot of students are from New York and Massachusetts (boring) but also a lot from California and Midwest rural states, which you don't get a lot of at many colleges, and that's sweet. I never eat in the dining hall. Co-ops are so great.