So so so so so much of Oberlin is very awkward socially. I feel like we're all on a path here of becoming more socially smooth, but it's definitely a process. Conservatives in Social Science classes would definitely feel out of place, though there is a proud Republic group on campus that may alleviate those woes. So much of Oberlin is from a wealthy financial background, that sometimes it can be very difficult as a working- or middle-class student to find people to relate to. Sometimes it just blows my mind that so many people here have such a disposable income. Often, middle-class students will get bitter about their financial situation, and working-class students feel lucky to be here, but totally marginalized.
Oberlin is complicated. I would not say that it is necessarily as ideologically homogenous as it seems, but it is definitely true that some people are more vocal than others, leading Oberlin to seem extremely leftist or radical. And I'm sure that in relation to much else of the country that's true, but there's a lot of deviations from the Oberlin 'party line' if there is such a thing. Racially and economically I honestly can't say. The longer I've been here the more I've come to appreciate the very different backgrounds we've all had, and it's become harder to say that we are all exactly what I thought we were. That being said, this is an expensive, traditionally liberal school, and the student body reflects that.
Students are diverse but have a very strong common thread, if that makes sense. For example: most students are liberal on the political spectrum, but you could still poll 50 different people about a policy issue and get 50 different opinions and proposed solutions. Another example: One person went to a private school; another went to an inner city public school and is here on scholarship, but they both were drawn to Oberlin by the Jazz program. Most people are pretty relaxed and range anywhere from wearing sweatpants to class to wearing an eccentric outfit made of spandex. Any pretentiousness is usually people trying to be more artistic/indie/hipster; not people trying to show off their wealth or fashion sense.
For the most part students at Oberlin are smart and hard workers but fully enjoy their fun time. There are lots of student groups for all kinds of people. They are pretty active and hold concerts, fundraisers etc to raise awareness. They are all welcoming as far as I know. Students wear whatever they feel like, from sweats to high heels. I dont know about other colleges but it seems that at Oberlin there are many types of people and you can find just about anyone. Well no staunch republicans but there is an active republican club. Students are from all over the country and world. Students have aspirations beyond what they will earn but do talk about that sometimes.
Oberlin is a very accepting place. I think you can find representatives of almost any group. However, I think it is probably disproportionately Caucasian and wealthy. Students wear anything to class. I've seen everything from hooker boots to rollerblades to no shoes. Some of the buildings post signs obligating people to wear shirts. Sometimes it's an issue. There's a good deal of social overlap at Oberlin, but there are still some easily identifiable groups. The football team is pretty exclusive/excluded. Then there's the general "other athletes" group. The conservatory kids generally stick together also. However, none of these groups have hard boundaries.
You can be who you are at Oberlin and you'll most likely find someone else who can relate. It's easy to find support groups is you need them and interest groups is you want them. For the most part, students seem to come from upper middle class backgrounds and this can seem limiting but I've met people from all over who fall all along the socio-economic spectrum. As long as Oberlin continues to provide lots of financial aid for those who need it, diversity can be maintained. I've heard it can be hard to have highly conservative socio-political views at Oberlin but, as long as you don't mind being in the minority, there are others with similar outlooks.
I was kind of thrown off when I first got here, I kept hearing about how diverse and excepting oberlin is, but then they have housing where only members of a certain race, gender affiliation, or religious beliefs are alowed to live. Not to mention the fact that most of the campus is white and asian, so I think that the concept of Oberlin being so diverse is a little hypocritical. Also, in my experiance most students seem to be from wealthy families in the north east and lean toward the left politically, as I've stated earlier. There is diversity, for sure, but not to level that is advertised or probably like some of the student body would like to believe.
there is a group for everything here. seriously, everything. there is some segregation when it comes to ethnicity, but it's not like people of different races don't interact with each other. the minority population here isn't that big, so i think when it comes to where students live, they almost cling to each other for a since of familiarity. personally, i know only a few seriously religious people, but i know there are some of them here. most people here are liberal. i'd be surprised if there were many, if any, students who described themselves as conservative. we have a pretty strong lgbt community here. most students are politically aware/active.
I love the Oberlin student body. They are intellectually curious, politically minded, funny, and fascinating. I've had really interesting conversations - both inside and outside of the classroom - since arriving on campus. There are all kinds of students here and you usually interact with all types. My friends are a melange of so many "types" of people. Students here want to live lives of passion and happiness, rather than be desk jockeys. With very few exceptions, the students here are primarily liberal, which I really enjoy. Coming here has opened my mind to so many concepts and political ideas that I had never come in contact with before.
I am from Afghanistan and I was respected, loved by my friend and Oberlin students the most. There is no discrimination. Some clothing is weird. But still everything goes well. Life works well. You wake and either move to your class or a breakfast. Then you have supper in one of Dining halls and you enjoy your time. You don;t have to prepare yourself. Most students especially international ones get nice scholarships and there is employment on campus. Don't forget Oberlin students are from political or business family backgrounds and they are the future of America and are hard working. Try to build long lasting friendships. It will help you.