Oberlin College Top Questions

What are the most popular student activities/groups?

Maya

Lots of social activism groups and creative collectives (hip hop, literary magazine, improv troupes, yadda)

Maya

Lots of social activism groups and creative collectives (hip hop, literary magazine, improv troupes, yadda)

Torry

There's always too much to do at Oberlin and, surprisingly, the majority of it has nothing to do with alcohol. On any given night, one has over 20 choices of activities and that can include concerts, movie screenings, plays, dance performances, dancing at the 'sco (on campus club), going to Cleveland for an event there, study party, cookie baking party, dinner plans or doing one's homework. If I'm awake at 2am? I'm probably just getting out of the library having finished a very satisfying discussion about something really important to me that probably has little or nothing to do with any of my academic classes.

Anna

There's no greek life. And I think most people are happy about that. A typical Saturday: sleep in, go to a co-op lunch (or Black River brunch), study for most of the afternoon (maybe attend a rugby game, or catch a quick afternoon recital), dinner, go to a concert (or dance performance or play or opera or movie at the Apollo), then have some drinks (or not) and go to a friend's house for a game (or movie or party). Conclusion: there are lots of different things to do--from making your own fun to the huge number of concerts and other performances offered every weekend. Parties and other activities are pretty casual. Plenty of people drink, but plenty of people don't. People rarely stray from the town and campus of Oberlin. Most people meet friends from teams/groups, dorms, and classes.

Carrie

The problem with Oberlin is not that there's too little to do in our rural Ohio community - it's that there's too much! Students rarely if ever need to leave campus to find entertainment; some of the many activities include the conservatory of music, which puts on over 400 concerts a year, the student dance club/bar (the 'sco), which puts on many more smaller concerts or will have a dj playing most nights, lecturers who are brought in by various departments and organizations, sporting events, improv groups, and just hanging out with friends!

Liz

There are so many opportunities on campus, which is a reason why most students don't go into Cleveland on weekends. Because of the world famous Conservatory, there are so many classical and jazz concerts, as well as the 'Sco which has live bands and DJs every night. There are usually a couple parties per weekend but they get shut down around 2.

Simon

Whether your fancy involves playing dungeons & dragons, studying, hanging out at the bar, seeing concerts, or getting blackout at a house party, you'll find your scene. The myth that people don't go out and have parties is so far from the truth. I can't remember a single saturday or friday night where I didn't have something substantial to do. During slower parts of the semester (in terms of workload) you'll find people going out any day tuesday through saturday. Oberlin IS 'cliquey', but these cliques are large. Hipsters/art students hang out together, athletes hang out together, and etc. These groups rarely mix, either. You will NEVER see an athlete at a hipster party or vice versa. And in fact, these groups can tend to be snobbish and selective, despite each scene involving dozens of people.

Aries

Senior Patrick Willem's movie on Art Rental! For one night, at the beginning of the semester, the courtyard of Allen Art Museum fills up with students. That night is art rental. Students line up with tents, sleeping bags, board games and homework, ready to camp out all night so they can take home a priceless work of art in the morning. You can’t jump or cut in line, save a space or leave for any extended period of time. First come, first served. At 9:00, the museum opens and students come in to choose their pieces. Students can pick two pieces of art. The Picassos, Dalis, Matisses and Chagals go fast, but there are 400 works to choose from, so everyone can get something. No work has ever been damaged, lost or stolen. After they chose, volunteers and docents wrap the pieces, so student can carry them back to their dorms easier. It costs only 5 dollars to rent a piece of art. We want art to be for everyone.

Sam

Student activities are often frenzied. People keep trying to cram more and more 'experience' into their days and nights. Be careful of burnout.

David Arnow

The following things were true in 1973 and are true today, so this is deep in the Oberlin DNA: ethanol is NOT the recreational drug of choice by far// Greek is a submajor in Classics and not a social concept// off-campus activities? don't make me laugh, you're up at 2am? you're studying OR playing some stupid boardgame with friends and eating sugary cereal OR at a party at a one of the coops OR (and this is cliche but it's true) painting messages on the rocks. Sometimes FB is just not enough.

Harper

Basil (Baz) Simon spinning huge fire poi for Oberlin College's Beltain Festival.

Ahmad

I am a soccer, tennis, body fitness man. I am secretary of Oberlin Muslim studenst association. There are numerous events ranging form academics to athletics. You won't be able to catch all of them. Dorm life is a great experience. Your first year, if you don't like your dorm, would be painful but you got many choices for next year. You will get that. Every kind of dorm Quiet, Asian, Black, Noisy, etc. The two biggest events, which didn;t work for me, were Drag ball (Girls and Boys wear exchanged clothes) and Safer Sex Night. Anyway, Oberlin fits everyone just need some time.

Lorie

Dating is non-existent. People are either "just hooking up," or in super-duper relationships. Lots of awkwardness. Nothing happens off-campus. Well, parties happen. Lots of events on-campus; performances, etc.

Will

No frats/soroities. Coops take their place where students eat and live together in blissful harmony sometimes. Some people drink 6 nights a week, others never. Awesome speakers, great music around, dancing at the Sco, musical guests sometimes, hip-hop and reggae conference every-other year. Athletics are not too popular but are becoming more so. Parties are small-ish usually. more often it's 4-8 people sitting around, drinking, smoking, taking, watching dvds, movies, chilling, making music......TGIF in Wilder Bowl is awesome: fridays after class when its warm music is blasted and half the school celebrates in the sun while drinking and playing frisbee and games from 2:00-6:00.

Jenny

Students tend to stay up until 2a.m. and then not wake up until 9 or 10a.m. They groan when they have a class as early as 9a.m. On week-ends, there is quite a bit of partying, but this means different things for different people. For me, it meant watching a movie or attending some campus theatrical or musical production with some friends. For other people, it meant going out dancing. For others, it meant drinking until they threw up (I would not recommend this for any reason). For still others, it meant getting high on drugs like marijuana. For only a small minority did it mean locking yourself in the library and studying into the wee hours of the morning. You choose what you like; but be aware that unless you are an athlete or early morning practicer, you won't see many students emerging from their dorms until about 11a.m. on week-ends.

Harper

Oberlin Democrats are the biggest group on campus, I'm sure. The dating scene is pretty much non-existent because, unless your gay-dar is awesome, you will have trouble distinguishing those who are gay from straight and those who are available are extremely awkward/immature. Not many parties, but good shows at the student union occassionally, such as the d.j. Boize Noize (sp?). No greek life, which I was grateful for. We study a lot ALL THE TIME in the sciences, and study constantly during reading period for the humanities.

Harper

Tons of performing arts and music, ALL THE TIME. Oberlin's known for it, and were good at it. Try out for a show or go to a show. There are lots of sports, our swimmers and runners are quite good, but we're not division one. The Intramurals are more widely beloved and known on campus. Excos are awesome, one credits student taught classes. They can be on languages, dancing, karate, story telling, juggling, you name it. They are a great way to try something you've always wanted to in a relaxed setting, or teach a skill you have, and they can also get you among people you might not otherwise meet in your dorm or usual dinning table or major. There's lectures all the time, college and guest speakers -those are fun whether the subjects familiar or totally new. Movie are two bucks at the local theater, or a dollar at the film society, there's an observatory, a gym, a conservatory of music full of practice rooms and concerts and the Sco Club at the student union. The town is cute, but small, there are only a couple of restaurants; but you make friends with a few people who have cars and you can go tot he mall or Cleveland when you need a break. Mostly I was too busy to notice being in a small town.

Sydney

There are no frats or sororities on campus, which I think is great because it means that nobody depends on one source for their social life. But no worries, there are still ample opportunities for partying every weekend, and usually on thursdays too. The 'Sco- the dance club on campus, is actually really fun most of the time, and they offer lots of deals throughout the week like Professor Beers, Slplitchers (which means cheap pizza and pitchers), and quarter beers (self-explanatory). There's a different dj theme each night of the week, as well as pool tables and even a cage for dancing in. There are a million and one things to do every day, and people often say that oberlin students live 30 hours days because they just never stop doing! My roommate and I co-coordinate the Hunger and Homelessness Campaign for Ohio PIRG (public interest research group), which keeps us VERY busy planning and hosting events on campus, fundraising, volunteering in town, etc. but it's a really rewarding experience. Athletic events are pretty popular on campus, especially soccer, rugby and frisbee. The dating scene is some murky territory since there is the added factor that you may not know what kinds of people any love-interest is actually attracted to! But overall people seem to do alright- I think it's a pretty typical percentage for a college campus of students who wind up in relationships. There are a ton of options all the time for activities so students are rarely bored- the administration is EXTREMELY good at programming, which is where a great deal of the student activity fee from our tuition is spent- it's absolutely worth it. People who have come to campus during my last two years have included David Sedaris, Kal Penn, Ishmael Beah, and even Jerry Springer! Really interesting bands come to play, as well, thanks to the very active student union- including Girl Talk and Of Montreal. The Conservatory puts on over 400 performances each school year, which means there is NEVER an excuse not to go to an incredible (and free) concert at least once a month. Once a month the organists put on something called an Organ Pump, which is very exciting but you'll have to come to oberlin to find out what it is! There isn't a whole lot to do off campus, but if you or one of your friends has a car there's a big movie theater about 20 minutes away and a few big shopping centers not too far either (useful around holiday time). There is of course Cleveland only 20 minutes or so away, and while there may not be THAT much to do there, there is certainly enough, including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There are lots of fun bike trails around campus, too, for when the weather is nice.

Justin

For a small college there is a lot to do. The Conservatory of Music bolsters the music scene tremendously whether it's classical or jazz or some cheesy cover band. There's always a lot to do and I find that many students are juggling a bunch of activities in addition to their academics. There are a lot of people in sports, especially intramural. Ultimate Frisbee is probably one of the most popular. There's dancing, there's fencing. There's a ton to do and if we don't have it you can create it.

Bryan

There are so many organizations on campus that if you don't find any organizations for you, you probably weren't looking in the first place. Students are generally open towards each other. In all honesty, Oberlin isn't exactly the most bustling place around, but this is why you find friends on campus - to have people around you who are going through the same experiences as you is a wonderful feeling, for some people. For others, like myself for example, sticking to oneself has its own benefits. Parties happen all the time on campus, despite the weather. Fraternities/sororities are actually not prevalent on campus, though they do exist. Your social life at Oberlin is very dependent on the people you meet.

Tristan

My favorite thing about Oberlin is house parties with good bands. Athletic events are not that popular, but there was an increased interest at my second to last home meet. I'm used to nobody but the other team's parents (I think some of the school's in our conference have more in-state students.) being in our pool for meets, but this was exciting. Co ops are very cool. Even if you don't live in one, they are fun to visit and eat at. There are no frats or sororities, but aside from some sports teams, co-ops are the closest things we have to them. People live together, work together, eat together. It's great. Convocations are usually very cool. Like I said, concerts at Finney Chapel are mind-blowing. If you wanted to, I think you could party almost every weekend at Oberlin, but there are so many other things to do that there's no reason to go overkill on drinking and dancing. There's plenty of time for it, but there are a lot of other things. Aside from the concerts, there's always boggle, studying, and anything else. There are a lot of fun things to do without drinking.

Carrie

Women's rugby is by FAR the coolest team on campus, but once Quidditch gets off the ground, Watch out! My dining co-op (vegetarian-vegan meat free space full of health freaks just like me!) is my family at school. It's part of OSCA (oberlin student cooperative association), so we run ourselves; we buy the food, cook it, hold discussions about policies, and generally bond over every meal. NO FRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you can always find a party if you want, but if you're not into that, you don't have to party. Theres no peer pressure to do things you don't want to. That's awesome. OOOOOOOOOOO drag ball is super awesome. Everyone dresses up in drag and goes to see a professional drag show in the student union building. Since oberlin has the conservatory of music, there is always a concert to go to. There are a lot of REALLY good student bands to see, and bands are brought in by the college all the time. We also have an artist recital series and a convocation speaker series and maaaaaaan there is ALWAYS something to do on campus.

Chris

There is ALWAYS something going on in Oberlin. More often than not, there are always several conflicting things going on in Oberlin. I'm telling you in advance - you WILL have to make tough decisions. Many students will go on "epic event weekends," where they will go from a 7 PM recital to an 8 PM play to a 10 PM jazz-concert to an 11 PM rock-out in the campus club, before arriving at a party at midnight. The following evening, they'll go from concert to concert between 8 and 10 PM, before winding up at a movie screening. There's just too much going on to give a complete list, and it's honestly hard to keep track of. Oberlin's theatrical productions in particular are amazing. The dedication and drive of the students in the department really shows in the productions that they create. The Conservatory has great concerts going on all the time. I met my best friend through my work. I was writing an opera, and needed a librettist. Another friend of mine referred me to her, and we've written three operas together so far. I met another of my close friends because she sang for a few of my songs. Don't be afraid to talk to new people, in whatever capacity, because there really is nothing to lose.

Mia

MUSIC!! CONCERTS!! THEATER!! GUEST SPEAKERS!! It's easy to meet people and bond over common interests or the horrible weather. There's no greek scene (thank god) and athletics are not a big deal (aside from women's rugby). But there are various and sundry organizations that you can join and lots of club sports in which to participate. If you want to drink and get messed up on the weekend, the option is there. Conversely, if that's not your thing, there are many other options and many other students who you can be sober with.

Brett

We have great public speakers at Oberlin. We recently had Jerry Springer give a talk, we had Ishmael Beah give our opening address, and I believe Danny DeVito will open next year. I'm involved with the ultimate frisbee team, a club sport on campus. We throw great parties and try to maintain good relationships with other club sports like rugby. Rugby has a strong following at Oberlin, and our swim team is also quite good.

Emily

Ehhhhh.... social life differs a lot based on the people you are friends with. There isn't too active of a bar life here, and in order to go clubbing one would have to go all the way to Cleveland, so if you are an incoming freshman thinking that is what you're into, this probably isn't the place to go. The drinking occurs either with groups of friends in dorms/houses, or in big house parties that are often sleazy. there are a lot of people here who choose not to drink or party at all, and they don't really miss out on much because even if their friends are drinking, it is not out at a bar but usually around the campus so they can still hang out. On the weekend there are usually concerts going on from the conservatory, but on this small campus there isn't THAT much to do in general on the weekends. there are no frats/sororities here and no frat/sorority atmosphere. unless you end up at one of the football jock's houses on a friday night, but it is pretty easy to NOT end up there ever. in terms of activities, we are just like any other college in that we offer millions of different clubs and groups for anything you'd want to do.

Alison

We do not have fraternities or sororities. If you have friends, the social scene can be great. It also drastically improves once you've turned 21 and can hang out at the college bar in town. There are plenty of parties (especially when the weather has improved). I don't really know if people date much. I have dated, but not much. There's also ususally a lot going on around campus; plays, movie showings, art shows, musical events, speakers, etc.

Hunter

Of the sports teams, women's club rugby probably has the biggest non-athlete fan base. Their games are always packed. I can't say the same for other games/athletic events. Guest speakers, on the other hand, get a lot of attention. We do not have greek life. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, there are beer specials at the Sco (campus bar) and those nights are pretty well attended, and are the big dancing nights. The Feve (bar in town) is pretty popular for hanging out every night; their Friday happy hour is packed. When it's warm enough to be outside, TGIF is every Friday outside the student union in Wilder Bowl. TGIF has music, beer specials and byob, and is always packed. For student parties, there are always some on Fridays, but Saturday night is the big night.

Cody

I play 2 Varsity sports--field hockey and lacrosse. The Athletic department kind of sucks, but it's trying. I think more people should give it a chance. The coaches are not good, which is really frustrating and difficult to deal with sometimes. HOWEVER, it is a very worthwhile experience, as Oberlin athletes are not your typical college athletes. I can say that though I loved every team I played on (there were 7 total) for completely different reasons, it always came back to the people and the friendships I made.

Anna

There is always something to do! There are all kinds of events: concerts, speakers, shows, games happening everyday.

Briana

One way I've met tons of great people is by joining a co-op. It became my instant community, as sharing meals is very personal. Its a very politically active group and there's always events being planned as we eat. I also love working in the kitchen and taking a part in the meal.

Sophia

One thing about Oberlin's student body that really drew me to the school was the Oberlin Student Co-operative Association (OSCA). It is an important part of student life on campus, feeding over 700 students and housing several hundred as well. The co-ops take the place of Greek life and provide a vibrant gathering place with distinctive personality.

Brady

Don't expect to find a date, but expect to find a party every weekend.

katie

oberlin is small, but it's packed with intellectual stimulation.

Leigh

We have a lot of club sports, which are far more popular than college run sports teams. One of the most popular teams is actually Women's Rugby, which is odd, but awesome. Overall, athletic events aren't really all that popular. About half of the people I know leave their doors open, and lots of people feel more comfortable locking them. I've never had problems with things getting stolen, though. There are tons of theater productions, which is great, both student run and faculty run, and there are musical performances constantly. My closest friends are the ones I live with on my hall, and a few I have met in class or at work. The dating scene is pretty out there- lots of people date, there are few who decide not to. Two of the biggest events every year are Safer Sex Night and Drag Ball, both huge themed parties in our student building.

Madison

two big events that happen every year are safer sex night and drag ball. they're both amazing. i don't know much about sports here. i know that in the past we haven't done so well in that area, but the teams are getting better. there are always guest speakers, plays or dance shows or something going on. then there's the 'sco, the school dance club. we don't have fraternities or sororities. i don't know why. alot of people i know leave their dorm doors open. i have a friend who taped the thingy on her door so no one has to turn the door knob, and the door is always unlocked. then again, i know a guy who locks his door when he goes to the bathroom. most people are like the former i think.

Torry

There are many political organizations. It's possible for college students to participate in conservatory music ensembles and take lessons from con students (sometimes professors). Oberlin students are generally friendly and welcolming.

Marissa

Athletic events aren't so popular. Interesting lectures usually have high turn-out especially if the college tries at all to publicize them. I met my closest friends because they were either in my dorm my first semester at college or they were in my classes or both. We do not have fraternities or sororities. April 20th is a pretty fun tradition. Its one of the few times that north and south campus come together. Some people party, most people "party" mostly with their group of friends and extended groups of friends (as many as can fit in a dorm room). There are always activities that are going on that don't involve drinking. There's always DJs and music and dancing at the 'sco. There are usually multiple music or other performances.

Jamie

If you have time for activities or a social life, you are either not working to your full potential, or not practicing your instrument enough. There is a work hard, play soft mentalitiy. There are alcohol parties, but 66% of students smoke weed on campus.

Adam

Too many good things to tell you about. I'm too busy for this survey but I am procastinating. Frats are lame. Join a co-op instead. Athletics are don't draw a big crowd.

Harper

We have ExCos that are classes taught by students. Everyone takes one at some point. We have some big sexually charged events once each year. One is safer-sex night, one is drag ball. We have co-ops that are cooperative living situations where you split up the cleaning and cooking and live all together. And it's not just the hippies that do it. I loved it, and cooking with my friends was so fun. Plus you can raid the kitchen when you're drunk at 4 am. We have intramural sports and regular sports. It really depends on the dorm as to how social people will be. Freshman dorms are great. Most of my friends are people I met freshman year in my dorm. Athletic events are not that popular. Guest speakers will be talked about within your major department and in relevant courses. It's pretty individual but every once in a while, there's a person everyone will go see. Like DAVID SEDARIS who came last year and was the shit. The guys here (I'm a straight girl by the way) are sometimes shy but sometimes amazing. And then sometimes really awkward. But girls and guys usually all just want to hook up and maybe date for a little while. I think we might be more sexually loose than other campuses but I have no way to know for sure. At 2am on a Tuesday, the sco (campus bar) would be closing, decaf is closed, town in dead. If your friends are asleep you're either on the confessional or you're shit out of luck. People are partying all nights of the week. The campus bar has cheap pitchers and 50cent beers two nights a week. There are parties on the weekend, but they are house parties and nothing too special. but the same as most colleges not by a city from what I've seen. The nice thing is we have to make our own fun since cleveland, the closest city, sucks anyhow. Frat and soros don't exist. We don't miss them. On a sat. night, if you don't want to drink you can bowl, probably see a concert or a play, see a movie at the apollo, doing work in your room, or being with friends and not drinking. We usually just shop and eat off campus. We go to shows in cleveland sometimes, some good names come. But also some great acts and bands come to Oberlin through program board, a student run organization.

Ali

There's SO much to do here-- too much really. The Programming Board and other student organizations rock at putting on sweet events. Drag Ball and Safer Sex Night are amazing. Massive budgets for massive good time. There are a ton of amazing student organizations on campus. OSteel is the school's steel drum band. Wait until you see twenty-five percussionists playing Michael Jackson. Amazing. OCircus rocks every time too. Stilts, juggling, poi, aerials, tumbling, contact juggling... it's Cirque Du Soleil right here. Those kinds of things are the heart of Oberlin. TGIF is easily the best thing about the school. Every nice Friday, students gather on Wilder Bowl to hang out. There's usually a band or DJ, and within certain areas, alcohol is sold to those old enough to imbibe. The Sco (the nightclub on campus) hosts great bands (ex. Caribou, Explosions in the Sky, Gods and Monsters, Crystal Castles, etc.). The Con doesn't only draw future musicians to the school-- students who enjoy music (whether they play or not, whether they aspire to being a musician or not) are drawn to Oberlin because of the sheer amount of concerts on campus each year.

Alex

There is so much to do on campus or in town that most people stay on campus over weekends. Some weekends I find I have too much I want to do and have to make decisions on doing work and attending plays or concerts, watching movies and occasionally attending parties. I also really enjoy attending lectures on topics of interest usually in the biology or classics departments but sometimes another department's lecture will catch my interest. Most lectures are well attended by students and faculty in the field of interest. Occassionally broader interest guest speakers come to campus and it often impossible to get tickets or find a seat at the event if you wait till the last minute. Athletic events are not a big deal for me. I've attended friends meets but never just gone out to see a game. However, the popularity of athletics games seems to be increasing. This past weekend I attended a Thorton Wilder play with some friends on Friday and came back to watch a movie with other friends. On Saturday night I went to an event called the "Wil'O Wisp Circus" which was a short performance by the Object Manipulation Exco advertising for the big OCircus in 2 weeks. I went to a friend's party after that. On Sundays I work at the reference desk of the Science Library and then attend mass. I had an exam on Monday so I spent the rest of the evening studying.

Ryan

Theatere, music, and the arts are very popular at Oberlin; as are political issues. There are no fraternities or sororities, the closest thing to those are the room and board Co-ops, and they are definitely not like fraternities or sororities. There is tons to do that doesn't involve drinking but there is a drinking/party scene too. Drag Ball is a big deal as are other theme nights at the school's club-like 'Sco.

Anthony

Swing dances are incredibly popular. Varsity sports suffer, but club sports reign supreme. Clubs exist for virtually everything. The clubs I am in include Gaming club, Capoeira Club, Outing Club and Anime Club. There are numerous informal clubs, for example, Mythbuster Enthusiasts of Oberlin. Fraternities and Sororities don't exist, which i feel is downright positive.

Jordan

People party is small groups in the ways they find fun. NO FRATS. Very little athletics. Lots of music. Some good speakers. Easy to meet people. You can live with a person of a different gender.

Andy

The concerts sponsored by the Con are AMAZING! It's really incredible to have world-class musicians come to middle-of-nowhere Ohio. There's usually 3-4 concerts a week: sometimes, you have to leave one to make it to another. School sponsored parties like Drag Ball and Safer Sex night are kind of the talk of the town. A lot of people feel pressured into attending, despite reservations.

Shannon

People generally leave their doors open and our very friendly. Political speakers generally have the best attendance, though anything student-organized usually receives a lot of support. Every semester there is a traditional naked run through the library. Last spring there were even naked people who rappelled from floor to floor!

sarah

There is always tons to do. Mostly on campus.

Andrea

Some popular activities include Excos, which are classes taught by students. The most popular ones are swing dance, steel drumming, yoga, and the recent zombie defense training. People like to get involved with club sports like rugby and frisbee too. I'm in the chess exco, the finance and investing exco, and the volleyball exco, each of which are really fun. Students will leave doors open every now and then, but in my hall we just go over and hang out in peoples rooms all the time anyway because we know each other so well. I met my closest friends in my dorm hall. I am NEVER awake at 2 am on Tuesday! I felt like one of the most important traditions was Drag Ball, where everyone dresses in drag to promote LGBT awareness. It was huge. People usually party about every weekend, but if you have a group of friends not into that, you can find things to do. There are no frats/sororities. I usually hang out with friends, attend concerts, or just watch movies on the weekends.

Save time. Let us search for you.

Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.

Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!

START YOUR SEARCH