It's funny when you realize how few decisions you actually make until you're 18. Your parents decide where you live. Your school decides what you learn. Your peers decide what's cool. For many people, choosing a college to attend is their first truly independent decision. Not in my case, however. I chose to go to Ohio University because my girlfriend of two years chose to go to Ohio University. That is a wildly irresponsible, stupid and short-sighted reason to go to a particular college that almost never leads to the correct college choice...except for me it did. The relationship with the girlfriend lasted half a year more, while my time at the school has been nearly four years of total collegiate bliss. Whether through divine providence or sheer dumb luck, I chose the school that was absolutely perfect for me and a school that I suspect is perfect for many others as well. When I first looked at OU, one of my chief concerns was its relatively remote location. Sure, it's close enough to major cities like Columbus (hour and a half drive) and Parkersburg, West Virginia (forty-five minute drive) but believe me when I say that between Athens, Ohio and any other "metropolis" there is nothing but farmland and open sky. Athens is a little oasis tucked away among the Appalachian mountains. As it turns out, that seeming isolation has been my absolute favorite part of the town of Athens. When you set foot on Ohio University's campus in Athens, you feel like you're in the only town in the world. It's the perfect hyrbid of college town meets real small town America. The University and town have everything the modern college student needs (reliable Wi-fi, stable-enough buildings and 24-or so bars uptown) while still offering a sense of history. I have friends who attend public and private colleges all over the state and each of every one of them never wants to leave after they visit me in Athens. There is almost no such thing as "off campus." The town is so small and so compact that you can pretty much walk anywhere in under twenty minutes. I think this has contributed to the University's "party school" reputation because instead of having to figuring out designated drivers or if a mile-long walk through the snow to a party or a bar is worth it, students can just wander around like drunken zombies. The University, itself, has taken some financial hits like most other schools in the country and budget cuts have created some discord among faculty and the administration. Still, I have yet to see my education negatively effected by the school's financial prognosis. Depending on which field you are interested in, there are some great opportunities. The business school is actually quite underrated and the Russ College of Engineering is on the way up. I'm in the E.W Scripps School of Journalism, which was at one point considered a top-twenty journalism school in the country. I've been reasonably satisfied with my education. The professors are competent and mostly up to date. And they do a good job of getting guest speakers to Skype in or even visit this small Appalachian town. The idea of a journalism education is a little absurd though. It's such an "all new, all the time, up-to-date nownownow" industry that it kind of clashes with the more staid academic environment. And people within the industry are more concerned with what you actually produce than what your grades are. Thankfully, both the journalism school and the rest of the University offer a rather astonishing number of extracurricular activities to keep you occupied. Ohio University seems to understand that the college experience is as important, if not more so, than the education you receive. I can honestly say that I have grown up more and learned more about myself in the last four years than I did in the previous 18. That would not have been possible with Ohio University. If your idea of the optimal college experience is self-discovery and relationship building, I think you could certainly do a lot worse.
I have found the adjustment to college classes to be made incredibly easy at OU. At precollege they put you in very small groups of people from the same major as you (there were only 4 of us in the group for English and creative writing majors), and they encourage you to join the learning community for your major. You get first pick of some classes that are generally very difficult to get into, and the group makes it incredibly easy to make friends. You also take a class with your academic adviser about study habits and opportunities within your field of study. My favorite class so far has actually been Linguistics 270, but I've also enjoyed my theater class and all of my English classes. All of these classes have challenged me to analyze more than memorize material, and many of the classes I have taken encourage interdisciplinary understanding. Participation in class varies. Between fall and winter quarters, I had four classes with my learning community, and we were all incredibly comfortable with group discussion. However, in my other classes I found that people were shy around one another, even after almost 10 weeks of having been in the same class. I took an English class without anyone from my learning community this quarter, though, and I generally find that people within the major are more comfortable speaking than people outside that discipline. There are certain people whom you expect to talk and others who surprise you if they raise their hands. I do talk a lot outside of class about the things I learn in it, particularly with people from my residence hall and learning community. Religion, literature, philosophy, politics- we talk about it all. Professors at OU are extremely reachable outside of class. Most of mine respond to emails within 24 hours and they all have made their office hours very well known. Most profs also like to use blackboard, which is incredibly useful for keeping things organized. The requirements at OU are very fair and do help to keep students well-rounded. The only complaint that I have to raise is that engineering and education majors don't have to take a foreign language. I think that speaking another language (at least basically) is a skill that everyone should have.
Academics at Ohio University are inventive. Since I did attend another school before OU I have a good perspective on what other universities of higher learning are doing. Ours is like none other. The disciplines are blurred. Every program is connected to one another. Majors are interrelated and connected, just like people on campus. I am a Pre-Med/Biological Science major with a minor in Anthropology and a minor in English. I was persuaded towards these duel minors because of what one of my professors told me early on in my career. He said, "We learn because we wish to understand and communicate with others." I thought that statement was simple, but very profound. Everything I have learned in the classroom has made me understand the world better. "World-view" is important to the OU curriculum. Recently in my molecular genetics class my professor has given me hours of extra help and advice outside of his lecture. I am truly grateful to have met such an educator. You realize early on at OU that life is about how well you engulf yourself in whatever you wish to become successful in, and all of my classes and professors have helped me reach this beautifully simple conclusion. All of my professors know my name, and that is rare because it is a larger university. If you put the time in to introduce and communicate with your professor, they will put the time in and communicate back. That's the way of an Athenian. Everyone invests in what others are doing. I stop in to one of my Anthropology professors office just to chat on a regular basis. We've formed a strong relationship outside of class, and it is one that I really love. These are the relationships that allow you to learn, and give you the right connects to get a job. My experience is not uncommon among other students. Everyone I know has a professor that looks out for them. They want you to succeed, not fail. There are a few professors that are not as passionate as the others. You get through their class and move on. It's the ones that invest in you that make you the successful person you are. It's a special friendliness, and something that is uniquely Athens.
When you first start here as a freshman you are likely going to be taking general education classes. These classes are very different from the classes that you will be taking as an upperclassmen. Most of your early classes consist of being in a big lecture hall with sometimes up to 200 other students in your class. I do not believe this is a bad thing because there are so many kids trying to take the same classes that the school has to do it this way. As you go along in your major your classes will get smaller and your teachers will know your name. Another big change that you will notice as you move along in your college career at Ohio University is that you will switch from dong mostly individual work to group work. As a junior and senior almost every class will have some sort of group project. This is great because you really learn how to work with different types of people and how to get work done based off of everyone's strengths. I am a double major in both Management Information Systems (MIS) and Marketing. If you are in the business school at OU you will participate in something that is called the "Business Cluster". You will set aside a quarter in which you will partake in this cluster of classes with all of the same students. Everything will be group oriented and you will have a client based project in which you will provide consulting for. This is what sets our business school apart from the others. Yes the program is intense but this is where you will learn proper time management and other vital skills needed to survive in the business world.
All of the professors know my name, depending on the class you have to make an effort to get to know the professor and go to their office hours or talk after class. My favorite class is sociology because i have a great professor and the least would be math because my teacher doesn't speak english well. Depending on the student is how much they study, i personally study 2-5 hours a day maybe more because of my course load some kids i know barely study at all, it just depends on your classes. Class participation is pretty common you just can't be scared to answer in front of a lot of people. None of my classes are pure lectures professors ask questions and what not. Students sometimes have intellection conversations outside of class in clubs or study groups but you have to meet with kids about it. Most students I have met are not very competitive. The most unique class I have taken would be sociology I guess because I have never taken a class like it before. I am a finance major and am in the college of business. The Cob is very helping and gives you a straight forward guide on how to graduate in 4 years. Depending on the class i spend sometime with professors asking questions or I ask class mates or helpers. The school academic requirements are pretty easy the course load can be a lot but so far the material I have gotten has not been too hard. Yes education is geared toward a job for my major I must get an internship before i graduate.
Yes, professors know my name. I think this stems from my time outside the classroom spent with them. Favorite class- anatomy. I loved learning about the body. Least favorite class- probably math. I'm not such a fan. Studying: students really do need to study. Working now as a grad student with students on academic probation, this area could not be any more clear. In high school students are able to breeze by with a quick glance at notes prior to an exam. In college, you need to study. You need to look at the material at once a day. The more frequently you review, the less cramming you'll need to do before a test. Students are competitive if they know where they're going. Students who are undecided often struggle with finding the motivation to compete academically with their peers. I was competitive. I had to get to grad school. In undergrad, I spent a lot of time outside the class with my professors. Much of my time was spent in the lab with faculty doing research or spending a morning with one of them talking about the program to prospective students. I even babysit for one of them. An Ohio University education is geared toward getting a job. Yes, there is a liberal arts component, but many majors and programs of study include the classes in the Tier II component. Students do not have to go out of their way to find this liberal arts education, but at the same time, no one is striving to find it either.
Academics at Ohio University can be very intense. However the faculty and staff make themselves highly available for student contact. Many professors make a strong attempt to learn all of their students name and create fun ways to remember each student, most times by asking students to identify something about themselves that makes them unique. Student participation is encouraged in almost all classes, including online classes. Here students are asked to partake in discussion forums each week to earn credit for participation in the classes. Due to the number of student organizations that are available at Ohio University, many students are able to talk amongst each other about what they have learned in class and begin to apply the concepts to real world settings. As students decide which major they would like to pursue, more options for hands-on experience become available and the understanding of academic concepts becomes clear in the real world. Overall I have found that the education that can be found at Ohio University is directly geared towards getting students jobs after college, and also creating atmospheres where students are able to achieve real-world success before graduation.
Like many other colleges, Ohio University has classes with over 400 students in it, and others with only about 20. The professor's seem very qualified and passionate about what they teach. As a result (but not solely due to the professors, for many students have always held a passion for certain subjects), that same kind of passion can be seen throughout the students. Even though OU has a reputation of being a party school, that does not keep students from taking their studies seriously. We even have extra sessions for certain classes that are commonly well-attended. OU offers tons of majors, minors, and certificates amongst which its students can find something that interests them. Ohio has an education abroad program, a foreign exchange program, and as I am an education major, I know firsthand that it also has an excellent College of Education. I'm motivated and excited about my education classes and learning to become a teacher. The professors and faculty of OU are reachable and relatable too which makes it that much easier to connect and learn. Intellectual conversations often take place outside of the classroom, as OU as a whole is an entire learning experience.
For me personally, academics here at OU have been great. We have tons of options for classes each quarter, and I have never sat through a quarter of a class that I haven't enjoyed. As a liberal arts school we have certain specific requirements that have to be met as far as areas of study go, and I feel they do a great job by offering tons of good classes in all the pertinent areas. Most students spend quite a bit of time studying each week; the library is always occupied on the weekdays. I spend most of my social time outside of class having intellectual conversations with my peers and I am FAR from what most would classify as a nerd/jock/bro or anything of the like. I feel like the education I've received thus far has been geared toward learning for the sake of learning, and my professors have reflected that by offering time outside of class to help with anything and everything. Students haven't been too competitive at all from what I have seen, except in the Journalism school they can be pretty cut throat.
One characteristic of Ohio University that I adore is how passionate the professors are about teaching their students and actually developing relationships with them. In all of my time at Ohio University, I have never felt like just a number. In my classes of 200 students(many of my classes have about 25-50 students), professors actually call on people by name. Whenever I have needed help outside of class, my past professors have been glad to help. It is common to overhear intellectual conversations when one is walking around our beautiful campus. Students hang out, study, and converse while sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful atmosphere and the sunshine. They hang out at Donkey(my favorite coffee shop), or other coffee shops, and enjoy the company of their peers, while enjoying cups of coffee or tea. It is a relief and a joy to be able to spend time with other individuals who are interested in the same topics as you are and who want to do something great with their lives.