Most professors knew my name and classes were small enough to facilitate good discussions (under 25 students). My favorite classes were in English, History, and French, and that was largely because of the faculty in those depts. I was disappointed with the Art department even though it was my major (not very conceptual/challenging). Some departments are better than others and have more resources, and also some are more vocationally oriented (exercise science, for example). All of the arts except music (i.e. visual, theatre, dance) need new facilities.
I wouldn't say that most students have intellectual conversations with each other outside of class, but I sometimes would with my professors. The amount of studying depended on the difficulty of the course load. I probably averaged 4 hours a day, but I was on the higher end of the spectrum. Some classes have a lot of participation (English Lit) and in some classes it was like pulling teeth. The liberal arts requirements were manageable and helped me foster a love of learning for its own sake. But overall, it seems the main reason students go there is to get a good job later.
I hate the recent switch from a 3 credit system to a 4 credit system because you're not able to take as many classes and get in as much breadth. Plus they are severely cutting the amount and variety of class offerings since professors don't have to teach as many. I'm not convinced that the classes will get so much more challenging that taking only 4 will seem like a full load.
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