One thing that is unique to Pepperdine is the focus they place on studying abroad. Roughly half the student population goes somewhere there sophomore year. Pepperdine has permanent programs in Argentina, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Germany, England and Italy. These programs are where Pepperdine really shines. I spent my sophomore year in Florence, Italy, and it was the most incredible year of my life. The house was unique, the food delicious, the program director amazing, and the faculty family became like surrogate parents. Our classes were in the same building, and everyone pretty much took them together. We got Fridays off so we could travel on the weekends, and we went just about everywhere. There's no better way to get to really appreciate other people than to travel with them to extraordinary places, and I came to love every member of my Florence group. Plus, each semester, we took a program-wide field trip. That year is was Sicily in the Fall and Turkey in the Spring. We got great hotels and meals for our money, and it was completely unique among my experiences. I highly recommend applying for the international programs.
Pepperdine really is an incredible school. If you are looking to party hard every single night, reconsider coming to Pepperdine. I would say the students have a great mix of getting their work done, going to school, and enjoying their social life. Get involved and give it a chance is my best advice. Most people hate it the first few months because it was not what they expected. But those people usually learn to love it, I was definitely someone who thought about transferring but I am so happy I stayed. I have made the most amazing friends and Pepperdine is full of quality people. Take advantage of the beach being a second away, live off campus after freshman year if you're so worried about all the rules. I will tell you the biggest negative that I have about Pepperdine, once you are done with freshman year a lot of people move off campus. Everybody is so spread out over town or through the canyon. It really sucks having to drive everywhere at night when you want to go out, while at other colleges you are able to walk everywhere. But you are able to escape the rules and restrictions that you have on campus.
People say that our cafeteria is better than at most schools. This may be the case, but because its a small school we only have one central cafeteria that doesn't offer a whole lot of options. It's not terrible, but most people get sick of cafeteria food after freshman year. Luckily, all the apartments have kitchens. Also, Pepperdine is Church of Christ, NOT non-denominational. Applicants should take this into account. The Church of Christ is the only on-campus church. There's a Presbyterian church nearby that burned down last year, but I think they're still holding services somewhere. Also, there's a shuttle provided to the nearby Catholic church. But, the Church of Christ presence is really overwhelming. A certain percentage of the faculty has to be Church of Christ, and a lot of the student body is Church of Christ as well.
A unique thing about Pepperdine compared to other schools I considered is the wealth of resources that Pepperdine invests in each student. They really care about you here. Pepperdine's a small school with great community. Where else can you develop personal relationships with Deans and administrators, dine with your professors, and have personal counselors that meet with you regularly to discuss class selection and your future? Everyone makes themselves so readily available at Pepperdine. I believe one of the most important things in life is building personal relationships, and there's no better place to do that than here.
Pepperdine has an excellent reputation, as well as professors who care about their students as individuals and not just as numbers in a lecture hall. It's important to me to know that TAs don't teach any classes. The International Programs are also highly regarded. I am actually participating in the 2014-2015 program in Heidelberg, Germany! Pepperdine's alumni network is also extremely strong. They want to help students either financially or with making connections. Of course, the Christian affiliation was also important to me. Overall Pepperdine is like no other, and the choice was pretty clear.
This school is very religion based. Students are required to take religion corses and are graded on their attendance and preformance. This grade also affects the GPA. This school is also unique because of its rules. Along with many other rules, this school is a dry campus, students are given cerfews for what time the opposite sex can be in each other's dorm, no drinkng or sexual activity is alloud on or off campus and if it is found out a student has broken any of these rules suspension or possibly expulsion is expected.
Pepperdine has many unique characterstics to offer, yet I believe that what makes it so appealing are the small class numbers. I learn best in small classroom environments, and that is exactly what I get at Pepperdine. It is much easier to speak to a professor because they usually don't have a line of students waiting to speak to them during office hours, and they are also much less intimidating because you get to know them on a more personal level. There is a student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1, which is amazing.
You cannot beat the location. College can be very stressful and in most traditional college enviroment the source of relief is usually bars and other such places that are strategically located in college towns. At Pepperdine the source of stress relief is a beautiful beach less than five minutes from campus. I was very much drawn to this. The idea that I could simply take a walk on the beach to clear my hear and even do homework on the beach. The first time I did these things it gave me a feeling I still relish.
If I had to do it all over again I most likly would not have picked Pepperdine. I love the people that I have met, but there is so much wrong with the campus. The double standards that we are Christians and we need to help people, and yet we can raise tuition $10,000 to make the campus have a better faculty parking lot. I have had some great experiances here, but I always wonder if I could have had them anywhere else, with people that actually wanted to be there.
The area where the school is located is gorgeous. Every morning, I can wake up to the sun rising just behind the mountains and then see the glittering ocean. This view is incomparable to any other school. In addition to the view, the school's small population makes it possible to see your friends all the time and possibly have classes with them. It is not impossible to never see one person because you will be able to run into them time and time again.