My Pitzer classes have all been fantastic. They challenge me to think creatively and write - a LOT! For finals week my first semester, I had about 40 pages in research papers across three (out of five) classes. Where Pitzer lacks in computer science or engineering programs, it's easy to supplement by taking classes at Pomona or Harvey Mudd, while fulfilling Pitzer's personalized graduation requirements and majors. All of the professors that I've encountered at the 5C's have been exceedingly friendly and willing to talk to and get to know students.
Pitzer's general education requirements are limited. It's very easy to go through Pitzer and finish in four years, no problem. Out of the 32 courses which are required to graduate, only 7 of them are general education requirements, and the gen ed. courses can often count towards your major.
This means that you have a great deal of flexibility with your courses, which can be both good and bad. Your education will be as good and as interesting as you make it. It may take a bit more planning to do a traditionally well-rounded liberal arts college experience, but that same planning could also go into creating an amazing self-designed major.
Honestly, to quote our former dean of admission, "it's your education, and you will be in charge of it."
There are plenty of students from/at Pitzer who rave about the academics, because they don't want Mom/Dad/Future Employer to know the truth. Pitzer reminds me of the college depicted in the college-movie classic 'PCU'. The classes are watered down, the professors give out A's and B's like candy and there is no rigor to speak of. A student coming out of Pitzer is likely to know a lot about gay/lesbian/bisexual writers from Africa/Asia/South America and diddly squat about literature. There is potential at this school, no doubt. Please dig deeper before shelling out an absurd amount of money so your kids can smoke weed instead of study.
Most professors (unless you're in a huge intro class) work hard to learn students' names. I have never had a professor in my two years at Pitzer who didn't call on me by name. My favorite classes BY FAR have been the Political Studies classes (I'm a poli-sci major) because we have an excellent political studies professors but I've enjoyed every class I've taken at Pitzer. Spanish language classes are also strong as well as Environmental Studies classes. Pitzer students DEFINITELY have conversations outside of class, which is something I really love about the school. It is clear that rather than just learning the material for tests, Pitzer students incorporate their education into their everyday lives to help them shape and articulate their opinions. I've had many an intriguing debate about how to reform the Los Angeles school system or about the 2008 Elections with my friends. Professors always have office hours and are very open to making themselves available to help students. The education at Pitzer is definitely geared toward enabling the students to appreciate learning for its own sake and to take what they learned into the world after graduation and aid people or communities that need help.
classes are small, and professors know your name. Participation in class is always important, and what we learn in class is often talked about later outside of class. Students are not very competitive, and everyone is just there to learn. Pitzer's academic requirements are pretty lax, so you can focus on whatever you want to. If you dont like doing a lot of work, Pitzer is the place for you, but you can also challenge yourself as much as you want, if your that kind of person.
The Claremont Colleges are the best resource available. Academically, it offers the amounts of courses offered by five colleges together while still going to a small school. And because each college are known for their studies in different topics (example, Math and Sciences at Harvey Mudd and Psychology, Sociology, and Media Studies at Pitzer), you can take classes at all the colleges, meeting Professors who are researching and enthusiastic about such a wide range of fields.
Academics are great. I know numerous professors whose classes I am not in, I know most of the professors in the science department, too. We share a science department with Claremont McKenna College and Scripps College. Students spend time studying depending on what their major is and what classes they are in. I know many who study all the time, or are always working, but I also know some who don't seem to have to be working at all. I like that Pitzer students have academic and intellectual conversations outside of class, and also debate often about global issues. In the classes that I have been in, class participation is frequent. We can also take classes at any of the other five Claremont Colleges, so it is not too difficult to get into a class you want. If there is a specific class, it is important to have a good registration time. The most unique class I've taken is a new integrated and accelerated science program, which is a first year class that combines intro biology, intro chemistry, and intro physics into one class. Personally, I have liked every class that I have taken, but people I know complain about certain professors or classes. Another thing I love about Pitzer is the amount of research experience I have available to me in the science department - I don't have to wait to be a senior or grad student to be in a lab.
Interesting topic. The best thing about the Claremont Colleges is that you can take classes at any of the five colleges. Taking advantage of this I take the majority of my classes at Pomona and as a Sophmore now, I have only taken two classes at Pitzer and one was the required Freshman seminar. Pitzer academics are really 50/50. The teacher is either really smart and engaging or totally a waste of time. Pitzer also rarely offers Philosophy classes, and the major is actually in cooperation with Pomona.
The professors are great, but the class choices are limited in many subjects. The school is not geared toward jobs as much as I would like.
The student to faculty ratio is 10:1. So far, my favorite class has been Contemporary Social Theory. We read seven fascinating books that discussed sociological phenomena/trends. The workload and pace were very manageable, and the professor was engaging, energetic, friendly, and genuinely eager to teach and get to know his students. My least favorite class was Macroeconomics; it was tedious, and involved understanding an array of concepts and interdependent relationships. Also, the professor was not as sympathetic to students' needs as I would have like him to be. Overall, students study four to five days a week. Sunday is the biggest studying day, and most students don't have class on Fridays. Pitzer students are very socially and politically aware; we are always assessing the events of life with a critical eye. We recognize ironies, fallacies, and hypocrisy within numerous current events. Students are not competitive among one another Pitzer. Nearly no one asks a classmate what they're grade was in a class, or for a particular assignment. The most unique class I've taken was my Freshman Seminar: Youth in Pop Culture; my professor had met several famous rap artists. We studied gang culture, hip-hop culture, globalization of trends, and read a diverse lot of sociological analysis books. I am thinking of majoring in Psychology and double minoring in Economics and Philosophy. But it should be noted that Pitzer allows its students to design their own majors. Professors have been known to invite their students in to their homes. I have shared lunch on a few occasions this year with a couple of my professors. Pitzer's academic requirements allow students to study what they want. There is little to no constraints on a student's ability to study what they want. Pitzer's courses are definitely theoretical in nature. Although, there are several opportunities, such as the "Pitzer in Ontario" Program that allow students hands-on experience working in various sectors of the local community.
professors at pitzer are some of the most amazing people you will ever know. the classes are small, so professors really make it their job to not only know your name, but know something about who you are. classes are really safe, and class discussions are made to be a comfortable, non-judgmental environment, so even the shyest students feel safe putting in their two sense.
the thing about pitzer kids is that we're all really smart - and quirky. it's not uncommon to see a group of people tanning by the pool talking about james joyce or gender-neutral bathrooms... it's just the way it is here. we're all very opinionated, educated, and in most cases, articulate. we're also almost 100% liberal. i don't think i know a single legitimately conservative student who goes to pitzer.
another great thing about pitzer is that they don't make us take "general education" requirements. pitzer's philosophy is that we should be able to design our OWN "general education" in classes that we enjoy and are passionate about.
Since Pitzer is such a small school, most professors will know your name. If you go to their office hours (which they all have), they'll know you even better. Professors are usually very available outside of class, either through office hours, email, or appointment. You can stop by to ask for help in their class, ask for letters of recommendation, or tell them about your recent trip to Disneyland. It's easier to participate and speak out in small classes. If you have something to say, it's not a bad idea to share. Also, there is very little competition between students. Some public schools are geared towards only having a certain percent of the class graduate, while Pitzer aims to help all its students do well.
I'm studying Psychology, and I've loved the curriculum so far. One of my current professors seems to know everything about the field, and it's incredible. You can bring up a psychological theory with him and he'll tell you an article (author and year included) where you can find more information about it.
I think the education at Pitzer focuses more on learning for its own sake than on getting a job. The knowledge you gain here can be applied to many different areas, career services are always available, and a degree from Pitzer will indeed help you get into grad school or find work. However, we focus more on social responsibility, interdisciplinary learning, and intercultural understanding than on producing two-dimensional workers.
Of course professors know my name. I'm probably one of the gutsiest students here, rolling into class 30 minutes late. My favorite class to date is Transvestite Early-Modern Drama. AMAZING!! I love it. It's a Spanish literature class, so it's a but difficult and, at times, boring, but nonetheless amazing. My least favorite class was Congress and the Presidency, there was a complete lack of structure in that class. Students study often. Usually the freshmen are the ones blowing off their work and drinking until their eyes are swimming in vodka. Competitiveness exists here, as it does everywhere else. Students do engage in intellectual conversation. It usually revolves around politics. My most unique class is my linguistics class. My professor brings in her dogs and I totally loose myself in their big brown eyes. I believe the education is learning for its own sake. Pitzer is so flexible with its general education requirements and requirements for its majors that students take classes that interest them, rather than require classes (there are some of those too though).
one of my favorite parts of pitzer is the faculty student relationship. your teacher actually knows who you are, where you're from, your major, your interests. over the summer i took a class at a big university, and the teacher explained that students are simply ID numbers, nothing more, and professors don't care to know their students. he said this is that case at an college or university in the country. clearly he hasn't been here.
if i miss class, my concerned professor will shoot me an email making sure i'm doing alright, just checking. office hours are amazing, time to really speak with your professor, in case the 10:1 student to faculty ratio isn't good enough.
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