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Saint John Fisher College

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What are the academics like at your school?

The one great thing about Fisher is that professors that you only had once Freshman year or have never had but interacted with know your name. You are required to take certain core classes, which range from sciences to arts. I took some pretty awesome classes that counted towards me graduating but weren't necessarily part of my English major, two of which were a science class about fungi, and an acting class, both of which were incredibly fun and very different than any course you would expect to take. I have taken some bad classes, but they have been unavoidable, though I would recommend looking at ratemyprofessors.com before taking a class with a professor you haven't heard about. There are definitely some classes that are a waste of time and money, even if they are an easy A. The thing about Fisher is that though the students party on weekends, there is a big dedication to studying and doing well. For the last month and a half of school it is impossible to even sit at the library. Class participation varies from class to class, but because the classes are so small (avg. 18-20), students are generally obligated to speak and if they don't it is fairly noticeable so most students manage at least one comment a class, if not more. Most professors are readily available outside of class as well, so it is not hard to get a good grade if you put in the effort. Also, a lot of students are fairly competitive with their grades, and it often makes it more intense when professors sometimes offer rewards to the highest test score. The English department is relatively small, but all of the professors really care, and they all make sure to get to know the English majors by having field trips or picnics reserved for the English majors. I am also a Communication / Journalism minor and the professors in that department are equally as dedicated. They even finance the school newspaper and magazine so that we are not obligated to censor them if we write something controversial about the school. I think that some of the core classes are a waste of time, but they can be fun if you choose the right ones. However, when it comes to getting a job, the entire school seems extremely dedicated towards getting you a job. Some majors require that you do an internship, and the Career Center is very helpful with building resumes. I am an English major and Fisher made me feel like I would be able to find a job because they are so career-oriented.

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Academics at Fisher are challenging, for sure. It is not a party school in the slightest, and prospective students should be prepared for long nights and early mornings! No matter what degree you choose to pursue, you will have to take a minimum of 15 credits a semester in order to graduate on time, which can be quite a heavy load to take on while balancing a part-time job and a family life as well. However, student's efforts do pay off - classes are generally small, which leads to personalized instruction and excellent class discussions. The selectivity of Fisher ensures that you are surrounded by peers that challenge you and encourage you to bring your best to class every day. It is competitive, but not overwhelmingly so. Because of the variety of fields you can choose to study (a loose liberal arts degree, or a more focused path, such as Nursing, Education or Business), you have the choice of whether you are attending college to fulfill the requirements for a prospective job application, or simply for the sake of education I originally was declared as an Education major, but switched halfway through freshman year to an English major with a concentration in literature and a double minor in Philosophy and Women & Gender Studies. English has always impassioned me, but it was my experiences with Dr. Cunningham from the Gender department and Dr. Lowe from the Philosophy department that encouraged me to broaden my studies. The most unique class I have taken to date was "Intro to Queer Studies" with Cunningham, which was focused around an introduction to Queer texts through a genre lens. I had the opportunity to read things I likely would have not found on my own otherwise and was provoked to think about relevant issues current in the news and streets.

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Most professors know your name or maybe all of them do but some of them like to play it off like they don't. The majority are personable and friendly but there are a handful who I question why they becamse professors in the first place because they seem to have no interest in you, the class, or even their profession. My favorite classes are the creative writing courses whether it be fiction or non-fiction. My least favorite classes are the math courses. Luckily I only had to take one but math is not my subject and i barely passed the course. Class participation is common with some professors and not with others. It all really depends on how much the students like the professor and whether or not the professor engages them and keeps the course fun or if they drone on and on in a monotone voice. I am an English major with a dual minor in Business Management and Intenational Relations. I haven't dealt with the Business and International Relations departments as much as I have the English. In the English department many of the teachers are very welcoming and willing to help you out. Off the top of my head I can only think of one professor who comes off as very nice but is actually a you know what. The school has been regarded as "selective" but there are some kids enrolled that make you question what "selective" nowadays really is as there are students who somehow still struggle to read. Many of the classes, especially the core classes, are easy and one can get by doing minimal work. You would actually be surprised to overhear some of the conversations around campus and what they people involved are discussing. Some are extremely intellectual and others leave you wondering how on earth they got into college.

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Classes range in regards to student/professor ratio. This is a primary factor in relation to the student/professor relationship. I have a Human Animal for my Anthropology major which has 32 students in it, this hinders the professor from devoting any decent amount of time to individual students. The few times I have gone to go see her, she has a line with at least two others in it. Especially considering she is only on campus three days a week before 2. Opposed to my Rhetoric of Hate class, which has 13 students in it, I was able to meet with the professor weekly. Doctor Bowman is my primary advisor in the English Department. I meet with him on average twice a week to discuss grad. school, capstone papers, rhetorical ideologies within the world.This greatly increased my ability to succeed in his class, in addition, to all my classes. Smaller classes also increase the frequency students participate. I have an African American Literature class which has 6 students in it, myself included, and the entire class is discussion. Granted, when there is so much discussion few students study outside of class because they find themselves developing concepts and ideologies within the class which normally that time is devoted to lecture. Someone telling you what to believe. Students are competitive to an extent. In lower level classes its more dominant and I found as I moved up to the 300/400 level courses that competitive nature started to dissipate. I am always competitive; therefore, I was not effected.

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The academics at Fisher are definitely a handful. If you don't do something that you enjoy, it will probably be extremely difficult to excel. Since Fisher is a liberal arts school, it is required that all students take a variety of classes. This is great for discovering what you're really interested in. I originally did not plan on being an English Literature and Anthropology major with a minor in Classical Studies. I came to Fisher undeclared and only decided on my majors and minor after really enjoying the classes that I had taken.The English and Anthropology departments at Fisher are small enough that you will often have classes with people that you already know and are comfortable around. The professors take time to get to know your name and will often talk to you in the hallway even after the semester is over. They are friendly and it is very easy to set up meetings with them outside of class. Fisher also has an Honors program that you can apply to. They require you to take four additional classes throughout your Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years, but they tend to be very unique since they are exclusive to the Honors program and not one field of study.

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All of Fisher's programs are very challenging, but professors are always willing to offer help if it is needed. They have office hours where students can go in to talk with them and also make a large effort to be available by appointment if students can not make office hours. Classes are generally small so all of the professors know who their students are and can recognize them even when their classes are over. Fisher's core requirements make sure that all students get the same amount of base knowledge in the areas of languages, social perspectives, technology, and cultural perspectives. There is also an extensive Service Learning section of courses so that students can get involved in their community. Each program of study has its only very detailed set of requirements to prepare the students for the careers they want. Each program of study also has electives so that students are able to take classes that interest them. As an adolescent education major, I feel that my courses are preparing me very well for a career as a teacher, but also give me enough choices to keep me interested in what I am studying.

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One of the major reasons I chose to attend Fisher was because of the small size of the campus and the classes. I am always able to get individual attention or meetings with my professors if I wish to, but it is not always necessary. Class participation is pretty common, and helps me develop a better understanding of the material. My favorite courses that I've taken have been in the English department, for my major, and a lot of this has to do with the professors and their knowledge and passion for teaching. The liberal arts aspect of the college requires students to take a lot of general classes that seem to be more "learning for its own sake," but classes for specific majors are geared toward getting a job, and professors are always willing to offer advice or help on this. Students discuss academically outside of class, but usually this discussion only pertains to their own majors, not the liberal arts or other elective classes.

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