Scripps is very strong academically. Classes are generally small - the largest I've been in is about 40 in my science classes - so most professors do know your name, especially if you make the effort to talk with them outside of class. It is also generally very easy to get into the classes you want. If a class is full when you register, I have found that if you talk to the professor right away and go to the first day of class, you can usually get into the class. It depends on the professor, but classes are generally pretty discussion based, with the exception of some science lecture classes. While some students are quieter than others, I have found that most students participate in class. Also, aside from required Scripps only courses, almost all classes have students from the other colleges. It is very easy to cross register for classes on other campuses, giving students more course options than at regular schools the same size as Scripps. Additionally, students can even have an off campus major if the major is not offered through Scripps. On weeknights and weekends, students do spend a lot of time studying, but they are also involved in many other activities, so studying is not all students do. Students are generally not very competitive with each other, although they are driven to do well. Students usually know at least some of the people in their classes and often form study groups to study for exams or go over material. Some Scripps students complain about the large number of general education requirements. Because Scripps is a liberal arts school, there are more requirements than at a large university, such as the required race/ethnic studies and gender/women's studies courses. However, I am a science major and have not had any trouble completing my requirements, and is has caused me to take very interesting courses that I probably would not otherwise have taken, such as "The Ethics of the Beginning and End of Life" for my letters requirement. Another requirement is the Scripps Core Curriculum, which involves three semesters of courses in the interdisciplinary humanities. The quality of core classes usually depends a lot on the professor, but many students do not like this requirement. For me, while some of the material I learned was interesting and fun, such as in my "Pop Law and Psychology" Core III class, I would have preferred to be able to have more flexibility to choose my courses, rather than taking one of the required core courses. It certainly is a unique academic experience, though, and I did learn about subjects that I probably would not otherwise have learned about.
Most Scripps classes that I have taken have been very small and based on discussion. Homework almost always involves extensive readings and papers. It is easy to meet and get help from your professors, and I have many friends who still stay in contact with old professors just because they really like knowing them. However, I am not a huge office hours-goer and I still get along just fine in my classes. The three semester CORE program is mandatory and often groaned about but it does have its perks. My Core 2 and Core 3 classes were quirky and wonderful ("The Science and Poetry of Sleep" and "Human Dolls" [about the representation of the human form in art])and the Core 1 reading list includes some really important historical academic works. CORE is also great because the classes are Scripps-only. Most classes at Scripps, because of cross-registration, are co-ed. Co-ed is cool but personally I really like all-female classes. I think a lot of Scrippsies have found that this environment makes them less self-conscious and more comfortable participating in class, which is great when you are just starting college. And, if nothing else, CORE 1 provides a fail-proof ice breaker during the 1st semster of your first year. The amount of time that students study really varies based on their major and their personal priorities. I know some girls who are constantly studying and I know people who do significantly less studying than me. All somehow succeed academically to some degree so I think it really depends on the person and their specific academic situation. In general, I don't find students to be competitive or overly focused on grades. We have high standards for ourselves and like to do well, but we like to lead exciting lives outside of our classes too. Once again, I can't rep the consortium enough. I am a self-designed major (yes, Scripps does allow students to self-design majors. It's not extremely common but also not hard to do) within the Media Studies department and a Gender and Women's Studies minor. Both departments are 5-College, which means I can take classes for my major/minor at any of the schools. Even if you have a Scripps-centered major, you can still take plenty of classes at the other schools. In two years, I have already taken classes at four out of the five schools. So even if you have academic interests that are not found at Scripps, they are likely available to you within Claremont.
Scripps is what I like to call rigorous but rewarding. Excelling in classes requires a lot of effort, but students also have time to have fun as well. The classes are small, I believe the largest class I had was an Intro to Psych class with about 46-50 students (which is considered to be a HUGE section here). Professors are engaging, encourage us to participate, know our names, and love to chat with students outside of class. In fact, my Core 1 professor took us out for lunch one time. Scrippsies have plenty of options for majors, since we have the flexibility to choose either a major from Scripps, another 5-C school, or to create our own (there are TONS of self designed writing majors at Scripps, just fyi). Everybody is required to take one of several Writing 50 options freshman year and to go through the 3 semester Core Program. Core 1 is based around a compilation of texts and films all freshmen read. Students attend a weekly lecture, and then meet in small discussion groups. The texts are very challenging, but we get a lot out of them- especially after discussion groups. The class is a lot like mind yoga- you have to bend and stretch your mind, and try to think in ways completely foreign to your natural state. But it feels amazing when you realize its potential. Core 2 and 3 offer a lot of flexibility, and students can choose from one of several topics based on their interests. Scrippsies do not tend to be competitive with one another. My friends and I constantly ask each other for advice about our papers and study together before tests. If anything, we are very competitive with ourselves. Classes here do not tend to be of the traditional, lets-shove-facts-into-your-brain-as-fast ---as-possible type. For example, I came into my Intro to American Politics class expecting to essentially re-take my AP American Government and Politics class from High School. Suprisingly, the class focused on more theoretical approaches and critical analyses of American Politics. I felt like I got a lot more out of my class since we didn't spend all of our time learning what my professor calls " easily-Google-able" information
Scripps academic life is everything I ever wanted. Classes are small and shared between colleges [unless they are intro-y Scripps only freshmen-y things]. The professors know my name, know my writing, and care about me. They care if you come to class, if you participate and if you're generally ok. Many of us see professors around the campuses, in the dining halls and sometimes the gym [hahaha] and it's so nice to know that they want to say hi and they want to know how you are. They know you and care where you're going in life. Like most schools, we have general requirements. But a lot of our classes apply to those requirements and can double count to eliminate them. It's not like a school whose requirement are "you MUST take this specific history/math/science class that you WILL hate." Instead, we have general subject areas like social science, letters, foreign language, etc from which you can choose from a number of interesting individual classes. We do have CORE which is a class for three semesters that gets more and more specific. This, besides Writing 50 is the only class that will always be all girls. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of Core. I was geared up for it, because a lot of the specific sections of Core sound super interesting, but I felt a little let down. It wasn't challenging or interesting to me, but I know people who disagree. My main problem with Core is that it is assumed to be this magical make-you-think-crazy-differently class, but I haven't experienced inspiration or interest. However, it is awesome for giving all of us the same base and jumping off point in many historically important thinkers.
Professors, even if some of them may not be the greatest, are usually there for the students and want to make sure you've learned and are learning. I speak specifically for the Joint Science Department when I say that there are some really wonderful, good people who are faculty and want you to succeed in life and in your academics. Humanities classes can be a hit or miss, though I may think this because I'm a science major. Having the consortium is a definite help to increasing available options and courses that sound interesting, and getting to know different faculty. Degree requirements are a bit much, but for the most part they are easy to fill. Specific rules regarding the race and ethnic studies requirement though need to be changed, as well as the fact that taking piano lessons or choir does not fill a fine arts requirement is a bit ridiculous. The Core sequence is a love/hate course, and in reality depends on your instructor and the students in your class, as well as what you are used to or what you enjoy learning about.
The classes are very small and all of the professors know your name. I took a Spanish class with only nine students. My favorite class was calculus 2 because I had an amazing professor who truly cared about the students and loved what he was doing. Most professors at Scripps are extremely helpful and available. They all have office hours where you can ask questions or just visit with them. Some professors even host events outside of class. The classes are challenging, but they are not impossible. You will often hear students discussing lectures or any academic material outside of class. Also, there are quite a few general education requirements. However, I think most of these are helpful and the classes are geared toward getting a job. The only class I did not really enjoy was core because I did not think it was relevant to my major or any of my interests.
The classes are small at Scripps which I think is a great benefit. Professors definitely know your name, and they genuinely care about your education and well-being. Many of the classes are discussion based, and since the class size is usually 15-20, everyone gets a chance to talk. During the week, most students focus on studying because the workload can be demanding. Depending on your course of study, the workload varies. Science majors have lots of labs and a lot of homework outside of that. Psych majors generally don't have as much work. Psychology professors especially are more concerned with making class interesting and making sure students are learning than with stressing students out with copious amounts of work. The education at Scripps is geared towards learning for its own sake more than getting a job right out of college.
I have had a lot of academic flexibility at Scripps. I was able to design my own writing major using classes from Scripps, Pitzer and Claremont McKenna. To do so, I worked very closely with my academic adviser (who is fantastic, and has the cutest yellow lab!). I'm especially excited to be taking Advance Fiction Writing in the Fall with Professor Jamaica Kincaid, who has been featured in all my short story anthologies. I love the Scripps encourages students to explore outside their major as well. I've discovered that I'm also in love with Anthropology, Psychology, and Religious Studies. I would love to minor in all three.
Classes are tough. The rigor is demanding, but do-able. Professors are easily accesible and love it when you invite them to lunch to discuss class or other appropriate topics. Everyone, including faculty and staff is readily available and portrays themself as an accessible member of the Scripps family.
Scripps students vary in their academic lives; some women are very serious and motivated about grades while others are much more relaxed. It's possible to get through your classes without a herculean effort, but if you are self-motivated you will get a lot more out your time here.