SUNY College at Geneseo Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


My favorite class has to be General Biology, you learn many interesting things, and although it is a weed out class, the tests aren't too bad once you get the hang of it. Class participation varies depending on the size of the class, if there are 40 kids in a class then participation is more common then a lecture class of 250 kids. Students are very competitive about their grades, it truly brings the best out of people. The biology department is by far one of the biggest and most successful departments at this school, they offer many classes that are so rigorous that it prepares you for graduate school.


Academics depends mostly on your major. As a social sciences major I've had mostly small classes with professors who know my name. At least in my major I haven't found students to be competitive with each other, rather more with themselves. Intro classes and classes in more popular majors are obviously larger, but I've found that professors are generally pretty accessible. Classes are hard if you never go and don't put in any studying time. It's not hard to do well if you go to class (or at least keep up with what's going on in class) and actually take the time to study. The general education requirements are easy to fulfill and don't take up too much of time--I didn't decide on a major until sophomore year and as a junior I still have plenty of time to finish my major. Plenty of student double-major or minor though, it all depends on your planning.


In my experience, the professors REALLY want to help the students in anyway possible- offering accessible office hours, review sessions, etc. But, the key to success here is studying. The library is never empty, and during finals week, you are lucky to find a seat anywhere there, proving to be a favorite study spot for the students. The majority of students take their studies very seriously here, all stressing for that "A". The atmosphere is somewhat competitive, but it's more of personal determination- the people who are accepted here are smart- and they all want to maintain the high grades, so I guess you could say it's more of a personal battle to focus and do the best possible, while learning the most. Classes are difficult, but not unmanageable. The only bad thing I can say is that the school is a state school, with that type of budget. This year, 3 academic programs were cut- Computer Science, Communicative Disorders and Sciences, and Studio Art. However, this decision has not been taken lightly- student protests have become common, showing the strong sense of pride in the school and love of its academic courses.


The academic life at SUNY Geneseo is what sets it apart, in my opinion. With such a small student body, the ratio of professors to students is very favorable, though it varies with majors. I was in the Geography department, and every professor knew my name... Hell, we'd even go out for Happy Hours once in a while with professors (once you turn 21, of course). But I also know that in the larger majors - Education, Biology, etc. it can be easier to become another face in the crowd. As with most schools, classes at the 100-level can typically be huge, lecture-style classes with scantron tests, powerpoint notes, bla bla bla. You *will* have to go through this, regardless of your major. Geneseo prides itself on its core curriculum, being a liberal arts college, and it's particularly proud of its two-semester Humanities requirements. It's a bummer having to go through those obligatory classes, but looking back, they were some of the most interesting classes I took - and I *loved* classes in my major, so... Yeah. Participation - there's a fair amount of participation, consistently, but I would not say that there's all that much competition between students. I can't really imagine competitiveness between students in any college setting really. It's just not what it's about. The only person you compete against is yourself, really, as cheezy as it may sound. And as for whether the school gears its students towards careers vs. education for its own sake... I think it's really dependent on what major. There are a lot of career-oriented programs, like pre-med, business majors, etc. but at its core, Geneseo is a "teaching college" - not a vocational school, not a technical school, no overwhelming emphasis on research... instead, the professors focus on teaching. And because it's a small school with no graduate school, you're actually taught by professors... with doctoral degrees... not TAs, a novel concept.