The academics at Wooster are top-notch. Classes are challenging, and your professors push you to perform at your best. As I mentioned before, all of my professors know my name and generally make an effort to get to know me outside of the classroom in their office hours. Class participation is not only common, but practically required. With classes capped at a maximum of 30 students, you need to be prepared for class (having done the readings, problem sets, etc.) and expect the professor to call on you to answer a question or give your opinion at least once. Wooster students are generally intelligent and very politically aware, which makes for intellectual conversations inside and outside of the classroom. Students are not competitive with each other, rather it is more common to see students working together in study groups. Professors assign group projects to encourage students to work together - many feel that you will learn just as much from exploring the material with your peers as you will listening to their lectures. As a liberal arts college, Wooster requires you to take a wide-range of classes in addition to the courses within your major including a 2 semester equivalent of a foreign language, a cultural perspective course, and a religion course just to name a few. We also have "learning across the disciplines" course requirements, which allow students the opportunity to take 2 courses in each of the following subject areas: arts & humanities, history & social sciences, math & natural sciences. I have really enjoyed taking these classes outside of my major, and because there are so many courses to choose from, you can select a topic that you are interested in. As a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) major, I have taken at least 2 classes in the biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics departments. I have been extremely impressed with the quality of instruction in the classroom and in the lab. The professors have not just taught me the material, they have taught me how to think though problems and related the material to real-world applications. I've had the opportunity to expand on my experiences in the lab through Sophomore Research, a program that allows students to work one-on-one with a professor on an aspect of their own research and get paid to do so. The science departments at Wooster set you up to be a strong medical school or graduate school applicant, as well as providing students the opportunity to be employed immediately after graduation. Wooster students abide be the phrase "work hard, play hard" - during the week, students are 100% focused on their academics (with the occasional diversion for Woo Wednesdays).
Teachers at Wooster want you to succeed. They provide as much personal attention as you need and there are many one-on-one experiences you will have with your teachers throughout your time at Wooster. Students have a good study ethic, of course some don't study much, but then you have your group that is very focused and determined to do well. My science classes are small, especially as I have entered into more advanced classes. I am in a cell physiology class that is about 10 students and a chemistry class of about 20. Wooster tries to open students to all academic disciplines by requiring students to take a class through pretty much every department. This ends up being a great experience and opens students to new ideas and unexpected passions. Wooster really instills an appreciation of learning in its students. Academics are not so challenging that you can't be involved in many other things outside of school which benefits a students education as a whole. This is a really nice feature of Wooster because students are able to build a community and a great social life around the great involvement in campus groups and activities.
One of the things about Wooster that sets it apart from larger schools is that professors make themselves extremely accessible to students and really want us to succeed. I know that if I ever have any questions and need more details I can always head to a professor's office after class and ask or shoot them an e-mail about something. They are always very quick to respond and generally very close to their students. Every professor I've ever had at Wooster has alway made a huge effort to learn every student's name and a few things about them within the first week, which definitely isn't too hard because most of our classes average at about 18 students. Students and professors are generally very close; actually at the end of the semester my First-Year Seminar professor invited my entire class to his house for dinner, which is definitely common at Wooster.
Yes, Wooster has a rigorous academic program. Professors expect a lot out of their students and push them to achieve. However the great thing about Wooster is that although there are high standards of academic excellence there are so many great resources available to students to help them achieve these goals. For example, professors all maintain office hours, answer student emails quickly, and are always available for individual appointments. The faculty truly want to see their students succeed. The College also other great opportunities such as the Learning Center and the Writing Center which are free resources for available to all students!
Professors are amazing. Not only are they super intelligent, but they have genuine interest in their students lives and well being. This has easily been what I have enjoyed most about Wooster. Hardly a day goes by when I don't have a meeting with a professor to talk about class topics or even just to get to know them personally a little better.
Wooster's Independent Study (IS), where you take a year and work on a self-directed project in your area of study, is still one of the most impactful events of my life. It taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to and the one-to-one interaction with my faculty advisor was superb. Wooster prepares you for the future, but if you want to go on to a top graduate school, e.g., Stanford, Harvard, etc., a Wooster education is highly respected.
VERY RIGORIOUS BUT SOLID IN ITS FOUNDATIONS AND HELPS YOU BUILD IN YOUR CHOSEN FIELD OF STUDY! WHEN I SAY ITS HARD TO GET AN A IN MOST OF THE CLASSES, BELIEVE ME. I WAS IN THE TOP 10 % OF MY HIGH SCHOOL CLASS AND WHEN YOU GET HERE, YOUR WITH STUDENTS WHO HAVE COMPLETED THE SAME.