The Evergreen State College is a school for students who know what they want. There are no majors, nor grades. Rather, Evergreen offers the unique and fundamental chance to make education hands-on, tailored, and real. This is a college which applies education – making it purposeful. At Evergreen, learning is interdisciplinary and transnational, not isolated; it is collaborative, not competitive; personal, not generic; and practiced, not just lectured!
When taxonomy (like majors, grades, Greek life) does not exist, students think critically and sustainably about their education. “What does this education look like beyond college?” Every student studies theory and applies it to real world issues, while still enrolled. Evergreen does not use a competitive learning model. Students learn collaboratively. Alternatively, there is no anxiety to be ‘best’ (and because everyone has their own field). Students are charmed into thinking and discussing en masse. This boosts personal engagement! Collaborative learning and personal engagement germinate conversation – yes, even the shy ones in the back. Students want to use one another as sounding boards and be challenged constructively.
No majors means no barriers. Students are inspired to match unrelated emphases and find their intersections! When a student can mélange the unrelated, something brilliant happens; that student dismantles an insidious “divide and conquer” mentality and thinks autonomously – a powerful, dangerous thing. With this super-power, students begin bridging gaps. Societally and introspectively, an Evergreener ameliorates damaged ‘sources,’ not symptoms. This is a ‘wholistic’ approach, opposed to regurgitating antiquated practices.
If there are no labelled-departments, there is nothing for a letter-grade to categorize. Which is fine, letter grades are flat symbols for very messy learning processes. They are inconsistent quantitative data on student progress and unrepresentative of student work. How a student links theory to practical application is what is evaluated at Evergreen. Another gift is the intimate student to teacher ratio. A teacher to a small classroom has the privilege to observe each student and write individualized evaluations on their performance. Based on the anomalous field of interest, professors profess what a student might do next even.
Imagine the infinite possibilities of being supported by both faculty and peers, not grades nor other arguably antiquated systems. The Evergreen State College is an institution for passionate pioneers with purposeful planetary plans, not people pining for a proximate paycheck.
TESC was the second university I attended, and a world apart – literally, and figuratively. I started out at a public university in Texas where my freshman classes were HUGE lectures with hundreds of students. It was hard to find my place and be comfortable starting conversations. At TESC, classes are small and tightly knit. It felt like a much better place for me to learn and grow.
Overall, this place is fantastic. I am a trans queer kid with PTSD from a school shooting I was in (I'm always scared; take my campus safety review with a grain of rice) and they are very accommodating. Problem wise: they don't listen to their students of color, particularly black students. There is a medium-sized neo-nazi population both on campus and in the city of Olympia itself. They also have a proud TERF on their payroll, so trans students watch out. Academics wise: amazing. Pass/fail, five page long evaluations of your work from both yourself and your teacher, the class sizes are small and attentive, and there's only one class per quarter. Living on campus is a breeze, however Olympia isn't within easy walking distance so if you're disabled like me just keep that in mind. They do give you a free bus pass, though! Also: their acceptance rate is almost 100%.
The Evergreen State College is an oasis in the desert of grades and department politics. Why? Because at the Evergreen State College, we have none of those!
Rather than grades, Evergreen faculty write an evaluation at the end of each quarter for each student. In addition, each student writes an evaluation of the faculty, their own participation in the class, as well as a cumulative academic statement that will be completed just before graduation. It's a longer process, but the focus in class shifts dramatically away from grades or tests, and toward the understanding of the students.
When it comes to university politics between the departments, Evergreen bows out of the conversation. To promote the interdisciplinary learning style of the college, Evergreen's founders have elected not to have departments. Without the fighting for funds, enrollment, or resources, faculty can focus on other aspects of teaching.
The focus here, at the Evergreen State College, is on learning and understanding. We pride ourselves in our ability to make connections between disparate subject matter, work in small groups, and reflect on our own processes of discovery. That is what makes Evergreen stand out from other colleges and universities, and that is what makes Evergreen a wonderful institution.
The Evergreen State College continues to surprise me everyday; There is not yet one thing I have to complain about here, I feel like I am growing everyday as a leaner and as a individual. A extremely welcoming college with endless opportunities to explore your interest and even find new ones.
The Evergreen State College is as good as what you put into it. If you are a slacker looking to inch on by to get that piece of paper you can do that. If you a re a highly motivated student willing to take the initiative to arrange for independent study or work on independent research, you will shine and the faculty will help you in your endeavors. The Evergreen State College is a great choice for non-traditional and returning students who have to work for a living . There are great weekend and evening programs.
Best thing first, the Evergreen Graphic Novel Union is by far the best club on campus in my opinion, especially for those who are interested in art as a career and want to participate in a student artist community. They are active outside of regular club meetings, they print student work in zines, they table at local conventions, and the members are very talented. The GNU also screens weekly movies (more than the official Evergreen film club can even say). It's pretty much the only thing that's really keeping me at Evergreen.
Now for some lame things, campus is usually a ghost town. On-campus living spaces are gross and old (I cleaned those for a job once). Due to a recent increase in national white supremacist attention the chances of serious on-campus violence seems a little higher. Most clubs, activities, and on-campus events are few and lack-luster.
Now for some final good stuff, every class I've taken so far has been pretty good. Small class sizes allow for teacher's to work closer with students. I like how there are no required classes and there isn't a GPA. There are also a few good on campus facilities that are freely available to students such as media-loan and photo land. Students have a lot of freedom and flexibility that I doubt many other schools have. Evergreen advertises as a "do it yourself, you get out what you put in, design your education" deal, but it's really more like, "here, have a stick, a stick is a supreme toy, a stick can be anything if you use your imagination." But a stick is all you need if you're someone who'd rather go off and do their own thing like me.
Evergreen is the only college that I applied to. I loved it from the moment that I heard that a college like Evergreen could even exist, especially since they would let me take whatever I wanted. It was either going to Evergreen or joining the work force for me.
I have only attended TESC fir one year so far. As a transfer student, I finished my associates at a local community college and was able to direct-transfer all of my credits to Evergreen which was great and saved me thousands of dollars. The school is currently undergoing some very extreme changes and enrollment is down which means budget cuts have caused many programs and professors to be cut. The facilities are very nice when they are available but many of them are being cut next year like the theater and costume shop along with others. The teachers really make or break the academic programs here and I did not have a great teacher this year but since he was the only dance faculty I stayed on in his classes. This has been the worst part however, I have met the faculty of the year-long program I intend to take next year and she is awesome.
It is a great school and has a beautiful campus. But there isn't that much to connect to unless you are really outgoing. I loved studying here, but the budget cuts have killed anything important and living here its really lonely. Don't go here if you don't want to do drugs and wonder the woods
It is better than most colleges, there are always places for schools to improve and expand but Evergreen is a good space to grow as a person. Evergreen has a strong system to encourage self exploration and learning. Be aware that there will be places that are not perfect but it is better than most.
This school is very beautiful and it reminds you of that every day. People tend to be pretty stinky and must not like to wear deodorant. The classes are cool but I would like to see them merge a little better, as I thought they would. There are mostly care free type of people that go here (based off of physical appearance) and people are also very quiet here (I think its a Washington thing). I enjoy going to school here for the most part.
The Evergreen State College offers great classes. It excels at interdisciplinary programs co-taught by faculty from different disciplines. It can be a challenge to make up a schedule of multiple classes offered for fewer credits, but most faculty are willing to offer variable credit for their programs (i.e. instead of registering a full time interdisciplinary program for 16 credits, you can take 4, or 8, or 12, etc) for flexibility. Faculty are also available outside of class. Most elect to be available by appointment rather than post office hours, but in my experience, they're accessible, and they want their students to be successful.
Navigating the college outside of class is where things get tricky. There are offices and services that would have been useful to know about that I've only learned about after two years of study here. Succeeding at Evergreen requires a lot of self discipline and a willingness to carve your own path. The college has been working to create "paths of study" to offer something akin to majors. I imagine this being a great option. I haven't always found the advising office to be the most helpful, but unless you meet with someone regularly to discuss your wants, needs, fears, insecurities, etc... how can anyone help you figure out the best path. I mostly go to faculty I respect and trust for advice.
Evergreen has been a great fit for me, but it's hard to recommend outright because of the trickiness of navigating the administrative half of the college.
The Evergreen State College has seen its share of change over the years. My overall experience with The Evergreen State College is positive, mostly as a result of meeting my significant other of 9 years. I transferred to Evergreen in 2009 after attending community college for 2 years. I entered my time at Evergreen undecided on which area of focus I wanted to pursue, and I concluded my undergraduate degree this way too. I was altogether unfocused during this period of my life, which had much more to do with me than with Evergreen. I had some very nice instructors who did their best work. I met with a counselor who was very kind and supportive. I joined a rowing team. I worked part-time on campus. What I learned from my undergrad years is that what you get out of going to school has much more to do with you than it does with school. I entered Evergreen with a great deal of expectation surrounding what college was supposed to do for me. After spending 2 years of my life among Evergreeners, and all the connotations that come with that, I realized that it's me who's got to have my back and make something of my investment of time. Drink the kombucha, dance to the beat of your own drum, your choices are yours to live with. I am saddened to hear of the climate at Evergreen since the 2017 day of absence. It is my sincere hope that these events at Evergreen will be a teachable moment for us all.
I think this is a horrible college to send your kids to. When the Dean of the college allows misfits like these radicals to control the college of what the college is being paid to do and that is to teach not give in to these few loud misfits that don’t fit in anywhere the control to be racist by allowing a no white day is absurd is beyond reason. The Dean needs to stand up and fight for what’s right and to allow a teacher to teach, that is after all what these professors get paid to do. These misfits only cause a disturbance and hinder the education of other. If this kind of behavior is allowed then all paying parents should send their kids to a better college so their kids can get the education that they paid for and not go to a college that lets misfits that don’t even know what they are arguing for because they don’t fitting in and they are worried more about that then they are trying to learn something. Evergreen, take control of these few radicals or loose students that will become something in life. If you don’t take control and shut down this immature behavior someone is going to get hurt. Why do you think the misfits want the campus police Not to have any weapons? That’s because these idiots know they don’t know how to act, and they engage in fear and scare tactics and they do not want the police to force them to stop when they act in these barbaric ways. Take care of the few misfits now.
Evergreen is a great school for science majors such as chemistry, biology, environmental analysis, physics, mathematics etc. It's hard to overstate how well Evergreen does at giving you the opportunity to establish relationships with professors that lead to extremely valuable evaluations and letters of recommendation. This quarter I approached a professor and asked to take part in some astronomical biochemistry research that has proving to be priceless experience. In a school in which you have thousands of classmates this sort of one on one availability of professors is unheard of and evergreen places a lot of value on research. I also get trained and licensed to use scientific instrumentation which is priceless experience for competitive job markets. I can't say much about the humanities side of things, however for an aspiring scientist who wants to go on to graduate studies and do research, evergreen is an ideal school.
You will definitely get the most out of your time at Evergreen if you have some sense of direction. But don't be daunted. You can afford a year or so of taking random things that interest you until you figure it out. Most classes are not very hard unless you wanna get the most out of them. INS or other hardcore science classes are difficult. Classes are interdisciplinary and include a lot of projects and discussions. I have so many interesting conversations here, in and out of class. Even if you're super shy like me, you'll make friends easily. It's a small school, with lots of clubs, activities, common spaces, small classes, and friendly people. During the first couple weeks, push yourself to walk around campus, sit with strangers in the greenery, hang out at the hotspot (unless they never reopen it ): ) or go out and socialize (Olympia has an excellent house show scene, all genres of music). The dorms are nice, and very comfortable/easy for a first year. They're ridiculously expensive for how small they can be, but you do have access to a communal kitchen, you are close to school and the greenery (dining hall), and you basically live in a forest. Sharing a bathroom with 5 people is not as bad as it sounds. I rarely have to wait, everyone has different schedules. The windows have no screens, which is kind of nice. The greenery food gets old fast. It's pretty good but repetitive, and never as fresh and healthy as home-cooked food. There's usually vegan options but sometimes they're gross and sometimes they're great. Don't smoke pot on campus!! Just go for a walk in the beautiful woods or to the "safe place" which is technically on-campus but seems to be shrouded in a force field that hides it from cops. Pro-tip If you wanna live off-campus I highly recommend Rock Maple/ Evergreen Gardens across the street. Its about 1k a month. Split a 2 bedroom with someone.
The arts funding has gone down but it might go back up if enough new students enroll!! Environmental studies/science department is still going stronger than ever.
Evergreen is great school and a beautiful community. I highly recommend it. Hope to meet you someday!
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