Union College-Schenectady Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


The school and its alcohol/going out policy very much follow on the idea that students should work hard and be allowed to party hard. Being trimester, and having smaller sized classes you have to attend all classes since your professor will notice and you will easily fall behind (in the 10 week term). However, to me that became quite appealing. You are paying a lot to attend this school, so why miss any classes? Its also nice to have most classes filled with all of its registered students as that livens the classroom and enhances the class discussions. The party hard policy is what made Union one of the top party schools a few years back. But dont take party hard to mean students are not as smart and all they do is party. This mentality toward going out runs quite in conjunction with the study policy. The school simply understands that if you work hard Monday through Friday (excluding for some the "wasted" Wednesday night) then you should be allowed to enjoy your time on the weekend. If you're one who wants to study you're butt off, enjoy classes, and not be pressured to party throughout the whole week, but then dance yours socks off on the weekend- then this is the school for you.


Professors are directly involved with students. Small class sizes promote an environment based on personal contact, open discussion, and careful study of the subjects at hand. Undergraduate research is highly encouraged and is readily available. Students learn both inside and outside the classroom, especially with the help of the Minerva houses. While the General Education requirements can be confusing, it really allows students to step outside of their comfort zone and study many subjects.


The small campus and class sizes allow for tremendous interaction with professors. Every single professor i have had knew my name, but also was incredibly available for help and was always there to assist. There is always intellectual conversations and conversations going on outside of class and many times allow for students to interact with professors in a more casual, yet still intellectual manner.


Academic at Union is phenomenal. The class size varies between 7-40, which is small enough for close discussions. As a result, professors know every student's name. In addition, professors are very helpful. They have regular office hours. Furthermore, they are willing to set up appointments if your schedule prevents you from coming to office hours. One unique thing about the academic life here is that Union is on trimester. Therefore, 3 courses are the normal course load per term. With three classes, you will get to spend more time on each class and understand the concepts more deeply.


The professors here are excellent and care about you. I never have a problem going to their office hours and asking questions. You can get to know them on a personal level, which is great for recommendations. I've never had a problem with any of my teachers here, and I've taken mostly science, math, or economics courses here. We have a Minerva system in place, which is sort of like a house that every student belongs to. AT the houses, students and faculty gather around lunch or dinner and can have formal or informal discussions about current events or topics of interest. I'm in the Leadership and Medicine program at the college, and it's a wonderful program. It's an 8-year medical program with Union College, Union Graduate College, and Albany Medical Center. The faculty are great and the other students in the program are responsible and enjoy their time.


Union's academics are some of the best in the country. Since the classes are small, all of my professors know my name and some even know what I'm involved with outside of class. They really take the time to get to know you and what you're interests are. They also push you all the time, even when you start to loose faith in yourself, because they know that you can achieve excellence. It's a great feeling knowing you have teachers like this that truly believe in you. Students at Union are able to balance their difficult classes with their social lives. There is a lot of studying going on at Union all the time, but there is also time for you to take a break and just relax. With the trimester system, you only take 3 classes a term. While the material is taught fast, the trimester system allows you to have more free time for you to take time for yourself. Also, if you don't really like a class you only have to take it for 10 weeks instead of for a whole semester which is really nice. Union has a lot of academic requirements in order for you to graduate but I think it's a good thing because it allows you to take classes you may not normally take. This opens new opportunities for your future that you may not have thought about before. Union has so many great classes to offer that its difficult choosing what to take when.


Union academics gives the students a chance to explore diverse classes and succeed in their major. The professors usually know the students by a first name basis. Union academic life has a personal touch to it. Union students never feel like they are just another fish in a sea.


class sizes are incredibly small which is very nice and allows for ton of one on one time with professors. in addition to that, professors are really accessible for office hours. i find that class participation is very common. i am an english major and the department is very strong. ive really developed my critical reading/writing skills here. i do find that a lot of union's education program is geared toward post-graduation goals.


PROFESSORS ARE AMAZING AT UNION COLLEGE! I have not sat in a class where the professor doesn't work to learn my name, explain concepts when questions are asked, and be more then willing to help me outside of class. Students value their academics here at Union and it truly shows. The frat boys that you run into on the weekends, will be occupying the cubicle in the library next to you. Union professors find a way to make the Introductory classes interesting and hook many students onto exploring that course as a major or minor.


The academics at Union is the number one thing that drew me to the college. All of my professors know my name. They not only encourage but enforce that you ask questions and attend their office hours. Office hours are one on one time with your professor and they are extremely helpful. Standards are high and many Union students find that the work load is somewhat heavy. But, to temper the strain of studying, Union operates on the trimester system, that is, a fall, winter and spring term each year. This trimester system allows for a longer winter break than the semester system (6 weeks in full) to recooperate for the winter term. Unfortunately, it does leave Union students in school for longer than other colleges but many students find it all the same since our fall term starts later than most as well. Education at Union is genuinely for learning, not necessarily for just getting a job. Professors genuinely care about the subject that they are teaching and it truly shows. There has never been an instant where I felt stupid or stuck on a topic since the Professors are so flexible and willing to help.


The academic life at Union is top notch. The trimester system splits the year into three 10 week semesters with three classes taken each semester. I absolutely love this system. It's definitely a change and ten weeks goes by pretty fast but as long as you stay on top of your work and know what week it is, it's a great schedule. It also allows you to concentrate more on those classes as opposed to spreading yourself thin with many. The class sizes are small and mostly discussion based. The professors are so involved and passionate and always available. Education at Union is not just learning for learnings sake. The academic opportunities that Union provides for students are unending and students are well prepared for the world after leaving Union.


At Union, academic life is very important. The small size allows all your professors to get to know you and your unique strengths and weaknesses quite well. All teachers know their students by name and they don't forget even after a long time. The library is one of the most popular places on campus; it's nearly always packed with students studying. And that's not a wonder since the College has invested so much in a beautiful and advanced library. As a biology major, I take class with a very competitive group of kids. A large amount of my fellows are on a pre-med track like myself, so we all work very hard. We do whatever we can to move forward on our career goals and the College makes that easy through close relationships with professors.


The academics are wicked awesome! I have great relationships with the majority of my professors. They know my name and I keep in contact with many of them after I'm done with their class. I've spent time with my professors both during and outside of class. Every professor I've had has been supportive, consciously engaged and concerned with me and my growth.


The professors at Union are some of the kindest, most intelligent, and most helpful people I have met. We have small classes so they know you personally and by name. It is never nerve racking going to speak to one about a grade or something more personal. My grandfather died first term and they helped accommodate me in terms of missing classes and work. They asked me how I was doing and made sure I was OK. They are one of the reasons why I love the school so much.


Yes I spend time with professors outside of class. The Minerva system at Union host many events that professors speak at and hang out with students. For example last night there was an event at a Minerva house for Colleges Against Cancer where a professor discussed the effects of cancer on families and then we watched My Sister's Keeper with her. Professors get to know you on a personal level, they you can have discussions about many different things besides what you are learning in class.


On the first day of class, my first term at Union, I walked in the room and sat down. The professor welcomed us to the class and told us he had but one rule, we had to call him by his first name. Later in the term he invited us to his house for dinner. I feel like something like this does not happen everywhere and it is because of Union's small size that it did here. We have much smaller classes here making a lot easier to get to know your professor which helps greatly in networking. In addition to the professors' being very personable they are also very brilliant, constantly challenging you to take it to the next level, and always available outside of class for extra help.


The academics are average at Union. The students are not generally competitve and the gen eds are annoying. Getting into the clases you actually want/need is a real hassle though as an underclassmen. I have never once heard an intellectual conversation at Union before, but that's why we love it! The education is certainly not geared towards helping us get jobs which doesn't matter because our short summer schedule is a good way of screwing us out of many job and internship opportunities anyways. The teachers are easily excessable but what else do you expect from a small school?


Great classes, professors know your name, small classes, favorites were french, english (Bonnie MacDonald is a favorite english teacher) and dance classes. Class participation is common, spent time with professors occasionally, education in liberal arts area is geared towards learning, engingeering and marketing more geared towards jobs


Professors know your name, even in large classes you get noticed and there are opportunities to participate. Students aren't very competitive but academics are tough and with the trimester system, the work piles up if you are not on top of your priorities. Lots of outside work. Expect to manage your time well but do not get discouraged from extracurriculars.


At Union classes are small and all professors know your name by the end of the term. All teachers are extremely helpful outside of class and show personal interest in each student. Students typically study for a max of 4 hours a day, which is pretty short for an average college student. Also, we only take 3 classes at a time so there are fewer things to prepare for. The education is largely geared at learning for learnings sake, without specific attention to careers or job placement.


The work isn't overwhelming if you keep up with it, but the trimesters do move quickly. Its easy to fall behind. The professors are generally very helpful and understanding.


Professors at Union are great! Studying at Union is a very common activity where students are provided with office hours from professors, mentors through Minervas, writing centers, etc. Class participation is very common as many professors put a percentage of your grade on the act of participating in class. I think that Union's requirements are great. BEing that it is a liberal arts college I am getting a well rounded education in all areas of study while I can still focus on my major. I believe that the education is geared toward learning one hundered percent. Going to Union means that you will get a higher standard of education meaning that your chances of getting a job are that much better.


Academics are great. The teachers are fun and willing to party with you outside the classroom. Some students are total nerds, but most are really chill, while being hard working.


Union offers small classes in a small school environment. With just 2100 students, getting to know professors is easy. The course selection is extremely diverse, which is one of the reasons I chose Union. The courses are the best thing about Union in my opinion. Though many people might not be familiar with the name of Union, the academics are certainly well respected, which is what I found in applying to law school. Students are not overly competitive. Those that care about getting the best grades possible compete with themselves and others put social activities over academics, so they aren't competitive either. I absolutely love the class selection at Union. I've taken such class as Women Across Cultures (anthropology), Changing Ireland (English), Mental Health and Society (sociology), and Public Opinion (political science). I spent spring term of my junior year in Washington, D.C. through the political science department interning at non-profit organization and taking classes.


Academics are very strong. Professors know your name. Most of the students are highly intellectual. I have found myself speaking about scholarly things outside of class. Students are competitive.


I'm a mechanical engineer. Class sizes are small, typically around 20 students. Class schedules aren't too bad. I had one bad teacher in the first term and one bad one in the second, but the rest have been good. There are a lot of job and internship opportunities here. I don't spend time with professors outside of class, but I've heard of people who have. Students are competitive with each other.


I love how most of my classes are intimate. At a big University, kids can get lost in the shuffle, but here professors care about you and are very accommodating. Last trimester, I took a class with only six kids and we were able to change the time to later in the day since none of us wanted to wake up early. Here, many kids are naturally smart. There are some that study rarely, and others that are locked in the library all the time. With only three classes at a time though, the workload is not that hard to handle.


Most of my classes are very small, which is good for discussion, my class sizes have ranged from 6 people to 50 people. Students study a fair deal but the work load is nothing terrible. Union classes don't just teach you what is right and wrong, they teach you how to think and develop your own ideas. No professor here teaches simply solid facts, most classes involve stating your opinion in response to teachings, even my history professor teaches us to be skeptical of the way history has been interpreted. The academic requirements are fair.


Students, in general, at Union have to study all the time, especially those in the sciences. With its trimester schedule, both bad and good depending on the student you ask about it, poses many challenges for students. Classes are generally small, and professors are extremely friendly, and there are always opportunities to get involved in their research/projects. Intellectual conversations are always going on around campus - while in the halls, at meals, or relaxing in the sun. My favorite classes here at Union have been Endocrinology and Race & the Constitution. The GenEd requirements have been changing here over my years here at Union, but in general, I feel the requirements are much lighter versus other colleges I know of (and there are many options to accommodate interests). A great tradition at Union, is the annual Steinmetz Symposium where students present research/thesis/projects.


Classes are small and largely discussion based, and while some people work really hard, others tend to be pretty lax until it comes time to buckle down. A lot of underachievers. Class quality and professors are dedicated and generally excellent.


The teachers at Union are great! They are always available to give extra help, meet outside of class or even offer advice on things outside of class. They are organized and have very easy to follow teaching styles. My favorite class is the Illustrated Organism, it combines biology with art and scientific writing. We write scientific papers based on illustrations we have done on a particular subject, for example Evolution of the Flower with illustrations of various flowers that support the writing. Students usually study a couple hours a day and leave weekend homework til Sunday.


Classes are small and professors are available outside of class to discuss almost anything. If you put in the effort, the professors will do the same.


In every class I have been in the professor has known my name. Since our classes are so small they are condusive to class discussions. People here do study a lot but not all the time, people here have a lot of fun too! I would say that students for the most part are very competitive since most are going fot similar internships or are applying to similar graduate schools and medical schools, so they always want to do better than their peers so that they will stand out.


Academics at Union are challenging, interactive and rewarding. We are on trimesters so the terms are only 10 weeks long, which is nice but also moves very quickly. We also have a 6 week break for Christmas, which is also nice since it gives time for students to get a job, internship or travel. The professor definitely know the students names. The average class size is 25 students (possibly less) so most classes are discussion orientated and interactive. On the downside Union is a liberal arts school therefore we gain a lot of experience in writing and have a broad curriculum, but does not offer specific majors such as communications, marketing, business, ect.


I have had good relationships with a few of the professors and always felt comfortable making comments in class and was constantly stimulated intellectually. You definitely need to make sure on your own that you fill all the requirements but I would not say the school is especially geared towards finding jobs. You have to do most of the work on your own but there are a lot of resources that the school provides to help you do that.


Academics at Union are incredible. Our facilities are fantastic. For example, we have a scanning electron microscope that is only reserved for undergraduate use. At larger schools, this is unheard of. Professors take a personal interest in their students. I have never not had a professor know me by name. I see them casually outside of class frequently, as friends. Also, at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Union had one of the larger contingents, which was remarkable because it was one of the smallest schools represented. The level of work presented by the typical Union student was not achieved by most other presenters. Union students also have many opportunities to go abroad. This is even true for engineers! In fact, Union engineers are the only students who can go on any term abroad, because the exchange with the Czech Technical University is only open to engineering students.


Union is an amazing blend of a small liberal arts school with an engineering school. The class sizes are incredibly small. the average class size i have had has been around fifteen students. There actually are intellectual conversations whenever you want to find one, you can walk down the hall of a dorm at three in the morning and run into a political debate.


I love the size of the student body and campus because all teachers know my name because the class sizes are very small. I have only had one professor that I didn't like too much, otherwise the teaching staff here is great! Class participation is essential in all classes, students are competitive but not too much. Our liberal arts education is a great stepping stone for graduate schools. My major is political science, the professors are great and its one of the most popular majors. The only requirement that stinks now is that you need to take a foreign language.


I love Union's size. The campus is large enough to avoid feeling closed in but the student bosy is small enough that I feel like a person and not a number. Within my first week of classes, all the professors in my department knew my name and I felt comfortable talking to any of them. Several of my professors have taken classes out to dinner and one even invited the class to dinner at his house. This, of course, wouldn't be possible at larger school but with classes as small as twelve students, I've found college to be a very personal experience so far.


Class sizes are small so you get a lot more attention from the teachers. The trimester system means that you only take 3 classes, which is really nice, but they're accelerated to fit into 10 weeks. This means that you have a lot of work to do, but you also have lots of free time. You just have to make sure you manage your time well and don't screw yourself over. For engineering Union is unique because it is one of the few schools where going abroad is really possible. There are tons of different options for engineers to go abroad, and it won't get in the way of your degree.


From what I have noticed, the sciences at Union, especially engineering, are pretty rigorous. Yet I feel that the humanities could use a lift. Professors know your name and want to help you for the most part. Students study... a lot and a little. It depends on your major and work ethic, naturally.


Academics are good, in general, but only for the majors that are the most popular. Engineering and Political Science seem to have a good program, but smaller majors like Art and Classics really are lacking. The faculty is good and do their best, but the lack resources for small major, greatly impacts progress. Most faculty members are always willing to help students outside of class. Students don't seem that competitive, but most students don't slack completely. Academic GenEd requirements are fair, in general, but seem like hell when you're completing them. Sometimes declaring a special major is a good way to get around the dumbest of the major requirements.


small classes where professors should know your name unless you are a total flameout. academics are definately discussed outside of class, but not on the same level as, say, the ivy's.


Since Union is such a small school (about 2,200), it's easy to become familiar with professors. The most large classes are about 45-50 students. Occasionally, if there is large enough demand, classes can be extended to about 75 students. The only class with over a hundred students is the Holocaust class, which fits two hundred, and fills every time it is offered. Student participation is often inversely proportional to how large the class is, but also dependent on the professor - the same you'll find everywhere. Because Union is on the trimester system, students only take three classes a term - unless they add a fourth, but that is the exception. This makes terms short but intensive. Most classes meet two or three times a week, and you need to keep up with the work, because midterms and finals will hit you before you know it. While Union has a list of requirements for graduation, they are not that difficult to fill. While they might be annoying, they ensure that if you only want to do math and science that you take some reading and writing intensive classes. However, they make sure to cater to those who hate, say, reading, and offer a variety of low-level classes that will fill the requirement in the least painful way. While I am undecided, I have had professors here that have been able to suddenly make me think about considering majors I would have never considered before.


I know all my teachers pretty well and they all know my name and who I am. They are always willing to help, just send them an email, go to their office hours, or schedule an appointment with them. Students study all over campus, in their dorms, library, Minervas, outside when the weather's warm. Also, we always have lots of recruiters on campus.


Academics are great. Although, as a freshman, I don't always get my first choice of the classes I want to take, as Freshmen pick classes last. Most of my professors know me if not by name than at least by face. The amount of studying that students do really depends on the classes they are taking or the major they have. My engineering friends have a lot more time-consuming work than I, as an English major, have. I think that Union's academic requirements are great. We have a lot of leeway in the classes we take. They just have to fit in with the categories. I don't have to take calculus or biology or physics if I don't want to. There are science and math courses that are geared more towards the people who are stronger in the humanities and social science courses. I think that the education is what you make of it. You can make it about getting a job, like the engineering majors, or you can make it about learning for its own sake. I know that I take the classes that interest me, while keeping the requirements I need to fulfill in mind.


The political science department has some truly incredible professors who could be at Harvard but care too much about students to teach at an Ivy League school where working with undergraduate students and even knowing their names rarely happens. Conversely, Union allows for an intimate environment between students and professors. Unfortunately, there are some terrible professors who constantly degrade students who are not liberal in class and seem to feel that it is their duty to impart upon the student their own opinions and values rather than an objective perspective. If you disagree with some professors, you're wrong and this will show up in your grades. This seems to be a problem across American academia, however, and is certainly not isolated to Union. In fact, Union's stellar professors compensate for the bad apples. Lesson to new college students everywhere: Watch out, and don't be afraid to stick to your guns when professors challenge you--they generally have an agenda.


Academics here are very good. Most classes are 25 or less students so you have better interactions with your professors. There are only a couple of classes that take large numbers of students and those are one like the Holocaust class which takes 200 students, but i heard that it is one of the best classes you can take at Union. All the professors i have had especially in the math department really encourage kids to ask questions and come to there office hours. The professors are very helpful and very knowledgable. So far I would have to say my favorite class has been my Improv class for acting. It was a great way to learn more about yourself and how comfortable you are with yourself, while allowing you to have fun in a class for three hours!!! Dont worry most classes are only an hour or hour and 45 if you are on a tuesday/thursday schedule. You only have three classes a term or four if you are in the honors or engineering program. And the trimester system is great. having only three classes is a lot less stressful and the classes are still intense because they are taught in a shorter amount of time but you have more free time during the day to get your work done. One other class i would recommend is any kind of magic class with professor Sargent. I am currently taking History of magic mystics and Witchcraft and it is very interesting and it fulfills a WAC and GEnEd requirement but sargent is so energetic and its fun to learn how the ideas of magic we have now came about.


professors attentive and usually well prepared


Unions education is tailored towards teaching you through experience. I have had ample speakers come into my classes to tell you first hand experiences about what they had to go through which really does help you in figuring out what you want to do later in life. The teachers are very personable and I have had close relationships with many of my teachers. They make you work hard, and think about big issues.