Academics are rigorous at the University. Not just anybody can get in. Professors challenge you so that you have an idea of what will happen in the real-world as well as give you unique perspectives.
University of Illinois has an academic life that has a lot of class and subject variety and every single major with professors that care enough to push you.
The academics depends on your major. Some majors have reputations for being harder than others. My majors, Anthropology and History, were full of great professors who got to know me. I had the opportunity to do undergraduate research in a molecular anthropology lab, which led me to my current career path.
Because U of I is such a huge school, classes can be huge. When registering, it is easy to look for smaller classes. Smaller classes are better because you can get to know your professor and won't feel like a faceless ID number.
Large classes can be great too though. You are more independent and there may be less work.
It is good to make friends in your classes and major, because you will have study buddies and people to call if you have a question. This will also make class more enjoyable and you will probably be able to learn more.
Although classes can be large and intimidating, if you put time and effort into figuring out the system, you will make incredible connections with professors and students and walk away having learned so much from your classes.
Academics at UIUC are outstanding. While some programs are better than others, there are always challenging classes and more relaxed classes to choose from. Depending on the school and major you choose, there could be a lot of competition or there could be a more relaxed environment. However, most students take their academics very seriously and work hard to balance a thriving social life with a thriving academic life. In most of my classes, the majority of the class has been participative and engaged in the subjects. I credit my professors for this, too, because the professors try hard to foster class participation. I am a Recreation, Sport, and Tourism major, which is in the Applied Health Sciences school. Every one of my professors knows me by name and is always excited when I come to talk to them (as they are with all of their other students). The professors are lively and my academic advisor is incredibly helpful and caring. The requirements for my major, while challenging, are not at all impossible. I have to focus a lot of my time for schoolwork, but I still have time to play and to work a part-time job. It's not easy, but it's very doable with proper management and determination. I have certain friends who seldom study, but certain friends who are constantly asking me if I would like to go with them to the library to study. The overall academic environment is slightly relaxed, but students buckle down when things need to be done.
You earn your grade. If you put in time and effort, the results will show. Students study a lot, but it is well worth it. If you take the time to go to your professors' office hours they will be glad to help you with any problems you are having in class. Most students are highly involved in their academics and so class participation is common. The coursework can be challenging but you have a lot of free time compared to high school so it is nothing you can't take the time to work on.
The academics are some of the best in the country. Although lectures can have 700 people in them, there are 20-30 people discussion sections that accompany these so participation is required. All the professors and teachers assistants have office hours to help. The classes are challenging, but they will help in the future.
Good academics. Professors make an effort to know students and participation is always appreciated.
Academics are extremely intense. Our school is one of the top public schools in the nation and therefore it is challenging. It's nothing like high school where you can get away with not doing a little assignment. Also classes are pretty big until you start getting into the upper level courses of your major classes. So professors don't typically know your name.
My favorite class was definitely my Latino/a Studies 100 class. I feel I learned a lot about my people and their history. The least favorite class I took was Political Science 201. The reading was far too much and it was extremely difficult staying on track.
Class participation is key in smaller classes. However, class participation isn't big in the lecture halls because there's hundreds of kids. Most kids continue talking about the material after class if it was extremely controversial or fun.
I am double major in political science and communications. I love being a political science because it allows me to see the world with different lens and the different sides to the stories . My education in this school is definitely geared towards going to law school. I would like to become a district attorney.
Class sizes will get smaller the longer you are here and professors will start to know your name once you are in those smaller classes. You get out of the classes what you put in to it. Make sure you keep up with your school work before big exams so you have enough time to go to office hours if need be. Libraries will get very crowded around exam crunch times.
Like most big public universities, 100 level classes are generally bigger (300-600) while major classes get smaller as you move up in school. Engineering and Business are the university's two most distinguished programs, but people study everything from dance to molecular and cellular biology. There are so many courses that most students can suit their interests. Course work is course work. There are tests and reading in the majority of courses. Some classes have more writing than others, but generally there are essays in most classes. Grading is relative to the course, so don't freak out if you get a 60% on an accounting test. Being a business major, it seems like the Business School really does a great job of setting up its students for careers ranging from marketing to finance. I'd say that there is a pretty healthy balance between partying and studying. Illinois bars are hopping on weekdays, so there's always that distraction. U of I is a work hard, play hard type of atmosphere. In college, that's the way it should be. Most people are smart enough to balance their time, but it takes practice.
Besides being active in extracurricular activities, students at UIUC are academic. There is a good learning environment where there are helpful professors and positively competitive fellow schoolmates.
Needless to say, professors are knowledgeable and experienced. They encourage students to ask questions and start discussions in or after class. Also, they welcome students to visit them during their office hours, which makes academic help very accessible. Personally, I find the classes at UIUC very inspiring.
One thing I like about the academic requirements of UIUC is that they are reasonable. They are high enough to ensure that all students are educated, and at the same time they are not too high so that students can go out there to experience new things and live up the college life.
There are many different kinds of class in our school. Some large lecture hold with 300 students, which professor won't remember all students' name, participation is mainly use i-clicker. In this way, everyone have chance to participate in the class. Most of the class in hold with 20 to 30 students. Many discussions and in-class activities in this kind of class. The students in our school are competitive. Most of us care about our grade.
It depends on your major. Usually the engineering majors are the people who never go out their first several years when other freshman are partying out crazy. Professors generally don't remember your name, unless you try to impress them. Yes, try that in your 400 people MCB150 lecture, or 100-200 general size classes I had over the years. It's a public school. They believe in getting things into your head by tests and homework, not teaching skill or class projects.
UIUC has one of the best engineering departments in the world, top10 I'd like to say, especially electrical and computer engineering. You can easily find a job in big companies after 4 years. But you have to work really hard to get a good GPA here. The competition is brutal.
The atmosphere at the University of Illinois is very competitive. Yet, the competitiveness is hardly detrimental to your learning ability. Class participation depends on the College that you are in. For example, an Engineering class has less class participation then an English class. Because it is such a large school, the teaching abilities and styles of the professors vary greatly. For most classes, this allows you to be able to choose which style you learn best from and helps you further your academic career. As an undergrad, the professors will not go out of their way to make sure you are doing well. So, academic support must be found with your peers. Also, the office hours are a great way to get to know a professor but each professor has different expectations of their relationship with their professor. The education at the school is mostly geared toward getting a degree. There are resources for you to take advantage of if you would like to further your career after college but these must be sought out by you.
It may be surprising that Illinois actually has 6% of classes that are larger than 100 students and 66% of classes that are smaller. Academics are among UIUC's strong point. We have several departments that are nationally ranked and I feel no matter which career path you choose you are prepared very well for with your major. My favorite class was an upper level biology class, Ecology, which was a large lecture hall of about 300 students. My professor made it a point to know each of us by name; she would stop in our lab sections to talk with us individually and has become a mentor for me in my future career. She even helped me get a job on campus with a recommendation letter. This type of experience has happened a few times with my professors over the years. My least favorite class was an online anthropology class; not because the material was horrible, but simply because I found the online classes challenging and hard to stay motivating. I feel I get a better experience in class, lecture, or lab. Study time is very important for success at Illinois. Our classes can be rigorous and outside effort is necessary to succeed, along with class attendance. We have over 40 libraries on campus and you will always find them buzzing with student life. There are many extra amenities to accommodate students to assist with good study habits. I have enjoyed all of my classes here, in all different topics. I feel that my coursework has prepared me for getting a job as well as the opportunities I have had at career fairs and online job sites specific to Illinois’ students. I am excited and well prepared for my future.
My graduate program is very competitive; professor are very helpful (as well as TAs). I engage in a lot of intellectual conversations and attend multiple dept- related gatherings to interact with professors.
School in college is a lot different than it was in high school. First of all, I have never had a class which taught through lecture. The class is basically split up into two class: the lecture, where the main teaching goes on, and the discussion, where you receive assignments and take quizzes. My lectures range anywhere from 50 to 300 people, making it nearly impossible to participate. The professor just stands at the front of the room and talks. Often, you will never have an interaction with a professor throughout the entire semester. However, the discussion is usually no more than 25 people, making it much more possible to get to know these T.A.'s (teacher's assistants). But even in these discussions, participation is rare because you are so unfamiliar with your classmates. Unless you devise a schedule along with another person, you most likely won't know anyone in the class. You eventually find people who are in the same lecture, making the class of 300 seem a little smaller. That is also useful when you miss a lecture and need to borrow notes or have questions about assignments. Another main difference between high school and University of Illinois is that here you are in class a lot less, giving you a lot more work to do outside of class. I am currently taking 4 classes: a philosophy class, a communications class, a math class, and an economics class. Each of these meet for lecture two or three times a week and then discussion once or twice a week, meaning that most of your time is spent out of class. My favorite of these is communications. Coming into the year, I expected Philosophy 101 to be my favorite class. However, I was under the impression that the class would consist more of interactive group conversation than a teacher standing at the front of the room teaching us about philosophers and their work. While my communications class is the same style, I have thoroughly enjoyed that class. My professor makes it interesting and the discussion is more interactive than most, and my T.A. in that class is a big part of that. The T.A. really has a lot to do with the class, as this is the person you would most likely go to for help and the person who grades the majority of your work. It is possible to switch T.A. discussion sections in the beginning of the year, and I definitely wish i had taken advantage of that. A bad teacher's assistant can ruin a discussion section. Luckily, the students in my classes don't mess around in class, making discussion much easier to learn from. Students at my university are generally very focused. Most of the people I've met here see academics as priority number one. My peers are always interested in the future, and it shows through the hard work I observe everyday whether in the library or the dorms. The workload is a lot, but it's manageable if you know how to use your time wisely, a skill which is learned quickly.
School in college is a lot different than it was in high school. First of all, I have never had a class which taught through lecture. The class is basically split up into two class: the lecture, where the main teaching goes on, and the discussion, where you receive assignments and take quizzes. My lectures range anywhere from 50 to 300 people, making it nearly impossible to participate. The professor just stands at the front of the room and talks. Often, you will never have an interaction with a professor throughout the entire semester. However, the discussion is usually no more than 25 people, making it much more possible to get to know these T.A.'s (teacher's assistants). But even in these discussions, participation is rare because you are so unfamiliar with your classmates. Unless you devise a schedule along with another person, you most likely won't know anyone in the class. You eventually find people who are in the same lecture, making the class of 300 seem a little smaller. That is also useful when you miss a lecture and need to borrow notes or have questions about assignments. Another main difference between high school and University of Illinois is that here you are in class a lot less, giving you a lot more work to do outside of class. I am currently taking 4 classes: a philosophy class, a communications class, a math class, and an economics class. Each of these meet for lecture two or three times a week and then discussion once or twice a week. My favorite of these is communications. Coming into the year, I expected Philosophy 101 to be my favorite class. However, I was under the impression that the class would consist more of interactive group conversation than a teacher standing at the front of the room teaching us about philosophers and their work. However, my communications class is the same style, yet I have thoroughly enjoyed that class. My professor makes it interesting and the discussion is more interactive than most, and my T.A. in that class is a big part of that. The T.A. really has a lot to do with the class, as this is the person you would most likely go to for help and the person who grades the majority of your work. It is possible to switch T.A. discussion sections in the beginning of the year, and I definitely wish i had taken advantage of that. A bad teacher's assistant can ruin a discussion section. Luckily, the students in my classes don't mess around in class, making discussion much easier to learn from. Students at my university are generally very focused. Most of the people I've met here see academics as priority number one. My peers are always interested in the future, and it shows through the hard work I observe everyday whether in the library or the dorms. The workload is a lot, but it's manageable if you know how to use your time wisely, a skill which is learned quickly.
It's easy to not ever interact with a prof here. But if you want a good experience, it's definitely within reach. I'm in a 1.5 year MA program that I'm transitioning into, and it has permitted me to work closely with professors and administrators.
The academics are likely to be a change for most students. Some of the professors in my classes do not know my name, especially the ones in the larger lecture halls. While this can be a little frightening, especially participating in lecture with so many people watching you, making yourself approachable and talking to professors during office hours can really stand out; a few of my professors now know me because I had a conversation with them during their office hours. Participation is common and encouraged, professors will gladly help if you do not know the answer. I am currently majoring in Journalism, but may switch into Advertising/Business. Each department is extremely helpful in finding internships and any beneficial opportunities for students, especially the College of Media which I am currently placed in. I would say that the academics is certainly geared towards finding a job, but to find the job you have to have a quality education. It's a nice mix of making sure that you can find success in your field and receiving a quality education in other departments.
In regards to getting to know one's professors, I realize that it is a two-way street. If you take the time to get to know them, they will do the same for you. For this reason, it is vital to email them with questions or even speak up in lectures and discussions. My favorite class so far has been Theatre 101: Introduction to Theatre Arts, while my least favorite has been Spanish 103: Intermediate Spanish. Students often study be spending an hour or so at the library to clear their head, getting together with other students in dorm lobbies, or simply retreating to their rooms. Class participation varies depending on the size of the class. Smaller classes often have more participation, but it is less likely in large lectures, say the ones that take place in Foellinger Auditorium. One of my favorite things about campus is hearing the number of interesting conversations that students have about their classes. They are nothing short of fascinating and enlightening. Students here are competitive in a healthy manner. Seriously, they had to be to be admitted here! The most unique class that I have taken is either theatre or asian mythology. Their topics just feed the originality of some of the discussions I have had in these classes. I am a Broadcasting Journalism major in the Journalism department of the College of Media. While we are perhaps on the smallest and newest of the colleges, we really do know our stuff and enjoy it. The entire department is very personable and makes a habit of knowing the students. I have gone to a few office hours, and the staff is very nice! Overall, I feel that the academic requirements are where they should be. All in all ,the education here is a nice mixture of having you learn what you need to while also making sure that it will get you the right job.
It was definitely an adjustment transitioning from high school classes to classes at the University of Illinois. The main thing that is different is the class size. Going from 20-25 kids in a class to potentially 350 is really intimidating and it is hard to stay focused. Since this school is so big, many classes have many different sections accompanied by a lecture with hundreds of students. Unless the class is a specialized required class within a major, chances are the professor will not know your name. Class participation is also rare with these types of classes since professors usually will move quickly through material while students scribble down notes. Rarely have I chatted with professors outside of class and they will direct most of the questions towards their teaching assistants anyways.
I'm a communication major, but my favorite class was actually NPRE101 which stands for Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering. That may seem difficult, but it was actually all about how different energy sources worked and required no background in the field. It satisfied a general education requirement and I learned a lot of really interesting information about subjects that I had previously known very little. It was also taught by a Professor Ruzik, who I would have to say was my favorite professor since I've been here.
I'd say the education at this school is definitely geared towards getting a job. Many of the classes that I've taken can easily be passed by learning to pass the next exam. It doesn't seem like the material needs to stick, but that it is more important to get the grade. While I may be fond of that structure right now, I don't think that this will benefit me in the long run.
Overall, the academics at the U of I are impressive, it just depends on what you're looking for from a college experience. Excluding certain majors, the general rule is probably If you can stay focused in a big lecture hall and can maintain steady motivation by yourself, then this school will be a piece of cake. However, a student looking for a lot of one-on-one time with professors won't find it here. That being said, this school offers so many majors and courses that it is relatively safe to say there is something for everyone.
I remember when my family members would say to me, "when you get to college, they won't care if you get your work done; unlike high school, no one's making you turn in your homework." That has been relatively true for the most part, however, I've discovered that the good teachers really want you to succeed. And for the most part, they actually do care about your grades.
The general rule of thumb is that you get out of class what you put into it. I'm by no means a slacker, but the classes that mattered to me the most were the ones that my professors pushed me the hardest in. It's a typical tough love situation: U of I professors will work you hard, and you'll thank them for it later. Some of my professors were down right pathetic, and some were profound in that they challenged us beyond what we thought we could handle. Even though I faked a smile most times, I realized that they only wanted the best from me because the real world does as well. I did, however, learn something from the bad ones: effort matters. If I really wanted to do well, I had to force myself to figure out how to do it. After dealing with some of the worst professors, I've learned to be resilient and self-starting, because sometimes you have to go the extra mile on your own to get what you want.
I especially enjoyed class sessions that operated like a law school would, that is, the discussion were lead by the students. Rather than endure a long, boring lecture with an occasional picture, we got learn from each other and listen to varying views for comparison. That's valuable in it's own way, not to say that lectures are meaningless. It's important to learn to participate in class discussion because you'll often find yourself confused if you can't relate to some of the material and share thoughts openly. Many professors on campus operate like law school to get the students to essentially teach themselves. They are meant to challenge us and gives us room to grow, and U of I faculty does this very well.
I'd say that we are a very intellectual university. Most conversations I hear are about what someone did last night, or some party, but that's just typical of college life. I don't really find it that difficult to stumble upon a conversation involving politics, current affairs, campus inclusiveness and student code adjustments. Students here really care for their rights, and yearn to be heard. There are an abundance of programs and events that allow for students to communicate their interests and concerns with today's problems. Any and every topic is discussed in forums, panels and other speeches our campus organizations set up.
We have more than 30 libraries on campus, including one with one of the largest collections of volumes in the nation. There's no shortage of places to study, and students take full advantage of that. We take academics seriously, and take the opportunities to improve our grades regularly. Two of those libraries stay open 24 hours- that goes to show that U of I is focused on preparing its students for success. The work that students put in after class is where it counts. We've earned our academic reputation from the hours spent laying across scattered papers at 4 in the morning.
The academics at the University of Illinois are taken seriously, but professors do not make classes so impossible that academics completely overrun a student’s life. One thing that surprised me at Illinois was the friendliness and overall concern professors have for their students. One of my professors has asked us several times to let him know when we have performances and other showcases outside of class because he would love to attend. Even in my lecture of 300, the professor knows the names of many of her students. The Teaching Assistants (TA’s) are also friendly and willing to get to know you and assist you in any way. And despite popular belief, they can be very understanding as they are students themselves. Students do not openly discuss it, but this is a competitive place. At freshmen convocation we were told that 29,000 individuals applied for the freshmen class, and 7,000 were accepted. With that acceptance rate, it is natural that the students here are motivated and intelligent. However, you will find a variety of students here. Some would be happy to spend six hours in the library on a Friday night, while others are more interested in the social scene. By Sunday afternoon, however, dorm cafeterias and libraries are full of students preparing for the coming week, confirming our reputation of being excellent at balancing our social and academic lives. My department, the College of Media, has been great to be a part of thus far. It is a very professional environment, and the advisors are very motivated in helping us with intern and job placement, even as first semester freshmen. I receive multiple emails daily from one of my advisors with new internship opportunities and various ways to be involved in the College of Media.
The academics at U of I are world-class, reflecting the size and reputation of the school and its acceptance rate (about 74%). The classes are larger for gen ed classes, usually about 100-200 with 20-person discussion sections, then shrink dramatically for more focused classes in a student's major, going from 10-20. Whatever you're preference, you'll find it amongst U of I's hundreds of available classes.
Participation ranges a lot, which is natural considering the vast diversity of the student body here. Some students are a bit lazier, and some are competitive and completely into it. There's always someone to talk to, from the professors to your classmates to anyone around campus. The professors are very accommodating and really love what they do, and all the ones I've had have plenty of experience and awards and really know what they're talking about. My favorite class was Comm 275 with Robert McChesney, a world-renowned media scholar and founder of Free Press- and a lot of people around campus have said the same thing. My least favorite class was this English class I took, Enlightenment Literature- but I hate English.
For the most part, the school's academic requirements are consistent with most 4-year state universities, and really depend on the student. Similarly, there's a lot of room for gen eds and electives and minors, so students can both get a job and do some higher learning, if they choose to.
The academic makeup of a student's career here is hugely dependent on what a person is studying. I'm a journalism student, so my academic experience has been so much different than, say, my friend who is an engineer. While she has huge classes and is a lot more anonymous as a student, I have small classes and have had the same professors multiple times. As a result, students are pretty close and by senior year we all know each other from classes and working at the newspaper or at other campus publications.
Journalism classes are usually very small - a lot of the classes don't have more than 10 students - so we are able to get to know each other and the professors very well. Our classes are very involved, so we do have a lot of out-of-class work but not many exams or mindless homework assignments.
The best part of classes on this campus is that professors personalize their lectures. They are not afraid to take their teaching outside the boundaries of the classroom. It is not rare for a professor to relate topics learned in class to everyday situations. After being to lectures on other campuses, I realize that U of I students are particularly lucky have great professors that want to interact with their students. Often times, professors are also very accessible, even though they have TAs.
The academics surprised me when I first attended Illinois. I heard many people say that going to a big school would eliminate the small classroom experience and get good relationships with your professors. But I learned that's definitely not true. I have some classes that are only 20 and even 12 people. It's great. I love that I have good relationships with some of my professors. Some classes can be easy and some challenging, which I found was a great range for a college.
Lecture aren't all that intimidating and if you make an effort to speak with your professor, they'll know who you are. As you progress through your major, you'll have more intimate settings in the classroom, which is really when stuff like that matters. You can't coast here too much. Blow-off classes do exist, but no that many. There's always students at the libraries, which are highly regarded nationwide. Illinois is definitely competitive, but that comes with the territory of many of the students here used to being the smartest in their class. Job preparation and learning for its own sake is pretty balanced,but probably leans toward job preparation. I am a journalism major and am on the school newspaper, The Daily Illini. The DI is great and has taught me much, much more than the journalism school itself. Overall, professors are very good about having office hours available.
There is always something new to learn in life, and that's no exception at the U of I. Classes are geared at creating a common goal between teacher and students: succeed. Success in the eyes of a teacher can be different from what a student sees as success, and that's okay. Professors are eager to help students, in and out of the classroom, some will even want to help you over coffee. Most students are here to get a job in their future, others just want to know more, but the great thing about U of I is it doesn't matter why you're here. You've done great so far and with the great learning environment here, students can only do better.
When I chose my classes in the summer going into my freshman year, I had a lot of help from my adviser, who was in the same room as me. We had had a meeting earlier that day after orientation and she had already critiqued the classes I wanted to take and suggested what would be helpful for my major and this just really made picking classes for me so much easier and faster. When school started, I was surprised by how many small classrooms I had. It was very similar to high school. The only difference is the material can be harder. Usually, the smaller classes are taught by T.A.'s, which I thought I would hate at first, but I have grown to really like it. The T.A.'s really get to know each of their students and their closer to our age so they can relate to us when we forget an assignment during a stressful week because they are still dealing with school themselves. They usually have time outside of the classroom, all it takes is a quick email. When a small class is taught by a professor, it is pretty much the same situation. I had an awesome professor who taught my Hazardous Weather class. He had everyone's name memorized by the second class. He was so helpful and always willing to answer any question that anyone had. These professors know what U of I students are capable and they'll get it out of you to push you toward a better future. Any class you take will teach you skills that will be necessary when you get older. If you'd like classes that are geared toward your career, there will be classes your adviser makes you take that are required by the school. So no matter what, you are getting the education you need for the future you want.
So here's the thing, you can be FOOLISH and sign up for all the weed-out classes that your adviser will "highly recommend" when you meet with them over the summer, but it would be a really bad idea. These classes (CHEM, BIO, CALC, etc.) are going to screw up your GPA. I don't care how well you did in high school, you're NOT READY for college. You are about to enter a really HUGE transitory time period in your life, and even though you're dealing with so many different issues your grades are most important. Don't screw yourself over by getting in classes that (A) don't really interest you and (B) are just going to mess up your GPA.
On another note, UIUC has a ton of really interesting classes across all of their departments. Sign up for classes that interest you. You will have more than enough time to finish all your gen eds. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised to see that many of the classes that interest you will satisfy a gen ed.
The academics at the University of Illinois are a mixed bag. While many of the lower level courses are taught by teachers assistants, the higher classes offer outstanding opportunities to connect with world renown academics. As a journalism major, my early classes were not the most exciting. However, the higher classes provided one-on-one time with Pulitzer Prize winners. Sticking through the early years reaps great rewards in the later years.
Academic life is no breeze at Illinois. Over the past few years, things have only gotten more competitive. U of I is a challenging academic environment and that is one of the reasons why I chose to go here. It is important to prepare yourself properly for the job market. U of I academics will do that for you. It isn’t Harvard, or Stanford, or even Northwestern, but Illinois is a top tier academic university. It is a good balance for strong students who don’t want the day-to-day grind of a Northwestern-type university.
Academics are extremely important at U of I. If you want to get a job, you have to do put effort in to your classes and try. Of course there are "easy" classes, but even those you have to do well in. I know tons of kids who loaded their semester with easy classes but did poorly in all of them because they just saw them as easy classes. I personally see no point in doing that, especially because you're paying for education in college.
My professors know my name because my classes are smaller. I'm in a Broadcast Journalism major and our classes are smaller and more intimate, so you actually get the chance to talk one-on-one with your professor and get to know your whole class. I love that about my college because I get the best of both worlds. My college is one of the smaller ones but I still get that big university atmosphere.
I can't measure how often students study because it really does differ depending on the student. There are kids that sleep in the library two to three nights a week and there are also kids who go out to bars two to three nights a week. It all depends on the student you are and how you like to study. Remember, it's all about the effort and time you choose to put into it.
I can't speak for other colleges, but I can safely say that the education at this school is geared toward getting a job. Of course with much learning involved! My college has this awesome internship/job coordinator who sends out numerous emails daily about internships and job opportunities to students in the College of Media. I've entered numerous opportunities from her emails and I'm very grateful for that. Actually, I found out about Unigo through her!
I really do believe that the students here are the best of the best, the cream of the crop. Some of the brightest minds in the world attend the university. Not only do we have some of the smartest kids in the country, but bright students from China and India, for example, participate in the academic environment present here.
A lot of incoming freshman's fears about attending such a large university are the 100-plus student lectures. A legitimate concern, but one that the U of I answers. Large lectures are made smaller by attending weekly discussion sessions taught by Teaching Assistants (TAs). This makes the academic experience more personal. The professors make themselves very available, too. They always stay after class and help students with the material. They also hold office hours several times a week to go over problems with the students. The type of academic experience one haves here is all dependent on the student. He or she makes the academic experience as personal as he or she sees fit.
The university ensures that its students learn the skills necessary for their chosen career path, but they also stress that kids are well-rounded here. U of I requires its students to take several general education courses that allows students to explore what else is out there. The classes here help students succeed in their future jobs, but also to succeed as more complete human beings.
Simply academics is very broad. It really all depends on each specific class. I have had a few classes where there are over 700 students in the class. Yet, the professor still makes himself/herself available through office hours, and there are always TAs to help as well. Most students spend a good amount of time studying, even though it may seem at times like all people do is go out and party. The education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is definitely geared toward getting a job.
The largest class I've ever been registered for had 200 students, and broke down into discussion sections of around 20ish. My lecture had around 100 students, and my discussion section (where you go over material from lecture again in a more intimate setting) had 7 students. My smallest class ever is just me and the professor for my private lessons! I love being in the Music Department because it is such a nurturing environment and I know that my Professors both know my name, and care about me as a person.
Depending on your major, your classes can range from 300 person lectures, to 20 person classrooms, but it's really dependent on 1) your major and 2) which class. I found that class size decreases with age in school, mostly because you start taking more advanced classes and you also start getting taught more by professors and less by the TA's. I am a biology student and I've never been upset by the large classes, and in fact, the professors really make an effort to get to know you, I had one that memorized all 200 students names, major and a fun fact about them by the end of the semester. As much as you wont want to, you have to make your professors know you sometimes, so you have to answer and ask questions, introduce yourself after class, etc. It may seem awkward at first but you're not the only one that does it and the professors appreciate it. professors and TA's especially the TA's make this school run and really make sure you have everything you need to be successful. I know TA's that have stayed up all night to help their students finish research projects, or write a paper. The interaction between graduate and undergraduate students here is really positive and friendly.
The University of Illinois is a very big school, and therefore the lectures tend to have a lot of students. This makes it harder for students to get one-on-one time with the professors, but that's why they usually provide office hours. Students actually spend a decent amount of time studying, depending on your major. I am currently majoring in Accountancy and the program is well-known for being one of the best programs in the country so I spend a fair amount of time studying. I am very glad I am able to be a part of this program because they gear my education towards preparing me for my future career.
In all honesty, academic rigor depend on the major and how studious the person is. There are some majors that demand more work out of their students and other majors...not so much. I don't recommend picking a major based on how much money it will make you in the future or how easy the classes will be now. This is my own personal opinion and I know the job market is hard and a good degree and GPA means a lot, but there are more than 150 programs- you can find a major you will enjoy learning about, and if not...create one! Then it shouldn't matter how hard or easy the classes are because you will want to learn and study the material because it's something you like. Even if there is a future career goal that seems unrelated to what your major is, lots of people's majors have nothing to do with their jobs. And having a major unique to whatever occupation you're applying to makes you stand out. Again, this is my own bias, but I believe in picking a major you like so academics aren't so "academic."
Although opinions vary depending on who you ask, it seems like all of my friends (everyone from engineering majors, to English, business, history, education, math, music, etc.) agree that the work is rigorous here, but definitely not impossible. I can back that up with my own experience. I have a few easy classes each semester, but usually at least two that take a lot of studying. Most students take 15-17 credit hours each semester (like 5-6 classes, depending on what they are) without getting too overwhelmed.
I'm a Food Science major, which is within the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, or ACES. It's a mix of a lot of chemistry, microbiology, and a bit of cooking, statistics, and physics for good measure. My most challenging class has been organic chemistry, although physics and calculus were no picnic either.
My most unique class so far has been Indigenous Governance which I took through the Campus Honors Program as a Non-Western/Minority general education class. It was so much reading, critical thinking, and writing, but I learned a lot and I think I gained a lot of perspective about past and current Native American issues.
My favorite current class is Food Chemistry, but probably not a lot of people reading this will end up taking it unless you decide to become a FS major like me.
In terms of the structure of classes and the availability of professors, it is a mixed bag. 90% of my classes are fairly small (about 20-40 people) and I know my professors pretty well. Starting out, you will probably have some very large lecture classes, especially if you take entry level Econ, Chem, Bio, History, or Calc, but these are not as scary as you would think. Really! Big classes (I'm talking 200-500 students, here) are a lot of fun. You are getting the same lecture regardless of whether the professor is talking to 20 people or 200 people, and it's not any more distracting being in a lecture hall than being in a classroom (unless you bring your laptop and get on Facebook the whole time, which people totally do...don't be one of them). Also, most of the big classes divide up into small (15-20 people) discussions at the end of the week so that you can actually interact with the other students in the class and dive deeper into the material.
My Calc class freshman year was a good example of this. We had lecture 3 times a week, and then we met in discussion and did group worksheets and quizzes as small sections. Our TA was nuts, in the best possible way, and we all became good friends who studied with each other outside of class and helped each other with the online homework. Never underestimate the power of a tough class to bring people together! Also never underestimate the power of asking for help. Professors are required to have office hours several times a week, and they are often just sitting alone in their offices, wishing a student would come ask them a question. Take advantage of those opportunities to get to know your teachers! My calc professor saw me last year in a Pilates class and still remembered me from those times I sat on the floor of her office while she explained tricky homework problems. If you need help, seek and ye shall find...
Finally, it's one of those stereotypes of college that people sit around late at night and have highly philosophical conversations about life and politics and race and religion and identity and all that lofty stuff. Well, I can tell you that I've definitely had a LOT of those types of conversations in my time here. It's an amazing experience. If you have the right kind of friends (aka the best kind of friends ever), this can be a daily occurrence. Then again, if you hate that kind of thing, there's plenty of people here who hate it too, and that's okay. Different strokes for different folks. I'm ending this answer before I throw in any more cliches.
Depending on what you take or what your major is really affects how much work your going to put in. I started out as undeclared, then I switched to communications, and then I switched to biology. Each major was extremely different. Students in communications really only have to do about 5-6 hours of studying or homework a week whereas biology majors can put in upwards of 20-30 hours. Higher level major courses can get competitive but lower level general education requirement classes are pretty relaxed. Overall class participation is pretty common so if you're someone who likes to talk you can talk, or if you're more of a quiet type, someones bound to volunteer before you get put on the spot. Most of the professors are very helpful and make class interesting. Occasionally you will get a TA or professor that you don't care for that much but it's probably because you don't like the class that you're taking. Professors and TA's have a lot of office hours so it is easy to get help outside of the classroom. UofI has a lot of online homework sites that have discussion boards which can be used to ask professors questions or social network to find people in your class who can help you study.
Depending on what you take or what your major is, really affects how much work your going to put in. I started out as undeclared, then I switched to communications and then switched to biology. Each major was extremely different. Students in communications really only have to do about 5-6 hours of studying or homework a week whereas biology majors can put in upwards of 20-30 hours. Higher level major courses can get competitive but lower level general education requirement classes are pretty relaxed. Overall class participation is pretty common so if you're someone who likes to talk you can talk or if you're more a quiet type someones bound to volunteer before you get put on the spot. Most of the professors are very helpful and make class interesting. Occasionally you will get a TA or professor that you don't care for that much but it's probably because you don't like the class that you're taking. Professors and TA's have a lot of office hours so it is easy to get help outside of the classroom. UofI has a lot of online homework sites that have discussion boards which can be used to ask professors questions or social network to find people in your class who can help you study.
The University of Illinois is not just a default school where all in-state students go. Although many of the students here are from the state of Illinois, the University is much more than its proximity. The programs here are nationally ranked and the faculty include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. There are over 150 majors and thousands of classes available every year. It is a well-known fact that students should Google their professors to see what they did before becoming a professor. Some of my professors are published authors, national award winners, professional reporters, producers and practicing lawyers. In a school of 40,000 students it is surprisingly easy to develop a relationship with professors. They are willing to help students with their own class, help them find classes to take in the future and even find internships and jobs. I secured my internship because one professor asked her students what they wanted to do after graduation. She remembered my response and emailed me about a year-long internship opportunity that I could take for credit.
As a student in two very different disciplines-French and pre-medicine-I was able to experience a wide variety of classroom experiences. At times, I was in class with over 400 students, at times I was in class with less than ten students. Both experiences had their pros and cons. While being in such a large class can often seem overwhelming to students, the use of discussion groups, teaching assistants, and office hours helps to personalize the experience and make it easier to handle. In classes such as these, it is often up to you to decide how much to be involved. Smaller classes allow for a much more discussion-oriented atmosphere, which encourages learning from ones peers and working together to uncover answers. And while I loved both of my programs of study, some of my favorite classes were those I took for general education requirements or electives. At U of I, the choices are endless. While U of I does provide a competitive atmosphere with challenging courses, professors wish to see their students succeed, and will work with them to make that happen. U of I's challenging curriculum was overwhelming at times, but the difficulty better prepared me for my pursuit of medical school.
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