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University of Mary Washington

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What are the academics like at your school?

My major is psychology, and I am also doing the five-year program for elementary education. Both of these departments are well-established at UMW. A majority of professors know my name. I believe the only classes where a professor has not has been intro classes. My favorite class this year is probably my primary literacy class. I love teaching and being around kids, so most of my education classes are my favorite. Students are very studious here. I know I spend a great amount of time studying and working on papers. I know that when I have to go to the library, it is usually packed of students working. Class participation is usually a common occurrence in class. This does depend on how engaging the professor is. The professor really does set the entire tone for the class. I have only experienced one horrible professor, and he does not teach here any longer. The professors are always willing to help during office hours or schedule another time if that does not work for you. All of my professors are very prompt on emailing me back and helping the best they can. Classes are very competitive. Students want to be the best and be remembered by professors. This can ensure that they will have good recommendations at the end of their college career or be able to force add a class if needed. It's also great to have relationships with your professors because they are very insightful and have a lot of great life advice for inside and outside of the classroom. All of the majors at this school that I am aware of try to prepare you for either graduate school or a job. We have a great resource center for careers and internships. They are always sending out emails for resume workshops and other events to help students with getting a job or applying for graduate school.

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Uh yes, all of my professors know my name. I am a French major and I'm in the Elementary Education program. I have been to my advisor's house several times for dinner parties and to watch foreign films with other students. I am often engaged in intellectual conversations outside of class. Class participation is usually a pretty large percentage of your grade in many classes and students are competitive to a certain degree. The most unique class I've taken was a Francophone literature class, which is an upper-level French course, taught in French, where we read about 10 novels from around the French speaking world. Very cool class, but a lot of work. The French department is small, but pretty sizeable for what it is. The Education program is much bigger and has a great 5 year master's program for Elementary Education. The program requires you to do so many practicum hours (in the classroom) throughout your undergraduate studies, but then you spend the whole 5th year student teaching and taking grad classes. The academic requirements are rigorous, but help maintain our high standards of excellence. Many schools require 2 semesters or less of a language, we require 4. We are also required to take so many speaking and writing intrensive courses, which in the long run really prepare us for whatever we may be faced with in life. UMW's education is very geared towards getting a job. There are many internship opportunities and classes that help you receive specific certificates. I took a business French class just for kicks and it helped me create a resume, learn interview tactics, and business meeting etiquette (all in French of course). The Educ. dept. puts you in schools all over Fredericksburg, getting your name out there and ready for a first job.

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I'm a huge nerd, but I loved the academics at UMW. Don't get me wrong, they're no walk in the park. At least within my major, you had to study. There was no way of getting around that. Sure, people skipped out on readings, but it generally showed in the classroom. The professors all knew my name, with the exception of a few random classes. But, within my department, my professors knew me. My favorite class was a political science/international relations class, but I have so many favorites. The faculty know that you can produce wonderful work, and they expect it from you. They push you to perform at the highest level. While that is difficult, I feel as though I've grown personally, academically, socially...all of the above due to my experiences at UMW. I'd say UMW students definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class. I mean, it's not all the time, but it definitely does happen a lot. I'm biased, but I thought my department was the best. The professors, beside being brilliant, were really cool people. I got the opportunity to spend some time with many of them outside of class, and that's pretty common for UMW. I think that's pretty amazing and a wonderful opportunity. They're also pretty hilarious. I'm an easy audience, but the majority of them cracked me up during class. The academic requirements, like I said, are tough at UMW. It's considerably difficult, but it's worth it. I have a job now, and I feel prepared. It's not just "learning for the sake of learning." My academic experience at UMW was challenging, fun, engaging, and overall-- awesome.

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A lot of the professors take the time to get to know their students' names, and many of the professors are willing to work with you during their office hours if you have any questions. As I was writing earlier, most of the classes are challenging, so you will need to spend a considerable amount of time studying to get the best grades. Many of the people don't and will still get by with Cs, but they can do better. UMW's general education requirements are a bit excessive, and I am not sure how I would have gotten through all of the gen-eds if I hadn't completed half of them through AP coursework. By the way, UMW is pretty lenient with granting AP credit. You can get at least some credit for getting a 3 on an exam. UMW wants to give its students a well-rounded education--they aren't merely concerned about preparing people for careers. In terms of class itself, a lot of the coursework seemed to be lecture-based, but their are definitely courses that are discussion-based. The departments in which I have taken the most courses are math and business. The math department is very strong at this school. Business is probably one of the school's easier departments.

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The academics at UMW are the best part about this institution. Almost all of my professors have known me on a first name basis. The professors are really good at developing personal relationships with the students. Students are UMW are very academically orientated and they study a lot. Class participation is very important at UMW, so if you don't like to speak up in discussions then this probably isn't the best school for you. The students are very intellectual and serious about their school work. I am a double major in Sociology and American Studies. The Sociology department always offers very good classes. The American Studies department is amazing. The professors are amazing, the classes are awesome, and people in this department form a special bond. The academic requirements are UMW are extremely rigirous, but it is a liberal arts education so it is suppose to be tough. I have learned more than I ever though I would learn in college. The education at UMW is absolutely geared toward getting a job and learning as much as you possibly can. It is a great education.

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Academic difficulty varies significantly by major and by Professors within each major. Most people going for an easy route choose Business Administration and stick to easier teachers, but there are definitely opportunities to challenge yourself within that major and every major for that matter. As a history major you definitely hear of teachers to steer clear of or that are easy. I always found that the most intellectually stimulating (... and yes demanding) courses were the ones taught by the "difficult" professors. Generally they have severe grading criteria but are usually exceptional lecturers or offer ample help in the subject they are teaching outside of the classroom. As far as difficult majors go any of the sciences are difficult. Political science has been a challenging major but with the recent turn over in faculty whether that remains the case is yet to be seen. The hardest majors are definitely the sciences, art history, history, economics, and historic preservation.

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Academically, UMW is a very good school. The classes are challenging by anyone's standards, and this is reinforced by the fact that we are ranked #2 in academics in Virginia, above UVA and behind only William & Mary. The one problem is that the name "University of Mary Washington" doesn't carry nearly as much weight as the course load would suggest. Even in Virginia where it is a relatively well know college, it doesn't carry nearly the same weight as UVA or even V-Tech. Registration for classes is a pain and poorly run, as are many things run by the administration. There are a lot of good teachers who are willing to work with you outside of class and are very understanding, though of course there are some who just plain suck. Most everything is 3 credits except for labs which are 4 (though there is a lot more work than one more measly credit), and transferring credits from other colleges even in Virginia is anything but easy.

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my favorite class or classes would have to have been west civ 1 and 2. i loved my teachers and the class its self. west 1 i had a new teacher who in his lectures made them like a long story that was sooooo interesting absolutly loved him. and proff hood i had for west 2 and he was just soooooooooo funny. to say the truth i learned nothing in that class i just went to laugh at his hand motions and the way he talked haha and i passed the class with nooo studying hahah. again do not take theatre with Mcclusky it is impossible to pass that class i failed it and it has pretty much ruined my life i hope that man gets fired and never ever comes back. oh and before u register for your classes go on rate your proffesor.com.. i made the mistake of not doing that freshman year.

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The academics here are pretty challenging. I don't believe the school gets enough credit for its academics. The courses can be difficult but the professors are wonderful and genuinely care about each of their students. They challenge their students to think critically and participate frequently. I have really enjoyed most of my courses here at UMW and I have never found a professor that I really disliked. Everyone is helpful in class as well. Students help each other study and generally, they come to class because they want to be there and they find value in the work they are doing. I have heard countless alumni say that UMW prepared them very well for their career and the work force and that having an education here is a great asset.

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Only one professor that I've had so far doesn't know my name. Class participation is very common, even in my larger classes. My smallest class has been 5 people and the largest 88. The most unique class I've taken is an International Cinema course. All of my professors are very available outside of class and encourage us to come ask questions. We used to have very strict General Education requirements, which I liked. I thought we were the only Virginia university that had a truly liberal arts education. But now they've lessened the requirements. Even so, they still require us to take 5 writing intensive courses and 2 speaking intensive courses, which are important skills for anyone to have.

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