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University of Massachusetts-Lowell

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What are the academics like at your school?

When a professor takes time out of his schedule to come meet you for a personal one on one.... in the middle of summer... then you know you've found a good school. So was the case with me this past June. I can easily say the teachers here are the best, most honest people in education I have ever studied under. Andre Dubus III may be an Oprah book club winner, but that doesn't stop him from ripping apart his creative writing student's drafts and helping them morph their "babies" into amazing works of art. Learning how to create a deep character driven plot from a man who obviously has that down to a science was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and it had propelled me towards publishing a book of my own now. I mainly took English classes at UMass Lowell, and I can admit that I had a wide range of emotions and difficulties with them. Some were easy and fun to sit through, while others were very challenging and scary. "I'm looking at you, British literature II." The silver lining in that? The tough classes allowed me to retain so much knowledge that it still boggles my brain thinking about how much I actually learned in four short months. it was common for many students to form study groups and rush to the library right after class to work on the next assignment. I was recommended by two of my teachers to help tutor some students for an upcoming test. Not to toot my horn, but I agreed without hesitation, partly because of my love for the material, and partly because helping my fellow students was just something I wanted to do. Going back to my negative side, I will bring up the language requirements of any public college's bachelor programs. Taking a language class on top of your other core classes is a heavy load, especially when you've never had any experience with the language learning process. Students will grumble about unfair practices and large work requirements, but simply making time to study makes all the difference. I just wish the language department, which is considerably smaller than other departments, could get more teachers, and more tutors.

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Even though I'm only a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, I have found that all my professors knew my name in class despite the number of students. My favorite and most interesting class was called Lowell as Text. I like to describe it as a half-seminar, half-field-trip. The class revolved around taking site visits in the city and doing assignments based on what we found. It was very interesting and I learned more about Lowell than I ever thought I would, not to mention the fact that I had amazing professor. As for my least favorite, I did not like The Modern World very much. It was a history course where I sat and took notes for fifty minutes three times a week, and it wasn't exactly the most interesting class. I work in the library, so I see students studying there often, especially because our first floor is brand-new. The common room on my dorm floor is always filled with people working too. Most of my colleagues participate in classes and I see study groups everywhere. I'm an English Literature major and will be minoring in Education next fall. I've met a lot of the professors in the department and they are all extremely helpful in and outside of class. I often receive emails asking if I need assistance, so it feels good to know that they are there if I need help. So far, I have not needed to consult my professors outside of class, but they have office hours if need be. There are definitely a lot of requirements, but if you complete them in freshman and sophomore year, then you have so many options afterwards. I took a lot of Advanced Placement courses in high school and that helped to get rid of some of my requirements. As for the education at this school, I am indeed learning a lot, but I know for sure that the school will help me find a job as I move towards graduation.

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In classes the professors usually know your name unless it's in a big lecture hall. Most of the classes are on the smaller side though and as long as you participate the professor will know who you are. My favorite class at UMass Lowell so far has been my exercise and sports psychology class. The professor was funny and he made the class interesting. It's important to pick electives that seem interesting to you, otherwise the class may end up being boring. The students at UMass Lowell study a fair amount. I usually spend at least two hours outside of class every day working on homework and studying. However, it depends on where you are in the semester. The work load is lighter and heavier at different points throughout the semester. I hear many students talking about their academics outside of the classroom. Students tend to be interested in what they're learning so a lot of times you'll hear them having intellectual conversations about their courses of study. UMass Lowell has very fair academic requirements that aren't difficult to meet. Each department is a little bit different with their requirements, however. Sometimes you hear about students getting kicked out of their department for poor grades, but in the end those students generally realize that they were in the wrong course of study. UMass Lowell is very good at preparing you for a job after college. In many of my classes we have discussed ways to get a job and have been given tips on resume building. There are many internships the campus offers to help you get your foot in the door to your chosen path. You can go to career services to find help in finding a job as well.

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The academics at my school are great. Most of my classes were small enough that the professor knew my name and I could feel at ease asking for help. I had a few classes however, that were lecture style. It was still easy to contact the professor and drop in during office hours, but it was also a great chance to meet new people and form study groups. My favorite class was my General Psychology course. The professor was engaging, funny and more than willing to go the extra mile if I needed help. My least favorite class would be my History course because lectures are hard for me to follow. Students study all the time. Personally, I have studied during a lunch break, on the bus, at work, etc. I feel like in class participation is strong. In high school, you would get called on even if you maybe did not know the answer. In college, you are free to speak and feel more confident. I feel that students are very competitive with themselves. I hear a lot of "Next semester, I want to raise my GPA." or "I think I will retake that quiz.". There is some healthy competition as well, but I have yet to see a student turn down another student for help. I am an English major and I really like ,my department. I have a lot of choices for courses and can always count on someone if I need help in which direction to go. They host many fun free events, seminars and movie nights too. I feel that UMASS Lowell wants me to succeed and reach my dreams. However, I feel like they also want me to learn new things that have nothing to do with my major. I am encouraged to take Art History, purely for the art. I am being guided towards a great career as well as great knowledge and experience.

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Depending on your major your class experience may be different than other students. As a science major I was in giant lecture halls with 300 other kids. The professors did not know if you came to class or not, and more or less did not care. The beginning science classes were meant to weed kids out. Once they weened out the kids who were not cut for the sciences class sizes became a lot smaller. As an English major now class sizes usually do not exceed twenty kids and the professors take the time to get to know you. A lot of my professors have you call them by their first name. They are very approachable and are able to help in any way possible, whether by email, phone, or in person, the majority of professors make themselves available to help. The professors in all areas of study try their best to gear their courses to real life. The school is very geared towards jobs or graduate programs. The professors do an excellent job of preparing students for the real world. College is what you put into it. If you want to learn, make the Dean's List, and get to know your professors then you will. You have to put in the effort in to get anything out. That goes for any school. A professor is not going to hand you an A and the school is not going to hand you a diploma. The resources are available it is up to the student to use them to their advantage.

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Most of my professor knew or know me by name which is great because I feel that I can talk to them and they'll know what I'm struggling with. My favorite class---probably my Gothic Traditions in Literature class last semester. We read some awesome books and everybody was always ready to give their feedback on the readings. I don't particular like my science classes as I struggle with math and a lot of them require heavy mathematics skills. Spanish class was also one that I dreaded going to because I don't think that my professors really knew how to teach it in a way that was engaging for students. I see a lot of students studying on campus usually in the O'Leary library or the student center. The most unique class---play production. You basically build the set for the upcoming show for that semester. It's a lot of work and takes a good chunk of your time, but you really learn a lot. I think that the school's academic requirements are good and fair for the most part, but it can be really frustrating if you don't know how to use ISIS to help you or your adviser can't answer your questions. This school is very geared to getting a job inside of your major. Career services is free for students and is there for you to help you get a job and you can even use them after you graduate!

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I am an English major and it would seem that most of the class sizes are small -- mine are all under 20. My professors know my name -- which isn't surprising because I am extremely verbose in class -- and seem to know everyone else as well. Class participation is relatively good. probably about 25% of the students participate heavily. The content of the conversation is usually strong and I would consider it to be of good quality. Outside of class conversation often seems to be of a more social nature than intellectual, but that pertains to the students I communicate with from my classes. Those students that I have forged lasting friendships with, though they may not be English majors, are the people I am able to speak with on an intellectual level. The English department is wonderful and I am getting to know my teachers a lot. I work with one of my professors for work-study so I tend to communicate with her a great deal outside of class. The academic expectations are reasonable. You are able to get a good grade by doing good work but the professors encourage you to go above and beyond for your own self edification. My teachers see the effort I put in to my studies and are encouraging of my plans to apply for graduate schools next year.

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A huge difference between college and high school for me is the amount of information I am taking from the courses. I feel that I am actually learning important life facts that will seriously help me succeed in the business world. As a business management major, I take various accounting and professional-style classes. I find these to be extremely informative and helpful, and material I cover in one course can transfer over to another very easily. The professor-student relationship greatly relies on the professor's teaching style. A more animated professor tends to be more personal with the students and will know their names, where a strictly lecturing professor will not even bother to learn a single student's name. This goes for class participation as well. I am a student that strives to participate AT LEAST once per class. Most of the time I am a huge contributer to class discussion while the majority of the class sits in silence. I've never understood it. Participation helps learning and the class moves faster. I believe the academics at UML are superb, and I truly feel as though I will use this information in the future.

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I’m currently a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science, so I have a unique perspective on academics at my university. Classes can get stressful from time to time, there’s no denying that: but each has the potential to be not only informative, but engaging and enjoyable. I’ve taken classes that have ranged from well defined course outlines with weekly assignments to classes that involve more discussion than anything else, and they all have something to offer you. Professors are certainly set apart from your average high school teachers, as they recognize the fact that it’s up to you to complete assignments and take responsibility for yourself more so than in high school. All in all, academics are a step up from what you’re used to, but at the end of the day you’re learning the kind of material that makes you rise to the occasion.

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Academics are taken very seriously at Umass Lowell. All the professors already have their doctorates so you rarely get stuck with just a T.A. The professors are very accessible and great teachers. The class sizes are also kept small especially the honors classes which are limited to 20 students a class. This is done so that students who are devoted to learning are ensured plenty of time from the professor. There are academic clubs for almost every major which helps foster learning between students. Umass Lowell also offers Living Learning Communities where students of the same major can live together to promote learning in groups and improve grades.

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