University of North Carolina at Asheville Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


This is a liberal arts school, so part of our required classes include basic Health, Science, Diversity Intensive, Writing Intensive, and Humanities classes. If you want a holistic view of the world, this is the right place to acquire that knowledge! If you just want to go to class, get your work done, and do just the "basics" in order to get your degree, this may not be the best fit for you. But this university offers ways for you to tie things that you may learn in Chemistry with critical-thinking, profound aspects. For example, you may learn that because of the Enlightenment period in history, where scholars questioned their surroundings and Revolutions were occurring everywhere, scientific knowledge was developed and supported. Or you can link ties with Beethoven and the Napoleonic Wars. Or if the development of psychological theories could be tied to the French language. By taking these classes, you expand your knowledge of the world and all of its aspects, thereby giving you a broader, more critically-thinking academic base. As for the professors, they often have degrees in more than one concentration, and are very helpful to their students in terms of getting through classes, learning the material, and providing support for future studies.


Professors will not only learn your name (for the most part), but they will engage in conversations with you in the hall and likely talk about you with other professors. My largest class was about 70, but that professor not only knew the name of every student in the class, but remember a trait about them and would still recognize them years later. Most students love intellectual banter outside of class. At house parties, you'll run into people from your classes all the time and the biggest ice breaker is, "So how about that ___ class? Isn't it interesting?" Also, if you can, join the honors program. The commitment is really minimal but your class choices are a lot more diverse and widespread. I'm a literature major and a lot of the honors seminars are geared toward people who like to read and analyze. Everyone hates the humanities curriculum, but it is part of the core requirements of the course. So just get through it. And take them in the summer if you can--no lectures. Honestly, high school, academically, was harder than college. Because of AP credit, I was not required to take a math, science, foreign language or English class. However, college isn't just about academics. There are going to be lots of transitions throughout your four years--whether from relationship to relationship, apt to apt, or major to major. Just be ready to be more flexible than you've ever been in your entire life.


The professors definitely learn names, especially if you participate in class. Since the class sizes are so small you really do have to participate. Of course there will always be students who don't do the work or participate, but most do. My favorite class is an upper level german literature class where there are about 12 students. We meet in a conference room around a round table and just discuss the readings and papers we are writing. I actually haven't had a class that I didn't like at UNCA. Every one is so different and because every one has a liberal arts component to it, I've always been able to focus the subject in a direction that interests me. There are just so many options. Students have intellectual conversations outside of class all the time. I frequently see students eating alongside professors at lunch and discussing philosophy or art. It is also common among regular students. It's really quite amazing how much you can learn by just listening to other people's conversations in the cafeteria. The students here aren't really competitive. They like to work with others and help out anyone who is willing to help themselves. No one likes to feel used. I am a French and German major and the departments are incredible. German is no longer accepting majors, though, because there is only one professor and he is about to retire. The program will probably end with him because they have a tendency to not replace professors in the German and French department after they retire. Traditional Foreign Languages (aside from Spanish) aren't supported very well by the administration, but the professors are absolutely incredible. I have coffee with one of my professors outside of class every week. The French department is fairly stable, and all the professors are wonderful. I would highly recommend it. The academic requirements for UNCA are random and a little confining. You really are forced to take classes that seem completely un-related, but that's what liberal arts is all about. If you want all your classes to be strictly about your major, I wouldn't recommend UNCA. But if you like to know every side to a subject and a bit of trivia on the side, there's no place better for the price. The education here is definitely more learning for learning's sake. But the career center here is awesome, and having a liberal arts degree helps you be prepared for the work force in so many ways that you wouldn't think and can't get from a program strictly focused on one subject.


The only professor that I have had that I truly did not like was my chem teacher. He learned almost no ones name and expected too much from students. I study a lot and I study really hard. And I barely got a B- in that class. No one that I know of from that class got an A, everyone I know had a B- to a D. But other than that professor all the others are fantastic. They know your name and they talk to you about everything inside and outside of class. A year later I still talk to professors I had my first semester on the quad. Student's can either be really quiet or really involved. It depends a lot on the class. My favorite class has been Neuropsychology and Savantism. It was an Honors 473 special topic. It pushed me really hard and I absolutely loved the subject matter. I had two classes with that professor that semester and he is actually my advisor now. As you can tell I am a Psychology and Neuro Science person. The professors can be a little nuts or a little dull or a little too intense, but you grow to really like them for it. I love the requirements that the school has. It allows and in some cases forces you to take classes outside of your major field of study. Humanities is a pain because you cover so much in such a short period of time that it is overwhelming. I can not stress how much I adore the professors. I have been at their houses, their concerts, their readings, their presentations, on field trips, and I have even had lunch with them. It may seem weird to hear that but its because they not only want to be your teacher they also want to be your friend. The way he academics are have truly set me up to be successful not only in a career but in life.


Our average class size is 19, so professors will definitely know your name. My favorite class is a Creative Nonfiction Workshop, where we read nonfiction pieces and talk about them and write longer pieces and have our peers critique them. I love it because we're like a family--we all know so much about each other based on our work---but we're a family that makes each other improve in our writing endeavors. Everyone is smart here! On many issues! Not too much competitiveness going on, everyone seems very relaxed and professors are very helpful and engaging in your academics and future! Our career center is great too. This is a liberal arts school, focused on interdisciplinary studies and becoming a well-rounded person, so students do have to take a variety of courses. It's geared towards learning, but we offer teacher licenser undergraduate certificates as well.


The grading at this school is notoriously harsher than at other colleges, and this is due in large part to the fact that the teachers are able to get to know you and thus form high expectations of you. However, it is manageable, and it is worth it in the long run! Almost every professor I've had at this school knew (and still knows) me by name, and we usually greet each other when we pass. Some students here are competitive, but in a friendly way. I am a Literature major with a Creative Writing concentration and grades 9-12 teacher licensure, and I can assure any prospective student that the literature, writing, and educations departments are nothing short of fantastic. The professors are always available if you need help, and usually even if you just want to stop by and chat. There are a lot of general education requirements because this is a liberal arts school, but you often get to take really fun classes like The Physics of Sound and Music, which I am taking this semester (and it's great!). I feel that this school has a very good balance between career-focus and learning for its own sake. Professors are always very encouraging, but they are also real and practical.


First off, everyone's academic level is different here. There are those who choose not to work hard and there are those who work as hard as they can. It's a mixed bag really. So are the classes. If you want to challenge yourself academically, it's really up to you. Most of the professors here are very good with trying to challenge the students. They are willing to help you as much as they can (it's easier for them to here than at a larger campus because they do not have to deal with as many students as regular-sized college) but they don't push the students very hard because in the end, this is college, not high school. In the end, it all falls on you. They say that for every credit hour you have a week for a class, you're supposed to put in 2-3 hours of work outside the class.Of course, not everyone follows this for various reasons. I'm pretty sure there's a greater sense of academia within the honors program. I say this mostly because of the professors that I have had in the few honors classes that I have been in. They have been by far the best professors I've had. But I do know a lot of people who didn't do the honors program who are just as intelligent (if not even more so) than those actually in the program.


The professor's are incredible. They are eager to develop relationships with students, and openly show their enthusiasm and passions for their fields. Additionally, many of them conduct research in which students are encouraged to participate in. They heavily encourage student participation and discussion, making for a very comfortable and engaging learning environment. On the student side of things, everyone I know is intellectual, and most everyone is motivated to study and get good grades. Furthermore, intelligent discussion about relevant issues are very easy to come by in typical conversations. As a liberal arts school, UNCA has requirements in a wide variety of subjects, but if you're looking for a liberal arts education, the connections gained from these are useful. The approach toward liberal arts at UNCA transcends preparation for the professional world, but builds skills for lifelong learning.


Your instructors, for the most part, will know your name - or at least make the effort. Classes are typically 20-30 students, and most don't exceed 40. Professors make it aware that they're available to YOU whenever you may need them - they post office hours, give out phone numbers, and encourage emails. However, it's RIDICULOUSLY hard to get couseling regarding what classes to take, what majors to think about, etc. That's something I've definitely struggled with, and paid the price for. If you come here, take a class by Elizabeth Snyder. She's been my favorite teacher. She's amazing, and has great experience in her field (which is international studies, if you're wondering). Most profs have their doctorate which is cool. Some classes feel like their straight out of high school, which is discouraging. Others are great. Also, you'll be shocked at how a) either insightful your peers are, or b) how incredibly stupid or ignorant others are. Wow. Also, the ILS system really gets on my nerves. SUCH A WASTE OF CREDIT HOURS.