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University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

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As a part of the Honors college, I'm in a few really small classes: I took honors calc 2 and I'm in honors calc 3 right now, and both classes had fewer than 15 students. This semester, my professor knows all of our names and because he's not stressed by a large class, we really get time to just talk to him, which is really nice. I came to college with most of my basics out of the way, but I've been told that classes like Comp 1 and Comp 2, which are required, typically have over 200 people in them, but if you take the honors classes, which are capped at something like 30 students, you'll have a much better class experience. My favorite class is Intro to Design and Graphics, which the students call studio. It's an architecture class that I'm required to take as an architectural engineering major, and although it's a lot of work and I complain about it whenever I'm given the chance, it's very different from the rest of my classes, and extremely interesting. My least favorite class so far has been Intro to CEES (civil engineering and environmental science). We talked about bridges and dams all semester and everyone just played on their laptops through all of class. It was mind-numbingly dull. It depends on who you're friends with--I live on the national merit floor, so sleeping is less something we need and more something we do in between studying, tests, and classes--all of my friends made 4.0s last semester, and our majors are engineering, pre-med, math, and pre-orthopedic. But my roommate was in a sorority and she was really busy, so she studied a lot like once every two weeks, keeping me up to all hours. It really depends on who you're friends with. Same with intellectual conversations--you can find those kinds of people if you want to, but if not, then you can find those kinds of people too. Competition definitely varies by major--architecture students can be pretty competitive, but the Arch Es (architectural engineers) are more like a community. It's clear who of us excels in certain areas, but we're not very competitive. Again, studio is the most unique class I've taken. I've hand-built structures from chipboard (sort of like cardboard) that have taken me on average 15 hours, and my final took over 40 hours to construct. I've used a laser cutter to make a screen, built projects in wood shop, and even used playdough and duct tape for a project. My major is Architectural Engineering, which is a part of the Civil Engineering and Environmental Science department in the College of Engineering. Honestly, I'm not a big fan of my department here. There are only, at most, 15 other people in my major that are freshman, and less than 10 people graduate from my major every year. So while I'm content at OU, if you can afford to go somewhere else for architectural engineering, I would strongly recommend that you do--I'm currently planning on transferring to UT, where my program has almost 200 undergraduates. I do not spend time with my professors outside of class. OU is not known for it's strong academic requirements, but you can find good academics if you look for them. One current professor who I met at Camp Crimson (sort of like orientation), Professor Kyle Harper, did his Bachelor's here then went on to Harvard for his master's. I also know we have a Rhodes scholar this year, so good academics can be found here. I would say that this school is geared toward getting a job--there are a ton of career fairs every year, and I'm constantly bombarded by emails from career services. '

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Some professors know my name---those professors that I've had. But they don't know me very well. That's one thing I miss from high school---interaction with my instructors and great intellectual discussions with them. I've had many favorite classes---my honors colloquium (Race and U.S. Cinema), Indian Epics, Mythology/Folklore, Politics and Literature, the Bible as Literature, some of my German classes, British Women Writers, and Arthurian Legend/Lit. I've also had some terrible ones, mostly because the teacher was bad---Calc II, Contemporary/Modern Native American Literature, Native Peoples of North America. The amount that students study is highly variable. Some study a lot, some study very little. In my experience, class participation is not very common. Usually the same five people or so are the only ones participating. I don't think most people have intellectual conversations outside of class---I wish I had someone to do that with, though. I'm competitive, and other students are, too, but not all of them or even most of them. The most unique classes I've taken have been Indian Epics, Bible as Literature, and Race and U.S. Cinema. My major is English. The department is okay---some good professors, some bad ones. I don't spend time with professors outside of class. I would if I could, but I'm too timid to go to their office hours. The academic requirements are just fine. I think the education is more geared toward getting a job, which I sadly regret. Learning for its own sake should be emphasized, too.

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The intro classes are generally pretty large (hundreds of people). My favorite classes so far have definitely been my honors American Perspectives course, something about culture, minorities, and the American experience with Dr. Marcia Chatelain. She is amazing--smart, insightful, and pretty young, so she's up on things, and my intro zoo class, which is solely due to the interesting content. I've heard Gaffin's amazing, though, so if you take intro zoo, take it in the fall. The honors classes are small and usually not too difficult, and the professors are pretty neat! SOME OU students have intellectual conversations out of class (like the people I gravitate toward), but the majority really don't. If you're into the sort of thing, join Amnesty International and take philosphy and Middle Eastern studies courses. The pre-med students are fairly competitive, as are some of the National Merit students, but in general, the students here aren't University of Chicago types. But you knew that... The psychology department's HUGE, because all the slackers who don't really know what they want to do with their lives are psych majors. It's a bummer, because we get a bad rep. The classes are generally EASY. The psych obligatory statistics course is SO dumbed down, it's insane. I don't spend a lot of time with profs outside of class, but that's my fault. You have to be assertive and go to office hours. I keep meaning to...maybe next week. I'll need recommendations later on anyway.

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I am a student in the Price Business School majoring in Energy Management. So far my academic experience has truly made me proud to be a sooner. I know I will be prepared for whatever career path I choose when I leave this university. Professors are more than willing to help you outside of class and give you extra attention you may need. They're all friendly and easily approachable. My favorite class is actually an economics class called Govermental Relations to Business. I loved this class so much because the professor LOVES what he does and it shows through every lecture he gives. It's a challenging class, but he pushes you and explains it all in detail, so that when you finish a case you feel accomplished and feel like you really learned something instead of just going through the motions. The professors expect you to interact and engage in class discussions, they want to know your thoughts and opinions on topics they go over in class. There are also a lot of outside opportunities, such as free tutoring, that can enhance your academic performance and help you learn more from the courses. I am an Energy Management major and it's great! OU's EMGT program is nationally ranked and it's easy to see why. We have some of the best professors and this major gives you an opportunity to intern, do workshops, field work, and other things to expand your knowledge outside of the classroom.

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The academics at OU are, for the most part, wonderful. This is especially true in upper-level courses and the Honors College, in which classes are almost always small enough to allow the professors to learn the name of each student. As at any large public university, however, the gen ed classes (general education - the basic, lower-level classes which everyone is required to take) are usually hundreds of students large, making it impossible for students to develop a very close-working relationship with the professor. Additionally, since these classes are lower-level, many students tend to take them less seriously, and can sometimes be rude and/or disruptive, making the learning process that much more difficult for those students who sincerely wish to learn. As a Sophomore, attending my American Federal Government class every Tuesday and Thursday can be frustratingly annoying, as my assigned seat is in between two Freshmen who haven't yet learned that they will absorb virtually nothing if they spend the whole class gossiping. Nonetheless, the academics at OU are much more often wonderful - the professors are incredibly knowledgeable, encourage intellectual discussion outside of class, and generally care more about their students than any teacher I had in high school.

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Prof are great on the most part...Lots of Graduate assistants teaching or grading. I had a history class with essay style exams graded only by G A's. They were ridiculous rigid in my opinion, although many history buffs may have easily aced these exams graded so harshly by the tenuous graduate assistants. Academic requirements are what they are...lots of information covered in each semester. Sometimes I do not care for the teaching style and like to study at home and show up for exams, which I do when attendance is not required for some classes. Psychology classes are at times interesting lectures. One 4000 level class on Abnormal Psych taught by a PhD (wow) was enlightening as this Prof had actually worked in his field for many years and shared hands on stories along side the book material. A botany class I took was so gr-eek to me that I dropped it...I had never taken botany before and the Prof {PhD} moved too fast for my absorption, likely many in the class did exceptionally well/others were challenged to make the grade. It all depends on who you get and what your background is. Most instructors or Prof are very communicative and will work with students if need be.

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As with any educational institution, there are some good teachers, some bad teachers, some easy classes, and some difficult classes. I started out my freshman year as an engineering major, which for me was extremely difficult, so I struggled somewhat in my math and chemistry classes. The problem with those, as well, was that the professors and graduate assistants weren't exactly the best and didn't give out much individual help. Anyways, I'm now an International and Area Studies major, which is quite interesting and my experience so far with the professors in this department has been very positive. As for the general student population, I feel that study habits vary quite a bit, but I would say that most people do still spend at least a few hours in the library every week, prepping for tests or doing reading for class. Once we're actually in class, I've found that students really only participate and get involved in honors classes, where the class is smaller and the professor actually facilitates discussion. Otherwise, most people are satisfied to let the professor talk and just take notes. All in all, we have a pretty good educational program at OU, in my opinion.

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Graduate students have a different life than undergraduates so we are expected to interact with professors and faculty in class and various events. There are social mixers between grad students and faculty and it is one of things where one is expected to attend, mix socially, and play well in the department sandbox. I know for a fact that at departmental brown bag events, a silent head-count is taken by staff and this is noted. I studied all the time because that is my job - to learn this stuff. I disliked one of the theory required classes because the professor was totally out-of-control and into their own personal power games over grad students. I would never take another class with this faculty member. There are a few other staff members that I would avoid also but will not list them here. Reading, writing, and presentations are part of a grad students activities and OU requires their grad students to participate in academic activities. Learning is geared at this level, to become an academic and research is the name of the game. If you prefer classroom time and teaching, you will get the opportunity to do so, however, research is your primary goal.

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One thing that really erks me is when people say that with big classes comes general teachers. They don't know your name, your just a number, etc. I really believe this to be untrue. In my history class of 80, the professor knew my name. In my Mass Comm class of 250, the professor did not but the T.A. did in discussion. But even in lecture, with 250 people, we could still hold debates (I highly recommend KJW). Political Sceince was one of the most fascinating classes in the way of knowledge. I learned SO much in that class with Prof. Ray (He is amazing.). I also took non-western dance (you DO NOT dance) which was completely different and really interesting and fun. All the professors have office hours and you can visit them during this time all the time. When it comes to requirements, OU is somewhat lenient in-state. Out-of-state is much harder for some reson. The education is both geared toward and job AND liberal artsy. Everyone has to take gen-ed classes but also take classes that focus on your major.

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Academics at OU are spectacular. Professors are friendly, and they strive to know all of their students by name. Students are encouraged to study on a daily basis, and especially to participate in class. Students usually always meet in the library or other places to communicate and have intellectual conversation. While all students are competitive, OU students do so in a friendly atmosphere. The most unique class I've taken would have to be my current Music in Culture class. My current major is Psychology, but I plan to double major in Music and Letters soon. All students have office hours, and love to meet with students outside of class. While the academic requirements of the school are difficult, they are kept constant so as not to lower standards for future generations. The education at this school is both geared towards a job AND learning. Again, it all depends on what you want to get out your classes.

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