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University of Richmond

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What are the academics like at your school?

I definitely know all my professors my name and they know me for sure (which sometimes sucks if you want to slack off). Students study A LOT here... there's a lot of work. Of course it depends on the student and how much he/she decides to take on (unfortunately double majoring with all these minors is very popular on campus thus stressing you out even more... I'm a victim of the viscious cycle) and his/her time managment capabilities. All of students seem to pull things off pretty well. Others, don't, but get by. I would say there are definitely Richmond students who want to engage in intellectual conversations, but I wish there were more of them/more opportunities to get involved in such conversations. Students are definitely competitive here (how can any student not be when looking at grad school admissions, etc.?). I'm doubling in Spanish and French, and for the most part love it. I think the French department spends too much time on literature, and not enough time on the history of francophone countries, current events, etc. One of my French teachers once invited our 6-person class to her appartment to have lunch and make up a missed class. It was awesome. Definitley one of the more memorable experiences I've had a Richmond. I feel like education is definitely geared toward learning for its own sake, which is what's best (or so they say?) for the "real world" since, if you know how to think, you can adapt yourself more easily to different jobs/learn faster.

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richmond prides itself on the relationships between students and professors. for me, that means that all of my teachers knew my name but the second week of class and were more than happy to help me out outside of class. i've heard from upperclassmen that they've just come back from going out to dinner with a professor, and my roommate's professor invited the whole class over after the final for a barbecue. the president teaches a class, so i have friends who know him pretty well too. richmond is definitely a school where the students study just as hard as they party- and they party hard. i've had classes where the debate has gotten so fierce that the teacher has had to ask us to break it up. the quality of students is outrageously high. that guy that you played beer pong with last weekend is probably on the dean's list as well. richmodn recently changed their requirements from credits to units. i'm not exactly sure what it means for me yet, but i know there are people who both love and hate the new system. basically, every class at richmond is going to be worth 1 unit as opposed to 3 to 5 credits. for some people, that means that a 4-credit spanish class that met 7 times a week is worth the same as a 3-credit that met twice a weeek, which is too bad. however, in the future, that means that the overall level of difficulty of classes should even out. it'll be harder to have an easy courseload, but hopefully also make ridiculously involved classes easier to manage.

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The academic quality of this school is the top reason I've been satisfied with my decision to go here. Classes are small and professors are passionate. All of my professors know my name and even two years later continue to say hi and chat when we rendezvous on campus. Some of my professors could even tell you where I'm from, what I did over the summer, and what my hobbies and interests are. Most studying goes on in the library which could use some extra space but I think students successfully employ the "work hard, play hard" philosophy. Classes are tough but not overwhelming, depending on who your professor is. The business school is one of the most valuable assets of this University. As an Accounting major I think I'm probably graduating with the most valuable major the university offers. I can't imagine my professors being any better than they are. One of my professors was named one of BusinessWeek Magazine's top 22 favorite Business professors. He knows more about Accounting than anyone I could ever imagine. But more importantly, his command over the classroom is phenomenal. Who would have thought the Socratic method of teaching could be applied to something that seems as methodical as Accounting? That's the point- Accounting isn't methodical and requires as much critical thinking as any liberal arts course. And he forces his students to think critically and take his class seriously.

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Since class sizes here are generally pretty small, professors tend to know students' names. That doesn't prevent them from calling you consistently by completely random name that's not yours, however... (as happened to me in a chemistry class last semester). Students spend about the same amount of time studying during the week that they do drinking on the weekends. The amount of in class participation really depends on how much students are getting graded on it: if class participation is part of the final grade, students are much more likely to do it regularly than if it is completely optional. Even then, some students never open their mouths (either because of shyness or apathy about the class). Sometimes conversations are spawned by what we discussed in class, but only occasionally are they academic. However, that again depends on the class. There might be more intellectual conversation matter provided by a leadership or literature class than by an economics course. Academic requirements here really range from being lax to being extremely vigorous, and that difference is made mostly by the professors. An easy professor means an easy A, while some A students cannot achieve more than a B- if the professor is challenging or unusually difficult to please.

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Richmond affords its students a great education, there is no doubt about that. Every class and every teacher are held to a very high standard, and as a result so are the students. There is a lot of work outside of the classroom that goes along with that, and as society continues to push its college applicants towards resume packing and overachieving, we college students are also just as sensitive to that pressure. Many Richmond students have a habit of overcommiting their schedules. I tend to study at least 3-5 hours a night. Professors know a great deal of their students names. Class participation is not common, to the point of awkwardness at times. When I first got to Richmond, this dismayed me when I tried to get students to talk to me directly instead of through the teacher, who will in that case act as a proxy for relaying different sides to the question. Once you get to the upper class levels though this problem is sometimes remedied by the more exceptional teachers. Business is universally a difficult subject that requires busy work, but Richmond perhaps offers more than most. A Richmond education in Business is extremely geared towards getting a job, and the whole campus does not lose focus with this goal either.

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Each of my professors recognizes my face when I see them around campus and the majority of them know my name. I have had many conversations over dinner relating to the topics in some of my classes ranging from race representation to international health and trade. There is certainly a vocal minority in each class, but the small size means that if you are quiet the teacher will notice. There is no where to hide so if you don't intend to do the work then Richmond might not be the right place. I have met with many of my professors and had in depth conversations about research, classwork, and scheduling conflicts. I have never been penalized for missing class with an emergency, but class attendance is mandatory in most classes on account of the small class size. I have had the privilege of taking a course of twelve students taught by the president of the university, Dr. Ed Ayers, and he still knows my name. I took a trip to Peru in conjunction to my Global Health and Human Rights course that was paid for by the university (all except $150). Richmond is dedicated to connecting an education to real life experience, but except in the case of business classes, the education is not geared toward a profession.

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Professors always know your name. It might take them some time to learn it but classes are generally so small that they are forced to learn your name quickly. Also, Professors want to know their students and so they do really try to not only learn the names of all their students but to keep up with their students in various other aspects of their lives here on campus. Students study a lot here. It isn't uncommon to find students working or in the library on a Friday or Saturday night and most students stay up late doing work. Additionally, around finals it’s practically impossible to find a computer in the library. Class participation is common but more so in the upper level classes. In a lot of the 101 or intro level classes students take, generally as freshman, a lot of the people are there to fulfill certain general requirements and, thus, aren't interested in the subject matter so, as a result, they don't participate in class. However, most classes are discussion based so student participation is vital to keeping the class moving and a lot of students do contribute their opinions and ideas.

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One of the things I LOVE at UR is the small class size. When I was first applying to colleges in high school and I visited other colleges, the thought of having classes with 400 people absolutely terrified me. But last year, during my freshman year at UR, my biggest class had 30 people! I think this is great because 1) there can be more bonding and meeting the other classmates 2) the teachers ALWAYS will know your names and you as a person and 3) it is much easier to participate in discussions and get help in a smaller class. Like I mentioned before, the classes are difficult and no one should come into UR not expecting to study A LOT (even if you didn't need to that much in high school). Students are indeed academically competitive, but in a healthy manner, and there are often study groups and such that are organized among people. Also, UR really stresses that its kids receive a liberal arts education, so it is also stressed that, besides just being prepared for a future career, the kids also receive instructions on how to become a well balanced person that can succeed at life as a whole.

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One of the best things about Richmond is that you really can get to know the professors. I had several professors for my Chemistry classes that I got to know fairly well just because they were so readily available for help whenever I needed it (which was a lot). My least favorite class was probably the Cell and Molecular Biology class just because it was pretty hard for me with the way my professor graded and I didn't ever see how lab was all that helpful for the class though I liked the lab portion a lot more then class. My favorite class so far was either my intro Chem class solely because of my professor or Music Scenes which I found to be a lot of fun and opened my eyes to a lot of the music brought to campus. I have found in my sciences classes that while some people are fairly competitive and will refuse to help you if it benefits them, most of the time students are more than willing to help through study groups or just explaining a concept that I didn't understand. I was surprised at the willingness of some students to go out of their way for others.

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My smallest class here has been 8 people and my largest was about 24 people. With small classes, the professors really get to know you on a personal level which is great. Many classes will celebrate the end of the semester with a dinner at a restaurant or at a professor's home. Academics are tough, and students put a lot of time into their work during the week. I'm a Leadership Studies major which is a unique program here at U of R. Because the school is the first of its kind and one of the only undergraduate leadership studies programs in the country, all of the professors involved are the leading experts in their field and are really dedicated to both research and teaching. I like the Leadership School because it allows for exposure to a lot of really smart people from a lot of different backgrounds including economics, philosophy, political science, and history. Some people complain about the general education requirements, but ultimately, most are glad to have their liberal arts background no matter their major.

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