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University of Washington-Seattle Campus

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What are the academics like at your school?

The classes at the University of Washington (Seattle campus) can range from being small to big, depending on what class, the popularity, and also if it's a core class. Depending on the size, the professor may or may not know your name or even recognize you. If it's a big class for instance, Concert Season (It's a musical class, probably one of my favorites) it's most likely the professor will not remember your name or even what you look like if you sit far away, but if you attend class everyday and raise your hand and say something a few times, I'm sure that they will remember you. In small classes, the professor will remember your face and know your name and that's what I love. But let's talk a little bit more of the students and a little bit less on the class size. The students here are either really studious or just... average. Some of those average kids however, I don't know how, do better than those who study most of their time. It just depends on the person. That also determines the participation, competitiveness, and conversations that take place inside/outside class. There are your usual shy kids that probably never raise their hands or speak in class. Then there are the kids that sit in the back and then the kids who sit at the very front. Those who sit in the front usually participate in class, but I think over the years they're starting to mingle and people are just sitting wherever now. Class participation doesn't seem to be much of a problem in any of the classes I've had as some classes, if you didn't do the reading or study, you would get called on and well, some shy people have a lot of meaningful things to say. Honestly I wish they would speak up and answer more questions but most don't. I've learned that they're really fun to hang out with outside of class though and when it comes to talking about the homework and topics for class, they're great. I believe it's just being put on the spotlight that gets to some of them but overtime they adapt and the classroom atmosphere becomes lively as ever. Competitiveness stems from this lively atmosphere. Though they may be competitive, it does not mean in any way that they are heartless. They will help those who need it, even if it means they are helping their rival. These stories, however, are coming from an English major. I love classes that involve reading, writing, and communication with other people. The people in my classes/department are very intelligent and when it comes to topics about history, books, or anything, there's also a very interesting and intellectual conversation. I contribute most of my learning and conversation skills however, to my professors. Speaking with the professor about things you don't understand, is a great way to learn and bond. I love professors who want to regularly gauge how the class is going and then afterwards, slow down or speed up the course. I can't say much about the other majors or departments, but judging from my friends who are in those departments, they're happy to be there and I'm sure they would say the same things I am saying about my own department: once you find a department you like to study, you will find that the people there are people you like to be with. The schools academic requirements are, reasonable and very well built. However, there are some times where you can't get into the classes you want or need, but the professors will almost, always let you know if there's space available if you just go and ask, or even if you email them. The advisers and counselors are always there to help you if you get lost, and the best part is that most of the are on a drop-in basis so between classes if you have a break, just go in and say hi. They're just like the professors and, with regular visits, will remember your name and face. The education at the university, will, depending on your choices, get you a great job at Boeing or Microsoft, or it will land you in an intellectual conversation with Bill Gates or even the president of the United States. Depending on how you choose to study and go about your way in college will determine your pathway. The university offers all the resources and facilities that you need to succeed. If you choose correctly what you want to do, you can even, do both: Work at a prestigious company and also have the opportunity to speak with a famous and prestigious person.

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The school can be pretty challenging at times, but I think you get your money's worth because of the academics. The classes are a lot more interesting and in-depth than high school classes. I've taken classes on the Holocaust, Art History, and even 21st Century Poetry which were pretty unique classes in my opinion. Art History has to be my absolute favorite class I've taken at my school. The class was learning about all the different types of art throughout history. We started thousands of years ago and only made it up to 1,000 AD. We learned all about art in different countries like Greece, Egypt, Italy, and England. Buildings, statues, sculptures, vases, and even pillars were discussed in this class and it was a completely new topic to me. My favorite thing I learned about was about Italian homes in 79 AD because I learned the significance of each room and why the rooms were placed where they were in the house. It was a very interesting class and since taking it, I've searched for information to learn more about "art history." Some classes are lecture classes where there can be hundreds of students in the class which makes participation almost impossible. However, these lecture class usually have "quiz" or "lab" section that goes with the class which has around 20 or so students where the class is taught by TA's who are usually grad students at my school. In all of the quiz sections I have had, the TA's heavily encourage class discussion and participation so while you miss out in the lecture classes because of the amount of students, you make up for it in the quiz sections. In the classes I've had that aren't lecture classes, there are around 30-40 students and again, all of the professors I have encourage participation and some even include it as part of our grade. Lecture classes were difficult to deal with at first because you never really seem to get to know your professor. If you have any questions or concerns about your class, you have to go through your TA which is something hard to adjust to. Also, TA's grade your assignments when you have a lecture class. This is understandable since your professor can't grade hundreds of things, but that takes some getting used to because every TA has a different grading method and you don't know how your actual professor who taught the information to you would have graded your assignments. I'm an English major and I have really enjoyed the variety of English classes that are available for me to take. I've taken an English class solely about plays before the 1700's which has probably been my favorite class I've taken. I thought I was a good reader and writer before I was in college, but my knowledge of English has increased exponentially and I haven't even graduated yet. The most challenging thing about the academics is that they are hard. I got excellent grades in high school and was basically shocked to see how different college was in that regard. It is very important to study for tests! I can't think of a single class where I haven't had to study for a test. And you have to spend a lot of time studying because professors will quiz you on anything in the class. Also, notes are necessary for every class which means you should have good attendance if you plan on going to my school. When I've discusses the academics with other people at my school, they've all agreed that they find the classes challenging and much different than high school. Every freshman I've known has said that they have found the school to be harder than they anticipated. However, I don't see this as a negative. I didn't feel like I was challenged in high school, but now, I feel like I really have to make an effort to learn which is something I appreciate and enjoy because I'm learning and I'm learning things that weren't available in high school. Another benefit of my school is that fact that it also has a graduate school. A lot of people I've talked to plan on going to graduate school and it is easy to make that transition into it when my school already has a program. The students are very focused on their grades here and my college is considered a great school for education so this is the one to go to if you want to learn and want to use these skills to get a job.

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At the University of Washingotn, there will be the biggest classes you've ever seen in your life, and there will also be 15-20 person intimate classroom studies. As a freshman, everyone will take classes in the 100-500 person lecture halls and each student will feel like the professor has no idea who they are. To make up for this feeling, most classes have Quiz sections, which are small (20-30 person) classes with a Teacher's Assistant (usually a Grad Student), that teaches the quiz section and reiterates what the professor covered in lecture. My biggest complaint with the academics at the University of Washington is the large majority of TA's that do not speak English very well and seem as if it is their 3rd or 4th language that they learned only a couple of years ago. This can be very frustrating and can make choosing Quiz sections a huge gamble and game of luck. I am in the business school and have loved everything about the facilities and teacher's there. The TA's that I complained about above are mainly in the business school prerequisite classes (Pre-calculus, calculus, micro/macro econ, etc.). Once I started taking mid-level business classes, the teacher's and TA's have improved a TON and have had some of the best teacher's of my life recently. In addition to the great teacher's, the new Foster School of Business facilities (Paccar Hall), are amazing! Paccar Hall is brand new (finished construction in 2010 and they are expanding it even more currently). The classrooms are state of the art with large projectors, huge desks (unlike the liberal arts' classrooms desks) and comfortable chairs. Lastly, the teacher's I have had have been very available to helping students when they are struggling and being there for students who do not understand concepts and need extra help. Currently, I am having a problem in managerial accounting and my professor scheduled an hour-long appointment with me outside of her office hours to discuss future goals for me in the class and study strategies.

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The academics at University of Washington are like any other big school. The only difference between us and say ASU is that our reputation as a good school gets us the best teachers and biggest grants. This school is highly competitive! Once you get into the school, you must complete the required credits with a high GPA to get into your major. There are nearly 30 thousand undergrads here, and the minute you step into your first stadium style lecture class you'll know what that feels like. Due to the fact that the class sizes are very large, the UW has secondary classes or "quiz sections" where you meet with your TA in a smaller class setting to review the lecture material. It is in these classes that you will do most of your learning as well as being the place where you will get to know your teachers. The U of W is a place where people are serious about their education. We have so many students trying to get spots in programs with high competition, such as the medical school, engineering school, or (Bill Gates) computer science school, that education becomes much like a job. The people that attend the University of washington have high goals and dreams, and are a very driven bunch of people. It's not uncommon to see people fired up over something they learned in class, and often they are quite eager to share it with you. I'm just an average joe and I find myself staying after class to talk about things with my TA on a weekly basis. Getting to know your professors can be a challenge but the opportunity is there. Professors will host hours each week where you can meet them one on one and discuss whatever you like. They are often very busy people and in the midst of writing some academic journal that they hope to publish, so it's a nice way to talk to the seemingly distant figure you see in class. On a couple of occasions I have gotten to know my professors and they still know me by name, so it's very possible to make valuable connections on campus.

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Academics are extremely important to the University of Washington. It is one of the main things that the UW prides itself in. Our worldwide ranking has continued to grow and that is something that is of immense importance to us. Academics are extremely important to everyone who attends. This means that people study a lot. People are studying on weekdays and weekends. The professors at UW are some of the top research professors in the world. It's amazing to see what they have accomplished. Because UW is such a large school, classes are also large. That being said, some classes that are over 50 people large make it hard for professors to get to know student's names. It really takes the imitative of the student to get to know the professor in large classes. If you are intent on attending office hours and participating in class, professors will definitely remember who you are. There are so many classes offered at UW that it is easy to find ones of interest for any student. I am a Political Science and International Studies double-major. Because I am extremely interested in law school, a lot of the classes that I've taken are geared towards that. Some cool classes that I've taken are: Europe Today, Cultural Interactions, Criminology, and US Congress. In my US Congress class, we actually simulated congress and ran every class like a meeting! We got to be representatives from different states and wrote our own bills. It was so cool. As long as you are on top of your studies and you take initiative of all the programs and help being offered, then you will get so much out of all the programs offered. UW is mainly focused on academics and they want you to succeed. Since it's such a large school, it has so many opportunities to get internships and jobs, but also graduate schools and working towards getting a PhD.

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From what I've experienced, our education system seems to promote both getting a job and learning, but slightly more geared toward learning for its own sake. Pretty much everyone has found classes that they found genuinely interesting, and for the most part, professors want the students to truly understand course material, and why and how the world works. I hear many conversations going deeper into course material outside of class, with other students as well as with the TA's and professors. Our class sizes are pretty big (depending on what classes you take, but I'm taking many pre-health science classes), so it's hard to stand out from the crowd and connect with the professor unless you're the type of person who always asks questions and stays to talk to the professor after class. Going to office hours helps a lot!!! Not only to help you understand material, but to build a relationship with the instructor, which will pay off to be VERY useful. I would say the competitiveness of classes really depends on what class and what field you're in, but overall I've found it's pretty competitive. Most classes are curved so you're competing with other students for a good grade. I've found that in the lower level classes, there's always going to be more people who are slacking off or just (unfortunately) simply don't understand the material so it's not too difficult to do well. However, as you go into higher level classes, the "bad" students are weeded out, and you're with people who are more motivated and smarter and it becomes a lot more difficult to get a good grade. The students who study really hard succeed in these classes (but remember to always balance out your life), but there are definitely many students on campus who spend very little time studying because they're just hanging out or are extremely busy.

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The academics is very rigorous at my school. If the class size is around 20-40 professors know most of the students name. All the professors or TAs are required to hold office hours so students are also given the opportunity to receive extra help or get to know the professor. My favorite class are VLPA classes, the social science or liberal arts classes. My least favorite classes are big lecture classes such as Dinosaur class with 500-600 students or entry level classes for science fields such as chemistry 142. Classes are crowded and you get screwed over for registration for these entry level science classes if you are freshmen or sophomore and once you are in, you get very limited help. Study hours vary based on students. Some students study a lot and some don't study at all. But the school recommends you to study two hours per one hour lecture. Class participation is common if you take liberal arts classes. If you take science, there is very limited class participation. Students do have intellectual converstaions outside of classes. They voice their political perspectives especially. Most students are not competitive unless you are in classes that are curved, meaning your grade is given based on a curve and the average score of the class. It's usually science classes that are very competitive becuase you need to do well to advance to the next sequence of class. The most unique class I have taken is French Fairy Tales. It was a lot of fun. Education at this school is geared towards learning, and less on getting a job, although lots of hlep is provided when you start your job hunt.

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I major in Poli Sci, and classes are huge. You have to work hard to distinguish yourself, even at the 300 level. One big caveat that no one told me until I got here: the TAs (grad students who assist the professors) decide your grades for the class! It is often more important to pay attention to the reputation of the TA you've enrolled with rather than the professor. Some TAs are great, reasonable, etc...some have very fixed ideas, and penalize those who disagree. Professors can seem intimidating when at the lectern, but once you meet them in their office hours, they are generally affable and approachable. Downright friendly, sometimes. In Political Science, I recommend taking classes on controversial subjects. Also, pay attention to the syllabus at the beginning of the quarter, will you have an 8-page paper due on the same day that you are taking an exam (this actually happened to me, but it was two 8-page papers on the same day as the exam)? If so, you might want to consider dropping one of the classes, for the sake of your sanity. The key to Poli Sci is to DO THE READINGS: that is how I managed to make it on the Dean's List each quarter while still having a non-academic life. Also, pick an elective that will throw your cum GPA up: for me, that was the Latin series. Above all, make sure you are taking something interesting that will make you want to go to class everyday (profs and TAs will punish absent students if they notice poor attendance by giving extra credit to students who are present, offering some hint for studying for an upcoming exam, etc.).

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There is a noticeable increase in challenge as you go from freshman to senior year. This might seem obvious, but it's something you should keep in mind. Your general education classes are mostly very straight forward. Go to class, stay awake, and don't sleep through your exams. No problem. Upper division classes are quite different, and involve a lot of drive to get through. Since they are applicable to your major, motivation is easier to come by. Just really put in the effort. There is a strong correlation between the difficulty of the class and the competitiveness of the students. Students frequently skip 100-level classes, but when it comes to a 400-level, attendance is pretty consistent. You'll have your share of lecture classes, and chances are, you won't really get to know your professor. However, UW has quiz sections taught by TA's. These are useful, as you will get to know your TA. Most people are too shy to ask questions in front of 500 people, so quiz sections are great for getting answers. TA's are mostly eager to help you out, so don't be afraid to ask questions. Once you are in your major, the class sizes are much smaller. You will have a chance to get to know your professor, and vice versa. Some professors will cold-call you, so make sure you are awake and prepared for class. I've had some grad students teach my upper-division classes, but on the flip side, I've had some very knowledgeable professors who are willing to spend time with you so that you fully understand the material.

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If you are in your first two years, taking your required classes, you will most likely end up sitting in auditorium with about 500 other students. Classes are a little hard to get into but you end up taking them...eventually. It's not just huge classes, there are also the very small, 15-20 student classes. You really get to know your professors in those types of classes. But, even with the big ones, you end up having to take quiz sections with like 20 other students, and those are a little more one on one. The most interesting class I have taken so far was a genocide class. I loved it! It was a little graphic, but I learned so much. It was a small class, and I got to know my professor. UW also offers Early Fall Start for incoming Freshmen, and thats just the month before regular classes start, all the freshmen involved get to take a class on campus, while living in the dorms. Its a good way to get to know campus, and figure out how to get around with out getting lost. I think depending on the department, UW really offers a way to think in a way that will work for future jobs. I am a double major (Latin American Studies and Spanish) and a double minor (Portuguese and Diversity), and what I have learned so far is something that I think about outside of the classroom setting. I think about racial issues, and the way in which these issues affect individuals. I really think UW prepares you, and teaches you to think critically, in and out of the classroom.

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