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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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What are the academics like at your school?

When first entering the college, you will most likely be in classrooms with hundreds of students. However, as you narrow your major down, you will be in smaller classes similar to what you were used to in highschool. The further you get in your college career, the closer you get to your teachers. The classes offered at Tech are wide and diverse. You can take a class of 3000 learning relevant news and receiving a free comedy show with Boyer's famous World Regions Class. You can even take a course on Wine Tasting. Being an English major, I really enjoyed ALL of my English courses. We tend to read alot of books that are relevant to our lives. Furthermore, we go into deep discussion about these books and I really enjoy attending these classes. I love being in the English Department--everyone is very caring, knowledgeable, and professional. I know I will keep in touch with a lot of my professors in the future. The academics here are taken seriously, but are, at the same time, enjoyable. I do not find students to be extremely competitive, though you will always find some at every school. Overall, I find Tech's academic program to be exemplar. I would recommend anyone who takes their classes seriously and enjoys a good time to come here. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else.

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Being an English major, all of my classes are comprised of 30 students or less; my smallest has three or four on a slow day. This allows students to form close bonds with instructors, should they so desire. I've personally used three such professors as references when I was pursuing a position at the Collegiate Times, and I'm convinced their influence was crucial in my being accepted. I'm also confident that I will be able to call upon these relationships to assist my career in the near future. This semester I've become well-versed in HTML, XML and similar languages and programs by taking "Writing for the Web" and "Creating User Documentation." I'm extremely impressed with the Professional Writing requirements within the English major here at Virginia Tech for the simple fact that including courses such as these provides real-world application of the skills we acquire, differentiating us from our peers. An example of this occurred just this morning; I coded a website for a group presentation in another class. My fellow classmates were blown away at the design, and asked how I was able to create such a site. In reality, the coding was quite basic, but the fact that I had taken these HTML courses set me light-years ahead of them in this subject matter.

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Professors know you by name in most of your classes; most of my classes are about 30-40 people, even when I was a freshman classes were that size! Even in the larger lecture classes, if you go to office hours once or twice, teachers will recognize you and know your name. My favorite class is my management class. The professor makes it so much fun, but inviting guests to lecture us. We had Juxtaposition (the male acapella group) come sing to our class, an author of the 'You Call the Shots', and a Coldstone Creamery owner (we all got free ice cream & coupons to Coldstone). Students are not competitive, because the atmosphere is more laid back. I love how Virginia Tech has you apply directly into your major's college when you're a senior in high school. This way you are taking classes geared towards your major when you are a freshman, instead of waiting until after your sophomore year to declare a major. I am a management/marketing double major and love the Pamplin College of business. There are so many opportunities offered, such as weekly speakers who come to the Inn at Virginia Tech and discuss topics such as dealing with finances upon graduation. In my opinion, Virginia Tech's academics is very strong.

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When I came to Virginia Tech I expected to be a number, not a name in most, if not all of my classes. Instead I found that, once you get into your major and away from the classes that all freshmen are required to take, classes become small and personal. I have forged relationships with teachers that have encouraged me to take classes with them over and over again. Even in large classes, if you go to your professors office hours and a semi-regular basis they will get to know you and can help you with anything you need. Some of my favorite classes are the workshop or discussion based classes that you can take starting sophomore year where, instead of sitting in nice neat rows facing the front of the classroom, you move the desks into a circle so everyone can see and talk to each other. In those situations everyone becomes the teacher and the actual professor is there to learn just as you are. Those types of classes promote intellectual discussion and a personal openness that I have never experienced before in an academic setting. No matter what your major, if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded with personal relationships, stimulating discussion, and unparalleled experience.

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The academics at Tech are wonderful. The most talked about majors at Virginia Tech are engineering, architecture and business. While I had many friends in these majors, I had an academic experience at Virginia Tech very different from most students. I majored in English (concentrated in Professional Writing). The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences is very small at Virginia Tech but I found that to be a positive aspect of the college. Going to a school with 35,000 plus students, it was nice to get a "small school" feel in the English department. I was very close with many of my professors, unlike some of my outside major classes where I genuinely felt like a number in the classroom. I am confident that the education I received at Virginia Tech and the connections I made with professors in the English department will aid me in jump-starting my career. I know from talking with friends that the business school as well as architecture and engineering schools are no-nonsense. You will be very busy and you will have tons of work. However, each of my friends who majored in business and engineering graduated with jobs lined up, so the work definitely pays off.

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Like I said in my previous post, at first when taking general classes, I didnt likehow big they were because you didnt get to really know other students, or even the professor. However, once you choose a major or minor and really get into taking classes for that, your classes get smaller and more interactive. I am a Communication major (which I LOVE), and and Engish minor at VT. My typical classes are about 20 people. It allows me to get to know my professors really well, as well as other students in my classes. All of my teachers know my name, and can name me in class. I like this because it makes me feel like not just "one in a crowd." As for what I am learning here, I really enjoy what I am doing in my major and my minor. All of my classes are relevant to "the real world" and I can see how I will use skills and information I have learned in class in my profession some day. My classes are stimulating and relevant to what I want to do as a profession, and I think the required in major and minor classes are great. They really focus on the field of study that they are in.

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There is a reason you get reaction that you do when you tell people you go to Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech regarded as one of the top universities in the country. To be able to put Virginia Tech on your resume is something you work very hard for. The Professors here are among the top in the country. My comparative governmet professor had to end class three classes early because Turkey's government asked him to come speak for them at a conference. I was always told that I'd only be a number as a student at a big university. That could not be farther from the truth. My professors from last year still remember my name. Every single professor I've had I've developed some sort of relationship with. I got breakfast with one of my professors before class last week. These people love to teach and will help you out whenever you need it. The academics here are challenging but completely manageable. You're going to have to pay attention in class and you're going to have to study, but getting straight A's is very realistic if you work hard.

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As an English Literature and Creative Writing major, I have a unique academic experience. Unlike many of my friends, I have very individual attention from my professors. My class sizes are fairly small, especially my creative writing classes which have been as few as twelve. My favorite class is Creative Writing: Poetry with Nikki Giovanni. Having the opportunity to be taught by such a distinguished poet as Nikki has been a great blessing. The class is offered Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 am, which would typically be a burden for me, as I am not a morning person. However, I look forward to attending. Class participation is very common in my courses and if often factored into the grade. The most unique class I've taken is African Religions. It introduced me to a very different way of looking at the world, politics, religion, and people. The education at Virginia Tech is geared toward whatever you want to do. There are so many opportunities to get involved on campus and various career services available for students.

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Academics are like Junior Varisty sports here. Everyone tries, but half of us give it 110% because we are trying to get to the next level. The coursework is competitive. Some of the classes are very large and some of the classes are very small. Some professors know you by name, and some ask for your ID number. Your major also determines how competitive school is for you here. We have very challenging progams: engineering, architecture, pre-med, finance, etc. There is a major here for anyone. You will never feel limited in your choices. Education here is neither geared towards getting a job or learning for one's one sake. Instead, our motto is Ut Prosim: "That I may serve." Our education is geared towards helping our community, country, and world; and in turn helping ourselves.

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-Yes -Favorite: Media Institutions, World Regions, Visual Media, Comm Skills, Creative Dance. Least favorite: I can't really think of a class that I disliked that much... -A lot -Depends on the class, but usually, yes -Certain students do -Not really, from my experience -World Regions -Comm is an excellent major. It is broad, and I find it very interesting. Anyone interested in learning about and somehow working in the media and should consider this major. -Not usually, but I am close with a few of my professors and enjoy talking to them outside of class -I think they are very fair, and if you stay on top of things, you can definitely graduate on time. I am actually in the process of graduating a semester early. -Both

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