Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


Freshmen year, class size is BIG! My classes can be up to 500 people, but don't take that as such a negative. I don't have a teacher that requires me to attend. Virginia Tech has taught me to discipline because I can choose to go or not. We will have a job for you before you leave. I keep hearing those words and alums have proven it. Virginia Tech prepares you for the work force and career services will find you a job.


Professors know my name because I make sure they know my name. Students study often. Class participation is common in the social sciences.


In terms of professors knowing your name, its a dual effort between the student and the professor. If you make yourself know in a positive light professors are interested in getting to know the indvidual even in the large 150 person lectures. What most students don't realize is that professors have lives too that they might want to share, so if you show intrest in them as a person and not just the grade giver you'd be surprised by the positive results. I love my department everyone is so helpful and makes me want to do my best and I feed of the good vibes as much as possible. THe education is geared to both getting a job and learning just an engineering major if you want to take a class in european history you can, I love that flexiblity though sometimes it take a work on the students part.


My professors do actually know my name. Part of this reason may be that my name is very unique, however, i do take time to introduce myself. My favorite class is probably engineering. Although it is very strenuous, I like all of the fun activities that we do that actually apply to the profession that we desire. I don't really have a least favorite class because I chose them. I find that students are constantly studying because if you're like me, you may end up having either a test or a quiz every day off the week, including Saturday. Vt students have intellectual conversations outside of class because most of the students here are very intellectual themselves. Some students are competitive, but being competitive is a must because one must be competitive in the business world. The most unique class that I've taken is Introduction to Theatre. The teacher was just a very interesting lady, Susanna Rinehart is her name. My department is the Engineering department. Many of the professors and GTA's work as a team, so in class they are actually all present to ensure that they relay the acting professor's message the way that he intended. I don't really have the time to make it to the office hours of my professors, but I have found that they do answer back in a timely manner. I feel that VT's academic requirements are very strict, but they have high standards and I wouldn't expect less. The education is about getting a very large amount of knowledge about your major and other aspects so that you are what the job market wants, they will come to you in place of you hunting and searching for a job.


The most unique class I've taken has been Indigenous Ecology (AINS 4004). The teachers know our names, and class participation is about average. In general, students have academic conversations outside of class, but, unfortunately, participation in class is generally low. Some students spend hours upon hours studying each day, and others spend very little time. I spend some time with IDST professors outside of class, but not much. As far as academic requirements, I really really really really dislike general math (1015 for example) being taught online via the math emporium. It is an ineffective way for students who are enrolled in it because they aren't following a math based future to learn math, as they are the people who most need it to be explained by a teacher or TA. I feel like much of my education is learning for its own sake, but that is mostly because I have recently decided to go to Law school instead of graduate school. I also would like to see a sexuality studies department at Tech one day. Several schools have them, and I think Tech having one would do much to improve the quality of liberal education received by students. Back to the academic requirements, I think all students should be required to have more diversity classes - or maybe offer a catch all diversity class that covers issues of possible discrimination. This would also be helpful for students who are going into the work force who had little interaction outside their own race/religion/orientation/age/ect during their collegiate career (as is possible). I would also like to see more environmental classes being required by students. Students should be aware of what is happening physically to the world around them. Although it is possible for students to take either Human Sexuality or Resources Geology as part of area 7, some students don't take either and certainly not both. Both these classes, or others like them, should be required to ensure that students are well rounded in their education and general knowledge of the world around them.


When I was trying to determine what college I wanted to go to, academics were very important to me. I always wanted to know: are classes too large, are they very hard, are they interesting, and so on. Now that I'm a student at Virginia Tech, I've learned that we have classes of 500 students and classes of 15. There are classes that require barely any work and classes that the majority fail. Some classes are fun and interesting and others make you cry from boredom. But all these things are what every college will tell you about their academics. I think that knowing the inside information will be most beneficial for you. This is what most people won't tell you. First of all, there is a core of academics here. You must complete roughly 15 classes in seven different areas of study. Some of those areas are boring and you feel like you're in high school again. Some of them are interesting and help you figure out what major you want to pursue. I will tell you that everyone's least favorite is the math area, because Virginia Tech does not offer very many formal math classes, but instead holds their math classes at an off campus computer lab. You must leave campus weekly to take quizzes on material you need to teach yourself. Everyone hates this. The math emporium, as we all it, is often crowded and can only be reached by car or bus, as it is too far to walk from the dorms. If you are not great at math, try and take your credits elsewhere or during high school, because it is difficult to get a professor taught math course that fulfills that math requirement. There is good news though that definitely offsets the negative aspects of the math emporium. If you like three day weekends, it is very easy to get a schedule void of Friday classes. In fact, in recent years, Virginia Tech has cut back on the number of classes they offer on Friday and is focusing on offering classes on Monday through Thursday only. There is even a rumor that VT will soon stop offering Friday classes, but that is just a rumor. The other piece of good news, is that early classes are easy to avoid. This year, my earliest class is at 11am and on Monday and Wednesday I dont start until 230pm. Most professors do not like teaching 8am classes and have multiple afternoon sections. If you are stuck with an early class because the later ones are full, there is a way around it, only if it is a large lecture class. Attend that same class later in the day, but be sure to go to your assigned class on test days.


There are lots of very large classes at Virginia Tech. Many general courses like Intro to Theatre or Psychology have about 500 students. Personally, I enjoy this atmosphere. There is less pressure, and usually the teachers are very good. In fact, looking back on my 4 years of classes, I enjoyed most those huge ones. There's less pressure to impress your teacher, and chances are you know a bunch of people who you get to sit with. The teachers do cool things when they have such large groups. They are under immense pressure having so many students that they really come through with interesting lectures. It's kind of like going to a show sometimes, with movie clips and attention getters very plentiful. Students are competitive. Good colleges, such as this one, weed out unmotivated people before they even get a chance to come here. People do their homework here, and people take studying for tests very seriously. It's so refreshing to be in an environment where so many people care about academics. It's motivating. There is, however, a less close relationship with professors, which can make it difficult when it comes time for recommendations and things of that nature. But if you make the effort, you can form relationships with professors in large classes. They often encourage students to stop by their offices, even if just to say hello. I'm a Communication major and my only complaint with the department is that it's difficult to get the classes you need. Since there are not enough teachers, students are sometimes forced to take classes they don't even need because they're unable to get a spot in the ones they do need. That can be very frustrating. But all in all, I feel looked out for by my department. When it comes time for teacher evaluations, except in maybe 2 or 3 rare occasions, I've rated my teachers near perfect. They're pretty great for the most part.


Classes are way too big, I would go to a smaller school if I had to do it all over again.


At Virginia Tech, you get what you put into it. Teachers will learn your name only if you give them a reason to. Although many classes are large lecture halls, your professors make themselves available to answer any questions. There are many places to study on campus and many students consider Torg. Bridge or the Library their stomping ground when it comes to preparing for a test. Virginia Tech's education is primarily geared toward getting a job. Professors get you ready for the real thing and challenge you as if you are already in a professional climate. Career Services is a great service to students to help them prepare for interviews, resume, and whatever else a student might need to get a job.