It is awesome.
There are so many wonderful things about Willamette, I can't pick just one. I love the community here. The professors and students are all here because they want to be. The size of Willamette is perfect for me, I came from a smaller high school with a graduating class of around 100 students. The transition was easy and seemed very natural. Everyone was very welcoming and quick to accept each other. If I were to change one thing about Willamette it would be moving it closer to Portland. While Salem is only ~45 min from Portland, I grew up in the Bay Area and am used to being closer to a larger city. Salem does have a lot to offer I wouldn't call it a 'college town'. Personally, I spend most of my time on campus in Olin, the Biology and Chemistry building doing homework or labwork. It offers great study spaces and lots of interactions with professors whose office surround the workspace, making it easy to get a hold of them. I would say that there is not a overly large amount of school pride, but students do take pride in the Willamette name. When I tell people that I attend Willamette most people in the Pacific Northwest know of it and react well, many people beyond the PNW haven't heard of it but understand when they are told it's a small liberal arts school in Oregon. A degree from Willamette is highly respected around the PNW and may not be as well known in other areas but is still known as a liberal arts degree with comes with some basic understanding.
One of the best things about Willamette is the size of our school. The small classes allow students to form genuine relationships with their professors. At large schools it is uncommon to be able to email professors with questions on assignments late at night and get a reply that same night. Or to have professor's cell phone numbers, or to grab a coffee with them to discuss future plans. But at Willamette - this is the norm. This not only allows for incredible networking but allows students to learn from our excellent faculty on a more personal level. Overall, Willamette's small campus allows for outstanding academic opportunities, student-faculty relationships, and extra-curricular activities.
A broad question, so here's my broad response. I have a critically positive opinion. Full of completely supportive faculty, administration and staff, I have had the opportunity to grow in so many different ways here. Whether that's through a student leadership position or simply participating in a class discussion, Willamette has given me the tools to become a critical thinker as well as the ability to reflect on my experiences.
My job as the incoming student orientation coordinator is one of the most influential parts of my collegiate career here at WU. Trusted and supported by the administration, I was able to coordinate a 4-person lead team, a 94-person group of leaders, and speak in front of 2,000 incoming students and their families to help shape the week-long orientation program. All of this was possible because of the confidence that I have gained in myself through various experiences here at Willamette.
That's just one example of the ways that students here at WU are fostered by their community and enabled in ways that allow them to explore their own niches.
From my experience, students at Willamette work harder than they ever have before, have more fun than they ever have before, and are learning far more than they ever have before. Willamette offers so many opportunities for students to explore who they are and my favorite aspect of Willamette is how much the students encourage each other to be better students and better people.
Willamette's best selling-point is the students. I definitely feel at home and surrounded by so many people who are open, warm, and genuine. At times, the school can feel a bit small, but I truly feel like I am a contributing member of the community and not just another fish in the sea. Most people are from the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, but it is still possible to find people from various other states.
The biggest complaint students have is the lack of activities in the greater Salem area. However, Willamette has tons of events on-campus, and Portland feels very accessible by train, bus, or a friend's car. I think the people that complain about Salem also are not actively trying to find fun things to do. The "Willamette Bubble," or the sense that people stay mostly on campus, is another typical complaint, but again this is from people who are not seeking opportunities.
I do not see these complaints as deal-breakers and think that it is up to the individual to fix them or not. I am incredibly happy with Willamette and definitely feel like it is the perfect school for me!
Willamette offers a comprehensive and holistic approach on the liberal arts education for students. The school size is small but not too small to the point where you cannot meet a new person everyday for the rest of your college career. The professors are always engaging students to think critically and offers flexible office hours to help students. One of the greatest things about Willamette is the opportunity you have to befriend your professors and discuss your passions while drinking a cup of tea and munching on some Bistro cookies. The academic load can sometimes be fairly easy or very difficult depending on the classes you take, and some visiting professors can be difficult to understand and work with, but I have definitely enjoyed taking courses from all the associate professors.
Willamette is home. After all, students live here most of, if not the entire, year. The small campus helps secure this feeling of home for its students. It's easy to feel connected to all the aspects of college life when at Willamette.
We are known for being a small liberal arts school with a strong intellectual presence set in a laid back town. The businesses and people of Salem are very conscious of the fact that Willamette students are having unique and exciting college experiences in their town. In this way, the university is wonderfully connected to the surrounding area.
I spend a rather equal amount of time on campus and downtown. There's a plethora of coffee shops and cafes conducive to serious studying and are also great for catching up with friends. The Bistro is definitely the heart of campus. Interestingly, a lot of pride for the students is in this student-run organization. The coffee and food are unmatched by any other place on campus and the environment is buzzing with excitement, intellectualism and comfort. It's wonderfully hard to describe the different sense of time that seems to exist in the Bistro. It's a great part of Willamette that only students and staff can truly appreciate.
The administration at Willamette is very connected to the student population. It's so easy to simply drop into an office, like Financial Aid or even the President's, and talk business or get information without any feeling of intimidation or distance.
All this said, the only true concern for students is that it's rather easy to become sucked into the "Willamette Bubble." Everything on campus is so accessible that it almost feels like you're spending too much time in one place (on campus). However, Willamette completely acknowledges this and provides excellent means to get off campus and out of the bubble. Zip cars, Portland trips, hiking trips with the Outdoor Club and a constant flow of information about what's happening downtown and everyone in Salem, always provides students with the opportunity to explore and have a more well-rounded college experience.
We have small class sizes and we have professors who really care about us. We are big on a global view and want to make well rounded students.
Willamette is a really chill campus, with a very laid back atmosphere. At the same time there is also a strong focus on academics and this is fostered by the staff and faculty who are super friendly and do their best to available to their students. Also the classes are small and discussion based which as a student I really appreciate because I learn better when I talk about the subject as opposed to be lectures in which the professor just talks at you.
Willamette has one of the friendliest student bodies I have ever experienced. You will constantly see smiling faces all around campus. It's small enough to create a strong sense of community. That small size can also seem limiting at times. The surrounding community is a bit small, and recreational activities are limited if you do not have a car or funds for transportation
I really like the size of Willamette: the classes are small enough so that everyone's voice can be heard during class discussions but it is a large enough school that there are always activities: bands playing concerts, internationally famous speakers, dance parties, we have it all. Something I love about Willamette is the stream that flows through campus: there are always ducks and geese hanging out, it's a really nice place to lounge when there's good weather, and on your birthday it's very common to get thrown in by your friends, a tradition called "Mill streaming".
Is there a lot of school pride? That depends on what you take for school pride. There are not a lot of students who attend athletic events, but I would say when it comes to supporting each others clubs and speakers, we do a very good job of that. I feel though that I meet a lot of people here who say how happy they are that they do not attend a state school.
The big picture is a demanding, engaging, fun liberal arts college located in beautiful Oregon. The people are great - open to new ideas and always interested in knowing more. My profs are first-rate. They ask a lot academically and provide help when I need it. I feel like they are invested in my success and want to help me find my future.
Willamette is a small liberal arts college located in quite possibly to most convenient and beautiful spot in Salem, Oregon. With just over 1,800 undergraduates, the campus feel is familiar and friendly. It's not too small where you feel like you're doing the same thing and seeing the same people over and over again, but it's not too big to the point where you feel like you're constantly lost in the crowd. The heart of downtown Salem is a six block walk northwest of campus and, oh yeah, the state capitol is literally right across the street. There's around 120 student-run organizations on campus to get involved in as well as both varsity and intramural sports. Even though Willamette isn't a huge school, there's almost never a shortage of things to do on campus. When you get bored, however, there's plenty of great places nearby to go explore.
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