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Old 06-24-2012, 05:36 PM
 
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What type of schools did you attend and why? i went to a medium-sized university (6k undergrads). school size wasn't a big factor in my decision to attend. i did feel like the really small school i toured (rhodes in TN) felt too much like my high school.

Did you like the social scene and student activities? i didnt do as much as a should have and i struggled socially but i think i wouldve had the same problem at any school given my personality.

Did you feel you got a good education where you attended? yes
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:00 PM
 
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Small liberal arts colleges generally offer a more personalized education where you actually interact with your professors. They are there to teach, help students and the like.

At most major state universities, professors are often more interested in publishing and working with the department's graduate students. Often, the undergraduate students are an afterthought and very often, MOST undergraduate level classes are taught by graduate assistants. While graduate assistants can teach competently, their focus is getting their own college degree.

In my undergraduate days at a mid-sized iniversity, nearly EVERY professor was readily available during their office hours and occasionally, they would join the students for a cup of coffee or a beer or two. The president of the university once said that all the employees should be fired up with enthusiasm or be fired enthusiastically.

In my graduate school at a large university, most undergraduate classes were 200-600 students. Students were instructed to address all questions to their assigned graduate students. I met students who had not had a professor in their first three years.

Unless you are on a campus of several hundred in a remote area, there is generally a lot going on at most campuses. You have to do your research to find the one that suits you.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:35 PM
 
Location: An hour from NYC*wheep*
312 posts, read 307,279 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
Small liberal arts colleges generally offer a more personalized education where you actually interact with your professors. They are there to teach, help students and the like.

At most major state universities, professors are often more interested in publishing and working with the department's graduate students. Often, the undergraduate students are an afterthought and very often, MOST undergraduate level classes are taught by graduate assistants. While graduate assistants can teach competently, their focus is getting their own college degree.

In my undergraduate days at a mid-sized iniversity, nearly EVERY professor was readily available during their office hours and occasionally, they would join the students for a cup of coffee or a beer or two. The president of the university once said that all the employees should be fired up with enthusiasm or be fired enthusiastically.

In my graduate school at a large university, most undergraduate classes were 200-600 students. Students were instructed to address all questions to their assigned graduate students. I met students who had not had a professor in their first three years.

Unless you are on a campus of several hundred in a remote area, there is generally a lot going on at most campuses. You have to do your research to find the one that suits you.

Thanks for the post! It was helpful. I never knew that most undergrad students have a hard time contacting their professors. I think smaller classes and more personalized contact with the professor is important. I would like that kind of environment.

With that said, for my grad school choice I would probably prefer going to a big university (NE somewhere) since most of them have good programs for my intended field of study.
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:06 PM
 
Location: Metairie, La.
1,156 posts, read 852,045 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zara Ray View Post
Thanks for the post! It was helpful. I never knew that most undergrad students have a hard time contacting their professors. I think smaller classes and more personalized contact with the professor is important. I would like that kind of environment.

With that said, for my grad school choice I would probably prefer going to a big university (NE somewhere) since most of them have good programs for my intended field of study.

A larger university for graduate studies, I think, would be a good move. It would enable you, provided you worked as a graduate assistant, to actually teach in the university setting and fund your grad education at the same time. This teaching experience is unsurpassed and i think it's a necessary part of your training.

That being said, this wouldn't be the only criteria by which to judge a potential school for graduate studies. In an earlier post you said that you would likely major in poli sci. You still have a couple of years to figure it out and the profs at your undergrad institution can help you in this regard, but you need to consider the type of scholar(s) you'd like to work under. And in a way, this might influence where you finish your undergrad degree.

There are several methodologies that guide scholarship in poli sci, such as realism, structuralism, positivism, and behaviorism (and there's probably more, but those stand out to me and I'm trained in history). Later during your graduate career, you'd have to figure out which of these methodological approaches appeal to you the most and visit universities where the profs specialize in these.

Again, you have some time before you figure all this out. It's also helpful if you know what scholar(s) you'd like to work under and this could be done by figuring out which books you like the most and that you think are methodologically sound and persuasive.

Lastly, small universities and colleges are probably going to be the best option, in my opinion, for your undergrad degree. Good luck!!
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:32 PM
 
Location: An hour from NYC*wheep*
312 posts, read 307,279 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiogenesofJackson View Post
A larger university for graduate studies, I think, would be a good move. It would enable you, provided you worked as a graduate assistant, to actually teach in the university setting and fund your grad education at the same time. This teaching experience is unsurpassed and i think it's a necessary part of your training.

That being said, this wouldn't be the only criteria by which to judge a potential school for graduate studies. In an earlier post you said that you would likely major in poli sci. You still have a couple of years to figure it out and the profs at your undergrad institution can help you in this regard, but you need to consider the type of scholar(s) you'd like to work under. And in a way, this might influence where you finish your undergrad degree.

There are several methodologies that guide scholarship in poli sci, such as realism, structuralism, positivism, and behaviorism (and there's probably more, but those stand out to me and I'm trained in history). Later during your graduate career, you'd have to figure out which of these methodological approaches appeal to you the most and visit universities where the profs specialize in these.

Again, you have some time before you figure all this out. It's also helpful if you know what scholar(s) you'd like to work under and this could be done by figuring out which books you like the most and that you think are methodologically sound and persuasive.

Lastly, small universities and colleges are probably going to be the best option, in my opinion, for your undergrad degree. Good luck!!
Thanks for the response! I need all of the information I can get. I am sure of my poli sci choice as a major, either that or International Relations. For grad school I will definitely look into MA in International Relations or International affairs probably in development. I never heard about the methodologies in regards to choosing a good fit school. I will keep this in mind when I start looking for schools.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Middle America
18,137 posts, read 15,639,567 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zara Ray View Post

What type of schools did you attend and why?
Small, private liberal arts. First and foremost because small school, small class size, and personalized interaction with full professors was a priority. Secondarily because due to my academic record and various arts auditions, they shoveled boatloads of grant and scholarship money my way, so it was cheaper than XYZ State University in the end. But mostly because small classes, a small community, and personal treatment was my preference, by far.

My needs did not dictate that a researched-focused university be a priority, and working with professors whose focus was teaching widely outranked working with ones with publishing as their primary focus. However, had my area of study been one that really required me to have access to significant research opportunities, or to work with published experts in their fields, those options were there as well. But teaching absolutely took center stage at my alma mater.

Quote:
Did you like the social scene and student activities?
I did. It was a true community, and basically, everything I wanted was available to me, and then some. Students were very ambitious and studious, but also very social. I wouldn't say that it being an academically rigorous school took away from the party element, but it did take away the element of partying to the exclusion of taking responsibility for one's own educational progress. Definitely a "work hard, play hard" type of place. Not everyone partied hard, though...people who preferred to keep a lower profile and focus exclusively on academics had a place there, no question.

Quote:
Did you feel you got a good education where you attended?
Absolutely. Part of that was due to being a probably more diligent and self-motivated student than most, but the reality is that if you WEREN'T that way, you weren't going to last long, there. It was academically rigorous, and even the coursework that students referred to as the "easy" or "blowoff," typical gen ed classes were quite demanding. Coasting through wasn't really an option, you pretty much had to work for it. I graduated thirteen years ago, and I honestly reap the benefits of the academic rigor, every day.

I never have regretted, at the time or in retrospect, deliberately choosing a small, intimate college for my undergraduate degree. It was unquestionably the best choice for me, and provided exactly the experience I was looking for and more. Would it be for everyone? Nah. But it definitely was for me.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:39 PM
 
Location: An hour from NYC*wheep*
312 posts, read 307,279 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Small, private liberal arts. First and foremost because small school, small class size, and personalized interaction with full professors was a priority. Secondarily because due to my academic record and various arts auditions, they shoveled boatloads of grant and scholarship money my way, so it was cheaper than XYZ State University in the end. But mostly because small classes, a small community, and personal treatment was my preference, by far.

My needs did not dictate that a researched-focused university be a priority, and working with professors whose focus was teaching widely outranked working with ones with publishing as their primary focus. However, had my area of study been one that really required me to have access to significant research opportunities, or to work with published experts in their fields, those options were there as well. But teaching absolutely took center stage at my alma mater.



I did. It was a true community, and basically, everything I wanted was available to me, and then some. Students were very ambitious and studious, but also very social. I wouldn't say that it being an academically rigorous school took away from the party element, but it did take away the element of partying to the exclusion of taking responsibility for one's own educational progress. Definitely a "work hard, play hard" type of place. Not everyone partied hard, though...people who preferred to keep a lower profile and focus exclusively on academics had a place there, no question.



Absolutely. Part of that was due to being a probably more diligent and self-motivated student than most, but the reality is that if you WEREN'T that way, you weren't going to last long, there. It was academically rigorous, and even the coursework that students referred to as the "easy" or "blowoff," typical gen ed classes were quite demanding. Coasting through wasn't really an option, you pretty much had to work for it. I graduated thirteen years ago, and I honestly reap the benefits of the academic rigor, every day.

I never have regretted, at the time or in retrospect, deliberately choosing a small, intimate college for my undergraduate degree. It was unquestionably the best choice for me, and provided exactly the experience I was looking for and more. Would it be for everyone? Nah. But it definitely was for me.
Your post summed up my reasoning for attending a liberal arts college! It's the kind of place I would enjoy and to attend alongside people who are as eager as I am about school. It sounds amazing to have the solace of the campus but a hard working and motivated student body. Thank you for your undergrad experience, hopefully I would have the same!
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:02 PM
 
5,507 posts, read 5,700,848 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zara Ray View Post
I wanted to know the pros and cons of both types of higher education institutions. I am going to start applying for some school this fall/winter and wanted to get some insight into both big campus universities as well as small liberal arts colleges. I am leaning more towards liberal arts colleges due to their more intimate settings, lack of the greek and sorority community and crazy campus parties. I am not the partying type and would rather be in a place to focus on my school work with other ambitious students.

I have been looking at liberal arts college in NY and MA area as certain possibilities. Although they're some bug universities I wouldn't mind to attend (Columbia, Boston U, Tufts, John Hopkins, Georgetown) I would like the intimate surrounding more. I know there's quite a lot of women's schools there too which seem nice.

So here's some questions for the city data consensus.

What type of schools did you attend and why?

Did you like the social scene and student activities?

Did you feel you got a good education where you attended?
Go to the best school you can get into that is also one of the cheapest to attend for you.

I went to a top 20 public and paid a total of 10k. It was a great decision.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:49 PM
 
11,100 posts, read 9,745,964 times
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I don't really think that you can categorize experience according to type of higher educational institution. There is good and better in both category, and some people learn better in one milieu, and others in another.

I went to a medium to smaller university, for most of my undergraduate work. (Clark University). It was a good size for me. I turned down Syracuse, Binghamton and others because they were too large. I turned down Bard and Vassar because they were too small and rural.

Beyond size there are so many things that play into the best place for you to learn.

I came from a small town and common knowledge would say that I'd have been happiest at a small LAC.
I really didn't want to know everyone by the end of my freshman year or run into the same people over and over again.

In the end I graduated from a huge public research oriented university.(Stony Brook University) That is what it is noted for and designated. I found the professors accessible and dedicated.

I can't make generalizations as to type or category in terms of education and experience.
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Old 06-28-2012, 09:31 AM
 
Location: An hour from NYC*wheep*
312 posts, read 307,279 times
Reputation: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheena12 View Post
I don't really think that you can categorize experience according to type of higher educational institution. There is good and better in both category, and some people learn better in one milieu, and others in another.

I went to a medium to smaller university, for most of my undergraduate work. (Clark University). It was a good size for me. I turned down Syracuse, Binghamton and others because they were too large. I turned down Bard and Vassar because they were too small and rural.

Beyond size there are so many things that play into the best place for you to learn.

I came from a small town and common knowledge would say that I'd have been happiest at a small LAC.
I really didn't want to know everyone by the end of my freshman year or run into the same people over and over again.

In the end I graduated from a huge public research oriented university.(Stony Brook University) That is what it is noted for and designated. I found the professors accessible and dedicated.

I can't make generalizations as to type or category in terms of education and experience.
Thank you for you reply. I am going to apply for Stony Brook since I heard it's a good public school that won't be a fortune to attend. That along with a few pricey LAC I am also looking at in the NE area. I guess I'm just looking at schools that will suit my personality since I am introverted and not into parties.
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