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Ouachita Baptist University

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I love the atmosphere,Quite BrightNutrition
I love the atmosphere, people are friendly and willing to help. Yeah it might be a bit isolated but there's always something going on in campus
1st Year Female -- Class 1923
Education Quality: A+, Surrounding City: F
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OBU was an incredible experience for me.Communications
OBU was an incredible experience for me. Not only did I make amazing friends, I also got an education that broadened my understanding and helped me cope with the real world. It has a strong regional presence in Arkansas and Dallas. My first job came from a headhunter who searched for resumes from OBU graduates. (And it was an amazing job!)

If you plan to live/work in the South, OBU is definitely the place to be. Even 5 years after graduation, I can still get recommendation letters from professors and I have close connections to people all over the United States. I currently live in LA, and my OBU friends here are great.My only word of caution is if you are looking to work in a different bigger job market, you may be better suited going to a college (or graduate school) in that region for the career and alumni connections; however, for me OBU helped prepare me for life and I wouldn't trade it.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
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I LOVED Ouachita while I was there.Quite BrightPsychology
I LOVED Ouachita while I was there. It was effortless to get involved with extra-curricular activities, and I had more friends there than I have ever had in my life, before or after. In general, it wasn't until my last semester, when I moved out of the dorms into one of the on-campus apartments, that I ever really had trouble finding something to do (on campus, of course, since it's Arkadephia) or someone to hang out with, and most of the people I knew are genuinely intelligent people who enjoy intellectual discussions (especially, since it is a Baptist school, if the discussion has to do with theology or philosophy.)

The staff are some of the most incredibly sweet and helpful people I have ever met, and the professors genuinely care about making sure that you learn the material. I made decent grades in high school and at my first university, but I never studied before I got to Ouachita.

I love the idea of the interdisciplinary liberal arts core, but in practice it winds up being the same kind of core courses you'd get at any other school, but watered down since they're the university-wide common core. Ultimately I think the Liberal Arts core has become an empty promise; the days when a broad liberal arts degree are of any value ended about the time when a high school diploma stopped being the minimum criterion for entry into the middle class workforce. I would much rather see freshmen and sophomores challenged by the same math, biology, chemistry, literature, and history courses that the majors take, than have everybody take Applied Math, Life Science, Physical Science, and the Letters and Heritage courses.

As I mentioned, everybody there is super sweet, but... Being a Southern Baptist institution, if you aren't a conservative Christian, to a certain extent people act like there is something wrong with you. I was friends with the two openly gay men on campus - yes, there were only two - and both of them were harassed by the staff for their orientation. (One friend's car was broken into and vandalized with homophobic slurs, and Keldon Henley, the Dean of Students, essentially looked the other way.) In general, though, people who knew them tended to be friendly toward them, even if they whispered "love the sinner, hate the sin" behind their backs. I avoided this by staying in the closet until just before I graduated (and even then only came out to a select few friends I knew would be okay with it), and not mentioning to anybody that I was effectively agnostic at the time.

The only other complaint I have is about guidance. I transferred into Ouachita having no idea what I wanted to do, and left still completely clueless. At the time I liked that faculty are the academic advisors, because it meant that you have no choice but to have working relationships with them (in contrast to the public school I transferred from, where faculty have no clue who you are), but in retrospect it's a bad idea, because they aren't able to offer the kind of guidance that someone whose only job is academic advisement could have offered. The career center isn't any more helpful. The career counselor (at least when I was there) was the former mayor of Arkadelphia, so he is great about using his connections and alumni connections to help find jobs for students who already know what they want to do, but since he is a businessman-politician, and not an actual career counselor, the best he could come up with for me was to become certified to teach high school (which obviously isn't much of a possibility as a psychology major.)Overall, at the time it felt like a really positive experience. If I woke up tomorrow seventeen again, heterosexual, conservative, sure about my future, and looking to graduate with "a ring by spring," I would definitely apply to go to Ouachita again. (Of course, when I was seventeen I thought I was all those things.) But if I woke up seventeen again knowing who I would grow into in my late 20s, I wouldn't. I would choose a flagship public school with a diverse, inclusive student body, and a career center with actual counselors, and a well-defined common core curriculum of courses taken by both majors and non-majors alike.

3rd Year Male -- Class 2006
Collaboration/Competitive: A+, Surrounding City: D
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