Gustavus Adolphus College
Gustavus Adolphus College - Comments and Student Experiences|
First, the classes: Classes here, though small (20-30 people) do not guarantee more attention. In most courses, at least in the humanities based classes, each and every class period is spent in discussion, with the professor acting as a kind of moderator. This is great if you love talking with your peers and have a wealth of knowledge about the subject therefore making the class redundant to you. But most students have little if any knowledge about the subject (why they take the class in the first place). Some do not talk at all, having nothing more to contribute. Some talk constantly, though they have nothing intelligent to say. Sometimes the professors do not help at all. At one point, I had a professor that, when asked a direct question about the material under discussion, would simply direct the question back to the class. This sort of instruction, common in this college which strives for a more, "community" atmosphere, might work if there was some actual content taught, some material covered. But often there is not, only blind discussion.
The professors themselves, I found were extremely difficult to get in contact with. Most had a total of three office hours per week, and often were not even in their offices at those times. Some were willing to set up times to meet and talk, but I was stood up many times by many professors.
Some of them are definitely brilliant and do have valuable things to teach, but they are rare. My first year at college was spent elsewhere, at the University of Minnesota, with class sizes around 400, but honestly I received more attention there, learned more and encountered professors just as intelligent.
The Housing and Residential life department was probably the group of people that caused the most trouble for me for three years straight. They have no brains whatsoever, and are unwilling to move from their decisions even in extremely necessary situations. At one time, a room-mate of mine went off his medication and tried to kill me. I ran out and stayed with a friend for a while, but the only thing Housing and Residential life could offer me was a room two doors down from the guy. Then they just told me to, "keep it quiet." Another time, upon graduating this past May, they gave the entire class two hours following the ceremony to move out of the dorms and return the keys. On other occasions, because I worked on campus over the summer, I was given a total of three hours to move everything I had from my school year housing to summer housing. Not easy when you can't afford a car. No flexibility, lateness is fined fifty dollars.
Next: The entire college is run primary by donations. This has the extremely bad effect of creating nasty politics and retarding any possibility of real progress or even simple change. The campus is not diverse. It is a closed community composed mostly of rich, suburban, white, Lutheran kids. The administration does want to encourage diversity and to bring in other view points and other peoples, but the donors and financial supports of the college are the parents of the current rich, white, suburban, Lutheran kids, and elderly alumni who frankly are bigoted and racist. And instead of spending money to improve the quality of education or to bring in a wider spectrum of life, the money is spent on projects to encourage more donations: nicer grounds, nicer architecture, more parties for alumni and donors and a brand new, multi-million dollar football stadium (just opened this fall) for a football team that just can't win (I don't think they even have many scholarships to bring players to the college, just a stadium).
The school is not worthwhile to go to as a party school. Drinking is often rigorously penalized, and just not enough people are interested in partying. And it's not worthwhile to go to for study, not enough people are interested in improving themselves mentally. I would say it's a good school to go to if you want to meet people who like nothing more than to watch reruns of old TV sitcoms.
The town of St. Peter is quiet, and that is appreciated to a certain extent. There are more activities there than in most Minnesota small towns. But there is still little a college-aged person can do. Unless you like Chinese food (there are two restaurants) with a voracious fanaticism, you'll be bored.
The general population of students is of a similar background and mindset. This is very uncomfortable in classes and in everyday life when most people here believe in only one acceptable way of life and one acceptable morality. Anyone who differs from any conventions will find it hard to find acceptance here, despite the surface impression of friendliness and togetherness.
I would not recommend this school to anyone looking for: A) personal improvement, intellectual, social, physical or anything. B) Fun, parties, events, activities. C) Real world experience (yes college is often scoffed at for "delaying the real world" but this school especially avoids everything).
I would recommend this college if you want to: follow popular fashion trends, read popular books, discuss the popular and conventional thoughts of the day with people who agree with all of it, think the same way as everyone else, have no connection with the outside world or engage in a wide variety of church based activities.However, I must say that the dining service staff is mostly very friendly, and so are some of the people in the finance office.
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