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| Do not go here. Period. This school has a beautiful campus, and unique features like a farm, hippies running around, and an atmosphere that calls students. James Franco comes here for an MFA. What's not to like?|
Many things. The school social scene, at the end of the day, is smally, cliquey, ridden with gossip, rumors, and backstabbing. People talk about the "Wilson Bubble"- and what a bubble it is. School starts off with summer camp (orientation) but for adult-children. You get to skip activities as they don't matter AT ALL except for basics like registration. Instead, you will spend your time hiking, chatting excitedly, smoking weed, and maybe making out or getting laid. Seriously. You might go get some free pizza at the midnight madness theater event, which obligates you to nothing except free pizza.
After this week of hedonism and insanity, some students are elated, others are terrified of the debauchery they saw. Things evolve, it seems, as those who are the party hardy are kicked out over the next preceding month or two. Many of the cool, fun people who came here as seekers end up leaving. Look at the statistics... completely ridiculous retention. The academics combined with the work program take your time, so you're ready to party. And Wilson students will party, and smoke a lot of dope, and drink fairly too. Watch out for the drunken violent good 'ol boys, who want to break things or people.
Maybe, just maybe, you'll find a clique (no more than 5 generally, unless you're a huge stoner) with lesser associated people to hang out with. Welcome to your life raft. These people will make or break you. You will either keep your sanity based off the strength of your selection, or start desperately trying to find other groups to infiltrate. Maybe you can find success. But if you're more of a social butterfly, unless you can communicate exactly the relaxed, laid-back, liberal close-minded talking points everyone likes (perhaps a little more eloquently) you will meet with failure. I don't write this as a right wing ideologue, but anything that doesn't gel with the general sensibilities of the other students will raise hackles very quickly, and will lead to you being seen as pathogen, one that must be isolated and (hopefully) destroyed or forced out.
Eventually, if you make it through the first year, some friends will have left by then, not to mention the entertaining "searchers" who drop like flies. You will know all about drum circles, tribal tattoos, how hemp can save the world, and many things except how to actually function in the world. But that's alright, you are building a foundation, getting your gen. eds out of the way. You will experiment with many classes, majors, and ideas. You will look in envy at the cool cliquey crews (NRC, Farm, Blacksmith, recycling, etc.) with envy, and if you're lucky and strike the right chord with members of that crew, be invited on. Be warned, though: being a people person with normal people is not the ticket; you need to fit the stereotypical behavior highlighted above.
You will go for beautiful hikes (really, the Outdoor programs office is very cool, so much the better if you work in it...), and contra dance, kiss, and if not discover for the first time the joys of sexual interaction, then be able to partake. Be cautious though, as people care very much who is with whom, whether it be official or not. Walk to dinner with someone of the opposite sex (unless you are out) and whispers will start from people who don't even know you. Indiscretion can be quite frequent, but to get away with it, refer to the criteria above. Showing... more normal attitudes, or differing opinions, especially strongly on anything, and you risk pariah status again.
Teachers can be quite variable; departments are generally strong or weak. The English teachers really know their stuff, but they are difficult, and some are quite reclusive, and you need to get to know them and their standards on your initiative. Science is very strong, and I've heard better reports from over there. Getting into the crunchy granola- Sustainable ag, Outdoor leadership, art, etc.- things can get more uneven. Especially if you need to deal with the students. Have I been repetitive with the stereotype and what persona you'll need to ape? Good, because that is what the echo chamber of 900 students that is 12 miles from a 70,000 person town, with a lackluster nightlife is like. You will wander the expansive campus, searching among the beautiful setting for something... more. It isn't here. Small, parochial, cliquey, and happy to be further led down their general structure of beliefs ("revolutionary" or "opening your eyes" happens only in the context of reinforcing general world views, not to actually change them) is the student who will thrive here. Things are rural, so trying to set up a network of outside social contacts to keep yourself out of the bubble is quite challenging. Living off campus might very well help reach a good balance, but the school uses every weapon in its arsenal to keep you on campus.
Eventually, even the most ardent, happy students of Wilson who do graduate have more or less had it by senior year, of being on campus anyway. There's a black hole around Wilson and Asheville that suck people into it after graduation. The economy isn't great, but the beauty, and many times, a partner they've found at the school convinces them they want to knit, hike, drink chai, and die in Asheville.
But there's good parties, right? Orientation is a cruel lie. The level of crazy is because no one knows each other. As soon as you get a few months in, the parties are monotonous, with the same people at the same parties. Awkwardly, many students like reggae or folk, which doesn't lend itself to dancing, so they'll put rap, hip hop, or classic rock on. Music selections are generally poor by the DJ, but sometimes, are quite good. Then, you are confronted by a bunch of awkward students who don't, as a rule, know how to dance. They might end up grinding, but, remember the monotony thing- you can get away with some limited hook-ups, but mostly you can't, because it's so small that picking people up at parties leads to gossip and rumors after you have become too successful (see above).
Well, what about activism? Sure, activism... if that's a bunch of impassioned, ill-informed students talking about what would make the world better. "Legalize pot now!" "Where, exactly? On a national level? Don't you think a grassroots, state by state approach is better, like gay marriage or prohibition?" "Oh... huh... never thought of that" ad nauseam. Don't do that too often without pursuing and spearheading something that can be broken into easy, bite-size chunks for the other students, preferably where they can maybe march, or shout slogans. Anti-war demonstrations, or chaining yourself to the SOA fence and getting arrested is really productive, and courageous man!
Let's see, what else... a lot of fakery on everyone's parts. People pretend to care about each other, but cheat behind each other's backs, gossip behind each other's backs, etc. Many kids become aloof in their own world, confident of their own difference when really, they are very homogenous. The joke you never hear is, "What's the difference between a wilson grad and a large pizza? A large pizza can feed a family of four". Much truth to this. Many students end up screwed by the career resources department and have their head too far up their ass to get anything but minimum wage jobs- and this was pre-recession. Credits don't transfer very well from here.In short, the academics here are great on the whole. Most of the teachers are wonderful people, concerned, and ready to help you whether in your academic life, personal life, spiritual life, or whatever. Unfortunately, they are saddled with a HORRIBLE administration that makes many myopic short-sighted decisions, is distant from the students (how they manage this is very hard to say, but most likely related to knowing the students are on the whole idiots, but they still manage to screw things up in most regards), and a group of students that talk a lot about making an impact, changing the world, but really... don't. I had the pleasure of knowing a high-achieving graduate who is actually quite famous now, having done interviews for TV, etc. She received ZERO support from either the teachers or the students, and achieved every bit of success on her own, with NO help whatsoever. For a better executed concept, please go visit Berea, in Kentucky. I was on a sports team and actually visited- the students there are actually intellectually diverse, interesting, and have a solid administration.
|Aug 05 2011|| 3rd Year Male --
Class 2009 |
| Please do not come to this school. This college is supremely unorganized. I am a first year student and I am leaving after being here only a few weeks. I am not the only one. I have seen many people leave and at least four girls in my residence hall are planning to get out now or at the semster and as I said before, it's only been a matter of weeks. I came to this school to study theatre. Sure, it's not a nationally ranked program, but a program doesn't have to be #1 to give you a solid foundation for grad school. This program is laughable! First of all your degree isn't even in theatre it's in "Theatre/English", whatever the hell that means. Looking at the course offering I see there is very little teaching when it comes to performing and more of an emphasis on learning about theatre, though that's not what the website would have you believe. Once you get here, you'll see that the theatre students don't take the program seriously at all. On the first day of orientation I met a girl who opted out of doing the senior showcase (which if you know anything about college theatre programs, is basically the culmination of the degree!!) and she wasn't the only one. In fact, only about 3 majors had chosen to participate! I didn't see any plays while I've been here, but recently clips of last year's musical were put on youtube and the singing is just awful. I cannot believe the way this department bills itself after seeing the crap performances they put on! Another thing that bugged me about the department was that they allow anyone to audition for the plays. I know many colleges allow non-majors to audition, but Warren Wilson allows members of the community to come out and audition for parts in their shows. These shows are supposed to serve as oppurtunities for the students to put the "skills" they've learned in classes to work and how are they supposed to do that when they are beginners and more advanced actors are allowed to come in and take the parts? To me, this was unacceptable from a teaching program. I went to the theatre event they had during orientation and it was just a disorganized mess that most students attended to get free pizza. As for the college, it's nothing like you will be made to believe. PLEASE VISIT IF YOU CAN! I know you can't know everything about a school until you actually live there, but I feel like I could've at least gotten a sense of it if I'd come during the last school year. This is NOT a place for higher learning, it is a summer camp. They actually mention that many students see it this way during orientation skits...multiple times. There is nothing serious about this school. From the website you might get the impression that you are coming to a place where you will be challenged academically, put to work, and have the oppurtunity to do good for your community. There is nothing like that here. Sure there is work and service, but they are not the fun things you are told about. And the academics are a joke. The classes are far too simple. From the presentations at orientation it was made clear that service quickly becomes a chore to most students, rather than an enjoyable task and the work program is ridiculous. They have you fill out a long application and list all your job skills and then ignore them and assign you to random crews. For instance, I have only ever worked in an office before and I have professional certifications in several microsoft programs. I put all this on my application and they ignored it and put me on a crew cleaning up the dorms, meanwhile people with no office experience whatsoever got to work in offices. This is not the only problem I had with this school. They tell you that they are all about personal relationships and they pay attention to the things you say and what you say you want. They don't. On my roommate application I explained that I was coming from another country and would like a roommate from another country if at all possible. I got a girl from the US. Meanwhile there are several exchange students down the hall whose roommates did not want them and are annoyed. In the admissions process everyone is very attentive, but once you get here that stops. You are pretty much alone to figure stuff out. Our RAs were not helpful at all. They never told us the number to our room and nobody knew where the laundry was for weeks. The students here are nothing like you'd expect. A lot of them are arrogant entitled brats who smoke and drink way too much. If you come here, you will meet some astoundingly stupid and/or lazy people. A lot of students are uninformed bandwagon kids. They just jump onto a cause because it's what everyone else is doing, and you can tell if you talk to them. It's awful. I was surprised by how excited people said they were to come here and how utterly unprepared they were when they got here. In multiple letters and emails the school told us to make up potential schedules before we got there. Yet when we arrived I was the only one in my peer group who had even looked at the course offerings and the people were surprised that I had. They EXPECT you as a student to be lazy/incompetent and instead of making you rise to the occasion they accomodate this laziness! The campus makes a big deal of telling us not to drink and the first weekend of orientation, when only first years, some transfers, and a few RAs are on campus, there was a GIANT crazy party. The majority of people there were under 21 and no one got in trouble. There are beer cans in the recycling in my dorm and this is supposed to be the "dry" side of campus. yeah, right. Basically, this college is nothing like it is billed to be. If you are coming to do anything besides party and hang out at Camp Warren Wilson then you will be sorely disappointed. I have heard several people make the comment that "this is not a college" and truthfully it isn't. It's way to expensive for the education you get and the experience isn't worth it. Honestly, you could go to a party with a bunch of uneducated hippies with superiority complexes and get the same experience for a lot less money. |
|Aug 28 2010|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2014 |
| I would not recommend anyone attend Warren Wilson College. Once you enter, you must remain at Warren Wilson College if you wish to finish in four years; otherwise, you will have to start over from scratch at any other college or university, as very few other institutions will accept Warren Wilson credits for transfer. The amount of date rape is grossly underreported, with approximately 30 sutdents being sexually assaulted or raped a year compared to the reported number of 7 or 8 a year. The college administration implicitly encourages binge drinking and drug use, as well as students unwilling to accept the opinions of others or paticipate in democratic process. A rash of racial hate crimes committed in the last few years have not been addressed sufficiently, and, as a result, several students have left, or have remained to feel alienated and unwelcome at the institution they have paid a great deal of money to attend. The academic standards are low, and have been recently lowered. The college has failed to hire non-white faculty over and over again, although new staff positions are being added all the time. My degree from Warren Wilson College has qualified me for minimum wage work, and the much-touted work program prepared me for the same kind of work. I am currently attending graduate school in order to be better prepared to support myself in the future. |
| Starting Job: Substitute Teacher, Preparedness: F, Reputation: F |
|Apr 02 2005|| Alumna Female --
Class 2000 |