Drew University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Let's talk about the good parts...
Drew's a very close-knit campus that fosters a sense of individual attention. Professors are generally masters in their subjects and its impossible to walk down the path without running into someone you know. The school also gives out a lot of financial aid - which unfortunately helps me transition into the cons of attending Drew.
Onto the bad....
Drew University has a very corrupt administration that is out to get your money in any way it can. There's been shady financial issues in the past few years and the school is struggling to save itself from bankruptcy. Freshmen are given very large financial age packages that are then vastly deducted once they become upperclassmen. If you try to appeal to the administration, good luck. You'll be thrown onto the back burner with the other hundred suckers in your position.
A lot of the people in the business and financial aid offices also don't seem to know how to use computers. In fact, if you ask members of administration for help in dealing with financial issues, you're met with a disconnect from reality that's startling. Seriously, for all the money that Drew works out of you, its also bizarre that its not being put to good use. The relatively new performing arts building suffered damage from snow this year because of "unstable walls" and money is continually being spent on strange things like expensive nutrition billboards in the Commons.
The food here is bad. It might not be as horrendous as people have made it out to be, but its been ranked continually as some of the worst in America. There's tales from the Commons that would disturb you to no end - and just for the sake of being civil, I'm not going to disclose them. But I'd like to point out that there's been ignored cases of cross-contamination that no one seems too care about.
The academics at Drew are generally very good. The small class sizes are awesome and you're really able to get the most out of the material. But at the same time, some professors have been known to be condescending in a way that encourages a conformist atmosphere. The school's liberal arts philosophy encourages students to "explore new options," but a lot of professors are quick to dismiss opinions they disagree with. They might mean well, but they unintentionally encourage students to think in the same "hive-mentality" where they're scared of being shot down.
I'm not writing this to viciously bash Drew University. I spent a lot of money to come here and I just want to paint an honest depiction for anyone else who's considering applying. While I may have been harsh, I'll reinforce that isn't a bad school. Its a well-intentioned institution with caring professors, but its been corrupted by its administration.
The classwork can be challenging but not always beneficial. If you take a chemistry class at Drew (required for Biology majors) then you may not even get credit for the homework you did. Drew Chem Dept. uses a website called OWL to generate online homework questions pertaining to the lessons you learned in class. The problem is, most people do not even receive credit for their work because the answer was not typed in a way that the website likes. If this happens, you not only lose credit for that question, but you have to redo that whole section with 20 more sections to go, 4-5 questions in one section. If you are doing the pre-med track, expect your first Biology class to be Ecology and Evolution. This is required. If you are not a nature person and like studying the medical aspects of Biology (cells, genetics, etc) the first year will not be a fun one for you. Also Drew is very narrow-minded in the way they approach the liberal arts way of education. Yes, they give you a variety of courses but hold you down in the sense that you are forced to take classes in which expose you to so much that you may begin to lose interest in your major. Don't let the intro classes frighten you.
Like in high school, some professors are nice and some are arrogant. Some are willing to help you and some don't know how to teach. Drew will advertise how all professors have their PhD, which isn't true and how they all want you to succeed. This is not the case for all professors.
Drew's campus life is not a desirable one. I currently live on campus in my little stark white cinder block dorm room. The communal bathrooms (especially the freshman dorms) are not cleaned properly by the staff. Students pee on the walls (don't ask how), leave blood on the floor and leave their used toothpaste in the sink. Many of the students whom come to Drew are rich kids that don't clean up after themselves. I could only afford to come as a result of the scholarships I received. Most people who come here just want to get away from their parents. This may be you, but ask yourself if trading in your comfy life out home for a run down dorm is worth it. Another thing, if you are an international student, Drew would love to accept you because you receive no financial assistance from the government. Drew receives all your money.
The food is also horrible. Never eat at the Commons (main dining area) unless you want food poisoning. The food is only good when parents or visiting guests come. This is another way Drew drags you in. Drew is on the top 10 list for worst food in colleges in the U.S. The food company AraMark, in which serves Drew, is the same company that serves inmates in prison. Sadly, this is not a joke. You are better off walking into the town of Madison and eating at one of their many food courts. Just because a college is more expensive, doesn't mean it is a better school.
Looking back on my expectations of Drew, before I became a student, I feel mislead. Drew can be a good school in some ways, but it certainly is not what Drew makes themselves out to be. I came here because of the pre-med program, the beauty of Drew's campus and the prestigious reputation that Drew has. I now realize that Drew may be beautiful on the outside, but it isn't on the inside. Faculty at Drew tell us students that Drew is running out of money, but every morning there are landscapers outside making the campus "pretty". Drew is a safe school for rich kids but not for those who just want a quality education with a comfy environment. I will be commuting next semester by train because the campus life at Drew just isn't for me. My advice to anyone considering Drew, is to not be fooled by what the tour guides tell you. Come on a week day (the gate is open during the day) with your parents and drive around campus. Don't register for a tour, just come. Stop students passing by and ask them about Drew (food, student life, dorm life, academics, etc). Really look at the dorm bathrooms/ rooms and see if that is the type of life you are ok with living. Also, in general don't picture college as this perfect getaway. Your education is what you make of it, but finding the college that works for you can make all the difference. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOING TO THE PERFECT COLLEGE. THE BEST COLLEGE IS THE ONE THAT IS BEST FOR YOU!!!
As far as size is concerned, the applicant has to like a small school. The school seems a bit cliquey at times (i.e. all the jocks sit together), but most people in the school are for the most part nice people. The campus is absolutely gorgeous by the way!