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Widener University - Comments and Student Experiences|
Academic rigor varies by department and professor, but overall I would rate the academic rigor as being on par with most colleges. There are exceptions to the rule of course, and these include professors on both extremes of the spectrum, from the undemanding to the "impossible to pass just drop the class now" type.
Freshmen dorms are awful. Tiny, dated, and cramped, most of the freshmen rooms would probably the violate the Geneva Convention standards for treatment of POWs. There's no air in them except for the Honors dorms. Other residence halls are mediocre, but by no means a nice place to live. Metropolitan Hall is the best you can get, if you are able to find enough roommates to occupy a suite. Can't speak for Greek housing, except to say that it exists. Dealing with Residence Life is a hassle, and it's my firm belief that this school's high acceptance rate contributes to the organizational problems plaguing Res Life. A new residence hall is being built within the next year, and believe me we need it. As for the actual dorm life, there isn't much going on. It's pretty boring to be honest.
If you want variety, healthy and balanced meals, and a staff that (at least pretends to) care, you won't find them at the dining hall on most days. Selection is very limited, especially for vegetarians and those on diets or otherwise committed to healthy eating. With rare exceptions, the food is either average or just plain awful. There is an effort in progress to negotiate with Aramark for better service, but I don't see that going anywhere. Other options include the Burger Studio for all your artery-clogging needs and Subway. Java City is spread throughout campus. There's talk of adding another franchise, but the question remains what and when.
Fun? What's fun? We don't have that here. Popular events are homecoming, Widener Relays, Greek Week, etc. Other than that, weekend offerings are few and far between. I'm not sure if it's the terrible planning that causes the pervasive climate of apathy I detect at this school, or vice versa. Want to have fun? Get a car, or a friend with a car. Go to Philly; it's a nice, active city, all things considered.
If you consider yourself heavily introverted, socially anxious, or otherwise find it difficult to make friends, I would strongly recommend you go somewhere else. The lack of diversity, low variety of engaging extracurriculars, and near total absence of fulfilling social life will only worsen these tendencies. Despite meeting plenty of kind and interesting people, I still feel unwelcome and isolated here. Some people, including myself, go home on most weekends if we live nearby. I would not even bother considering this university if you interests do not revolve around things such as sports and/or drinking, because honestly, that is what social life here revolves around. It is almost like an enlarged version of high school, complete with many of the same cliques and exclusive groupings. I cannot speak much about Greek Life, except to say that I have met some amazing people who are Greeks, and some not so amazing. Widener is not a school you go to if you are committed to being Greek. I'd argue that most small colleges are that way.
Ultimately, I can only recommend Widener if you are 1) local, 2) short on cash and have a good head on your shoulders, or 3) are interested in specialized programs such as nursing. You will get a decent (and in some fields, excellent) education here, and the university is generous in both financial aid and admissions standards, and is convenient if you are within commuting distance. I cannot in good faith recommend Widener University otherwise. Your money and time is better spent elsewhere.
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