I knew after attending a large public university in Southern California that I wanted to come back to beautiful, creative, comfortable Austin. I also knew that I didn't want to feel like I had felt at my previous school, just another one of the herd, ignored and unaccounted for.
Lots of people had told me good things about St. Edward's. I talked to a former adjunct professor and some former and current students. They all said that the teachers at St. Edward's really cared about their students, that there was a small class size ratio and that the quality was actually quite high. I loved the location of the campus, right down congress, mere minutes from downtown and Ladybird Lake.
I originally went into the theatre department as a theatre design major with a minor in art, but I soon realized the art department was the real hidden gem of St. Edward's. I switched majors and I've never been happier.
The theatre design department was okay, but extremely underdeveloped, with only 4 total students majoring. That was a lot of personal attention, but without a lot of experience to go with it. I felt like my theatre classes catered to the acting majors in the class, and avoided any serious or challenging design work because they complained it was too hard. Some of the other students seemed to resent me for setting the bar high, and often loudly complained. I understand where they were coming from, but it was rude and isolating.
The art department, on the other hand, was extremely open and accepting. There is very little pretension there, even though I think there could easily be (it being a creative department and all). In classes where I felt I wasn't being challenged enough, I could always set the bar high for myself and expect my professors to follow me there. I love all the faculty. Hollis Hammonds is a new professor there, and she is really doing fantastic things for the department. She brings in visiting artists, sets up open studio hours, and really communicates with her students. Art History is very tough. You have 4 required art history courses and they are all challenging and demanding. Do not take two at once. Still, the lectures are great and you really do learn a lot in them.
I do wish that the department had more options for classes at times, but the faculty makes up for it with their willingness to help you explore on your own.
Overall it is a close-knit department (around 50 total majors, I think) with a caring faculty and helpful and generous peers.
The school itself is nice too. It's a catholic private school with a liberal arts curriculum. They do not force religion on the students, but rather would just have them open their minds and broaden their horizons. The science classes talk about evolution, and it's not in a negative light by any means. The campus is beautiful, though there is a lot of construction right now. They are rapidly expanding. I live off-campus and am very involved in a local theatre scene here, so I do not participate much in on-campus activities. All of my friends that have have liked it. I'm glad that I can be involved if I want, but I don't feel pressured to either. The location of this school is perfect, and if you stand in front of the historic main building you have a picturesque view of downtown Austin that is truly breathtaking. Go Hilltoppers!