I am an Aviation (Flight Operations) Major, students review doesn't list that as a category.
If there is one thing that people reading this review should take away, it is that Westminster College WILL nickle and dime you every chance that they get. From housing, to extra curriculars, to flight billing, to the meal plan, they will overbill or charge for anything they can get away with. This is an extremely widespread complaint and it is a reason that numerous students leave. You would think that going to a small liberal arts school would mean that the school is not run by a rigid bureaucracy, but this has been the case with most of my interactions with the administration.
Residence life is pretty crappy, I personally do not have much experience dealing with the actual administration (I just sent an email to them about a bogus 100 dollar charge to my deposit because my room, which was looked over and given the OK by my resident advisor, was apparently dirty, though, so we'll see how that goes), but friends who have dealt with them have unanimously said they are very inflexible. I can, with firsthand experience say that maintenance and general quality of the dorms is awful. There are 5 residence halls on campus, 2 traditional dorms: Carleson and Hogle (I lived in Hogle), and 3 apartment style dorms. Carleson has extremely small rooms, Hogle's are pretty well sized, especially if you happen to get lucky and end up with a single room. In my dorm the showers were pretty gross, with mold on the walls/shower heads, the bathrooms get cleaned approximately once a week. Under normal conditions the facilities are, while a bit gross, not unbearable, however on multiple occasions there were large puddles of vomit that were left on the floor for over 3-5 days, in one week I could only use the bathroom/showers on my floor for 2 days because the floor was either covered in vomit or flooded.
The meal plan, mandated for all students living on campus, is unanimously considered to be terrible, when you pay for the meal plan that money goes straight to Sodexo (which Westminster outsources its campus dining to), so they have every incentive to charge ridiculous prices and use the cheapest ingredients that they can find. The little precious food that is edible is unhealthy and expensive. This is on a year where Sodexo?s contract was up and they were supposedly better than usual. I imagine that congress looks at the approval ratings of Sodexo when they want to feel better about themselves.
Campus patrol can be very hit or miss. As far as actual safety on campus I would consider Westminster to be a very safe campus, and there is always at least 1 or 2 campus patrol officers driving or walking around (which, due to how tiny of a campus Westminster is, is plenty in my opinion). They are not actual police officers and in my experience they will not go after minor infractions unless they are causing a problem for other students, and are overall very friendly given their position of authority. That said, I have heard of students being penalized for their roommates having drugs, but other than that, you can get away with a lot and they won?t come down on you, unless you are repeatedly written up or are selling drugs out of your room the worst that will happen will likely be community service or an essay.
The students at Westminster College are pretty homogenous, white upper class skiers and snowboarders. Skiing and snowboarding are a huge part of the social life on campus and if you, like me, don?t do either come winter you will be very left out. Despite being located in Utah, Mormons are a minority at Westminster. There is definitely a drinking culture, which isn?t very surprising, given that it is the only ?wet? campus in Utah. Unfortunately, social life at Westminster is a lot like high school, cliques and people who can?t hold their liquor, or even make it to the toilet when they need to get rid of the 30 rack of watered down PBR they just drank. To give an idea of the level of maturity seen on the weekends, people have repeatedly urinated on the doors of other residents in my building (and taken videos which they showed anyone who would watch).
Academically the school is alright, classes are definitely small as long as you aren?t in the super packed general ed classes that almost everyone has to take, but even then, I?ve yet to see a class with over 30 students. Most classes are taught in discussion form, which is a plus, but I haven?t been in any spectacularly good classes (aviation excluded, more on that later).
May term is a joke, they set it up so that you need to attend to get enough credits to graduate, but the classes are useless, faux academic fluff. If I wanted to go on a vacation or learn underwater basket weaving, I would do it on my own time.
The aviation department, however, has definitely lived up to my expectations. Unlike what I have seen in the rest of the school, everyone in aviation is very passionate about what they are doing (how could anyone not be?). The school demands a lot from you, but they have good reasons behind all of it, as that is what will be expected of you flying professionally. The on campus classes are taught by the chief flight instructors who are very knowledgeable and are usually under 10-15 students. The flight instructors who teach the classes are very accessible via phone and e-mail, though talking to one in person can sometimes be difficult as they are out at the airport for the majority of the day. The ?Free? ground school however is a half truth. You won?t be charged extra for routine ground instruction, but if you meet with your instructor for anything other than what is required by the course you will be billed for it.
The in flight instruction is very good, flying out of a class B international airport is a huge advantage to aviation at Westminster. Everyone who goes through the program becomes very comfortable with ATC communications quickly because of it, and because of where the flight operations building is located we get to see a lot of cool stuff (F/A-18?s, T-38?s, Corporate Jets, Prison/ICE transport aircraft, etc.) parked right outside of the window to our lounge. The facility itself is a bit small compared to say, UVU, but it gets the job done, and space at KSLC is significantly more expensive. The only complaints I have about the flight training are that when the senior instructors who do stage checks are hired by the airlines, it becomes extremely difficult to schedule a stage check in a timely manner, which can hurt your grade, and because grades are based on deadlines, it leads conflicts between what a student is comfortable with or allowed to be flying in and the student?s grade, which I don?t think is a very good position for a low time student pilot to be in. Additionally, like the rest of the school, they will make mistakes in billing (always in their favor) so you have to stay on top of what is being charged to your flight account.
I cannot recommend the early start program enough, that month was probably one of the best times of my life, you will fly 4+ times a week, get a semesters worth of flying done, meet people ahead of time, and when the bad weather hits in winter you will be doing a class that is primarily conducted in a simulator and is thus unaffected.
The START (counseling) center is utterly USELESS, it is run by students who don?t know what they are doing. The aviation department at Westminster does not use them to schedule students for classes because of this, instead having aviation students meet with an advisor within the department. Do not let them pick your classes for you, they will screw you over in ways that will keep you from graduating within 4 years or force you to change majors. You need to do your own research and find the classes that you need to take before you talk to them.
The bottom line for me is that were it not for aviation, I would transfer somewhere else immediately. The school is very unethical with money, they do not provide an acceptable quality of service to their students, and the students are pretty much high schoolers who recently discovered beer, and the school?s fa?ade of caring about its students is a bold faced lie.