Ratings of universities DO NOT MATTER. Go meet the teachers, and make a serious review of all classes offered in your program. If the teachers are overly friendly, beware...it is likely a trap. If the classes appear to be poorly differentiated from each other in the course catolog, or suspiciously similar once you get there, run like hell.
I took 10 classes at W&M school of Ed, and here is the breakdown:
1. 3 classes were basically the same class with different titles
2. 2 classes required so much busywork that I was barely able to explore and engage with the material, which was crucial to my major
3. 1 class had no purpose whatsoever, anywhere, for any reason
4. 1 class, which was also crucial to my major, was taught so poorly I am unable to summarize the stupidity here
5. 3 classes would have been okay, but there were like 30 people in each class, and/or the teachers were terribly overworked, engaged in their own projects, OR FLATOUT LAZY AS HELLYes, it is a nice campus. Yes, they have a new building. Yes, they have gotten decent reviews in suspicious magazines. Yes, they may mention having a laid back atmosphere (Translation: We so lazy?), but trust me, IT IS NOT WORTH IT...ASK THE STUDENTS YOU MEET AT NEW STUDENT RECRUITMENTS/MIXERS SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE CLASSES AND PROGRAMS, AND WATCH THEIR REACTIONS CLOSELY...AND ASK TO SPEAK TO CURRENT STUDENTS WHO WERE NOT ASKED TO ATTEND THE MIXERS.
I have been trying to get my thesis approved for 6 months - every time I go to them there are more revisions. Let it die, it's done already! AND it's "only an M.A." as they kept telling me, not a PhD. It's already 83 pages, 30-some of which are appendicised sections I was told to put in and later to remove.
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