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Hollins University

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A reoccurring criticism that I had encountered whileBrightArt & Design Department
A reoccurring criticism that I had encountered while considering Hollins was its aggressive, nearly hive-minded student body. I had been warned that if I had any non-liberal views, that I should change them or find another school. I decided that this didn't apply to me as I was raised democrat and have left-leaning ways of thinking. Was I ever wrong. If you do not constantly subject yourself to the self-flagellation of white guilt, do not support self-diagnosis or are sympathetic to white men, you are labeled as a racist, ableist or any other "ist" they can conjure up. I was also disappointed to find that nearly no one attending Hollins is there to study. If the students put half as much time and effort into their schoolwork as they do in their thesis-long rants on Tumblr describing the neurotypical downfall of Steven Universe, their grades would look much better. Of course,so much as insinuating this would result in a witch hunt. I will say this for Hollins: they have excellent, accessible and dedicated professors. Unfortunately, their talents are wasted on a distracted, easily offended student body. Nearly every other day a mass email is sent out, apologizing for something said in a lecture,Halloween costumes (I wish I was joking) or for just existing in the 1800's. I'm all for being progressive, but the professors and faculty are trying to placate students who cannot allow themselves to be satisfied. There's always something to be up in arms about. Eventually, it gets tiresome and you wish your peers would contribute to their academics or society productively.
2nd Year Female -- Class 2018
Faculty Accessibility: A+, Campus Maintenance: F
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I have just graduated from Hollins this May,BrightEnglish
I have just graduated from Hollins this May, and I want to add my two cents after having a great year (Junior year) and a not so great year (Senior year). I transferred to Hollins in Fall 2011 after earning my associates degree. With over 60 credits transferred, I was able to start out as a Junior in my major, which was English.

The 300-level English classes that I took in my Junior year were interesting, challenging, and showed me points of view that I never considered or was exposed to in High School / Community College. The faculty were great! My favorites were Jeanne Larsen, TJ Anderson, and Pauline Kaldas. The other assorted classes that I took to satisfy random requirements were painless and fairly easy. For example, France and the French is a good class to take if you need your big Q because it involves no real math. However, History of Photography, was extremely stimulating and challenging in a good way. Ruth Epstein was fabulous.

Over all, Junior year was great! The white water rafting trip to West Virginia during orientation was really fun. I did Tinker Day and went to the Winter and Spring formals (which suck out loud, by the way...they're like high school dances where they provide beer and wine). I made some tight friends. I lives off campus so I did not participate in every activity, but I tried to get involved. I will say as a commuter, the parking is fair but not great (when they have a lot of people visiting for some function, they let them part in the commuter spots. Not fun when you are trying to find a spot at 9am!). The dining hall and the RAT (a MTO venue) are decent, but I can see how eating there 24/7 gets old.

By senior year, I was starting to get a little jaded. Some of my friends left and I started to see the touchy feely activities as juvenile or a waste of time because I was busy trying to take five classes. I thought I wanted to minor in film in addition to art after being schmoozed by the new film professor, Matt Marshall, in the Spring 2011 semester. He likes to take select students out to lunch, which should raise a red flag. He is also married. He is a nice guy, but the whole thing is weird. After Fall 2012, I promptly dropped the film minor to focus on my art minor and finish up my major. I took some great photography classes, such as Alternative Processes, which focused on non-silver 18th century methods of making prints. Bob Sulkin taught that class, and he was very helpful. He can be hit or miss mood-wise, but he was usually a great professor. In my last semester, I also took a class on Jane Austen with Julie Pfeiffer. I found the class to be over the top with the reading and writing expected since it was still a 300-level. Pfeiffer was aloof and seemed to take it personally if someone did not like a certain Austen novel, passage, character, etc. Of all the teachers I encountered at Hollins, I liked her the least.

Some other general comments:
The business office is a hot mess. They got mad because I did not pay a $2 charge near graduation because I was waiting for a $300-some lab fee to be charged. I finally paid it to shut them up, and then the day after graduation, they charge me with the lab fee! I had a hold on my account because of this and it took me a few days to see it, which delayed my transcripts for grad school. I have heard other people have had problems with the business office, too, so be prepared to check back behind them.

The honor court is questionable. I took a World Religions class Fall 2011 in which two girls openly cheated on a quiz (the teacher is blind so she couldn't see them with their book out). Together with a few other students, I reported this to the honor court. They drill it into your head from day one that you will not violate this sacred and holy code and that you must report any infractions. However, they did nothing with these girls. They got off and it was never taken to a hearing. When I got careless Senior year and left out a citation, my teacher sent me to the honor court. They wasted no time prosecuting me. This is a double standard, and I warn anyone to be careful. They seem to take any sort of plagiarism (intentional or not) as if you murdered someone. The woman who oversees the honor court (as well as Res Life), Nickie Smith, is a boot licking bureaucrat so don't expect her to be helpful to you at all if you ever are in need of her "services." She is two faced and gives you the run around.

The student body is ok. I lot of people are idealistic and am alarming number os freshmen idealize the "super seniors" and want to spend 6 years at Hollins like they did (!!). And yes, you've got the large population of lesbians. It is a girls' school so that is to be expected. Like other reviewer's have commented, there are also various cliques such as the preppies, the minorities, Otaku (weirdos), the art department bitches, etc. AS I said previously, I lived off campus so I did not have to deal with a lot of the social nonsense.

Over all, I do not regret my decision to go Hollins, but I do think it is overrated in some aspects. The English department (a big draw for prospective students) is great, but not everything is. Hollins tries to foster an insular environment where people don't have to bother with the real world.....until they graduate (and many people in my year were agitated about graduating. I was glad to be done). They also treat you like scared children with policies such as the honor code and their stance for alcohol at formals (even if you are 21, they act like you are 6).

For incoming freshmen, I would say that Hollins is pretty good, but if you have good GPA/SAT and can get into a better school then try for that. This is a good safety choice, but don't make it your #1 school.For transfers, if you have an associates in the state of Virginia, you can do much better because of the articulation agreement with the VCCS. Other transfers, think about why you are leaving your current school. Hollins might just be a repeat of that experience.

4th Year Female -- Class 2013
Innovation: A+, Social Life: D+
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This is going to be real talk right now.Quite BrightEnglish
This is going to be real talk right now.
Hollins is a place that is great on the surface, but once you get in, the truth really comes out (as with most places). Now, I met my best friend, and several groups of strong, friendly, independent and amazing lifelong friends at Hollins. Every other girl on campus whom I did not befriend, I can say that I passionately hated.

Girls at Hollins are varied in terms of personality, but those who are in the extremes generally stick together.

1) the lesbians.
the lesbians can be nice, or can be bitches. they can be neutral, or they could be the legends on campus, they could be friendly to everyone, or they could be convinced that your views are oppressing them at all times.

2) the preps.
the snooty girls. the ones who are involved in campus activities. the girls who wear dresses and pearls and wear makeup just to go to dinner. These girls are easy to spot, because everyone's high school was full of them. They are no different than they were in high school, and they will make no effort to grow as a person, they will only manipulate those around them and those above them into believing they are better people than they were. They will make your life hell if cross one of them. They will be your acquantaince freshman year, and then you will be transparent, unless you are thin, preppy, and raging partiers like them.

3) The Otakus
Otaku is a hallway of one dorm that is full of girls who are obsessed with anime and television and movies. They are their own clique, even harder to get into than the preps. They are loud as hell, they are obnoxious, they are opinionated enough to have enemies, and they turn in fanfiction in creative writing classes. (One of them I know, bathed once a week at most).

4) The Normals
Normals are typically atypical. They can be any major, any shape, any color. They are friendly to everyone, polite, but once they make friends freshman or sophomore year, they're not really open for more than classroom acquaintances. They can be gay or straight, they are smart, they can form their own little groups, but they don't draw attention to themselves.

5) The Minorities
Call me racist to have these girls be their own number, but I will say that they range from preppy to normal. They just stick to people of their own color, if you know what I mean. A good number of them are friends with the white girls, but when it comes to dining or parties, they stick together. One section of the dining hall is split between the black girls and the foreign exchange girls. Or, the "blasians" as they were dubbed by some.

The faculty are hit and miss. I majored in Creative Writing. There are three creative writing classes, but the third you can take as many times as you wish. Your first creative writing class is taught by a graduate student. Your second, has an option of three professors, and your third is a choice of five professors. By the time you get to the third class, you will know which professors you like and the ones that you don't. If you are a fantasy writer like me, then you will learn that only two of the professors think that fantasy is worthy of perfecting. One professor does not think that fantasy is Literature, and that it is a plague upon the literary world. His daughter is now the US Poet Laureate. Scary, huh?

My favorite professor at Hollins helped my writing immensely, was my advisor for a thesis-like independent study, and got me into graduate school. She was my writing guardian angel - but to my best friend - was the meanest, most unhelpful professor in the department. So hit and miss - see what I mean?

The creative writing program is one of the largest in terms of participation. A lot of girls come to Hollins because of that program. And they should, because it is great. It has its faults, it doesn't teach anything in terms of getting published or finding an agent. But it is also elitist. There are four professors who control the choosing of the honors students. Only the honors girls get to write theses senior year (the rest of us - majority of us - have to grovel for independent studies or just not have an edited novel to shop around post-graduation). Basically you have to be a favorite, or take multiple classes and be known to one of these four professors to get a thesis. If you're good at winning popularity contests, then you're golden I guess.

The students in creative writing range from the girls just taking it to get one of their gen-ed requirements, the girl who just wants to try it, the girls who want to be authors, the girls who want to be young-adult authors, the girls who take their work too seriously, the girls who get defensive about everything - who are ironically also the girls who are cruel during workshops, and the girls who just want to get better and graduate. This range of people are in charge of "constructively" criticizing your work every two weeks. These people can say anything from "I didn't get it" to "this is shit" to "this could be worded better" to "you need to give up writing immediately." When the professor says at the beginning of class that they will fail anyone who is needlessly cruel - they won't. SO bear that in mind as well.

Hollins doesn't do much to prevent underage drinking. Even/Especially in school-sponsored events.
Hollins doesn't have co-ed parties, and if they do, they are at the apartments off campus, and with the preppy girls boyfriends / their friends in direct proportion to the preppy girls who are trying to get set up.

There is only one dining hall. My first three years there was only one dining plan, and it was very expensive for the quality we were getting. I am not a picky eater in the slightest, but there were still days where I could not find a single thing to eat. The tiny restaurant in the basement only has burgers and fried things and some wraps, but isn't included in the dining program, and you're given $100 on your card per semester to spend there.

I had one friend who ate a chicken sandwich from there and then two hours later projectile vomited it all over her dorm room. So there's that.

Hollins is a beautiful campus. I loved it. I loved every dorm I was in, and they offer a lot of opportunities to avoid random roommates and the housing lottery. Freshman year, you get placed in Tinker or Randy with a stranger. If you choose to apply to a specialty house, then you avoid the housing lottery and get to choose a room there. I only had to live with a roommate two semesters out of eight.

The rooms in pretty much every dorm are huge, much bigger and better than any of the other campuses I looked at before Hollins. Some singles are coffins, but you learn where to get a single and where not to.

The people who work in Residence Life are mean as hell. They will not help you, they will not protect you, and they will screw you over at one point or another (unless you live in a specialty house!).

My good friend lived in Otaku hall, her roommate stole from her, and Res Life did not do anything about it. Then the roommate gathered a group of girls from the hall, jumped my friend, and beat her up for almost an hour in the hallway. The director of Res Life did not believe my friend (despite the bruises, the blood, and the evidence) - the director offered no help to my friend in switching dorms, until my friend's mother, who is in the military, made a call. Then my friend was put in a single in the senior dorm - and the director was fired. A sophomore living in the senior dorm was unheard of, and she was chastised in the building for it - not to mention the director was well liked among the preps for givin special treatment - so they didn't like my friend for that either...

Now that being said, the campus is NOT as safe as girls think. Hollins campus has a national rating of "D" in terms of campus safety. The campus is open, anyone at any time can enter campus on foot or by car and just be there. The doors to dorms have the ID scanners, but sometimes girls leave doors open. If you walk to / from your car at night, theres plenty of time for someone in their car to drive up and take you. When I was a sophomore, a girl was raped in the laundry room at the apartments. He walked right into the complex (because there is no security at all - in fact it shares a parking lot with a restaurant) and hid right inside the door of the laundry room and jumped her. The campus emailed us about the "alleged" rape and put a lock on the door knob and gave apartment girls keys. The campus has NO security cameras. The campus security cars will stop if they see you in distress, but mostly they are prowling campus looking for parking violations (because they have nothing better to do). The blue-light towers for emergencies are spaced out fairly well, with the big emergency help button. The chances of reaching one are completely up to your physical fitness and the attacker's knowledge of the campus (which he has free reign to be inside at all times). Any girl who feels 100% safe on Hollins campus is a blind fool.

Hollins offers TONS of internships, for the winter term and the summer.
Hollins has the BEST study abroad program I have ever researched. They have their own campuses in Paris and London, along with their own faculty and classes (with opportunities to take classes at a local partner college as well). I studied abroad in London and it was amazing.

The programs Hollins is affiliated with in other countries aren't as well-provided by Hollins because they don't have their own faculty and classes to cater to, but they are still great.

To make the long story short (too late) I can not explain why I LOVE Hollins so much, but despise how many things are run and more than half of the girls I graduated with I would be happy to never see again in my lifetime. I can not explain my deep loyalty to the campus in terms of wanting people to go there, but also wanting to give them the inconvenient truth before they find themselves let down by the discovery on their own.Go to Hollins if you love it, if you want to be different and have your differences be accepted and not shamed. Go to Hollins if you don't want to take anything too seriously. Go to Hollins if you want to take classes in every genre and almost every subject, and still get good grades. Go to Hollins if you don't want to go to graduate school, because then you will have a prestigious degree without getting your ass kicked by the textbooks (though no promises about textbook COSTS).

4th Year Female -- Class 2012
Campus Aesthetics: A, Social Life: D
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