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The Evergreen State College

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I really love Evergreen and I would totally

Jul 18 2014Undecided
I really love Evergreen and I would totally recommend it to people, but there are a lot of problems with the students, faculty, and administration. The student body isn't quite as diverse as the school website would have you believe. There is a pretty small percentage of people of color and there are ignorant cis-het white boys aplenty (there is nothing wrong with being any of those things, but most of the ones on campus seem to think they know everything there is to know about racism/sexism/heterosexism/cissexism/ablism, etc., which they clearly don't. The administration only cares about itself and is standing by doing nothing as the woman who runs/helped create the Assistive Technology Lab (which was created to help students with disabilities) is being forced to resign because they aren't paying her enough to live on. And there are several faculty members who are either completely aloof or downright mean to students they disagree with. That being said, the courses are still really fantastic and interesting, and most of the faculty I have been involved with are incredibly kind and helpful.
1st Year Female -- Class 2017
Useful Schoolwork: A+, Individual Value: C-

Studying at Evergreen was one of the defining

Jun 24 2014Philosophy
Studying at Evergreen was one of the defining periods of my life. I came to the college from the University of Washington, burnt out on the competitive, grade-focused attitude toward education. Evergreen's focus on learning for learning's sake was refreshing. I did find, in my first year, an extremely relaxed academic environment that I took advantage of. I wasn't particularly interested in anything I had been studying and so I did little work or bent the deadlines. My next year, however, I entered the philosophy program and found myself studying with more passion than I had ever experienced. Evergreen's pedagogy is best employed in philosophy courses. We spent weeks closely reading primary texts, meeting to discuss them daily, wrote several 10-15 page papers and critiqued the work of our colleagues. The pressure to contribute to the group, to come to class prepared to discuss the ideas and to offer some reflection or original thoughts in writing was sufficient to inspire me to reestablish a concern for studying and a concern for doing well. My classmates were super intelligent, my professor was super intelligent, and so I had to be too.

The material and the other students I spent that year with were a sharp spur.
I knew many students who were doing incredible things with their Evergreen experience as well: studying science, studying math, writing plays, making music, studying economics, studying art. At Evergreen, you will encounter some of the brightest people of your generation. They are all there, like you, seeking thought without boundaries and without conformation. It was unquestionably the most intellectually, artistically invigorating environment I have ever been in.

There are the other folks there as well: the stoners, lazy asses, etc.. And they will be in your classes, and you will feel disgusted that they earn the same degree as you,but you don't have to hang out with those people (move off campus as soon as you can) and you can still get a tremendous intellectual experience despite those voices in your class.

Because Evergreen offers such an open academic experience, try other classes. If you don't like your program, take another one. If you've been drawn to Evergreen, it's very likely there are some people like you within the campus body. You may have to look a bit to find them.

I have encountered Evergreen grads all around the world and I always feel a kinship with them. There is something special about this school and, if you feel right there, your experience and the friends you make will continue to define your world vision and your heart.I suggest checking out the campus and seeing how you feel. There is very much a sense of place there.

2nd Year Female -- Class 2007
Campus Aesthetics: A+, Innovation: F

You get what you put into your education

Aug 02 2014Social Work
You get what you put into your education at Evergreen. Students and alumni say this all the time, and it is very true. Evergreen is for someone who is self-lead in their processes, someone who is not afraid to explore and push their comfort levels.

A general note about the academics: Most of the programs I have taken been average in quality, a hand full of faculty I worked with really well, there a few professors I have had that seemed bored and their teaching was dry. I have taken sociology and psychology, and my experience has been pretty good, the interdisciplinary liberal arts allowed me to take a wide variety of programs before settling in that direct. I was even able to complete prerequisites for graduate school ...even though I am not sure I want to pursue yet even more school after I am done here. I think Evergreen does an excellent job creating academics or intellectuals --people to follow in their professors footsteps: teach, publish and/or research. This is a path, not the only path. Sometimes I feel professors forget this.

Come ready to write, most programs at Evergreen have a writing component built into them. The more flexible (and open to change) you are as a writer, the more success you will have as you complete programs.

Independent Learning Contracts and Student Originated Studies are excellent ways to incorporate service learning into your education. As a psychology/social work student I was able to design my own section of a program around topics of psychology I was most interested in... and from there build it around internship I completed at a local non-for profit. The experience was a lot of work and in the end I learned things I would have never had a chance to experience in a normal program. Designing my own (section of a) program required me to be truthful with myself and what I wanted in my education, it showed me the importance of setting boundaries (around work I am going to complete) with myself and my professor.

From a structural perspective the administration is wonky. Deans rotate into teaching positions every five years, which means they could be teaching with professors who they were just administrating over a few years before. At first glance, this doesn?t seem like a big deal, in fact the design is meant keep the amdin focused on teaching and not power hungry for school resources ?like traditional larger state schools. The problem comes when a conflict arises with a professor, perhaps from non-administrative staff or someone in the student body. The staff or student might bring up the conflict to the dean, and then the dean, not wanting to upset their future teaching partner, ignores the conflict, or moves it away from the professor. This makes for an inefficient system when it comes to accountability. And it has reverberating effects on the staff and students who often have to negotiate with faculty without an impartial dean or higher up to assist. All this coupled with recent budget cuts has forced a sense of unease across the Evergreen community in recent years, and often makes it an unpleasant place to learn or work (I am student worker).

Academic support services is not helpful. Every time I have gone to see an academic counselor they have told me things I already knew from doing a little research online, looking the academic catalog or talking to my friends/professors. Sucks because choosing programs can be stressful, especially when there aren?t any that directly interest you or that fit your academic goals.


Not having perquisites, makes Evergreen a steal (value-wise). You don?t have to spend that extra year grabbing general education requirements. It is extremely do-able and possible to finish with a BA in four years or less.

Financial aid requires many hoops to be jumped through, starting an application as early in the year as possible pays off.

As a freshman, the food sucks, and they force you eat it. Get creative cooking in your dorm.
As a freshman, the dorms suck. Well actually I would go as far to say the all-on campus housing sucks. It is dark, there isn?t much of a social scene, and the cost is high.

Outdoor wise the campus is great, the forest is dense, prefect for exploring or just hanging out. And you are close to the Olympic Peninsula which has some excellent hiking. Lots of environmental science programs will utilize the nearby geography, ecology and geology in there study. Mt. Rainier is also legit.

Olympia is great. The perfect size to have suburban amenities (stores and infrastructure) and an interesting downtown. With a bicycle and a bus pass I am able to get around quite nicely.

3rd Year Male -- Class 2015
Faculty Accessibility: A, Campus Aesthetics: C-
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