The Evergreen State College
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The Evergreen State College - Comments and Student Experiences |
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.
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.
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