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| So I came from out-of-state mostly because I had read a lot about Evergreen's philosophy programs and was excited about doing philosophy as a freshman. These were unrealistic expectations, since the program I took as a freshman combined so many things other than philosophy and since the other freshmen in my program were all across the board as far as abilities. That said, by my sophomore year I had faculty who recognized what I needed and pushed me in the right direction. As for the really low-achieving freshmen who thought college was another version of high school, they dropped out. In fact, a lot of freshmen drop out. It's my belief that this is because most 18-year-olds simply aren't prepared to do what Evergreen requires: be independent and think for yourself.|
Something a lot of people don't know about college (and "real life") in general and Evergreen specifically is that you have to take responsibility for yourself. I've heard a lot of people complain about Evergreen and I have to admit I sort of feel bad for them. The extent to which you are challenged is the extent to which you challenge yourself. Faculty think of students as co-learners at Evergreen, which means that if you don't "bring it," you're going to miss out. The structure of the curriculum allows for laziness; it also allows for uninhibited learning.
Another aspect that people may not be aware of is how many adults over the age of 21 go to this school. I was really shocked by how many people (mostly locals from the area) go to this school because it's the closest to their home and they can take their kids to the daycare on campus. It's sometimes really annoying, because these types of people aren't always the brightest or most-prepared for college-level learning, but another aspect of their being in class with you is that you have to confront issues like access and classism in higher education. If you can think of a 35-year-old single mother as a your colleague, you'll do fine. If you judge her for getting "there, their, they're" mixed up, you should probably stick to a prestigious, selective and private liberal arts college where all your classes will be 19-year-old white rich kids.
There are also a lot of major hurdles to people fitting in here, which is odd for such a free-spirited population. The first thing is that you have to learn what "queer" means and get used to that term being thrown around by both faculty and students, as well as terms like "post-modern" and "post-structuralist," often used before you get the chance to actually do that learning. If you can put your dumb ego aside and learn the definitions of these things, you'll be well-prepared for the type of discussions in seminar that turn a lot of people off. If you're uncomfortable with issues like queerness and feminism and Marxism, again: choose a more traditional college. There is often the type of discrimination against "ignorant" people who don't understand otherness or colonialism that politically-correct students and professors are actually trying to critique. It's exhausting. It's also very important to talk about.The most important thing I can say about the curriculum is that it is wildly inconsistent. If I hadn't had a particular faculty member my freshman year I would have easily walked away from Evergreen with a terrible taste in my mouth. But because she was so engaging and convinced me to take a great program the next year, I had my life and mind changed completely by this school. I know that a lot of people get the shaft, and the only thing I can tell you is to do your research about the faculty before you commit to a year-long program. If you can, email with them beforehand to get an idea of who they are and what they think.
|Aug 14 2011|| 3rd Year Female --
Class 2012 |
| Honestly I am completely surprised by how few of these reviews mention the drug scene at Evergreen. I have never in my life been to a place where drugs were so easy to find. Anything you want, almost whenever you want it, is available. 90% of the student body smokes weed, and most of them smoke it every day.|
Overall this was not my problem with Evergreen. I met some truly amazing people there who taught me more about myself and the world than I thought I would ever learn at 18 years of age. People are friendly and accepting but EXTREMELY liberal; if you do not approve of left wing politics taken to the extreme, I would recommend looking elsewhere. I went to a very good private high school and found the work at Evergreen to be less challenging than I had hoped.
However, please note that if you are not highly self motivated you will probably not succeed there. Absolutely nobody is going to hold your hand. Evergreen has a huge commuter population as well as a large adult population. Many of the professors have become accustomed to older students who are truly excited to learn. If you want a typical college experience, looking at other schools is probably a better choice.
Also, out-of-state tuition is ridiculously expensive. With the economy the way it is jobs in Olympia are extremely hard to find. To get residency in Washington you must live and work in the state (while only taking a certain number of school credits) for at least one year. Then your tuition would be about $5,000 a year, but without Washington residency it is closer to $30,000.
The biggest issue I had with Evergreen is that you take programs and not classes. After six hours of lectures and seminars revolving around the same subject I was ready to leave after the first quarter. I stuck it out for a year, getting very sick in the process (this is common in Olympia as well as there is black mold absolutely everywhere, especially in the residence buildings.) The kitchens in the soup suck (the apartments on campus), and the food is terrible.However, I know a lot of people who love Evergreen and never want to leave. The social scene is a little fucked up due to all the extensive drug use but overall comfortable and supportive. I would recommend sitting in on a class at least once before you make the commitment.
|Oct 10 2010|| 1st Year Female --
Class 2010 |
| I expected much, much more out of this school. While the idea of learning for learning's sake is brilliant (instead of letter grades, you recieve evaluations regarding your work), in practice, it simply does not work enough of the time. Of course, this is in my experience. Perhaps if I were interested in Women's Studies, Ecology, or Postmodernism, I might be singing a different tune. One very nice thing about it are the contracts, which allow you to draft your idea for independent study, get it approved by a professor, and get credit for it.|
There are simply not enough courses. This is a huge problem for someone interested in specific fields.
There are some very positive things at Evergreen. I learned how to get along with people through Seminar. Seminar is a small group of people who discuss ideas the instructor has gone over. It's a great way to learn more about people and yourself, also, to re-evaluate your ideas and make friendships.
Some of the professors are hugely ignorant and self-absorbed. Some of them are just plain confused. Some of them are excellent at teaching. It's a mixed bag. The student body is also mixed. There are a lot of interesting hipsters and 'progressive thinkers', but also a bunch of washed-out hippies and idiots who spout out bullshit. Just beware. Know what you want. Blah blah blah.
|Feb 07 2007|| 2nd Year Female --
Class 2009 |