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I won't classify this as anything other than neutral, because despite the bad experience I had here, it's very possible others may find the school to their liking. As it is then, I'll break my experience here down to make it easy to see exactly what to look for when considering Binghamton. Before I do so, I'd like to give a little background about myself. I hold an A.A. in Humanities from a community college, and transferred to Binghamton this fall following my graduation. I intended to major in chemistry and transfer to Albany College of Pharmacy to enter their PharmD. program. I have been here one semester, and have seen enough to make it not worth spending any more of my hard-earned money on it. Without further ado, the review: 1) Red tape is incredibly rampant throughout the university. It should have been a flashing red sign to me when I had to send not one, not two, but FOUR separate copies of my transcripts because the previous copies were lost. When I applied my first time as a high school freshman my application was rejected and I was only notified nearly TWO months after the deadline that a transcript was needed to complete it (making a total of 4 lost transcripts). I received my housing preferences application a week after it was due (after calling twice to ask where it was), and as a result was excluded from the special study community for chem majors, which would have helped a LOT. Registering during orientation was a joke; after being assured we all had the same shot at getting into a class as any other, I found that only one required course was open for me. More astounding, the system is run completely by computer. EVEN WITH PROFESSOR PERMISSION you may not enter a class that is full or that overlaps by 5 minutes with another class because the computer will not allow it. I have heard many professors complain about this, as it is completely detrimental to students who are already locked out of classes during registration, and then can't get in during add/drop week. 2)Organization -- This college is highly disorganized. Granted, 10,000+ students is going to make organization difficult in any case, but in communication with other schools I applied to of the same and even greater size, I found a higher degree of thought was put into efficient use of resources. Orientation is useless here, I would not suggest going unless you are in a highly specialized program; most normal majors are left to wander campus while waiting for advisement appts. while pre-med majors and others get special advising sessions. Offices are spread out, and are often moved around for no apparent reason. Parking permits didn't materialize until three weeks into the semester, the advisement offices were moved around to different buildings, and classes were switched around without explanation. I myself didn't find out which dorm I was in until a week before I arrived, which didn't help out at all in figuring out who would bring what. Which brings me to... 3) Housing. This was probably the absolute kicker for me. I wanted to be in College-in-the-Woods, not because it's the popular dorm but because of the special community for chem majors who could interact, take classes together, and make friends. I thought it would be a wonderful way to transition to the four year academic expectations. Instead, I was placed in Susquehanna, the international apartment dorm, since that was the only place left with room. No one in the vicinity was majoring in any kind of science. To make matters worse, there was a general lack of concern on the part of my roommates on upkeep of the apartment. I would come in from a weekend away with family and find trash all over the floor, and food all over my bed. My roomies would come in at one or two in the morning each night, while I tried to sleep for my 8am class, and start up music. More disturbing was getting up for said class, and finding that the door had not been locked when they came in -- apartments only have the deadbolt, there is NO card entry. I now get up to check each night to make sure the door is locked. Talking it out so far has changed nothing, unfortunately. In addition, due to the need to be a "green" campus the heat is set very low, and no space heaters are allowed. I should also note there is no meal plan in the apartments, and with a poorly timed class schedule, I was unable to find a job that would hire me for what little hours I could work. I have skipped quite a few meals in order to stretch out money I get from driving home each weekend to work (an hour and a half). 4) Academics -- Well, I'm sure it's a wonderful academic atmosphere here. Personally I was pretty offended after one professor told us he was here to do his research and not to bother him with any "mundane" questions about the class - that's what TAs are for. The same professor also informed us that he knew statistically one third of us would fail and that next to no one would pass his tests because they were so hard. Naturally I found this extremely encouraging, as it was a difficult subject for me to master to begin with. I wonder why I am spending so much money to be told that I will not be taught by someone with experience. Chemistry was another story altogether. Neither prof nor TA spoke English very well, and the TA was atrocious, and wasted too much time explaining things no one asked her about, and completely ignoring questions from students. 5) Student Body -- Almost all NYC and surrounding area students, and if you come from anywhere else, be prepared to experience another world. The fashion is awful, the partying is very large, and people are rude to your face. The dorms really are separated out by race, as are Greek organizations. Half of my issues with my chemistry class were my TA's awful English, the others were the "high class" students from Long Island who would talk over her and make snide comments which distracted those of us attempting to make an effort to listen. 6) Weather and Area -- Everyone here who complains about the weather needs to get real. It rains, it snows, it's sunny. The only real difference is that it rains much more than snow because of the terrain, which is unfortunate as it may make the campus a bit prettier. Not the ugliest campus, however, and the nature preserve is gorgeous in the fall. I spent countless afternoons walking or studying there when I couldn't handle where I was anymore. It was a lovely escape for me. Final assessment: The biggest factor in my decision to leave was the lack of support I got. Friendship was hard to come by, and finding the way around a big school is daunting enough without the red tape and the disorganization. It's a very impersonal school, and I felt like I was no value to them whatsoever. So, I have chosen to transfer to SUNY Albany, and even changed my major to Biochemistry, something I wouldn't dare attempt here. I know many people at Albany, and will be able to live at home again to save money, and can have my job back so I can pay for school. What seals the deal is that I will have that support network in place for me already to deal with whatever idiosyncracies are present there. Plus, I will be closer to my desired professional school. Take what you will from this review, there are both elements unique to my experience and general elements that cannot be ignored. I wish anyone who comes here may have better luck than I did.
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