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Champlain College

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Date: Apr 29 2012
Major: Computer Science (This Major's Salary over time)
I have a tricky relationship with my Alma Mater, Champlain College. If you are a prospective student, understand that the Major you choose will heavily influence the experience you have at Champlain more so than other smaller schools, almost to the same level as the segregation that exists between majors at much larger schools like UVM. I happened to take Computer Networking and Information Security, which along with Digital Forensics and Game Design, is probably one of the stronger academic programs at the college. They are very focused on offensive/defensive cyber security at Champlain, and they send teams to compete in regional cybersec competitions. The professors for my major were wonderful, they provided me with a lot of great one-on-one counseling, and the career department even helped me get a paid internship while I was at school, mostly to do something with all the spare time I had.

The reason I had all that spare time is because during my time there, Champlain was beginning to have an issue with the instructional quality of their general studies… They call these electives "CORE" now, and everyone must take them. I was lucky enough to be grandfathered into their original program that included more traditional college fair like psychology, statistics, English writing, and economics. However, they have thrown all that out the window and instead use hybrid classes that combine these fields of study into an unintelligible mess. Again, I'm lucky because I was in the last wave of students before the confusing CORE courses took over the general electives, but as they made the switch, it really lowered the bar on the quality of their general studies. If you're a smart and easy-going person who just "get's it" without having to over-study, this crap at Champlain WILL drive you insane. If you're smart and an over-achiever, this will drive you to switch to UVM, without a doubt. True academics would do well to avoid Champlain. But, if you know what you want from your major, like Game Design, Digital Forensics, or Computer Networking, you will find plenty of depth within your focus.

While most of the students are decent people, Champlain's student culture lacks a certain maturity, and feels much more like middle school/high school with regards to how cliquish their social scene is. However, unlike what other reviewers may say of the people here, if you're good at using your words to break through BS fronts, most of the people are cool once you get to know them. It also helps if you're 420 friendly, but again, unlike what other reviews may say, it is definitely not a requirement.

All that aside, the biggest problem that will get in the way of enjoying your time here is the Administration at Champlain college. If you're aching to feel oppressed by people that take your money and then ignore you, sign up now! If you plan to live on campus housing, JUST SAY NO, DON'T DO IT, YOU WILL REGRET IT. They have a big problem with overzealous security and RAs that "spy" on people by "observing" you through windows or putting their ears up to closed doors. Why would any school in a very liberal town do this? The answer is their DRACONIAN ANTI-ALCOHOL POLICY. They employ Prohibition era tactics, and treat something as common as a 30 rack as a "communal source", which is grounds for heavy fines and even dismissal. They have security guards that go way out of the bounds of their own rule books by using black mail tactics("you want me to call the cops?") to get the stories they want to hear out of students while trying to figure out "whodunnit" (again, for silly things like a 30 pack of beer). If you have read the Constitution and understand the limits of the law and your privacy at a private institution, you will be insulted by how badly they trample on you rights. They also have no regard for the safety of their students aside from busting them for booze. THEY WILL NOT HELP YOU if you need to switch rooms, transfer out of school, get hurt, etc.

Champlain builds character, but in a negative manner. Again, it is living oxymoron to be a school in a town as liberal as Burlington VT, and yet they breed institutional fascism here. People get so used to being oppressed that noone stands up for anything. There are no progressive groups, there are no protests, there is no intelligent discussion to be had since there is no student energy for change. People are just "compliant" because it's safer. You will learn to stand up for yourself, since every encounter with Financial Aid, Security, and the Housing department, and any other Administration here is an uphill battle… They do not feel comfortable with students "doing there own thing", and the student government is a puppet, and even if they get real people in there, the college will simply ignore them… This is not a dramatization, it is honestly the prevailing consensus. You have been warned.

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