Oberlin College Reviews
If you are an intelligent, strongly motivated, creative thinker then Oberlin College is a great fit for you. Oberlin is a place that encourages students, staff, and faculty to embrace their weird bird, and to celebrate what makes us different. It isn't perfect, and while I was there it was clear that many students found Oberlin's claim to support the diversity of the community to be misleading. However, my personal experience at Oberlin was positive, and allowed me to engage in my academic interests while learning to embrace what makes me different and unique.
Oberlin College is an incredibly unique and special environment. It is a hive of curiosity, intellect and excitement for learning. Oberlin's small student body allows for professor-student ratios of about 1:20 for an average course, creating class atmospheres which are very discussion oriented. The professors at Oberlin are an amazing set of activists, artists, writers, scientists, mentors, and community members. As a whole they are extraordinarily engaged with the students, approachable and available for any help students might seek. The college draws a certain type of student as well. Oberlin has the reputation of being very liberal and progressive, which it absolutely is, but what I believe truly defines the Oberlin student body is a devotion to learning, creating and sharing. Oberlin is an environment in which you are encouraged to question and discuss, a center of dialogue for those seeking to be more aware and informed. As a private school, there are not typical general education requirements. Instead students fulfill general distribution requirements through a structure called 9-9-9 in which you must take a certain number of credits for writing, quantitative reasoning and cultural diversity. There is great flexibility in how these requirements can be fulfilled and it is not an area of great concern. Major requirements are also fairly loose and students are able to develop their own major with approval. I went into Oberlin thinking I would study Biology, but then quickly became interested in Environmental Studies and began pursuing ENVS as a major. However, after taking two art courses I realized art was my passion. Instead of having to choose between my two interests, my advisors worked with me to help me successfully graduate as a double major in ENVS and Studio Art. I was always so amazed and appreciative of the freedom of expression I felt at Oberlin and I sincerely believe that the space this school offered for me to explore and discover shaped who I am today. All this being said, Oberlin is elite. It is a very expensive school and much of the student population is fairly well off. I found this to be frustrating at times, as there is a sense of privilege amongst that students that sometimes seems contradictory to the beliefs and positions they stand by. Despite boasting and supporting diversity, Oberlin is a primarily white school, which as been a subject of much concerned discourse over the years.
Oberlin is an academically rigorous institution with a unique culture prone to social justice/activism. It is located in a small town in Ohio outside of Cleveland.
I absolutely loved my experience at Oberlin. I got an amazing education, met wonderful people and learned how to live well in the world. This is a fantastic school. If you think it might be a good fit for you, go!
Full of passionate students and professors. Progressive, but not intimidating--people are pretty willing to educate rather than get impatient. Co-ops and ExCos (Experimental College classes, often taught by students, ranging from fencing to Settlers of Catan to Calvin and Hobbes to knitting to letterpress to discussing the ethics of death sentences) are amazing, as are theme halls (Sci-Fi/Fantasy Hall for the win!).
I had a very positive, eye-opening experience. Other students were politically engaged and intellectually curious in a way I have not seen elsewhere. The social scene is very nerdy and intellectual. The faculty are there primarily to teach, and you can get a great deal out of the relationships you build with the professors. Especially because of the presence of the Conservatory, there are always tons of concerts and activities; you don't have to leave town to find things to do. If you do want to go elsewhere, you will need someone with a car. It is an excellent school and was for me a cherished 4 years and community.
It was okay. Not the right place for me academically geographically but I met wonderful creative people. Very expensive