Berea College
Berea, KY, USA

Reviews

Berea College
3.18 Average Rating

Morgan from Campbellsville, KY

a current student here
35 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The professors all make sure that you are keeping up, but at the same time, you are expected to keep up to the rigorous pace they set. We currently operate on a 4-1-4 calendar year. That means that fall semester is 4 months, we have a January Short Term and the spring semester is 4 months. This allows us to have a break because during short term, students are only allowed to take one class.
Am enjoying being here
Berea is in a dry county. This is partially what allows us to study so well, however the next county over is a wet county. Overall, there is not a lot to do in Berea, so we make up our own games to play in town and on campus.
Bang for the buck
All full time students receive a full tuition scholarship just for coming to the college. Then the room and board fees are determined on what the FAFSA says your family can pay. Berea only takes students in low economic settings, and works on bringing students in from Appalachia and people of different ethnic origins.
Tips for prospective students
Apply early. The majority of students get in during the fall enrollment period. This is because Berea caps how many students it will take so that it can pay more attention to the students they accept. Be prepared to study. Classes here on general require at least a couple hours a week in order to keep up. The professors here will put you to the grindstone, but the quality of students that graduate is excellent.
Great for these types of students
Great for creative thinkers, good studiers, and overall good students.
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Emily from Lapeer, MI

a current student here
25 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Berea puts a lot of emphasis on the liberal arts education it gives--there are a lot of interdisciplinary classes that students are required to take, but so far they've been enjoyable and useful to me. Classes are usually small, since there's only around 1600 students on campus, and the largest class I've seen is twenty-five people. Some people might underestimate the difficulty of the school (I know I did!), since Berea is a small, private college with Christian roots, for students that might not otherwise go to college; but it would be a mistake to say that anything at Berea is easy. The college expects you to do well, and even in the classes where I struggle, I still feel like I'm constantly learning.
Note: In addition to having a liberal education, Berea is also a work college. Every student that attends the school will have a job on campus and is expected to work 10-15 hours/week. This helps pay for the tuition-free education (since it uses federal work study money), teach students time management (while giving them job experience!), and helps students be financial responsible (by still giving them a paycheck, even though most of the money goes to tuition).
A previous review also says that Berea works on a 4-1-4 schedule; this has now changed. The college now has a fall semester, spring semester, and then optional summer I/summer II semesters (which are about a month long each).
Am enjoying being here
Plainly put, Berea is a gorgeous town. It's a small-ish Southern-ish town in Appalachia, and so far I have yet to see the town be anything but beautiful. There are usually a number of events happening on campus, and there are plenty of student organizations (including most sports) to keep one occupied outside of class and work.
Conversely, Berea is known for being in the self-described Berea Bubble. Students who are used to living in larger cities might be uncomfortable living in such a small town, without some of the pleasures that larger cities might provide. Berea is also a dry town (no alcohol is sold/served here), so students that are looking to party will have to go elsewhere. The college also discourages students from having cars and prohibits first-year students from having cars, both for financial and environmental reasons (there IS a free shuttle that will transport students to Walmart, Richmond, and Lexington occasionally). I do not personally find any of these things to be an issue, but it's something to consider for some students.
Bang for the buck
Berea is a tuition-free college; I don't know how it can get better than that. Berea only accepts students below a certain economic level, based on their FAFSA reports. After being founded in 1855, the college has focused on educating students from Appalachia; women; African-Americans; and a number of international students. Once accepted, a student will get a four-year tuition scholarship, even if a parent's income increases. This isn't a deal that looks fabulous and then charges students an insane amount for room and board; the last time I checked, the most students can pay for room and board is $6,600, and many students pay nothing at all (if their EFC is zero). In fact, a fair number of students (21%, off the top of my head) graduate without any student debt at all.
STUDY ABROAD--If you plan on studying abroad, Berea is the place to do it. The college will cover 75%/$11,000 of student costs for a term abroad, and something like 35% of student costs for a summer/short term abroad.
Tips for prospective students
*Apply EARLY--these are difficult economic times. The college is getting more applications than ever, and while I still encourage you to apply at any time of the year, you'll have a better chance of gaining admission if you do it early.
*Visit the college--I didn't even seriously consider Berea until I visited it during spring break of my senior year in high school, but the gorgeous campus and the attitude of the students I met impressed me.
*TALK to the admissions staff--if it isn't feasible for your family to visit Berea to do the interview portion of the admissions process, email/call the admissions staff and they can schedule a time to do it by phone.
*Speaking of the admissions process, DON'T BE INTIMIDATED. Yes, you will have to do an interview, but if you're calm about it, you will be fine.
Great for these types of students
Berea is a great school for students who
*have limited financial means
*are from Appalachia (even though it's entirely possible to attend Berea without being from Appalachia!)
*want to attend a smaller, more personalized college
*are Christian (Berea has a Christian background; all students take an Understandings of Christianity course, and there are plenty of churches no matter your background)
*AREN'T Christian (Don't let the Christian label scare you. Berea was founded by an abolitionist preacher who wanted to educate black/white students together AND men/women together--in 1855. Pretty progressive. There are multiple religious student organizations that aren't for Christians.)
*want a liberal education
*want to study abroad
*want to graduate with less student debt than all of your friends! (which is good for those who want to go on to graduate school, by the way)
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Brittany from Berea, KY

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
berea college is a fun yet challenging institution. it is generally hit or miss with professors as far as teaching ability is concerned. much of the progress attained by students depends on their personal drive and intellectual ambition.
Tips for prospective students
for those students who know what they intend to major in, take courses required for your major as soon as you come in, and not just general requirement courses. classes at berea are sometimes only offered every other semester or even every two years, so it is important to take classes at specific times in order to graduate on time. planning ahead is key. for students who don't know their intended major, berea does not allow students to declare a major until the end of sophomore year, so use your first year to get some general requirements out of the way and also to explore some fields of interest.
Academic Rigor
we're not kidding when we say that this school is tough. it is. students must be enrolled full time and also maintain a labor position which requires at least ten hours of labor per week. most classes are at least an hour and a half long and require a great amount of out-of-class effort. however, the payoff is phenomenal, and it is to be expected that a tier one school such as berea should be academically rigorous.
Dorm Life
the dorms at berea are in need of some improvement, but my experience overall has been relatively positive. freshman year is pivotal and the most fun in terms of dorm life. as the years progress, however, dorm life begins to wear on students. off-campus housing options are available to seniors.
Food and Dining
the food at berea is pretty bad. we have a singular cafeteria and one cafe. both have limited hours and limited menus. there are many options in the cafeteria, but the quality is not the best. however, there are plenty of ways to be creative with the food in the cafeteria to create a relatively nice meal.
What to do for fun
berea is a wonderful town for students. there are many things to do within walking distance and the town is incredibly safe. we have local coffee shops, artisan centers, parks, contra dances, free movies, and a ton of on campus activities. the school is also only fifteen minutes away from richmond, ky, and berea provides a shuttle service for transportation to richmond once a week and to lexington every month. there are also many beautiful places for hiking and camping and beautiful places around town to find and enjoy. you simply have to look!
Bang for the buck
tuition at berea college is free. each student pays part of their room and board based upon their family's income and pays for their own books. tuition is around $25,000 a year, so each student is looking at upwards of a $100,000 scholarship. students are given free laptops when they enter the college which they may keep upon graduation from the school. also, berea has funds set aside for all students to have an opportunity to spend time studying abroad. many students from berea graduate completely debt free, which is something to be said in this day and age.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
the campus participates in a game called humans vs. zombies twice a year. it's like a very large game of tag using nerf guns and all the proceeds go to a charity for children.
Great for these types of students
berea is a great place for a student who doesn't think that he or she will be able to go to college based upon monetary difficulties, who is academically savvy and looking for a challenge in the way of schooling. students looking for work experience whilst in college and a guaranteed job, who are interested in appalachia and who like are passionate about the environment would be a perfect match. this is a great school and it's a great place to be.
Clubs and Activities
you name it, we have it. and if we don't, you can start it. the campus is overwhelmingly student-led, which allows for many independent organization opportunities.
Greek Life
there are no sororities or fraternities on campus. however, we have some lovely classes surrounding greek culture and the latin language!
Campus Safety
berea is an incredibly safe town. it is rare to hear of any type of incident on campus. public safety also does an excellent job of ensuring student safety.
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Sean from MT Sterling, KY

accepted here and planning to attend soon
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
Everybody I've met has said the classes are demanding, but rewarding. The small class size means I'll be given much more 1on1 and discussion time, which is much better than being known as student #341.
Will enjoy being here
Absolutely, this is the main reason I'm excited about attending. I've met nobody who wasn't congenial.
Bang for the buck
Berea College provides the most financial aid of any college on Cappex. Every student receives a full tuition scholarship.
Tips for prospective students
Do your best to stand above the crowd during your interview. I was nearly passed on before I asked about the music program.
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Mia Janay from San Pablo, CA

accepted here and planning to attend soon
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
From the students I talked to when I visited, they said that the curriculum at Berea is very demanding. You will be challenged in every aspect. A graduating senior told me that at the end of her 5 years at Berea, she feels like she was prepared for anything that comes her way.
Will enjoy being here
I unfortunately had my visit when the students were out for the summer already. But, the campus is pretty and the town was inviting so I think I will enjoy my time there.
Bang for the buck
That is the biggest incentive to most students that come across Berea. Berea believes in the philosophy that students should not be just numbers. There is no tuition at Berea which essentially means you don't have to pay tons of money for an education that should be free. Having said that it does not mean it costs $0 to attend Berea. You will be responsible for room and board, books, and other fees, but when you think about compared to other schools that is a great trade off.
Tips for prospective students
Apply early, visit the campus (when classes are in session), and don't hesitate to ask questions.
Great for these types of students
Students that are eager to get a great education, be a part of a diverse community, and develop skills that will really get you through challenges in the real world.
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Trish from WI

a past student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
There are simply no words to describe my experience at Berea College. This place changed my life! Aside from its stellar academics, outstanding work-study program, and culture of service and stewardship, this institution was HOME during my four-year experience as a college student.
Tips for prospective students
College was simply a dream, and Berea College made it possible to achieve that dream. Berea College was the best place to grow up and become an adult, and I haven't found a place that is as welcoming and open since my college days. This institution is the reason I have a career today. THANK YOU BC! Proud Alum!

Academic Rigor
I'm so thankful for my professors who pushed me to excel in academics. I was way ahead of my peers when I started graduate school, and all thanks to the dedication and commitment of Berea's faculty.
Dorm Life
Dry campus. Dry town. Still old-fashioned about separate sex dorms. This may not change ever, but I'm thankful to have grown alongside my closest friends in the dorms.
Food and Dining
Dining services is a lot improved since my college days. There's a really nice facility for campus dining. Super cheap!
What to do for fun
Does midnight runs to Walmart count? If you have a car, there's plenty to do in Richmond. Berea isn't your average 21st century college town. No bars! No movie theater! If you like pizza, Papaleno's is the best in town!
Bang for the buck
You are never going to find another US college for tuition free! Enough said!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Separate sex dorms. Berea is very much old-fashioned about curfews.
Great for these types of students
First generation college students. LGBTQ. Students from low income/poverty families. Non-traditional college students. Students with families.
Clubs and Activities
This small college boasts of a rich and diverse co-curricular life. No social fratenities or sororities.
Greek Life
None.
Campus Safety
Small campus. Can get from one end to the other in 10 mins (walking).
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dreamlikecrazy93

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Berea is that place full of so much academic rigor and it can be a little much. It is also that sigh of relief from high school. You've come to a place where people want to know your name and your story, and that just makes it so special.
Tips for prospective students
Don't be shy! If you want to make new friends, Berea College is the best place in the world to do this. Everyone is so accepting and it definitely changes your perception of your own life before entering the school. Just relax. You're a Mountaineer now and Mountaineers don't take anything for granted.
Academic Rigor
Berea is one of those schools where even the most promising student goes, What have I gotten myself in to?! The institution only accepts academically promising students so they expect you to go above and beyond your comfort level. Even though the school can be more challenging than any Ivy League school, what makes the place outstanding is that the professors care about you so much. They know you by name and they make sure to get to know you as more than just a student. They'll do whatever they can to make sure you understand what's going on whether it is inside or outside the classroom. Sure you'll most definitely be doing more than one paper at a time, but hey. You know you're going to pass because your instructors are going to talk to you over the phone at 2 am just to help you get through it.
Dorm Life
When it comes to living in a dorm, I believe it truly depends on the person. Some people love the fact that they are technically living with their friends. They love the community aspect of it. Others don't like the fact that none of the residence halls are coed or that you don't get to live off campus until your senior year. Living with a bunch of people can be pretty messy, but it's nice to be able to have quick access to people to talk with. It's nice living in a hall but at times, it can be hectic. You just give and take a little.
Food and Dining
Food services...my goodness. The Mountaineer Dining Hall is the central food location for Berea students. They have their really good days where there is a lot of variety, but to tell you the truth, most days are just average or below that... especially on the weekends. Friday night is the time that many students leave campus to commute back to their homes, but we all know that they're just avoiding the lack of good food. They are such cowards :) !
What to do for fun
Berea College is set among the beautiful Appalachians, so it is a great place to go hiking, running, or anything else nature related. However, there arenâ??t much shopping or entertainment facilities (unless you like the fact that Berea, KY is the Arts and Crafts capital of the US). If you want a quick getaway, a 15 minute drive to Richmond is the way to go. If you want to go to a livelier city and are willing to drive a little more, consider Lexington (45 minutes), Cincinnati (2 hours), or Louisville (2 hours). If you're a freshman cursed with the no car on campus rule or you're a student who gets screwed over by the college lottery, just make something up. You will have fun no matter where you are with your new friends, even if it's a walking trip to Wal-Mart. It's worth the crazy, fun memories.
Bang for the buck
Imagine being accepted to a school that is extremely selective, gives every student a full-tuition scholarship plus more financial assistance, receiving a free, brand new laptop, and making the most of an education that many other colleges and universities wished they could live up to. And on top of that, being the #1 school in the US with the lowest student debt amongst its graduates. Welcome to Berea College!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Are you worried about a possible Apocalypse? Well have no fear! Berea is deemed the safest place in the world to be in case of an attack and end to this world. Plus, every few months there's a campus-wide Humans vs. Zombies game that takes place, so hooray for free training! Also, do you know how to swim? Well, if you do, that's great. If not, you're required to take a swimming class before you graduate and pass it. Berea does not tolerate a hesitant swimmer. No joke.
Great for these types of students
If you are outgoing or love to make new friends, then welcome! If you keep more to yourself or aren't very confident, that's alright, too. By the time your first year is over, your life will change completely. You will have friends and acquaintances that actually care about you. It's an overwhelming but amazing feeling. You will change for the better for sure. It's like a breath of fresh air.
Clubs and Activities
Berea is a smaller institution but offers so many clubs and activities. The most popular are those dealing with the arts. If you love to perform, get involved with the BC Theatre Lab, a dance ensemble, or one of the music ensembles in the music department. Whatâ??s amazing about the Theatre department is that they produce 2 main stage shows each semester and many smaller productions that are equally outstanding. A bonus is the fact that anyone of any major can participate in these productions whether itâ??s onstage or backstage. The music department includes ensembles such as the Concert Choir, the Bluegrass Ensemble, and the Black Music Ensemble. Everything dealing with music in Berea is very eye-opening and full of greatness. If you arenâ??t too in to the arts, you can join one of Bereaâ??s many sports teams or other clubs like the Campus Activities Board (CAB) or the Blue Crew. No matter what activity you choose to pursue at the school, you will relieve your stress and you will enjoy yourself, no doubt.
Greek Life
What is this Greek Life that you speak of?
Campus Safety
I like campus safety because they will do whatever they can to make sure students on campus are safe. If you need to go down to the nearby hospital, they'll drive you themselves so you can avoid the expense of gas money or an ambulance. Just call them and they're on their way for anything. Even if you're too scared to walk to a certain building late at night or early morning, they go out of their way to take you. It's nice knowing they care.
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Rhonda from Oak Ridge, TN

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A small college with the opportunity for more one on one with professors. Has some diversities, in that they have students from all over the world there. Berea College is very much an educational school, there are not much crazy wild parties on campus.
Academic Rigor
Berea College first priority is education, then job, then everything else. Students have to do the homework and pay attention to class. A study group, with people who actually wants to study, is a great way to help with keeping the grade up. The classes are challenging, and there is homework every night, practically. As a side note, Berea wants their students to be well rounded, so whatever your major is, you'll be spending only 20% of classes in your major, and the rest are on other requirements.
Dorm Life
Dorm life is decent. The rooms are not the biggest, and first year are in freshmen dorms, and students have a roommate first starting out. The older dorms are bigger, and nicer (depending on opinion), but have no air conditioning. All the dorms are mainly clean, as well, but one does hear how the men's dorms are dirty.
Food and Dining
The food is by no mean five star restaurant, but you will not be starving. The food is good, but not many options. There is a dessert bar, pizza, salad, hamburgers and fries, vegetarian food, salad and deli area, and the main line. There is a nice range of soda and milk, and the college even has soy milk. If someone has a gluten allergy, there can be food made for you, you just have to make arrangements.
What to do for fun
Students can go into Old Town and go to the skating ring. Students can hang out, take hikes, go to the mall, and eat out.
Bang for the buck
The tuition is free, but you have to pay for books, food, logging, all the extra things really. The college gives you a job to help pay for those things, and they give you money so that you can buy toothpaste or new clothes. All in all, Berea College is a money saver. To be able to get in, though, parents have to make under a certain amount.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There is a game that is held twice every semester, and it is called humans vs. zombies. A lot of students play this, and go all out. It is pretty intense.
Clubs and Activities
There are numerous of clubs to join from yoga to dance, debat to music, and more. Berea is also beside Old Town, which has small shops one can visit. The college also provides transportation to the mall and Wal-Mart on certain days of the week.
Greek Life
There are none.
Campus Safety
There is little crime, and the campus is over all very safe.
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Student from Berea, KY

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Berea College is a very diverse, interesting, and intensely educational school. It has a beautiful campus, a great community of classmates and professors, and a fantastic array of classes. While the classes are challenging and you may sometimes feel as if there are not enough hours in the day, the experience and education you will gain here is completely worth it.
Tips for prospective students
The college super-scores you ACT scores, so keeping taking it! Write your optional essay even though it is optional. Visit the campus and find out if the majors offered are right for you while considering the possible majors you may want to explore. Take the time while you visit to sit in a class and see how you like it!
Academic Rigor
The classes here are often challenging and give a lot of homework. However, the lectures are usually engaging and interesting and many of the things you learn are applicable to a variety of situations. If a student fails too many classes, he/she may be put on academic probation or suspended and have to re-apply.
Dorm Life
Some dorms are worth complaining about, but the dorms that I have seen are better than the residence halls I have seen in dozens of other colleges. However, there are no completely co-ed dorms.
Food and Dining
The food is really good, actually. The problem is that people get tired of having the same kind of food over and over for weeks and months at a time.
What to do for fun
The town of Berea is very small with limited options. However, there are some good restaurants and that Campus Activities Board works hard to keep the campus filled with fun options.
Bang for the buck
It is said that Berea College is the 'best education money can't buy.' However, be aware that even if your EFC is zero, your term bill will increase as you continue your time at the college. While you do not pay tuition, the cost of living and meals are not always covered and some people who have higher EFCs may pay up to a few thousand per year.
Also, Berea College offers very affordable study abroad plans. My planned trip will cost me about $2,000 out of pocket after grants and scholarships (which I have worked to save by being diligent with my labor program earnings).
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There is a community on campus that holds Humans vs. Zombies games 2-3 times per year. It's basically a campus-wide game of tag!
Great for these types of students
Berea College is great for students who are open-minded, critical thinkers who wish to learn a lot while working to become the best people they can be. Students here, however, must be very diligent students who are dedicated to their educations. This is also a community dedicated to the preservation of Appalachia and it's culture and resources.
Clubs and Activities
There is a large variety of clubs and a lot of volunteering options.
Greek Life
There is no Greek life here.
Campus Safety
Campus is generally safe and Public Safety is dedicated to the protection of all students. Fighting with other students on campus can even get a student expelled.
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Terrin from Berea, KY

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A small school focused on academic success and its student, Berea provides a place for student to quietly learn. Berea has a wide variety of programs to choose to study from and in some cases can help you build a degree. Berea has been the blessing in my life and I hope it can be for other students.
Tips for prospective students
Remember to study, not to break yourself as many high school teachers suggest you will. Stay level headed and find some friends who support your goals
What to do for fun
I like to play soccer, video games, and enjoy using the schools free programs, such as, comedy shows, intramural sports and events.
Bang for the buck
BEREA COLLEGE OFFERS FREE TUITION!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
We have the Freedman's Bell, a symbol for integration and the promotion of equality for all people.
Great for these types of students
Low income
Greek Life
None unfortunately
Campus Safety
Full public safety department
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