Calvin University
Grand Rapids, MI, USA

Reviews

Calvin University
4.11 Average Rating

Cassondra from Grant, MI

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Calvin offers professors who know what they are talking about. The classes are smaller so you are able to get the help you need, and if your teacher can't help you then there are free tutors available that meet with you as much as needed. Calvin really offers great classes and they are a high ranked school because they require the most core classes around.
Am enjoying being here
Being in the college life is great, but being at Calvin for the experience is even greater. You create great friendships with the people in your dorm, and because Calvin is so small you are able to know more of your class mates. This school offers many activities so you always have something to do when you are not studying, and it is also located in a city with a wide variety of hang out spots.
Bang for the buck
Calvin is expensive, but you are getting what you pay for. The Christian atmosphere makes learning so much more as you learn about science, but about how God relates to all of it in the mean time. This school helps you get a great job after graduation and also helps you on your walk with Christ.
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Nathaniel from Chicago, IL

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Calvin College has a bright, clean campus with a lot of opportunities to excel. If you find yourself on the track team, you'll find that they have excellent indoor and outdoor tracks. Get ready to lace up those spikes!
Tips for prospective students
Get involved! Don't be afraid to make friends and interact with your professors and advisers. Because it's in Michigan, it gets pretty humid in the summer, and we get a lot of snow in the winter; be prepared!
Academic Rigor
Your professors will push you to your limit. Sometimes just going to class and doing the homework won't cut it; you've got to put in extra work to succeed.
Dorm Life
I'm more the type of person to play pool by myself or to just read a book. From what I can tell, the other people on my floor seem pretty nice.
Food and Dining
There are two dinning halls, Commons and Knollcrest. They both have hot lines, but Commons has a pizza section and Knollcrest has a *fantastic* sandwich line, in addition to an allergy/gluten/vegan section. I'm not too picky about my food so I can always find something good to eat.
What to do for fun
The dorms have pool and foosball tables in the lower areas. There are some pretty decent trees to climb on campus, but that's kinda discouraged. There's also an indoor climbing wall and (I think) olympic sized pool.
In addition, aside from the sem pond, there aren't a whole lot of bugs on campus, so even late at night you can go on a walk and not get absolutely eaten alive by mosquitoes.
Bang for the buck
Get a lot of scholarships. No school is going to be worth 180k. So far, I'm okay with the amount of money that is being spent here.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Ever February a hole is cut in the seminary pond and students jump in. They're given a towel, and Senior year, if you turn in all 4 towels, they'll give you a golden towel.

There's also Chaos Night. All the dorms compete in the indoor track with 6-8 games, like how many people can jump through an inner tube in 3 minutes or dribbling a soccer ball through people's legs only using a hockey stick. We always finish up with a tug of war.
Great for these types of students
The majority are tall white dutch kids, and they get a legacy scholarship if their parents went. If you're a racial or cultural minority, then your also get a scholarship. Either way, it's great for both types of students.
Clubs and Activities
There's an even called Cokes and Clubs where the ~80 clubs come out onto the big lawn in the middle of campus and give out free coca-cola. You talk to members about the club they represent and see which ones you would like.
Greek Life
I'm not greek, nor do I have any greek friends, so I cannot comment on how those who are greek conduct themselves on campus.
Campus Safety
It's a pretty safe place. There are a bunch of those blue pillars with the call button around campus, and campus security are always around to help. If you're stuck in the library at 1am finishing up a paper but Michigan just dumped 2 feet of snow on the ground, you can call campus safety to shuttle you to your dorm.
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Spencer from Clinton, MT

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Calvin College is a private college and what you would imagine it to be is mostly what you get. The academics of the school are at a good level, but you research what department you are going in to, just in case you are going in to art... The atmosphere and students there are absolutely amazing, and I have never doubted that this college was the right choice for me.
Tips for prospective students
Look into your department, most of them are great, but it is good to double check whether you think the program will be right for you. As the first year and second year are both (usually) years where you will be living in the dorm, jump right into dorm life and put yourself out there for the first few weeks, even if you are a much more introverted person (I am as well) because it will make the rest of your time much easier and more friendly. I think the people at Calvin is one of the main reasons to go, so if you put some effort in to open yourself up a bit, there is a lot that will be given to you in return.
Academic Rigor
There may be harder colleges in the world, but Calvin certainly holds its own in this area. I believe Calvin demands a lot from its students, in terms of academic excellence and overall workload, but it has been a wonderful thing for me personally as it has grown me in many ways much quicker than expected.
Dorm Life
This is probably one of the better campuses for dorm life around. As there is no Greek life, the dorm life takes a more important role, and dorms can be very close. My time in the dorm gave me many friends and good memories, and a few select friends who I know will be in mt life forever.
Food and Dining
This is an area of a little bit of conflicting opinions. I believe the food was great and there was a good bit of variety, but some people complained about the food with differing opinions (though if you get every meal at the dining hall for two years in a row, I imagine many places would start to feel bland after that period of time). Don't go to Calvin for the food itself, but I think you will enjoy the food enough.
What to do for fun
College is funny in that until you are in it you don't quite realize that this category isn't going to be as impactful as you first imagined (at least, that's my opinion on it all).There are a lot of events put on by Calvin, a lot of concerts that come through, and a lot of events the dorms themselves put on, so I would say there is a lot of opportunity for one to find fun in many places, and I would personally recommend finding a club you enjoy. There are many clubs as well, and opportunities to start new ones are not hard to find. There is plenty to keep you busy when you aren't busy with college itself.
Bang for the buck
Calvin is expensive, and that alone makes me give this not as good of a score, but usually students can get pretty good financial aid packages.Not too much to say other than Calvin isn't the cheapest, so don't simply choose it on a whim.
Great for these types of students
If you are a missionary kid apply to Calvin, get a lot of financial aid, and meet many other missionary kids and have a blast. Because of this and a few other reasons I am not sure of, there is a diverse range of students at Calvin, and that can make for some pretty awesome experiences.
Clubs and Activities
I believe there is a good variety of clubs at Calvin, and there are opportunities to create new clubs as well.
Campus Safety
Campus safety does a great job, and even in the winter when it is colder they will come and pick you up and drive you around the smaller campus to get you where you need to be if you ask for it,
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CH

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
At Calvin, I have grown in a multitude of ways that I was not originally anticipating. I feel like I am a much more of a well-rounded person from taking the extra liberal arts classes. I'm SO happy I chose to go to Calvin.
Tips for prospective students
To prospective students, work hard and ask professors for help. They truly want you to learn and get as much as you can out of your classes. The class sizes are smaller so it allows a more engaging and personal experience.
Academic Rigor
Calvin is very challenging, but you are paying for a good education so it is overall a good thing. My classes push me to work hard and learn the material (instead of simply memorizing facts). It can get a little overwhelming, but the professors are there for you when you need it.
Dorm Life
I loved dorm life. I made life-long friends and the Christian environment allows for some great discussions and deep friendships. No alcohol is allowed on campus, which also prevents a lot of drunk people in the dorms (which is super nice). It is divided into girls in one dorm and guys in another (two dorms--girl and guy per building; one on each side).
Food and Dining
Not the best food, but you definitely have a lot of options and can eat healthy if you chose. You have to remember they are making food for a ton of people, so it is fine with all things considered. I personally like making my own salad or going down the vegetarian line and customizing my meals. You can also order sack lunches online and pick them up during the day, which is nice when you have a tight squeeze between classes.
What to do for fun
There is an amazing climbing wall and fitness center on campus. Also, every weekend there are a ton of different activities to go to. Each basement in the dorms also has a fun hang-out place that you can go with friends.
Bang for the buck
You pay to get the most intensive and personalized education. It is a lot of money, but I honestly feel like I could not have gotten a better education elsewhere. I'm very happy.
Great for these types of students
Great for students who want a specialized education where they are not just a number, but an individual. The full-time staff and professors really do care about you and are willing to talk to you about school or even life problems. They want to help you, unlike other schools where the people are just there for the research.
Greek Life
There is no Greek Life, which means no hazing or other dangerous activities that occur at other institutions. The bonding is still there without any of the dangerousness that Greek Life can bring.
Campus Safety
Campus Safety does a great job and they are very nice as well. I've seen them walking around with huge smiles on, but when they are needed, they get the job done and do an excellent job of keeping us safe.
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Female from Central Indiana

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Calvin challenges you academically. Calvin provides an environment for your faith to grow. Calvin is a terrific community where lifelong friendships are made.
Tips for prospective students
Be prepared to study. Calvin is not the easy A you may be used to getting in high school. Also, if you plan to attend a party college, you need to take Calvin off your list.
Academic Rigor
Calvin College is certainly a school where you will be challenged, academically. Most students who attend did very well in high school, and much is expected of each student. That being said, there are plenty of opportunities to get help if you need it, including from the the many great professors here.
Dorm Life
Your first two years will most likely be spent in the dorms, where you will find friends you will have the rest of your life. Calvin does an excellent job of not only matching roommates, but actually matching dorm residents so that you will have much in common with those living near you.
Food and Dining
The two dining halls are different enough to provide a good variety of food, depending on what you want. Overall, the quality of food is good; however, I have noticed it improves on special occasions, such as when the parents are on campus.
What to do for fun
There is always something to do. Almost every weekend, there are floor dates where your dorm floor does an activity with a dorm floor of the opposite sex. Calvin also has several great concerts throughout the year, as it is able to attract high level groups due to it being located in Grand Rapids, the second largest metro area in Michigan. Grand Rapids also has many great things to do and places to see. If you are bored as a Calvin Student, then you are trying to be bored.
Bang for the buck
No doubt about...Calvin is expensive, even with the many scholarships they offer. However, compared to other private schools, it's relatively reasonable. While costly, the Value received from the education and experience is top notch. There simply is no school that approaches developing a Christian mind like Calvin.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Sem Pond jump during the winter is the most popular, but I haven't done that yet.
Great for these types of students
Serious academic students who have a heart for Christ.
Clubs and Activities
Too numerous to name. If you are looking for it, Calvin probably has it.
Greek Life
None...but the dorm life is so tight knit that you won't even miss it.
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Ashley from Byron Center, MI

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Calvin College is challenging and rigorous. I could not be more pleased with my first year here and I am excited to continue in the fall. Great community, great academics, and great living.
Tips for prospective students
Don't let the cost freak you out - It will be worth it and you will get lots of help. Remember that this is the gateway to your future and Calvin is an excellent choice to excel and be successful.
Academic Rigor
Christian school setting with close to Ivy League academics.
Dorm Life
My roommate is from New Jersey and we went potluck style for the first year. We LOVED it and are rooming together again next year. The community is excellent and all kinds of floor events are planned throughout the campus.
Food and Dining
2 dining halls - constant competition. Will you be a Commons or a Knollcrest fan??
What to do for fun
Grand Rapids is AWESOME! Home of ArtPrize, too many local restaurants to count, dates along the river, and Eastown. It is rated one of the best places to live in America.
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Nickolas from Barrington, IL

a current student here
25 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Professors care and want you to succeed. They challenge you, tasks are easy, but they also want to give you the tools to succeed, and excel at it. Some of the professors you connect with will get to know you at a personal level. In the classroom you are taught the material in a more realistic and world setting. You are also taught spiritually and through your faith. Calvin is a Liberal Arts College so you are allowed (and required) to complete various Core classes to be more well rounded.
Am enjoying being here
Calvin College is a personal environment. In the Dorms: You know your roommate better then your best friend in a year. Calvin works really hard to make sure that even if you never met them before, that you will be a good match, and then hand selects your roommate for the best compatibility. Your room is connected to another room through your bathroom, and you are immediately connected to 2 more friends. Your floor becomes a close knit community; a family. You know them all, and learn to trust them, because you live with them. The classrooms are also a special place to meet people, the average classroom is just over 20 people so you have the ability to get to know people really well. Especially in small classes when there are just a few of you.
Bang for the buck
Its expensive yet this is the only time in your life you will experience something like this. Also you receive some of the best possible education. The Professors want you to learn, and will meet with you anytime you have a question, would be happy to meet with you for coffee, and are constantly giving encouragement or advice.
Tips for prospective students
If you are worried about making friends, don't worry, Calvin does a terrific job of keeping you busy the first few weeks, so just be yourself and you will soon find out who it is you want to hang out with.

Professors respect when you work hard, and if they know it they will be far. Don't be afraid to ask them for help, they are looking for students that want to be successful.
Professors are also great for other advice, about other classes, your major (or minors), life, your faith, or sometimes even if you have relationship problems. They are there for you.
Great for these types of students
If you have ambition, dreams and goals, then Calvin is the place for you. Whether you want to help as many people as possible or build a company from scratch, at Calvin you will learn how to be successful using the gifts that God has given you.
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Katie from NE

a current student here
16 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The profs are very helpful, and the classes are really challenging and make me think.
Am enjoying being here
The community is great. I got to know the girls on my floor and the guys on my brother floor really fast. It's fun living in the dorms because there's always something going on and people to go out with. It's fun to hang out on campus, too.
Bang for the buck
Calvin is pretty expensive, but financial aid helps a lot, and it really is a great campus with great profs and facilities and it's worth the money.
Tips for prospective students
Don't put off homework assignments for social time. Also, try to do as much homework as you can -- especially in classes that you're struggling in. Don't be afraid to go to your prof and ask questions. Every prof I've had so far has been more than willing to help out. Going to ask questions during their office hours also shows the prof that you want to do well in the class and that you care about the class subject.
Great for these types of students
Hardworkers will thrive at Calvin. If you want to sit on your butt for four years... pick a different school.
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DeVo'n from Grand Rapids, MI

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
At Calvin, to be honest is a good place to be. The classes that you take will be rigorous depending on your major, but the professors are there to help. Some of the classes that I have taken at Calvin have been beneficial to me and the things that I learned have connected to my christian faith. There are tutors available and the professors as well who are willing to help you succeed.
Am enjoying being here
Calvin in general is a nice atmosphere. If you have visited or are planning to visit, you will notice a lot of trees and greenery around, granted when the snow comes, which is also good as well. There is a nature preserve here at Calvin which is great for walking or just a place for reflecting. You usually make friends pretty quickly because of the roommate and suite mates that are placed around you. Getting to know new people is a rewarding experience and the people here are friendly.
Bang for the buck
Calvin is worth the money although the cost to come is quite a bit, but it is worth it. Calvin supplies numerous scholarships, grants and loans for you to have and talking to people who come here is also a good way to see if Calvin is worth the bang for the buck.
Tips for prospective students
Some tips for prospective students is not to worry whether you will be able to make friends and succeed. The professors and advisers are here for you and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Also if you don't know, Calvin is mostly a white institution, there is an increase of diversity which can seen all around campus. There are events and also organizations such as the Multi-Cultural Student development office which cater and educate to learn more about other cultures that are presented here at Calvin.
Great for these types of students
Calvin I think is great for those who want to exceed and also those who want to grow deep in their christian faith. There are bible studies that are held in the dorms and also times for worshiping God in a community setting. So if you have a desire to succeed then Calvin is one of the places for you.
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Christi from Grand Rapids, MI

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The class work goes in depth into whatever subject you are studying, you definitely learn what you need to know for your major. There are also certain core classes you need to take which give you general knowledge and creates well-rounded students that can succeed at whatever they set out to do.
Am enjoying being here
The teachers and classmates are fun and engaging. There are also many campus events to get students involved. They send out student newsletters so you always know what is going on and can join events even if you are a commuter like me.
Bang for the buck
The classes are hard and demanding but totally worth it. The teachers push you to succeed and truly care about how you do - they want you to leave here completely prepared to face the world. Some of the professors that are away from a computer a lot give you their cell phone number in addition to their email on the syllabus so you are able to reach them through text message if necessary.
Tips for prospective students
Study, study, study! I was one of those people that could just coast through high school and study maybe five minutes for a test. Here I had to crank it up a notch and study for at least an hour.
Great for these types of students
hard workers, creative minds, and people looking for an excellent education
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