Oberlin College
Oberlin, OH, USA

Reviews

Oberlin College
4.08 Average Rating

Kye from Berkley, MI

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Academic Rigor
Oberlin is a school that challenge its students academically while simultaneously engaging them. The professors are generally great and will work with you as needed. Students may stay up late studying and writing papers, but that's because they care about what they're doing.
Dorm Life
Some of the larger dorms with no themes or other special characteristics don't have much in the way of community, but there are a lot of program houses, theme halls (such sci-fi hall and classics hall) and co-ops which have good community.
Food and Dining
It's absurdly expensive, but the co-ops provide a good alternative to traditional dorms. Many upper-classmen also live in village housing, which is an independent apartment or house.
Bang for the buck
Oberlin is very expensive, like most small, private colleges. But it's also a really good school. The answer to this question really depends on the individual's value of money as compared to other things though.
Great for these types of students
Oberlin is great for liberal and/or open-minded students who care about the world around them.
Clubs and Activities
Even though Oberlin is a small school, there seems to be a club or activity for everyone.
Greek Life
Oberlin doesn't have Greek Life, which is generally considered a positive thing among students.
Campus Safety
Oberlin uses the blue light system that a lot of colleges use and requires swipe cards to gain access to any residential building. There is very little crime.
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Fresh(wo)man

a current student here
1 person found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Oberlin is a very musical and artistic campus -- there is always something to go to or do on the weekends and even weekdays. There is a lot of work and studying is very important to the students, but like any college campus the students make time for fun. Difficult to get off campus but the downtown is very nice.
Tips for prospective students
Spend an overnight and get in touch with someone who is currently at the school.
Academic Rigor
Very rigorous but always fun learning.
Dorm Life
(based on Freshman dorm) If you're a first year, apply to live in Kahn. Newest and nicest dorm. Dascomb is a nice location, Barrows is gross and far away. Co-op system is very affordable and the language houses are also a draw.
Food and Dining
Ask someone about the co-op system -- sometimes a hit or miss but always affordable. I've been happily fed here.
What to do for fun
Go to one out of a million musical events, plays, sports games, poetry slams, parties, jam out with people.
Bang for the buck
Socially, very diverse and totally different than any other college. However, I feel that if I hadn't gotten a huge scholarship I would not have gone here. Not needs blind but does cover 100% of demonstrated need which is very helpful IF you can get in despite being a low-income student.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Giant rocks around campus that anyone can decorate.
Naked run in the library right before finals. (optional obviously)
Lots of music and arts.
Albino squirrel (Unofficial) mascot
Great for these types of students
Open and accepting and willing to listen and learn. Oberlin is fairly diverse in terms of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Greek Life
none!
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Elliot from Somers Point, NJ

a current student here
19 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The range of what you can learn here is vast. I'm currently kicking it with the true liberal arts experience taking cinema classes, photography, computer programming, Literature courses, and still being able to find incredible opportunities to volunteer. Classes are small, so its easy to develop relationships with your professors and take much more from a class than you might on another campus.
Am enjoying being here
The atmosphere on campus is amazing, especially if you are involved in the Co-op system. Living in a Co-op really sets you up with an incredible amount of connections to upperclassmen and people who are experienced with the campus. The campus itself is beautiful, and though Oberlin may seem like a small town in middle-of-nowhere-Ohio, the student body is really politically and socially active, making Oberlin a very exciting place to live.
Bang for the buck
The school isn't cheap. If you're in need of financial aid, you'll have plenty of opportunity to find it, it's just a matter of looking. Otherwise, what you experience and learn here is totally worth the somewhat hefty price tag.
Tips for prospective students
Stay overnight: you won't get a decent grasp on what the campus is like just hanging out for a few hours on a week day.

Check out the Co-ops: Some people will tell you to avoid the Co-ops (especially Harkness) but its a great idea to go and see how they work and what they are all about.

Talk to a lot of people: get as many perspectives on campus life as possible.
Great for these types of students
People who are very politically minded, environmentally concerned, interested in community service, musicians (the conservatory is one of the best in the country), neuroscience majors, writers, hippies, and just about everyone who likes to smile at strangers.
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Enimielen from San Antonio, TX

a current student here
10 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
Oberlin has top professors, who are actually engaging. I have been invited over to my professors' houses for picnics, dinners, documentary watching nights, etc! At first you might think its strange that your teachers genuinely want to get to know you and want you to excel, but its not just because they want to look good. Professors at Oberlin are eager for students to come to their office hours, and if you can't they work around your schedule. There is a variety of classes, there are even experimental classes taught by students (Pokemon, gender and sexuality in Disney films, and knitting are just a few of the hundred or so options). Also if your high school didn't teach you basic study skills, or things you need to know to be a successful college student, Oberlin's Student Academic Services, will get you up to speed, with free tutors, or mini classes on how to read/study in college.
Am enjoying being here
There are so many wonderful opportunities, even as a freshman its easy to jump into some major things and make change! As a freshman I became a student senator and I joined a faculty committee that makes changes to the student policy! Also Oberlin paid for me and peers to go to Canada for a summit, and to other conferences that interested me around the midwest area. Oberlin the town is small, but there is a CHEAP movie theatre (like 4 dollars!), lots of great restaurants, and everything is walking distance.
Bang for the buck
Oberlin is really expensive, mainly because it has the world renown professors, performers coming in, and opportunities for the students. However if you have financial need, Oberlin will meet it 100% and that is something that they guarantee.
Tips for prospective students
Make sure your essay is creative, Oberlin is a very difficult school to get into because they want unique people. Oberlin truly believes that its students can change the world because the students they select are not just in the top percentile in terms of academics but the students are already entrepreneurs, or go-getters in some way. I didn't have top SAT scores and I was in the top 25% of my class, so I had to stand out in other ways. You need to do the same!
Great for these types of students
You must be open minded, Oberlin is a very progressive school that does not tolerate ignorance, racism, sexism, and any other negative ism! Also Oberlin students work hard and have fun in different ways--through art, music, sports, etc. So apply to Oberlin if you want to learn for the sake of learning and live for the sake of creating.
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Stacy from Columbus, OH

a current student here
8 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Located in a quaint secluded town, Oberlin College is a uniquely progressive Liberal Arts institution committed to equipping students with the tools and knowledge to affect their immediate environment positively. The affiliated Oberlin Conservatory provides extremely rigorous musical training under some of the most influential professors and guest lecturers, artists, and coaches in the current music scene. With a plethora of independent projects, student run classes, organizations, clubs, activities, and a wholehearted commitment to training and involvement, I could not recommend Oberlin more.
Tips for prospective students
One of the most impressive features of Oberlin is the professors' genuine commitment to education and the individual. Whether you are looking at the college or conservatory, my number one suggestion is to schedule private meetings with the professors in the departments of interest to you, and learn about the things Oberlin has to offer which are specific to your goals. As a conservatory student, I would highly impress upon any conservatory prospectives to observe and take trial lessons with the teachers in which you are interested. Be sure to meet with the someone from the admissions office and ask specific questions, as well as of course taking a tour, staying overnight in a dorm, and observing classes.
Academic Rigor
There is no question that Oberlin is teeming with rigorous academics. As a conservatory student, I have never worked harder or been more challenged in my life. From observations of the college classes and personal experience in the conservatory, it is clear that Oberlin's curriculum is holistically designed to coincide with other classes in order to provide a complete understanding in your field of study. In addition, the classes are formatted to support individual thinking and personal development.
Dorm Life
Unfortunately, the housing at Oberlin is extremely expensive, and although there are some very nice dorms, there are also living spaces with very little to offer in terms of appeal. My dorm this year is quite old and quite dirty. However, it is not lacking in the least in terms of community and spirit. My dorm experience has been extremely enjoyable because of the work Oberlin puts towards providing community experiences within the dorm. Although it is not glamorous, it is certainly full of character. In addition, I have stepped into beautiful and very clean dorms on campus that would be just lovely to be a part of in every way. However, my honest assessment does have to reflect my lovely yet dirty, old, and expensive dorm experience. Oberlin students also have the option of living in a housing cooperative which is much less expensive and provides community living through the student run group, OSCA.
Food and Dining
Oberlin's general views on sustainability and healthy living is clearly reflected in the food and dining. The dining services at Oberlin have a wide variety of mostly locally and organically grown foods. There are also generous options for vegetarians and vegans. There is always fresh fruit and a very complete salad bar at every meal. Different dining halls offer different unique choices, including a global expedition, and the ring of fire both of which offer a build-your-own special entree each day. In addition, there is always access to pizza, a sandwich bar, and a grill which includes burgers, chicken, hot dogs, fries, etc. In addition, there is a lovely dining hall specifically offering comfort food which always provides a huge and dangerously delicious dessert assortment. Aside from the campus dining service, anybody may apply to be in a food cooperative, which in much less expensive and operates upon the collaborative help of all the members. This community food and cooking experience not only provides a great experience, it also serves as a great option for people with dietary restrictions or specific preferences.
What to do for fun
Set in a lovely town, the Chinese, Lebanese, Mexican, American, and many other restaurants provide a lovely display of culture and delicious nights. In addition, the coveted Slow Train coffee shop always provides a cool hang out environment paired with delicious coffee and refreshments. The Oberlin Lanes bowling alley and the Apollo movie theater are both sources of inexpensive entertainment. The Oberlin College Art Museum is known as the second best college art museum in the nation next to Yale, and certainly lives up to its expectations. The incredible Conservatory always offers countless student, faculty, and guest artist performances. In addition, downtown Cleveland attractions are but 40 minutes away.

Bang for the buck
Let's be honest...the buck at Oberlin is HUGE! However, the education matches. The commitment to the student is extremely clear. My private teacher gives above and beyond the requirements for his students with additional lessons each semester, and a technique class for each freshman. In addition, the guest lecturers and artists giving concerts are educationally and financially worth an incredible price. Oberlin Conservatory has more Steinway pianos than anywhere in the world excluding the Steinway factory. This speaks to the type of equipment and resources with which the students work. The Conservatory Library never ceases to amaze me with the unreal amount of resources it provides. In addition to this, the orchestra tours and experiences are included in tuition. This year's tour to NYC in January is of no cost to the students participating. Oberlin provides a plethora of resources, highly renown faculty and guests, and will bend over backwards to provide what you need for your learning experience. Although Oberlin's tuition is extraordinarily high, this price reflects the incredible experiences and opportunities that await its students.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Oberlin never ceases to surprise me with its truly unique characteristics and traditions. Oberlin is laced with unusual traditions from painting the 5 foot rocks in the campus square to the African Heritage House pledge recited at dinner each night. Oberlin College is a unique pocket of energy and development which results in very unique traditions which warm the environment and student life at Oberlin. If you are interested in understanding just how beautifully unique Oberlin is...schedule a visit!!
Great for these types of students
Oberlin is a great place for students looking to impact the future. One example of Oberlin's cutting edge tendencies is its participation in the Civil War as an underground railroad stop. In addition, Jerry of Ben and Jerry's was an Oberlin student, as well as the famous 20th century composer William Grant Still among many other famous musicians. Oberlin College is a great place for students interested in affecting their immediate environment positively, and contributing to the community. In addition, Oberlin Conservatory is widely considered one of the finest music institutions in the nation. With some of the best professors and coaches in the musical scene today, any serious musician ready for incredible challenges should strongly consider Oberlin.
Clubs and Activities
From musical theater, dance, sports, musical ensembles, community service, non-violence activists, anti-fracking, and Jewish community groups, Oberlin is not short in clubs and activities in any area. There is a plethora of opportunities and groups to be involved in which cover an extremely broad range of interests. The themes of sustainability, progressive tendencies, and active movements towards a better future are reflected in the student run clubs and activities. Perhaps one of the most interesting student contributions are through the Experimental College. This group offers courses for Pass/No Pass credit for all students. The classes range from knitting to dancing to kickboxing, and provide a unique blend of experiences. If for some reason you find a certain area lacking in student clubs, then start one up!!
Greek Life
Greek life is nonexistent in its traditional sense at Oberlin. However, the equivalent is found through Program Housing. These houses include Asia House, African Heritage House, Spanish House, French House, and other houses unique to a specific belief or culture. This community experience binds residents together through a similar background or conviction, and also serves as a great educational tool.
Campus Safety
Campus Safety does their job very well at Oberlin. As far as safety goes, there is very little to worry about on campus. The general sentiments of the college strive for peaceful community living. This contributes greatly to the safe environment at Oberlin. The generous lighting at night on frequently traveled pathways ensures a general feeling of safety. Although there have been minor incidents of theft, this is easily avoided by locking your door and keeping an eye on your belongings. In each case, campus safety is very intentional about informing students and keeping everyone safe. As far as security goes, Oberlin is in very good hands.
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Raven from Milwaukee, WI

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I'm not going to exaggerate and say that every professor on campus is awesome. Just like any other academic institution, there are some gems and some very shiny pieces of glass. However, the best professors aren't just good, they're fantastic! They challenge you to no end. And even if you don't grasp all of the material from the start, you'll definitely develop a good foundation by the end. As for the the handful of lackluster professors, they may not be the best at explaining things, but they are just as willing to find you help or be understanding if you're struggling as the better professors are.

Outside of class I'm learning a lot as well. Being a member of the co-ops (student run housing and dining), I've become a better cook, learned about consensus based decision making, and have even developed some business skills as an officer and member of the co-op Board of Directors.
Am enjoying being here
By the end of my freshman year Oberlin became my home away from home. On top of enjoying fantastic professors, I've really come to love a lot of my peers. The friends I've made are all really fun, supportive, and (of course) intelligent. I can have conversations or go to events that I'd never have the chance to experience at home (despite being from a sizable city). Even the most annoying people on campus are often so well-meaning and articulate that debating with them isn't a total waste of time, but rather a good (albeit frustrating) learning experience.
Bang for the buck
If you can't tell from my first two paragraphs, Oberlin is pretty much worth the high cost. Great people, great education, and great atmosphere. Still, I can't give it 5 stars since I agree with many other Obies that the College could be a bit wiser (or at least more transparent) about spending. There are definitely a few things that I'm sure my student loans paid for that I wish they hadn't (because then I probably wouldn't have any student loans out). There's also a lot that I'm sure I'd be sad without, so I think 4 stars is appropriate.
Tips for prospective students
1. Check out a co-op. 2. Stay overnight. 3. Do the interview. 4. Try to come with questions. (Don't just say tell me everything.) 5. Have fun! It's okay to actually engage in real conversations or go to events with students/other prospective students.
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M

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
This college will open your mind and shift your paradigm.
You will be exposed to world class art (Oberlin Conservatory and Creative Writing Department, etc.)
You will be exposed to wonderfully diverse community that champions social justice.
Tips for prospective students
If you come to this school with an open mind and an open heart you'll fall in love.
Academic Rigor
It's set just right; hard enough that you need to put in some time and pay attention in class, but not so much that your social life is crushed.
Besides, professors are always available and willing in case you find a class particularly tough.
Dorm Life
While at times Dorm Life may feel pretty impersonal, the atmosphere is calm and private ���¢�������� meaning, you can do whatever you want and no one's going to bother you too much about it.
Food and Dining
Stevie's is great, but if you don't jive with it, food co-ops are the way to go.
What to do for fun
Have deep and nerdy conversations about anything and everything. If you like to debate touchy issues such as race, gender, or class, this is the school for you.
Bang for the buck
Definitely. But it is true that Oberlin is a bit pricey.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Safer Sex Night is fantastic.
Great for these types of students
A nerdy passionate intellectual who wants to have an impact on the world and isn't afraid to dream.

Also hipsters or anyone who's never fit in anywhere else.
Clubs and Activities
Plenty of stuff to get involved in.
Greek Life
No greek life at Oberlin, but we like it that way.
Campus Safety
There's never been a major issue.
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Shemlah from Atlanta, GA

researching this school
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
I visited Oberlin on the Multicultural Visit Program, and from what I saw the professors were great!The classes were fun and engaging also. I attended a Japanese class, Biology class, Statistics, and an Arabic class. I had the honor of talking to a Biology professor. I felt comfortable with all their teaching skills and they made me feel included in the classes.
Great for these types of students
If you love the free-spirited liberal lifestyle, enjoy random things such as Albino squirrels, riding bikes, and you love music then this school is for you. They have 3 great dining halls. i loved the pizza and fries yummy. Oberlin caters to vegans and vegetarians also. The Sco and the library are pretty awesome hang out spots. Hopefully I will be at Oberlin Class of 2015!
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Ethan from Hudson, OH

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A fantastic culture of tolerance that works to promote ideas from all areas of the world. Every opportunity is available to any student; nothing is shut off, and this all comes from a school that manages to maintain a great class ratio. There is also a huge emphasis on environmental awareness and a lot of amazing buildings to visit.
Tips for prospective students
Buy a calendar! Time management is absolutely crucial to survive in a difficult academic environment, but showing that you care will help professors and advisers help you in this process. A emphasis on caring about others around you will help greatly in your application process.
What to do for fun
Depends on the type of person you are: dancers can take dancing classes or go to the 'sco (the Oberlin club), those who like to party can choose from any number of them on any given night, those who love music can choose from 500 concerts a year. There's honestly far too much to do at Oberlin, time management becomes an issue. But you'll never be bored, I promise!
Bang for the buck
I only give this three stars because there's so much buck involved at Oberlin. There are lots of amazing opportunities that you won't find anywhere else, but the tuition is very high, and this rating shows just how many great things there are by even going this high
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The naked library run at finals, painting the rock on Tappan Square, the obsession with the albino squirrels, the Art Rental Program ($5 will get you a professional painting from the museum for the semester).
Great for these types of students
Enthusiastic, capable, intelligent, involved in a lot of different activities, fun loving and caring, to name a few things.
Clubs and Activities
Any club that you want is here, and if for some reason it's not, it's the easiest thing in the world to start one here.
Greek Life
Non-existent
Campus Safety
The town is safe, and it's a small knit community, so crime is virtually zero here.
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Johnny from Lorain, OH

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
What a life changing college experience. Here I feel challenged and exposed to so much diversity. I learn so much, from the classroom to the campus, I am enlightened everywhere I go here.
Tips for prospective students
Put yourself out there. Stretch your limits, don't be afraid to push yourself as far as you can go. And be yourself; every student has something unique about their personality that makes them stand out from everyone else.
Academic Rigor
I came from a public high school in the same county (Lorain). I pushed myself in high school, but here I realized you can never be too prepared. Especially being surrounded by so many talented and gifted students.
Dorm Life
There is like a bubble here, but it's not a bad thing. It's a pretty small school, but there is always something going on here. I live in a Program House here and it's great because there is such a strong sense of community among all of the students who live in the program housing dorms.
Food and Dining
The food is very good, and although it sometimes gets repetitive, they do a nice job at changing it up every now and then. And the school has a large population of vegans/vegetarians here. The school does really well at accommodating all of the students choices and desires here. The staff is actually great too, with many being students, the crew is very friendly and productive.
What to do for fun
There's actually a dance club open to Oberlin students, the Sco', that plays various genres of music during the week and throughout the weekend that is great for a group of friends. The school also hosts various socials where students can interact throughout the year. Also you can participate in various recreational activities on campus: bowling, basketball, swimming, and a lot more. There's always something to do on campus!
Bang for the buck
College is expensive theses days, and Oberlin is no exception. Though here you are guaranteed to be challenged and pushed to higher limits. You also develop a network of contacts that you wouldn't be able to meet pretty much anywhere else. The schools has a remarkable academic reputation, sending a high rate of graduates on to earn PhD's and earn great accolades. Worth every penny.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Nothing that goes on here is unusual to an Obie. However nothing about an Obie is quite ordinary either. This college is so unique. From hipsters to jocks to genius. We have it all. Oh, and not many people where shoes..
Great for these types of students
Unique. I cannot stress enough how diverse this school is. You will notice qualities in students that you have never been exposed to in your life. And outgoing; don't be afraid to put yourself out there.
Clubs and Activities
Sports aren't the best; but we try. The athletic department does it's best to offer a wide range of activities for student participation. Whether you like basketball, rugby, or martial arts, there's something out there for you here.
Campus Safety
Safety and Security does it's best to protect the students here at Oberlin. Students do have to do their best to make good choices for themselves as well though, and they try. Act responsibly.
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