SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Syracuse, NY, USA

Reviews

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

3.74 Average Rating

Samamtha from White Hall, MD

a current student here
11 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I am learning tons about the things I care about. SUNY-ESF offers only classes which concern almost any environmental field. In English we read books all about the environment, in History we learn the history of the environmental movement, in math we calculate the height and width of trees. All the professors at ESF are excited to pass on the knowledge they already have. They all have their own studies going on and it’s very easy to be personable with anyone of your professors. The school is smaller, therefore there is plenty of time to talk to your professors.

Yes, classes are challenging. But they are fun and without major grade curves you know you're actually learning what you're being taught.
Am enjoying being here
The small school atmosphere is perfect for learning and keeping your stress levels down. The campus is tiny, impossible to get lost. Classes are on the smaller side so they are better for discussion. Everyone on campus is aware of environmental problems and everyone is environmentally conscience. And if the small school thing doesn’t appeal to you, keep in mind ESF is on Syracuse University’s campus. As ESF students we are allowed to join in on any Syracuse activities (fraternities, sororities, sports, clubs, ect.) and even take certain classes offered by them. You get best of both worlds.

People around campus are friendly. I’ve maybe met a handful of people I don’t like. Everyone is studying relatively the same thing and everyone gets along. It’s easy to include the whole student body into activities on the quad. And there are TONS of activities to get involved in. Anything you could possibly think of between ESF and Syracuse.

The only thing that gets me is the winter time. Syracuse is a cold miserable city in the dead of winter, but besides that, it’s perfect!
Bang for the buck
Being a State school, ESF isn't that costly. I am out of state, but have an ESF academic scholarship which covers the extra out of state tuition. I believe its around $5,000 a year, but unfortunately it is slowly going up.

Your first year will be the most costly considering you're made to live on campus. You live in Syracuse dorms and eat Syracuse food, which Syracuse being a private school makes the whole cost of living more than it really needs to be. But it's definitely worth it!
Tips for prospective students
Visit. Talk to current students.
Great for these types of students
Anyone wanting to get involved in any type of Environmental field.
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Ravyn from Romulus, NY

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
I'm just starting my second semester here, and I'll note one thing - the people here are extremely friendly and enthusiastic, but definitely are NOT your typical college crowd. We're not all hippies like you'd expect, but you'll begin to notice that us stumpies (including the professors!) have some odd little eccentricities that you'll either find totally charming, or just plain weird. The campus as a whole (small as it is) tends to reflect the people here, and all of it creates an amazing sense of community.
Tips for prospective students
Winters here are absolutely brutal, and they start early. Make sure you either pack a nice, heavy coat, or you go right out and buy one once you get here. I only came from an hour away, and the difference still was enough to shock me.



If you're coming in as a freshman and staying in the dorm, take advantage of the mentor activities and the activities the RAs run. Yeah, they seem corny and dumb (and the mentors/orientation leaders tend to treat you like you're still kids if you let them), but they'll help you get out and meet people. There's an amazing sense of community here and everyone's more than willing to include you, but you have to put yourself out there first.



Don't walk across the quad. Just. Don't. Skip, cartwheel, roll across it, nobody will care... but if you just walk directly across it, you will have committed the highest of the stumpy sins. People have gotten tackled over this.
Academic Rigor
I didn't know how to rate this star-wise - it depends on what you're looking for.



If you're looking for a really reputable school that holds its students to very high standards, ESF is definitely the place for you.



The workload is massive though. It's manageable, and none of it is unnecessary (believe me, professors don't like dealing with all that, and they don't create it just to give the TAs stuff to do). However, you'll be wishing you had more free time, and partying is going to end up being a very distant concept to you.



I'll be frank here - If you're looking for an easy school that you can just coast through, don't bother applying. You'll either skip out on a lot and end up with a horrible GPA, or keep your head in your book and become resentful.
Dorm Life
Centennial Hall is exactly like a hotel. The freshman rooms are better than some of the upperclassmen rooms I've seen at my friends' colleges. You get a mini-fridge/microwave combo with each freshman room and your own private bathroom for you and your roommate, as well as your own air conditioning/heater that you can set yourself. No problems with drafts or being roasted alive.



The RAs almost never do room checks, if that's a worry. And if you hear about the fire alarm problems from the first year Centennial was open, those are fixed (though they still do get set off fairly often, that's a fact for any college dorm).



The RAs are also really chill people. Yes, they'll nail you for doing stupid stuff. But they aren't power-crazy or overly peppy or anything annoying like that. As long as you're cool to them, they treat you as an equal.
Food and Dining
You have access to all of SU's dining halls, which is very nice. However, some are nicer than others. The one closest to ESF campus and Centennial Hall, Sadler Hall, isn't the best, so you'll have to walk a tiny bit farther than it may first seem if that's a major issue. And Sadler's food still isn't all that bad, in my opinion.



SU's dining is very vegetarian and vegan friendly, and though I'm not either, I find that sometimes the vegetarian and vegan food is better than the regular food!



You also get a certain amount of money on your ID based on your meal plan that can be used for food outside the dining halls. There's a campus delivery service that only uses this money as well as a few small grocery stores on SU campus that use it and/or normal cash.
What to do for fun
There are a few student clubs and organizations you can join at ESF, and you have access to all of SU's clubs and organizations if you wish. You'll have to look around and find something that interests you.



People tend to start up impromptu games on the quad, like the normal frisbee games and such. People in the dorms start card games or other games in the lobbies, or gather up to watch show premieres.



Every Friday there is an Insomniacs event from 10PM-2AM in Marshall, each one has a different theme and is hosted by a different student club or organization, so they're cool to check out.
Bang for the buck
ESF is fairly cheap by most standards - you get an education you could get from a bigger college for a state college price, as well as access to everything at SU, if you so please. However, if you have a broad range of interests and aren't just narrowly focused on the environment, that access to SU seems almost essential. You won't really find anything other than that on the ESF campus.



Centennial is insanely nice, but the price is huge (somewhere around the 6th highest room and board in the nation, I think). If I wasn't getting most of the money from financial aid, I wouldn't be able to afford living here. And getting an off-campus apartment with a few friends is definitely cheaper once your second year comes up (as well as having all of the other associated advantages).
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Lug your Mug - You're given a travel mug at the beginning of the year. Almost every on-campus event expects you to bring it and will not provide cups (or plates, or anything else disposable). This is to reduce waste.



Don't walk across the quad. Skip, cartwheel, roll across it, nobody will care... but if you just walk directly across it, you will have committed the highest of the stumpy sins. At some point, before this tradition started, an aerial photograph of the quad showed a giant X across it from people cutting across and killing the grass, so now everyone's really serious about not cutting across the quad to save time - hence why you can't walk, but it's acceptable to do silly stuff to cross.



This isn't on campus, but Oakwood Cemetery is directly behind Centennial and has a lot of cool spots in it if you just walk around for a while. I have a favorite reading spot and everything there. Just be warned - it may seem like a good place to smoke or whatever, but it's fairly heavily patrolled these days, and you will get in trouble.
Great for these types of students
Great for very studious students - the workload won't be horrible to you. Also, given the nature of the programs here, this is a fairly liberal-friendly college. We're not all just giant hippies out here, but we're fairly far out, man.
Clubs and Activities
Not a lot at ESF itself - you'll probably end up doing more at SU if clubs and activities are really your thing. Each major seems to have its own club, though, so at least join those to get introduced to other people in your major.



The Insomniacs events are usually really fun, so I definitely suggest checking them out if you go here.
Greek Life
Not much for greek life - I know we have one sorority that at least puts up tables here once in a while, but from what I hear, its nothing like a typical sorority. Not sure about fraternities.
Campus Safety
Fairly well-lit at night, with those alarm boxes in fairly accessible areas. No major hazards that I've seen. Every year, a group of volunteers goes through campus with the campus police and points out spots it thinks need to be addressed, so the campus is fairly up to date with things.
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Alexandria from Syracuse, NY

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The friendliest people are at ESF. Everyone is very nice and excepting of each other. The professors are close to their students and I couldn't have picked a better school for environmental education.
Tips for prospective students
It is a challenge so be ready to work hard in the sciences but learn a lot of valuable information.
Academic Rigor
More challenging than most schools.
Dorm Life
Really nice dorms with great people but strict.
Food and Dining
Trailhead cafe is amazing.
What to do for fun
Everything Syracuse university can do plus more.
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Jordan

a current student here
5 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Academic Rigor
This school is very academically stimulating! The professors present the information in a way that helps you retain the information over a long period of time. Since it is an environmental school and most of us are very passionate about the environment, the material presented to us is interesting and relevant to our area of study. There is so much to learn here, don't be afraid to 'nerd-out'
Am enjoying being here
I am loving every minute of it. The learning communities in the dorms are very helpful, you meet so many new people that all share the love for the environment, the professors are great, and employers will be impressed at your resume just for going to this college.
Bang for the buck
Great price for what you get! Compared to a lot of other colleges I looked at this was definitely one of the more reasonably priced ones. I am an out-of-state student but received a scholarship from ESF so I am basically paying in-state tuition.
Tips for prospective students
Be ready to hit the ground running, it will be a lot more work than you're used to in high school, but definitely worth it. It has a partnership and is right across the street from SU, on of the biggest party schools in the country, so don't get too wrapped up in all the parties. Time management will be your biggest obstacle to overcome. There will always be something to do, especially if you're living in the dorms (Centennial), but in order to get a good GPA you will need to spend a lot of time doing homework and studying. A lot of students create study groups so you get work done and have a social life at the same time. Also, GET SLEEP! With everything that's going on, sleep can sometimes get lost in the mix, but without sleep you are more likely to doze off in class which does not leave a good impression on the professors and you will be more likely to get sick.

Have fun in college too! Join clubs that you're interested in and GET INVOLVED! Also, don't be afraid to go to your professors for help. Utilize their office hours, not only will they help you and answer any questions they have, but it will show the professors that you are truly putting in a good effort to do well in the class.
Great for these types of students
outdoorsy, hard workers, passion for the environment
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Ashlyn from South Lima, NY

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
SUNY ESF is an environmental school with a diverse group of students that all share the common goal of making a difference in the world. It is a relatively small college, however, the tightness of the students is what make this place really special. Also, the close relationship with the professors is unlike one you will find at any other college.
Tips for prospective students
Visit the school to see how you think you would fit in. Go to information sessions about your intended major, talk to professors, and go to open houses. Most importantly, talk to the students who actually go here and get their opinion on the school. Feel free to ask current students anything that will help you figure out if ESF is the right place for you!
Academic Rigor
ESF is a challenging school, all of the majors being science based, but it is totally worth it. The rigor of the courses prepares you well for life after college. Students here have to put in a lot of hard work and study a lot, but we definitely know the balance between school and having a ton of fun as well. Time management is the key.
Dorm Life
ESF just built their own dorm hall in 2011, Centennial Hall. They are extremely nice, better than any of the SU dorms! There are 2 people per room in the freshman wing, and each room is very spacious with its own bathroom, fridge, and microwave. The lounges and basement are all very popular places to hang out, and the atmosphere in general is just awesome. It's such a fun place to hang out with you friends, and it's really cool because your entire freshman class is in the same building. The other wing of the building consists of suites for upperclassmen, although freshmen are only required to live on campus the first year, but the suites are really nice!
Food and Dining
ESF currently doesn't have their own dining halls so ESF students eat at Syracuse's dining halls. One meal plan swipe is all you can eat, so one never goes hungry. If anything, they have leftover meal swipes at the end of the week which unfortunately don't roll-over. The food is generally good, and there is a large selection of vegan and vegetarian options as well. The only complaint about the dining is that the mean plan through Syracuse is so expensive, especially compared to the amount ESF students pay for tuition!
What to do for fun
There is a lot to do for fun on and off campus. There are many many events going on every weekend at both ESF and SU, so there is never a dull weekend in the city. Free buses run to Destiny USA mall every Friday and Saturday, so that is something fun to do as well! The huge cemetery behind the dorm hall is also a cool place to explore and relax in during the nice fall days before winter hits. It's a great study spot as well!
Bang for the buck
ESF is a SUNY school so the tuition is very cheap. I would say the bang for the buck is really big. The ESF facilities are very nice and the professors and classes are challenging, yet very high quality. ESF students also have access to all of Syracuse University's facilities, activities, and even some classes, while still paying SUNY tuition. Besides the overpriced meal plan through Syracuse, what you get for the money you spend is totally worth it!
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
The biggest tradition at ESF is the rule that you are not allowed to walk across the quad. Students can run, hop, or skip, but they are not allowed to simply walk across the grass to cut to the other side. If they do so, they will get tackled by another student who sees them do this. Being an environmental school, this rule was established to prevent grass from being worn down to a dirt path from constant travel.
Great for these types of students
ESF is a place for hard-working and determined students who want to make a difference in the world. Students at ESF are very friendly and care alot about the future of the world, the environment, and each other. The student community across campus is simply wonderful. ESF is like one big family.
Clubs and Activities
ESF has a variety of great clubs, activities, and sports teams for students to join, and ESF students are also allowed to participate in all of Syracuse University's clubs, activities, and sports, with the exception of Division I athletics at SU. With over 300 choices of clubs to join, there is something for everyone.
Greek Life
There are a few fraternities and sororities that are specifically ESF organizations, however the majority of them are at Syracuse University. SU is huge on Greek life, and ESF students are freely welcome to participate in it at SU, similar to their access to clubs and activities there.
Campus Safety
ESF is located in the city of Syracuse, so there is crime of course, but I have felt very safe on campus during my time here. However, just like any city, it is not safe to walk alone very late at night, especially off of campus. There have been reports of crime in the areas bordering campus. For safety, there is a blue light system across campus, in case of any emergency.
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Hilary-Anne from Fabius, NY

a current student here
3 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The classes at SUNY-ESF are challenging, yes. However, they are also fun and invigorating, often helping you to find new world views and to share your ideas, as well. Most of the teachers are helpful and friendly and are more than willing to work with you if you are outgoing and take initiative. If you are determined and enthusiastic, you can conquer the concepts in classes and make the most of what you're given. Studying for exams is a must, and never leave lab reports until the last minute. I've learned so much through my classes at ESF that I use in teaching, self-led research, and simply everyday life. You learn about life as a dynamic and moving force, not as a bundle of black and white facts.
Am enjoying being here
ESF can often be a very homogeneous area, with people being very similar in their lifestyles, beliefs, and interests, and this can be difficult for people that do not share these similarities. However, the more you get to know people, the more you will enjoy college life at ESF. The students here are interesting, friendly, and energetic. There is always a support system for you to fall back on with Student Life, the tutoring center, other offices, and student organizations. You will never be bored here if you talk to people and actively participate in in on and off campus life. The campus is also right next to SU, and you can take advantage of their gyms, the Carrier Dome for college games, Thornden Park, Oakwood Cemetery, and the ever-popular attractions on Westcott St.
Bang for the buck
ESF is very inexpensive, even for a SUNY school. For in-state students, tuition plus fees comes to about $3000 a semester. It is incredibly affordable, helpful with financial aid and loans, and you get a priceless education. There is no reason to go to an expensive school if your college career plans match up with what ESF has to offer.
Tips for prospective students
Don't live far away from campus! It's hard to get involved with other students and the community. Try hard to be outgoing, you'll learn so much more and make great connections. Also, take everything in stride. There are some aspects of ESF that can be frustrating (registration, bad professors, quarrelsome classmates, etc), but just remember it's all a learning process- use it for the betterment of yourself.
Great for these types of students
Students that have a commitment to social, political, and environmental improvement would be perfect candidates for this school. If you have a passion for science and the environment in the form of Chemistry, Bioengineering, Biology (Wildlife Science, Interpretation, Aquatics, etc.), Law, Forestry, Natural Resource Management, Paper Engineering, Landscape Architecture, etc., then consider ESF. If you want to go into medicine, veterinary science, education, field or lab research, there are degrees offered here that will prepare you. Do not come to this school if your undying passion includes writing, literature, any of the performing or fine arts, and do not come to this school if you are not eager to actively improve yourself and the world you live in.
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Amanda

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Everyone here is so friendly! All of the classes relate to the environment in some way or another. ESF has a great atmosphere.
Tips for prospective students
You'll discover very quickly whether or not this is the school for you. When you're hanging out on campus it may feel like it's all fun and games but when you're in the classroom there is no joking around! Classes here are tough!
Academic Rigor
Those who are not prepared for ESF are picked out rather quickly. Freshman year has a lot of work. As you get more into the groove of things and take classes that you're really interested in it won't be as bad. Be prepared to be doing a lot of hands on work.
Dorm Life
Centennial Hall is pretty much brand new. The RAs are really nice and are always glad to help you. There is also a lot of space to hang out in the building outside of the rooms.
Food and Dining
You can have a meal plan with Syracuse University and/or get one with the Trailhead Cafe. The Cafe has a lot of delicious options and the SU dining halls are good if you need something quick.
What to do for fun
There are free movie nights, clubs to join, and free buses to Destiny USA on Fridays and Saturdays. The Carrier Dome is right across the street where there are concerts, football, and basketball games. You can also head over to the ice rink for skating.
Bang for the buck
A great education at a highly accredited school for a good price.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Be prepared to see a lot of people without shoes on even in the dead of winter. In April we don't have Earth Day, we have Earth Week and its a blast! The Gateway building is brand new, has a green roof, is environmentally friendly and is home to the Trailhead Cafe.
Great for these types of students
Friendly, fun loving people who are interested in preserving the environment for a living.
Clubs and Activities
You can join any club at ESF or Syracuse University. A few of the ESF clubs include the Wildlife Society, Conservation Biology, and Music Society.
Greek Life
There are many sorority and fraternities through Syracuse University and a few through ESF. There are lots to choose from.
Campus Safety
There is a blue light system installed throughout campus. The campus police are very friendly and are always available if needed. I have never once felt unsafe or uncomfortable at ESF.
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Kristine from Syracuse, NY

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
The small scale of the school allows you to get to know your professors personally. They are always willing and available to meet if you are not understanding the course material. I am hardly ever in a lecture room with more than 30 students.
Tips for prospective students
Prepare for the cold winters.
Academic Rigor
The classes are intended to be challenging so that SUNY ESF graduates excel in real world situations. The school has pushed me to work hard more than I ever received in any other institution.
Dorm Life
The school just recently built dorms for the SUNY ESF students. We had previously been placed in Syracuse University dorms.
Food and Dining
Just recently got our own student center with a cafe in it - Trailhead Cafe. Otherwise Syracuse University offers meal plans for SUNY students. The dining halls are always available and offer a wide selection of food.
What to do for fun
The Westcott Theatre is within walking distance of the university. If live bands aren't your thing there are always fraternity parties, bars on Marshall street, or clubs downtown.
Bang for the buck
Tuition at SUNY ESF is a third of those paying at Syracuse University, yet we are still able to reap most of the benefits. It has a small school feeling yet has all the amenities of a large school.
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Elizabeth from Stewartstown, PA

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
ESF is a small school, but because of that everyone gets to know each other really well. The professors are incredible, and they really care about you doing well individually; they are willing to work with you if you have a problem. ESF is an awesome school- four out of five stars!
Academic Rigor
ESF is hard. There's a lot of work involved and the professors expect you to be prepared for class and to participate.
Dorm Life
The dorms are fun. We have bathrooms in each individual room with normally two people in each room. There's plenty of room and everyone is friendly.
Food and Dining
The dining halls have a large selection of food. There's something for everyone including vegans and vegetarians. The food doesn't always taste the best, but it's pretty good for dining food.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Never walk across the Quad; if you have to get to the other side of the quad you can skip, jump, hop, run, but whatever you do- do not walk across the Quad.
Greek Life
There is no greek life at ESF. We are a very small school.
Campus Safety
I feel completely safe on campus. We have key fobs to get into the buildings and campus police that drive around. Any time there's a security problem in the area, we get notified via email.
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OAKIE!

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
SUNY-ESF is an awesome environmental school. There are few colleges around the nation that have the same resources that ESF has. The small nature of the school is comforting while having the surroundings of Syracuse and Syracuse University to spice up the college life!
Tips for prospective students
Decide what makes you happy and go for it. Work hard and get prepared to be shocked at how different college is from high school. Be active and social...these 2-4 years are the only years you will be able to enjoy this.
Academic Rigor
This all depends on how involved you are. No matter the major, you can get yourself into hard courses and really improve your knowledge. However, if you so choose, you can have an easy (which isn't really easy because ESF is a top notch SUNY school) schedule and lay back and not take advantage of everything ESF has to offer.
Dorm Life
Centennial is beyond sweet. Super nice rooms and you have your own bathroom. Stickley Furniture puts that icing on the cake and you can control the temperature in your room. The building is near brand new and is real close to campus. Transfers may still have to dorm at SU on South campus but that still isn't bad.
Food and Dining
SU dining halls are pretty much better than any other dining hall I've been too. Buffet style and always nice people working there. Soon, ESF will have their own dining hall but how that turns out is still in the air.
What to do for fun
Syracuse has tons of stuff to do in the city...concerts, comedians,..etc. There are also plenty of clubs at ESF that you can join from trivia club to Engineers Without Borders.
Bang for the buck
SUNY = 1/2 the cost of private schools and a school like ESF has all the connects that a private school would. Plus the added bonus of having SU right next door is amazing. They have every major you could think of and I've used professors at SU as a resource multiple times. The courses at ESF are also some that aren't found anywhere else.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
You can't walk across the quad. Also we have a week of festivities during the week of Earth Day. Pretty much the biggest deal on campus all year.
Great for these types of students
Nature and environment enthusiasts, Construction Management guys and gals, Science Minded
Clubs and Activities
ESF and SU clubs are plenty filling all interests.
Greek Life
Anyone that wants to do Frat or Sorority stuff and ESF student can join an SU frat or sorority. There is also Alpha Xi Sigma, the honor society on campus and a community service Frat
Campus Safety
ESF has campus police and SU has a whole fleet of DPS
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