The Evergreen State College not only has a reputation, it has lots of reputations. Some people call it a “stoner school” and others say it’s one of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges. What is Evergreen like, really? Well, that depends on where you’re standing. It has great advantages for some kinds of students, and you can get a unique college education there. On the other hand, it has its own disadvantages as well. If you’re thinking about applying for the Evergreen State College, continue reading and learn more about this school. Why is Evergreen great for aspiring graduate students, and not so great for students who want to go straight into the workplace? Why is Evergreen great for non-traditional learners, and not so great for students who need an imposed structure? Read on, and find out.
Evergreen Is Great For Grad-School-Bound Students: Evergreen is ideal for students who plan to go to graduate school. Evergreen State College graduates who apply to graduate schools have a high acceptance rate. It’s possible to do advanced coursework at Evergreen that gives an edge to graduate school applications, and many of the upper-division classes are targeted at making this process easier in both the arts and the sciences.
Evergreen Is Great For Non-Traditional Learners: Rather than take a multitude of different classes, some students prefer to throw themselves into a single subject and give all their attention to it for a while. Evergreen’s programs are set up to allow this learning style to succeed. Instead of taking several 4-credit classes, an Evergreen student (“greener”) will study in a tightly knit, 16-unit class that typically meets 3-5 times per week, for several hours a day, throughout the whole quarter.
For example, in a typical college, a student who wanted to learn about literature and rhetoric might take separate literature and rhetoric classes. At the Evergreen State College, the same student would take a combined class that focuses on a particular era or type of literature; the professor might teach rhetoric using examples from that literature, and show how the central text, and the responses from both the author’s contemporaries and modern critics, establish rhetorical and critical techniques.
The Evergreen style of course construction lends itself to a deeper understanding of all course material and gives students the ability to draw connections between different subject matters. The ability to draw connections is important to lifelong learning, and Evergreen State College graduates will find themselves at an advantage later in life when approaching new subjects and skills.
Evergreen Is Not So Great For Career-Bound Students: A student who wants to go straight into the working world from a bachelor’s degree will struggle to find a program of learning that gives them an immediate payoff. Evergreen’s coursework is much better suited to students who know they want to invest in the long-term learning of graduate and post-baccalaureate programs.
Evergreen Is Not So Great For Uncreative Students: Since every student assembles their own degree from study in multiple areas, and the school assigns four-year diplomas only in Liberal Arts and Liberal Sciences, it’s important for a student at the Evergreen State College to have short-term goals and some long-term goals in mind.
A self-directed learner will flourish; a student who wants to put in minimal effort and be told what to do may graduate with a degree, but their college transcript won’t be worth as much as the transcript of the self-directed learner. The “stoner school” reputation comes from this fact. Not all students want to work hard; at Evergreen, the transcript supports the degree as an important factor in presenting a learning history to schools and employers.
Independent Contracts are one of the major forms of credited work at Evergreen, and were created to allow students to pursue their own goals while earning college credit. Examples of independent contracts real students have performed:
-Founding a small company.
-Releasing a rock album.
-Writing a novel.
-Volunteering for a year in a developing country.
-Growing real food with sustainable farming methods.
-Lobbying for a non-profit organization.
The independent contract is one of the basic building blocks of an education at the Evergreen State College. A student who can think big and pursue real goals will do well in this environment. The prospective student should ask: “Does that sound like me?” A visit to the college will make things clearer as well.
One Final Thing To Consider is whether or not the prospective student qualifies as a Washington state resident. This makes a big difference in tuition cost! Nonetheless, the Evergreen State College has a strong reputation for being friendly to foreign students.
It’s a progressive school with strong programs in the arts and sciences, and comes with the recommendations of many alumni.