Ithaca College - Comments and Student Experiences|
FIrst off if your not a liberal don't bother going here. I'm not a liberal nor a conservative, I'm a moderate but here even that is slightly frowned upon. yes, they do have a Republican CLub on cmapus, all five people who were either already weird or tried to create power in numbers joined.
The scoial at Ithaca exists but only if you're there long enough to be a aprt of it. Unlike most colleges, ithaca doesn't have any kind of Greek life, it was banne din the 1970s due to a nasty hazing incident. Most people go to the Cornell frat parties which are huge, luxurious, and always served with Keystone or Nadi Light. Beyond the awful beer Cornell and Ithaca share a slogag "Ithaca to bed, Cornell to wed." Catchy, right? See that's the mentality that is fostered because guys at Ithaca have the upper hand because there's less of them, and usually the guys are attractive. Because of this they have a "wham bam thank you maam" policy and rarely stay with one girl for too long. In this scenario Ithaca girls go to Cornell and hook up with Cornell guys who are supposed to be a little more genuine and mature but aren't. I've dated both sides, and both sides are at fault.
Ithaca has a lot of extracirricular activities and they are always addign more to the list. However, if you're not a humaintarian nor an enviornmentalist you might feel a little out of place. A lot of people care about the enviornment there and a lot of social activities such as Service Saturdays and student groups like Habitat for Humanity are based on a foundation humanitarian work.
It's cold and mountainous. A lot of people say hills, but don't be fooled, its more like climbing mountains. This is especially difficult considering when girls want to go out we wear heels. It's fine until the winter rolls in and your slipping and tumbling. Also if you ever walk to the Commons, the town of Ithaca, there a whole 100 feet that does not have a road, no actually road, but rather its a sliver of dirt on the side of the highway. Deers run out at you while driving, the Gorges are awlays worth seeing, and Ithaca has the highest number of restaurants per capita in NY state.
Moving onto actual important stuff. Ithaca's academics are good in some departments and bad in other. The Journalism and COmmunications school is one of the best on the eastern seaboard which means you'll geta good education but its highly competative. The physical Therapy department is also stellar.
As a business major, I was neither satisfies nor challenged. I wasn't satisfies because Ithaca just recently recieved their international accreditation for their business program. Whereas school such as Bentley and Bucknell have had it for over 20 years.
The classes at Ithaca are pretty cool though, International Business and Fairy Tales were two of the best classes I took and even my Statistics class was enjoyable.
If after reading this you feel Ithaca seems good then go but definitely visit the campus before you go. There's nothing special about it, the building are an odd assortment (some old some new), and Cornell isn't as close as you think (socially and geographically.) I decided to transfer out of Ithaca to place where yes I may have less friends (because it was really easy to make friends and have a real fun time) but that'll get me a better degree and better salary. Good Luck!
Campus: The campus is stunning in the fall and spring, it's huge and alive and wonderfully landscaped- except in the woods which are delightfully wild (check out the cross country course, it's great)...however, this is NY and the winter is long, and miserable, during which point the greenery fades away and you notice just how hideous most of the buildings are. The buidlings are kept in pretty good shape (particularly whalen, park, and the terraces- boothroyd is kinda crappy (carpeted hallway walls anyone?)but that doesn't stop it from being the best place to live.
Safety: Okay, so I feel incredibly safe here...though, I did have one rather alarming experience, however, I guess no where is perfect.
Resource use: I use the library and computer labs all the time, and they're great, but I've never used either of the pools. The gym is great, I worked out there all the time and it was groovy...they're picky about shoes though. Most valuable resource on campus? Without a doubt, the writing center. It's located in Park, and is an amazing place to take your papers for help, it's manned by professors and senior writing/english majors who are incredibly helpful. I took almost all of my papers to the girls there and got A's on every one I brought to them, not only to they help you correct spelling and grammar (and explain the rules for correcting it) but they go over paragraph length, structure, content and all sorts of other things.
Extracuricular activites: There are a ton...but they can be difficult to locate because some of them don't advertise very well, for example, I had a tough time finding the outing club, but IC players was very welcoming and I had a blast in rocky horror (they do it every year at halloween ^_^)
Social life: LIVE IN A FRESHMAN DORM!!! Seriously, they're great. The prearrival orientation is super helpful too, I made four friends at my july orientation and we're still tight now, which is pretty impressive. The one complaint here is that my group (and I hear this from a lot of people) sort of stopped trying to make friends after we found eachother, and I had a difficult time spreading out and meeting new people (outside activities helped, as did taking a freshman seminar class)
Surrounding city: Ithaca is pretty cool, it can be tough to find things and Kelly's is sleazy, but the city is very cool (though small). Actually, interesting tidbit...Ithaca is America's "most enlightened city" and is home to the personal monastry of the Dali Lama (you have to make an appointment to go though) yes, it's a hippie town, but I like that it's so open, be warned though- they aren't accepting of only hippies, there are a couple cults and supposedly a bunch of neo-nazis (though it's not like you run into these people) when they say they are open to everyone they mean it, they're even open to close-minded people (however that works).
English department: Okay, first semester ROCKED as far as classes were concerned- I really felt like I was learning tons of new things and that everything tied in beautifully and I still can't wait to teach the things I learned. My freshman seminar with Kathryn Machan was particularly impressive, I've never been so eager to do assignments before. I also really loved my intro to short story class. Second semester I was slightly less impressed, but intro to poetry with Kevin Murphy was fun. Overall though, even though I worked really hard I don't think it was as challenging as it could have been.
General complaints: It worries me that I don't know the standing of the english department and how other people view it. Ithaca costs too much. There are some people who are just not smart enough to be there...and that's really annoying.
Advice: Get involved in as many freshman activites as possible, IC after dark, the freshman housing, INVOLVED (free trips and hanging out with upperclassmen)- oh...and if you get put in temporary housing (which rocks if it's in the terraces- the rooms are humungous)make sure you find someone to help you move- DONT CALL A CAB- they charged me $60 to drive across campus twice.
Now, just about anyone will tell you that there is a wide variety of people there. Nerds, jocks, stoners, etc. That is true, but there definitely is a dominant type of person there- most people play sports or are interested in sports, are pretty friendly, and live for the weekends. I found myself slightly out of place among some of my friends- many of them did the minimum amount of work they needed to do decently, and spent most of their time having fun. Many people care more about grades than learning.
All of the highly motivated students I knew were students who knew what they wanted to do from the beginning and focused on that- ie music students, communications students, occ therapy, physical theraphy. Ithaca students generally aren't there for a "liberal" education. They typical Ithaca student is usually either very motivated and enthusiastic about a certain field, or is just going to college for the sake of going to college. A lot of students are the type who do community service activities just for the resume.
One thing that should be clarified- Ithaca College is more like a university than a college. The different schools (ie Music, Park School of Communications) are in fact different schools, not departments. If you're looking for a college that is a community of smart people, Ithaca may not be the right place for you. If you're looking for a community of communications students, or a community of music students, or a community of partiers, you may be looking at the right place. It's also worthy to say that for the most part, by the middle of the year, most students tend to always hang out with the same group of friends. I'm not sure why, but that's what happened.
The town of Ithaca is a very nice place. However, be warned: Ithaca College is quite the hike from Ithaca. In fact, it's near the border between Ithaca and another town. You can try walking between the campus and the town, but it takes about 30 minutes each way, and the hill is really steep. If you don't have a car, it's not easy to commute. The Tompkins County bus system is highly unreliable, and it costs 1.50 for a ride, which is a pain becuase you'll need quarters for your laundry. If you have a car, or don't mind waiting for buses that don't come, or don't mind spending a lot of money on taxis, that won't be a problem, though.
The difficulty of getting to Ithaca wouldn't be a problem if the campus wasn't so lackluster. The "after dark" activities on Fridays are decent, but no substitute for leaving campus. If you look at statistics, you'll see that the campus is large in terms of acreage, but the thing is, almost all of the academic and residential buildings are squashed together in one crowded mess that resembles a suburban office campus. On top of that, almost all of the buildings were built in the early '70s and are made of bricks, and are ugly even for buildings of that type. With that said, the campus still looks decent enough during the summer time- ie the first and last months of the schools year. In fact, when I went home, they still hadn't turned the fountain on.
Academically, I didn't have the greatest experience, but I know some people who did. Warning: intro-level professors in the Park school are often not that good. Last semester, Intro to Mass Media was one single class, rather than sections, and was taught by a middle-aged TA who still consults the teacher's manual just like a middle school teacher. However, many of the professors are friendly enough to enjoy being around, not arrogant, and understanding, but many classes were poorly structured. In many classes, the only work we had were a few tests and one big final project. In one of my classes, many sessions consisted of us going to see visiting scholars whose lectures had little to do with the rest of the class.
I should add that there are many differing opinions about the Park School of Communications. Many students I know in the school are very happy, or at least moderately happy. However, lately, some students feel that Park is more concerned about its reputation than its students. Several popular professors lost their jobs, while the administration spent money on a plasma TV for the lobby, which can't even be viewed from a comfortable spot. However, I should repeat that many students go through Park very satisfied. VERY IMPORTANT: if you get into Ithaca College, but not the Park school, it's harder to get into Park than they tell you, especially if you're trying to get into Film. In fact, since there is so little room, it is a lot harder to get into Park from within Ithaca College than it is to get into Park if you apply there when you are a high school senior. So, if you're only going to the college because you're hoping to get into a selective major, that might not be a good idea. Also, if you are already in Park, it is no easier to transfer between Park Park majors than it is to transfer into Park.
Extracurriculars are sometimes hierarchical, but you'll get that anywhere. I should note, however, that there are a LOT of extracurriculars to be involved in, if you look for them, and I know I would have had a much better time if I had looked for them. I especially recommend ICTV- you might not get to be on TV as soon as you're there, but most people involved in ICTV are friendly and surprisingly not elitist. I'm going to miss that.
So, to recap, I'll say what type of people usually like Ithaca. If you're not this type, I'm not saying you'll definitely not like it there, but that you might want to think twice about it. If you are sure you would like to pursue a career in music, communications, or physical theraphy, look into Ithaca. If a social life is your primary reason for going to college, especially if that means partying a lot, look into Ithaca. If you like Central New York and have a car, you may also want to look into it.
Are you a student and about to sign the very first lease in your li... more→