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The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

How this student rated the school
Educational QualityA Faculty AccessibilityA
Useful SchoolworkA+ Excess CompetitionA
Academic SuccessA Creativity/ InnovationA+
Individual ValueA+ University Resource UseA-
Campus Aesthetics/ BeautyA+ FriendlinessA
Campus MaintenanceA+ Social LifeB+
Surrounding CityB+ Extra CurricularsA-
SafetyA+
Describes the student body as:
Friendly, Approachable

Describes the faculty as:
Friendly, Helpful

Female
SAT1510
Quite Bright
Lowest Rating
Social Life
B+
Highest Rating
Useful Schoolwork
A+
She rated most things higher than other students did.
Date: Feb 13 2005
Major: Computer Engineering (This Major's Salary over time)
Olin was chartered in 1997 and welcomed its first freshman class in 2002. All the details of the history, funding, and founding are easy to find on the college's website, suffice it to say that I'm not going to talk about it here. At the time of writing, Olin has a junior, spohomore, and freshman class. None of us pay tuition—saving an estimated $130,000 dollars over our four years—but our college costs vary per class. Juniors, the founding class, pay nothing at all. Sophomores are paying for board, and freshmen pay both room and board. It remains to be seen what will be the case for future classes, though no one will ever have to pay more than room and board.

Whatever each student's personal financial outlay, we all knew a deal when we saw one. Here's a quick breakdown of the good and bad of Olin:

GOOD

Amazing professors. Whether they hail from NASA or MIT, all of them are at Olin because they really want to be. And all of them will be sitting at your table during lunch in the dining hall at one point or another. And they are the ones teaching the classes, rather than TAs. They actively seek our input on how and what they teach, and give us in-depth feedback. They are amazingly accessible, and sometimes beg us to come see them more often.

Research opportunities. Many professor's biggest complaint with Olin has been the lack of time or resources, compared to other colleges, for them to continue their research. Many are beginning to adapt their schedules to include that research, however, and are including students in their projects.

Project-based classes. Finding a lecture long enough to sleep through is difficult here. Most professors prefer students do team-based work and long-term projects instead of listening to leactures and taking notes. Oral and written projects are just as important as exams, and sometimes replace them. After all, most professors would prefer you to actually build a water rocket rather than memorize mechanics equations for a test.

Grades aren't everything. Sure, we're graded, but we're being evaluated based on a system of real-world competencies, including Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis, Communication skills, and Teamwork ability. Our individual strengths and skills are represented by more than a GPA.

Well-rounded students. It's been said that every Olin student should have their own Wikipedia entry—we've all been involved in so many wacky, impressive activities. We have patent holders, builders of telescopes and robots, chefs, novelists, entrepreuers, even Star Wars trading card collecting champions. And, of course, with only 221 of us, it's difficult not to have at least met everybody.

It's like four colleges in one. We have cross-registration opportunities with Babson, Wellesley, and Brandeis colleges. And yes, Olin guys can take classes at Wellesley even though it's a womens' school. So if you have a yen for business, liberal arts, psychology, neuroscience, or anything in the catalogs of a partner school, you can take it. It's a quick thing to walk to Babson, take a bike ride to Wellesley, or a school-subsdized taxi to Brandeis.

It's a minute's walk to any classroom or office on Olin's campus, so you won't have to hike through the Boston snow.

We're just outside of a major metropolitan area, so the sights, retaurants, and colleges of Boston and Cambridge are immediately accessible. All you have to do is finish that problem set and find someone to drive…

On that note, let's have the BAD:

We have something we call the "Olin Bubble." It's what you get when you look up on Sunday night and realize you've done nothing but homework all weekend long. We're very insulated on our hill in our small town, and some find it difficult to get off campus. But it's far from impossible; all you need is a little initiative, perhaps some inspiration from a student who lives in the area, and a car. You can take the T (Boston subway) to the city, but you will have to get someone to drive you to the station.

Also, they say we can monitor the status of our laundry over the internet, but I think it's broken. That's about it.

So if you're looking at perhaps Stanford or Harvard or MIT and wanting something more, take a look at Olin. We're bright-fun, creative people looking for other bright, fun, creative people. We are the engineers of the new millenium. We are entrepreneurs. And you are too, right?

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The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
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