Hi! I am Griffith, and the end of Candidates’ Weekend 3 marked my one year anniversary of my first time visiting the Olin campus. In acknowledgement of this extremely important event, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog about why I chose to enroll at Olin.
When I first started working on this blog, I was struggling to come up with one core reason why I came to Olin. I tell you this because when I was trying to select a college, I remember struggling to quantify my college preferences. I felt the need to make some sort of design matrix to list all of my choices with highly specific data, so that I could make a fact-based assessment. However, in retrospect I realize that a college just feeling the most “right” is a completely valid reason to choose it. With that being said, I am going to try to list the primary reasons that Olin felt right for me.
The primary reason I chose Olin was because I liked the small size. One of my biggest fears when going to college was that I would get lost in the crowd. This was a concern on both the social and academic side. On the socal side, I feared that at a large school people would not know me and I would not have many friends because I am quiet and like to spend a lot of time alone. On the academic side, in high school, I always enjoyed connecting with my teachers as it made it much easier to engage with the material, ask questions, and get accommodations. It is always easy to engage with peers socially and academically at Olin as you see each other frequently. You live in the same building, eat at the same dining hall, and take many of the same classes. I have also had an incredibly easy time engaging with my professors. The class sizes are small and you see your professors frequently due to the small campus size.
Undergrad Engineering Only
At Olin, every student is an undergraduate and an engineering major. This means that the professors who work at Olin want to work with undergraduate students and want to teach engineering students. When I visited other colleges, I found that many of the professors seemed more focused on their research or on working with graduate students than undergraduate education. At Olin, the professors really want to teach undergrad engineering students. It is much easier to engage with school and schoolwork when your professors are really excited about educating you and invested in your learning.
College’s approach to education
Although the prospect of experiential learning in a curriculum full of team-based projects can sound scary, I find it to be highly preferable to the standard class model. Olin’s education is much more relevant to the real world and has done a great job preparing me for internships and other opportunities.
Peers’ approach to education
The students at Olin care about their education and enjoy learning. Working with people who are excited about what they do and learn makes it much easier to engage with school. It also means that team projects are much better than the teaming experiences I had prior to Olin.
Another great thing about Olin’s student culture is that the environment is collaborative rather than competitive. Olin students do a great job supporting one another and recognizing other people's talents. The biggest feeling of inadequacy that students get is usually generated internally via imposter syndrome. You can read Mads' blog about imposter syndrome here.
Being an engineering student keeps you very busy and can be stressful. That is why I really appreciated the importance Olin places on mental health. I wrote a more detailed blog about this earlier in the year, which you can read here. I have taken advantage of the free therapy and access to a psychologist. Professors do a great job accommodating students if they are having a hard time: extending due dates, working with students outside of class, and changing teaching methods to meet the students’ needs. The students also do a great job looking out for one another and understanding and talking about mental health is rather destigmatized at Olin.
If these reasons appeal to you, consider Olin. But at the end of the day, whatever reasons why you do or do not want to come to Olin, trust your gut. It can be good to think about what reasons are important for a school to work for you, but do not over think it.