Impressions Of
Middlebury College

Academic Experience

Female Psychology Major C/O 2020

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Middlebury has an Honor Code that you sign at the beginning of your freshman year saying that you will never cheat and hold yourself to a certain level of academic integrity. There are never any professors or anybody there watching you take exams, so it would potentially be very easy to cheat, but people hold themselves and each other to a pretty high, competitive standard. It’s definitely pretty serious academically and people are competitive but not in a negative way. People are kind to each other and help each other towards success. People are competitive with themselves but collaborative with others.

Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
It requires you to take classes in all different fields of psychology. You take social and cognitive development and clinical psychology so you can get a taste of what all the different fields of psychology are like.

Female Sociology and Anthropology and Political Science Double Major C/O 2019

Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
I think that the SOAN department in particular does a really good job of having a diverse range of professors with a diverse range of interests. I had a prospective student asking me about tracks within Sociology and if you have to pick certain areas to focus on. You don’t have to pick, but like there is a professor that specializes in environmental justice and there are professors that are interested in workers’ rights and unions and I think that’s really great, especially for such a small college. You do get to take some classes with some specialization.

How was it managing your sport and your coursework?
It’s definitely doable. My coach especially understands you are a student-athlete and, since we are a Division III school, your academics come first before athletics. If I do have a particularly stressful day he’s just like, “Oh yeah, do your workout on your own time.”

Female International and Global Studies Major C/O 2020

Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
The reason I chose it is because it only has one specific class you have to take. Other than that, I’m choosing from a list of classes about the world in general or international politics. Because of my specialization, I’m choosing a list of classes about the Middle East and I’m also learning Arabic on the side. I’m enjoying the language aspect and I’m enjoying the freedom that I have.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would say it’s really good. Within the classroom, the professors are really helpful. It’s a small college where the biggest class I’ve been in is maybe 80 people and I’ve never had to cross that again. Other than that, the biggest class I’ve had is maybe 30 people, so the professors are all very committed to the students and helping them out. All the lectures are very informative and there are loads of study spaces around campus. Pretty much all the students work pretty hard so it fosters an environment of caring about your work and putting in that effort. Studying with your friends is a pretty common way of hanging out with your friends. [The average class size at Middlebury is 19 students.]

Social Opportunities

Female Psychology Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I like to go out most of the time on Fridays and Saturdays and that usually includes parties with alcohol. I feel like there are opportunities to both go out and stay in which I like. A downside of Middlebury’s nightlife is that there are pretty inconsistent parties. Some weekends there will be a pretty big weekend and others not so much. So, you have to kind of pick and choose when you’re going to go out. In terms of physical location on campus, it’s pretty consistent where parties will be. We have social houses, which are big houses with up to 30 people living in them. There are also apartments and suite-style buildings where people will hold parties. All of the parties here are inclusive.

What have been some of your favorite days and nights at Middlebury?
Middlebury has a lot of campus-wide picnics and concerts. Those have been my favorite because that’s when the student body all comes out and goes to the same place. There’s always a concert at the end of classes second semester where they have food and it’s outside and everybody goes. That was the highlight of my spring last year.

 

Female Sociology and Anthropology and Political Science Double Major C/O 2019

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I guess most of the time I’m able to go out Saturday nights because Friday nights are the nights before meets. Saturday nights are also the biggest nights here. Mainly social life on Saturday is hosted by the social houses. Anybody can join social houses if they want and each house has a specific theme, like one is community engagement, one is arts house, and so on. They are very inclusive. Sports teams also host parties. I find myself going to more parties thrown in sports suites or houses and off-campus houses. The majority of things happen either at Atwater Suites, Ridgeline Townhouses, and off campus.

What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
On Wednesdays, there are open mic performances, casually known as WOMP. One of my friends performs pretty regularly so I go to support her. People don’t always drink, sometimes people are hanging out with their craft beers. Also The Moth once a month on Thursday nights there is a live storytelling event. It’s one of my favorite things to go to. Community members, students, and faculty have a 10-minute time limit to tell stories.

Female International and Global Studies Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Depending on the mood I’ll definitely go to a lot of the things I’m invited to, ranging from small gatherings with my friends that’s just like a couple of drinks that may turn into a bit of dancing in a suite or at a friend’s house to social houses throwing parties that are bigger and have more people.

How happy are you with the nightlife at Middlebury? If you could change anything, what would you change?
I think coming from London, somewhere where there is always something happening, it was definitely very different. There are nights where pretty much nothing is happening and you may have a thing to stop by and it’s not really happening, so you just kind of go home and are like, “Cool! Nothing’s happening tonight.” It is not a certainty at all that there will be something really kicking off. Now that I’m finding more people and being invited to more smaller things, rather than when I was a freshman and I was relying on more of the things that were publicly known on campus, it’s a lot better now that I have knowledge of things happening within my friend groups.

Campus Culture

Female Psychology Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall student body?
The student body is really fun. Middlebury attracts a certain type of person who is very excited, enthusiastic, and curious. It seems like people are always doing something people are really excited to do things and be involved.

To what extent do students of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I would say people of different sexual orientations mix a lot, more than different races. Race is definitely an issue on campus in general. The international students tend to hang out with each other. There is a good amount of mixing but not a lot. [As of Fall 2018, about 61% of the students are White.]

Female Sociology and Anthropology and Political Science Double Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the social scene at Middlebury?
I would say it’s pretty lively. I am definitely really happy and comfortable with it. If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s pretty party-oriented, but with that being said, some of my most enriching interactions are sitting in Proctor [dining hall] on a Sunday morning waiting for people to roll through after a night out, or just in the morning waiting for people to go to class and talking to people across the breakfast table.

How would you describe the student body?
Most students are pretty preppy, but there’s also the alternative crowd and the “crunchy granola” crowd.

Female Geography Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene at Middlebury?
I think there are different aspects to it. A lot, a lot of people are athletes but they’re obviously not as intense as the huge schools. There’s kind of an athlete, non-athlete split because you end up so much time [with your team]. But, it’s not like sports are a huge aspect. Teams hang out together and throw parties and live together. There is very much a nature of the quirky, hippieish, and very outdoorsy type of scene. There’s an Outdoor Interest House. People go hiking every weekend and go camping together. I think there’s kind of an international social scene a little bit. Just like low key small celebrations and gatherings. It’s all very friendly, I don’t think anything is super exclusive.

To what extent do international students and domestic students mix socially?
I think they mix pretty well. It’s definitely not a huge divide. Some of the students who share a different language that is their first language probably get closer and tend to join cultural student organizations and end up hanging out together a lot more. I know some of my different Asian international friends do tend to stick together a little bit more and have activities and stuff together in their student groups. [About 11% of students are international students.]

Middlebury, VT

Pros of

  • “There are so many outdoor opportunities, like skiing and hiking. We have J-Term where you only have to take one class and you can spend your time doing those activities during the peak of winter.”
  • “I feel like I would never live in Vermont except during these four years. I don’t know when else I would get to experience this.”
  • It’s beautiful. There’s no light pollution.”

Cons of

  • “Feeling isolated from major cities. Burlington is 45-minutes away. It’s not a big city but it’s not small either.”
  • “The winters are tough, especially if you’re not used to it.”
  • “There’s not a lot to do in town. It’s pretty easy to get stuck on campus.”
  • “If you’re flying anywhere or need to get to a big city, you have to travel far to get to an airport.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Sociology and Anthropology and Political Science Double Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew before entering Middlebury as a freshman?
Your dean and your residential life support staff are there to help you with something personal that is overwhelming you and compromising your ability to do schoolwork. I started meeting with my dean this year and it’s changed my whole Middlebury experience.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If you’re into hiking, I’d recommend hiking Snake Mountain. You get a really nice view of Lake Champlain and it’s only 20 minutes away from campus.

 

Female Geography Major C/O 2020

What is something an international student should know that we haven’t touched on?
I think Middlebury is a very, very welcoming place and like obviously I’ve mentioned some things that are negative in here but the overall experience internationally is really good here. I think if you think you’re going to like Middlebury based on what you see online and whatever you hear about it, you’re probably going to really like it. It definitely doesn’t suit everybody because it’s a small school in rural Vermont, but if it appeals to you then I think you’ll love it when you get here because I really, really love it and it’s how I wanted it to be. [About 11% of students are international students.]

What is something you wish you knew before entering Middlebury as a freshman?
I don’t think I was quite prepared for how much work it was going to be. I had a particularly tough freshman fall in terms of workload, but it hasn’t been as bad since then. It really hit me like a ton of bricks that first semester which was unlucky. I wasn’t prepared for how much work I was doing versus how much work my friends in the UK would be doing, which was not much in the first year.

Male Political Science Major C/O 2017

What is something you wish you knew about Middlebury before you entered as a freshman?
The winters are worse than you think. The school is more isolated than you anticipate.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Sit in Ross Dining Hall for a while and people watch, go to a few classes in your major. Pick up a copy of the Middlebury Campus to see what the current conversations are on campus.

 

Reasons to attend and not to attend Middlebury College

To Attend

  • “The professors are super friendly, willing to help you, and want to get to know you. They’ll all know your name and make sure you interact with your classmates.”
  • “There is a big alumni network. It’s a pretty wealthy college and alums like to give back and help you with your career.”
  • “Middlebury has really great language programs which is really cool. I picked up Arabic and never saw myself taking a language.”
  • “We have natural resources and natural beauty that come with being in rural Vermont.”

To Not Attend

  • “The winters are really hard because it’s so grey and cold all the time.”
  • “It’s not the typical college experience. It’s small, there’s not that much school spirit, and there are limited friend options.”
  • “The campus can be isolating, especially if you don’t have a car.”
  • “If you want a huge party scene, it’s definitely not the place for you.”
Notice: Middlebury College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Middlebury College.

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