Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast in St. Petersburg, Eckerd College is a small liberal arts college that prepares students to be “well-rounded, educated people for the ‘real world’, rather than for just one job.” Indeed, 40 percent of all students will go on to pursue advanced degrees, and the school’s “academics are top notch and continue to impress,” particularly the constantly expanding, “hands on” science department, which “really flourishes.” Also of note is the study abroad program, of which many students take advantage.
Eckerd is “all about having small class sizes in order to maximize learning and personal connections to professors.” Professors are “always approachable on an academic and personal level” and “make the classes fun and interesting.” There is a “level of genuine care” from the teachers; according to a senior, “If I have a question, it gets answered, simple as that.” “Not once has an email been ignored that I have sent to a professor,” echoes a junior. Class discussion is very important (many classes have a sizeable participation grade), and faculty encourages opposing views, creating “an environment where it is easy for everybody to openly express their opinions without judgment.”
The mentor program assigns students to professors in the field of their major(s), their job being “to help guide the student through choosing classes and registration, or anything else.” The “quirky” liberal arts curriculum turns out graduates that “are not pigeonholed into the skills associated with their major, but [who] have developed a wide range of abilities which make them attractive to employers.”
There are “eclectic options of student activities” at Eckerd, and since there is no Greek life, the Campus Activities crew is allotted “a crazy amount of money to have fun events on campus, such as cookouts, dances, casino nights, and an actual carnival brought onto campus.” Obviously marine activities are popular, and for fun, people “go to the beach, go downtown, [and borrow] paddleboards/kayaks at the waterfront.” People love to go to downtown St. Pete, and there are many famous restaurants nearby (good thing, as the cafeteria food is “definitely our weakest point,” according to many students).
There’s a definite party streak here, and “pot and beer are not strangers to Eckerd parties,” which typically take place outside. Still, it’s “a very no-pressure environment” for those who choose not to partake, and “there is a very ‘free as a bird’ mentality’” here so “people rarely feel trapped.” Life at this school is generally relaxed but busy. It matches the atmosphere of the location,” says a freshman.
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