Hello everyone! My name is Libby and I am in my final semester at Clarkson (time really does fly). In my four years at Clarkson, I have had the opportunity to get involved in many different parts of student life. I am a captain of the Varsity Alpine Ski Team, a student manager in the office of Undergraduate Admissions, and a member of multiple clubs on campus: Society of Professional Women, the Outing Club and intramural soccer and volleyball to name just a few.
I have been giving tours to prospective students since the fall of my sophomore year and have been asked a wide variety of questions. I’m going to share with you the top 10 questions that I am asked most often on my tours and the answers I give to them!
These are all great questions that can (and should) be asked on any college tour. I remember when I was looking at schools, I hated how my parents would ask what seemed like a million questions, but now I am realizing just how important those questions are to understanding a school.
Hopefully, these give you an insight into what Clarkson is like!
1. How challenging is the course load?
I would definitely be lying to you if I said the courses at Clarkson are easy. If you decide that Clarkson is the place for you, expect to be challenged. I have yet to take a class here that I have not had to push myself in one way or another. However, I have found that I have taken so much more from each class than the basics of law or the essentials of accounting. You learn how to manage your time and utilize the dozens of resources Clarkson has in place to make you successful. You learn how to ask for help and how to work with other students and professors to be successful in a course.
2. What is the food like?
This is probably the most common question I get, and my answer is almost always the same. While this is not your mom’s or dad’s cooking (my parents make the best breaded chicken and meatloaf and I miss it A LOT while I am at school) the University does a really great job of providing a lot of options to fit almost everyone’s taste buds. If you are gluten free, dairy free or have other food restrictions, you can work with the chefs in the dining halls right away to set up a plan to make sure that you are getting everything you need!
3. Is it common for students to have good relationships with professors?
It is very common. Many professors have what is called an “open door policy.” While professors are required to hold a certain amount of office hours each week, they are almost always in their offices with the door open and are eager and willing to help students. I remember one of the more challenging courses I took at Clarkson; my professor held office hours until 2 a.m. the night before the final! The professors really care about students and making sure that they are as successful as they can be, and they are willing to help in anyway that they can.
4. I want to go abroad; what are my options?
If you are a student in the Reh School of Business or the Engineering & Management program, you are required to do a Global Experience. There are a variety of options to complete this requirement.
You can do a semester exchange with one of our many partner schools around the world (50 programs in 27 countries); you can spend a few weeks during the summer with a group of classmates and professors in a variety of countries on a global business trip; you can spend your spring break on the other side of the world; or you can take a semester long class where you travel to Canada on the weekends to learn about the culture, business, etc. There is something to fit everyone’s schedules, wants and needs.
5. What is there to do outside of the classroom?
There are lots of options for activities to keep busy with outside of the classroom at Clarkson. Clarkson has over 120 clubs to join, and almost all of these clubs are funded to help with any associated costs. We have a handful of ski mountains, dozens of hiking trails (including the 46 Adirondack high peaks) and towns/cities with a lot of history and activities, like Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Ottawa and Montreal, all within two hours of campus.
One of my favorite things to do is grab a group of my friends and drive about an hour north of campus into Canada for a sushi dinner. How many schools can say that you have the option to “hop up into Canada” for a quick bite to eat? It is awesome!
6. What support systems are in place to make sure I am achieving my goals?
When you first step foot onto campus you are immediately surrounded by people who are there to help. Seriously, the second you drive onto campus on move-in day, a group of upperclassmen are there, helping you carry all of your things up to your new room. There are tons of resources to help make sure you are reaching your full potential during your time at Clarkson. Struggling with a class? Stop into the Student Success Center and sign up for tutoring. Not feeling too well or feeling a bit overwhelmed? Swing by the Student Health and Counseling Center. Unhappy with how your essay turned out after spending hours writing it? Stop into the Writing Center! There are dozens of free support systems right on campus, so make sure to utilize them all!
7. How often do you go home?
Actually, not at all (sorry mom and dad!). But really, Clarkson is by no means a “suitcase school;” you do not see students going home every weekend. Clarkson gives students a long weekend about halfway through each semester (one in October and another in February) to allow students to travel home for a bit of a break, and, even then, not many students make the trip. You find that most students utilize Thanksgiving and the winter and spring breaks to travel home. The rest of the time they are busy in the North Country!
8. Should I bring a car to campus?
That is up to you! You are allowed to have a car on campus for all four years; however, it is by no means necessary. There are stores both on campus and within walking distance of campus that have everything you need. Clarkson also recently started providing a bus to shuttle students from the Student Center to various “hot spots” in town, like Walmart and Market Street. You are also very likely to make friends who have cars, and there are a lot of online resources to help arrange rides home for breaks and other things along those lines!
9. If I want an internship, co-op or full-time position, how do I go about getting one?
The Career Center will be your first stop for anything related to a summer internship, a spring or fall co-op and, ultimately, your first full-time job after college.
I highly recommend stopping in at the Career Center during your first few weeks on campus to start building a relationship with the staff there. This relationship will help you connect with employers, alumni and current students who can help you when beginning your internship, co-op or full-time job search.
10. Why did you chose Clarkson?
Just about every student at Clarkson has a different answer for this one. I chose Clarkson because, being an outdoor enthusiast, I knew Clarkson could quickly become my home away from home. With the 46 Adirondack high peaks only two hours away, ski resorts right down the road and many miles of bike trails in our own backyard, I knew that I would never be bored here. I am so glad I chose Clarkson and could not be more excited to see where my time here takes me in the future.
Great post and great answers! And as an alum that is now attending the career fair from behind the table, I definitely second your recommendation to meet the folks at the career center early. You’d be surprised how far that little bit of early networking can go.