In regard to your concern about a student taking one or two classes a semester, working 20 hours, and doing that for the next decade or so, I have met a student or two along those lines, but it's certainly not a widespread attitude. For a full-time student who lives in the dorms, you are surrounded by other full-time students who are aiming to graduate in 4 years.
My strongest opinion on this is whatever a student puts in, he or she will get out. The professors here are amazing, and there are so many opportunities. Classes are small, and undergraduate students are always the main focus. Academically, there are tons of projects and undergraduate research to get involved in. I began to get really involved in academics my second semester and was able to present undergraduate research at an out-of-state conference halfway through my sophomore year. There is an Honors program, whose director is awesome, and there are many honor societies. There are also countless interest groups and clubs, including environmental groups, intramural sports, religious groups, political groups, Quiz Bowl, Greek life, academic groups, and student government. Students can do two internships through the school (I believe one for credit toward their majors) or study abroad.
As for a laid-back attitude, no one can deny that Asheville is a bit of a "hippie" city, but I don't think that translates into laxness. In fact, it's more about artistic, environmental, and political involvement. It also definitely does not translate into lax academics. As a liberal arts school, our core requirements are both broad and in-depth, covering all areas of study, and our attendance policies are much more rigorous than many schools' - which, as a student, I can't help but wince at! We get 2 absences per semester for a class if it meets twice a week, and 3 if it meets three times a week. In any case, as long as your student is dedicated, he or she will have many, many opportunities here. It's going to be up to him take them - as it would be anywhere - but if he goes for it, he'll have all the support he can ask for along the way.
Last edited by Oak; 07-29-2009 at 02:49 AM.