Join Date: May 2007
Facts from a current student at RMC
When I applied/ was accepted to Randolph-Macon I was disappointed to see that not many people had posted here. Therefore, I will do my best to let you in on some details that will hopefully enable you to make a more educated decision in regards to Macon.
**Disclaimer: My opinions may not represent all students. I am a 2nd year, white male, public school educated, Greek affiliated, Business/Economics major and philosophy minor. I do not play a collegiate sport. I maintain a 3.0 and am substantially active on campus.**
Town: (Ashland)- Personally, coming from a very populated area just outside D.C I found Ashland to be very small and "hick-ish" at first. After a while you find it to be very quaint and charismatic. Store owners and 7-11 employees will begin to give friendly greetings as they recognize you after a couple purchases. There isn't much for a college student in downtown besides a 7-11, ABC store and a plethora of fast food joints that are just off the 95 exit. Most of your needs can be fulfilled by driving 10 minutes to Glenn Allen where there is VCC mall, Starbucks, Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, etc. Additionally, in the west-end of Richmond there's the great town of Short Pump which has a very upscale mall and tons of great places to eat and hangout. If you can, I would suggest bringing your car freshman year. You don't need it, however it will give you more options to explore your surroundings
Academics: Best described as "challenging." I wouldn't say difficult because you have so many places to get help and find information. However, you must make the effort, there is no hand holding. The teachers will give you their home numbers on the first day of class for whenever you have a question. On two occasions I/the class have even been invited to dine with a professor. Once at a restaurant and another time at their home. This is due to the close student-teacher relationship and the plus side of having very small class sizes. On any given night of the week you will find the library fairly packed with students studying. In all, the academics really depends on your major/minor choice. Most freshmen will have similar workloads seeing as many major classes are closed to first year students. A very important factor to keep in mind when looking at GPA's is that RMC and their professors DO NOT inflate grades as many other institutions of a much higher competitive nature do. Unless you're extremely lucky and/or a complete genius you will next to never receive an A on an assignment. Additionally, it is next to impossible to receive an A as a final mark. RMC will always push you to do better.
Campus Life: This is very much based on the individual. All staff (physical plant, technology staff, maids, etc) are extremely courtious and will help you out at any time. The dining hall employee who swipes your card before you go to eat knows every students name as she greets you when you walk through the door, even before you hand her your card. Although I do not play on a collegiate team I am involved in a couple intramural that are offered (flag football, softball, ultimate Frisbee, dodge ball, soccer, floor hockey, just to name a few.) You will be spoiled your freshman year if you live in freshman village. These newly renovated dorms are spacious, comfortable and very clean. At the expense of the great amenities you are a bit secluded from the happenings on campus. I lived in freshman village my 1st year. But it wasn't until my 2nd year, when I moved to a dorm on central campus, when I found out how much I couldn't see living in the village and found out how much really goes on. You feel much more "in the know" and apart of the true college community when you live on central campus. This also come with the cost of the amenities you once had in the village. Residence Halls not in the village are much older with slightly smaller rooms and frequently have issues with their heating and A/C. Despite our current less-than-stellar football record the games are very well attended by students and towns people with the majority of males in coat and tie and the ladies in sun dresses sporting a string of pearls. If that's not your scene, no worries, many students choose not to dress up. Many events on campus are attending by entertaining and successful alumni. You may not realize it your freshman year but networking is HUGE at Macon. I have collected tons of business cards given to me by alumni after talking with them. It's very probable that you will meet your future employer years before you graduate.
Extra Extracurriculars: As a student such as myself who is involved with numerous campus organizations, including a fraternity, I would say there is a lot to do on this campus of 1150 students. Now as for the nightlife and drinking... every Friday night the student run Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosts an activity/show/etc. that all students may attend at no cost. Although every Friday night isn't great however, just about 50% of the time it's something pretty interesting and entertaining. Some of my favorites have included well-known comedians, local/up and coming bands, comic improve shows and comedic hypnotists. Others that some might be interested in include guest lectures/presentations on a variety of subjects, performances by the Richmond symphony orchestra and open forums and discussions.
Partying: Every Friday and Saturday there will be numerous fraternity parties that will be themed and/or host a live band. Recently many fraternities have begun to enforce a somewhat-strict guest list policy due to recent problems with highschoolers/members/troublemakers of the town attempting to gain entry to these functions resulting in altercations with them and campus administration. These lists are not hard to get on by any means. If you introduce yourself to/know a brother, play on the same team or simply have a class with them; you are guaranteed to be on the list whether you go or not. Greeks basically run the party scene. Although you may run across a party at an apartment once in a while you a.) have to find a way to get there and back safely b.) it's a more limited number of people c.) the county police are fairly strict in keeping these to a minimum and often take action against the guests and owners. Parties on campus are regulated by Campus safety who are fairly understanding and lenient. I've heard the police have intervened with an on campus event...maybe 3 times in my 2 years here. If you want to drink you will most likely have to bring your own refreshments.
YOUR FRESHMAN YEAR: Chances are during your freshman year, you will want to transfer at some point, I know I did. At the end of each year almost a quarter of the freshman class will have left due to various reasons like the difficulty of the academics or, the big one, nothing to do on campus/not what college is about. Many of the transfers are legitimate reasons and are probably the right choice for the individual, however don't jump to conclusions. As a freshman the best advice I was given was to give it 2 years. I was a mouse-click away from transferring to tech and everyday I'm thankful I didn't. I'm much happier being 1 of 1150 in an ave. class of 12 than being 1 of 30,000 in a class half the size of RMC. I'm a name and a face at RMC, not a number with a GPA like at other institutions. If I feel the need, I can make a difference on campus. Again I reiterate, the best advice I was given, please...GIVE IT 2 YEARS!!.
I wish you the best of luck in your decisions. As much as I love Randolph-Macon I know it's because of the people here. If the people around you always express negative feelings about the school, than you will start thinking the same. In the end choose what is best for you now and what will be the best for your in the future. Good Luck!