I was considering applying to Shimer for several years. At first it looked really great and it was one of my top choices. I'm no longer sure about applying though, becuase I'm worried about the move to chicago. Can anyone tell me anything about the move or the new campus? I would really apreciate any information about the changes.
Hey, recent alum here.
Nobody knows for sure what will happen with the move to Chicago, and asking any three Shimer folks will produce a minimum of four opinions, so take this for what you will:
1. I trust the people in charge to do right by the school. I am pretty sure that the essential things about the school -- the curriculum and the spirit of free inquiry -- will remain the same. The new location will change some things, but the [i]idea[/i] of Shimer is a tough one to kill...
2. IIT's campus is an odd bird -- the architecture is mostly modernist with some recent additions that are highly postmodernist, so it's not going to look much like the stereotypical image of a college campus. Some people think it's hideous. I think it's kind of beautiful, but I'm strongly biased in favor of urban environments vs. suburban/rural ones.
3. I don't know where you're from or what you like, but Chicago is a [i]great[/i] city. In the US, only New York and maaaaaybe San Francisco has a wider variety of easily accessible cultural amenities. I'm (a bit) nostalgic for my days in Waukegan, but at the same time I'm kind of jealous of the people who get to go to school in the big city.
Good luck, whatever you end up doing...
Hi. I'm an IIT student. We've heard fairly little about what's happening, but here's what I know:
-Shimer is moving to IIT's campus as of August 1. They plan to keep their school as close to the same as it was in Waukegan as possible - i.e. students can't join frats/sororities nor ROTC nor (I think) athletics. Their newly renovated space will also aim to have the same feel as the Waukegan campus, though it will, of course, be much different.
-The physical surroundings will most definitely change. Their new home is the first two floors of a four-story modernist building - not the first environment that one thinks of in conjuction with a liberal arts college. However, Shimer will now have access to IIT's resources, including its new student center and its cafeterias, its dorms (Shimer will have its own floor), its library, and its athletic center. Shimer, however, will still retain its own library and bookstore, and all the elements that make it so unique - huge lounges and classrooms centered upon octagonal tables.
-There will be cross-registration between classes in the two schools. Shimer circulated a list of electives IIT students can sign up for, and presumably Shimer did the same. For IIT students, it will be a unique (and challenging!) experience. For Shimer students, it will show them the contrast between relatively traditional scientific career-oriented academics and the much differently focused Shimerian way, and, presumably, will also be challenging because of that contrast.
-I go to IIT, so I obviously didn't hate the architecture enough to not come here. Over the years, it's grown on me. Due to the tall boxes enclosing grassy fields, it can even be peaceful in places despite the dense urban location. Some people, though, yes, hate it.
-The juxtaposition of engineers, physicists, architects, musicians, and bookish scholars will be create an interesting mixing bowl this fall. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing it. With a bit of luck, this might even create a more vibrant, interesting campus, and spur some interesting debates.
-I've also heard Shimer may get a fairly large hand in running the campus newspaper, together with IIT's new journalism program (because, lately, the paper's been pretty awful). That's just a rumor I've heard, though - not sure.
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