Beloit - party culture, intellectual culture, and academics...

Hi there. It’s decision time and there is confusion around here.

DD is thinking Beloit. I wasn’t thrilled with our visit. Some of the kids seem bright and engaged. Some seemed like they just didn’t care. The President is disturbing.

However, she really liked it.

She is a quiet girl. Wants an intellectual vibe. Doesn’t party.

She said the students told her that the substance-free dorm is not substance free. Not surprising, I guess.

Does anyone have a student there with first-hand knowledge?

She would like to participate in theatre and dance as extracurriculars.

She has no major in mind, except she likes creative writing.

And do kids get jobs? Most seniors I talked to had nothing lined up.

Thanks!

My D is recent graduate. I would be glad to chat.

In terms of jobs, the kids I know are all either working or going to grad school.

My D wasn’t a partier and it wasn’t an issue. I think her dorm freshman year was substance free and for the most part it was.

Several of her friends were involved in theater as an EC and it worked well for them.

In terms of academics, again based on my experience, the vast majority of students are bright and engaged.

What did you find disturbing and President Bierman? He has done a great job fundraising and getting the Powerplant project started.

Message me if you have more questions

Thank you for reaching out! I’m glad to hear your daughter had a great experience! The place resonated with my daughter from the first moment. I really have never heard anything but great things about the school, so I appreciate your confirmation. Re: the president. His delivery is just so very different than I would expect from a President (I appreciated the humor, though). Other parents around me were shocked, too.

@lisabees My daughter is also about to put a deposit down on Beloit. We visited back in October and she loved it. We were hoping to get another visit in before depositing but it doesn’t look like our schedule will allow it.

She is also a quiet, non-partying theatre geek with an undecided major. Her idea of a good time is binge-watching Netflix or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

@jmnva06 I would also love to hear about your D’s experience at Beloit.

@jmnva06 Me too! I have a theater son, I dropped him off for admitted students weekend and picked up on Monday. Work schedule didn’t allow me to stay (peak of craziness for the type of business I’m in) and I’ve read student reviews via Niche, but would love a parent perspective. My kid is very unique (which is great for stage) and he has intensity and with a dollop of non-conformity, which is why I think it may be a good fit. My concern is the lack of public transportation, we live just outside of Chicago and are used to a good public transit system. One other option, Knox, at least has a train to Chicago.

Jobs just are not out there, no matter where they go to school and for the vast majority no matter what their major is. When my oldest graduated from a highly selective, expensive school, parents were walking around at graduation asking, does you kid have a job. The only ones who had a job were the handful of accounting majors. Mine had applied to grad schools and got a free ride offer. Six weeks after graduating grad school she got a job. The pay isn’t great but the perks help make up for it since they pay public transportation pass costs on a monthly basis. She has been looking for another job for almost 10 years now but there is nothing out there or nothing in an area where she could afford to live and still be able to eat. Chicago burbs are not cheap.

Youngest graduated with a degree in the ed field. Top school in the state for her field, honors college, highest honors scholar program and with honors. Both kids had awards and enough honors cords to hang themselves when they graduated. At her first job interview she was asked why she should be hired over the other 800 applicants. Jobs have been cut to part time so no one can afford to move and live on a part time salary. Jobs are in such an isolated area that there is no where to live without buy a house but the job could be gone at the end of the year so your stuck with a house to try and sell. One of her favorites was the school in one town, the gas station in another town and housing in yet a third town. She has at least been able to get jobs in the ed field, just not her field. Her friends have seen the same thing. The jobs are just not there. IT jobs are no longer a safety area either. One major employer here just told 400 IT employees that they can apply to transfer to one of their out of state hubs or take the severance package. We know of a Northwestern graduate with a mathematics field degree who has been a checker at a grocery store and is currently a checker at a hardware store. The only ones who have been successful in getting a decent paying job in or out of their field haven’t done it on their own. All have had clout with the company and family members pulling a lot of strings to get them in.

Jobs are just not there and I have seen no signs of it getting any better in the near future.

Public transporation within Beloit is pretty bad. There is a bus system but my D never used it. The college does run shuttles to Walmart during the week.

Transportation to Chicago or Madison is super easy though. The Van Galder bus has routes to OHare and Midway. At the start/end of breaks the college runs shuttles to the bus stop which is just off I-90. At other times, it is usually easy to get a ride from someone.

The Beloit Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (BSFFA) is one of the largest organizations on campus and runs all sorts of games, so I’m sure finding a D&D game to play in would be easy.

BSFFA also has their own special interest housing that students can live in after their 1st term.

I don’t buy into the jobs aren’t out there. Me oldest graduated at the worse unemployment in decades during the height of the big bust and he found a job that made sense with his degree. I would have bought into that whine from recent graduates then but not now…not at all.

On my daughter’s experience-- When we visited she fell in love hard, It just felt like the right place to her because it was so welcoming.

She was an Education and Sociology double major looking to get certified to teach elementary school. Her social life was a lot of hanging out in communal spaces and watching net-flix with other folks or playing video games.

PM with any specific questions.

“Me oldest graduated at the worse unemployment in decades during the height of the big bust and he found a job that made sense with his degree.” How nice for your son. You can’t say that his experience was universal or the mode or applies to today’s market. The fact of the matter is, there are no “safe” degrees anymore. A shortage today doesn’t always translate to a shortage in four years at graduation. When Fortune 500 companies are laying off thousands of STEM employees, STEM isn’t a guarantee like it was a decade ago. Companies are going under left and right and there’s no real job security. When companies hold interviews for job positions that don’t exist, it’s taking longer for grads to find jobs. Employers advertise a position as one thing, then tell you it’s part time when you interview. When people lost their retirement funds in the crash, that led to people staying in their jobs past typical retirement age, which led to fewer openings for young workers today. Growth in outsourcing jobs shrinks the market here. That’s not whining, that’s facts. A college degree with decent grades is no longer a ticket to a livable job.

While I’d love for my kids to get a great job out of college, I’ve evolved a bit on my thinking of college. In high school, my kids had very little flexibility to explore (our high school offered so much) it was all about filling the requirements to get into college. Rigor. AP. Counting service hours. (my son did some service, and refused to submit the hours to the school) So while my son was very heavily into theater, there was just so much he couldn’t try. I like the idea of allowing him to just try things that interest him. I also believe finding people that become life long friends is important as well. There’s a lot of development that occurs between 18-22. now, could that self discovery occur without the debt of college? Sure, it’s just a very different experience. now, I certainly don’t want to pay for a party either, just some middle ground I guess. All good discussions to be having right now.

D had Beloit as an excellent option and visited. She was turned off after staying the night with (literally) the feminist collective who were very unhappy with the president. I felt sort of bad for the admissions people. They placed D with exactly the right students, but I’m not sure the young women had enough perspective to compare their president to the average University prez (In my relatively extensive experience, they are often jerks.) D had other good options so I didn’t push back. In retrospect, maybe I should have. Beloit was lovely and an excellent deal for us. I feel like she would have settled in there nicely. Transportation and town not optimal of course, but probably no worse than South Hadley, MA where she accepted.

@GloriaVaughn, can you share what years your students graduated? There is tons of evidence that the economic conditions at the time of graduation can have a lasting impact on employment. I lucked out and was in college/grad school from 1981-1986 and rode out high unemployment. S graduated with a BS in Neuroscience (not super marketable) in 2016. It took a little while and some barista work, but he has landed nicely and is on track. D20 is in an even more squishy field so I really hope the economy doesn’t tank in the next two years!

@PNWedwonk oldest in 2009 (BA) 2012 (MA) and youngest in 2014. Neither has public speaking issues and youngest did theater and mock trial so speaking and thinking on her feet isn’t an issue. Youngest has had three job interviews that changed from full time (as advertized) to part time during the interview. One even expected her to work some nights and weekends for no pay (no the additional expected time was not added into the salary). So extra hours outside of the regular contracted salary without a stipend to cover it.

Ah, those were terrible years to go into the work force! I have read many articles about this. I’ll link to one, but I know i have read better ones. Timing is a real issue. The students have all of he same skills as those who graduated a few years earlier or later but they pay a long term price because of the timing. I am worried that current federal policies are driving us towards another recession and that many of our kids will feel the impact for their entire professional lives. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/12/great-recession-still-with-us/547268/

My state has only recovered 1/10 of the manufacturing jobs that it had lost 10 years ago. In ydd’s field all except for one major city, pay 16% of the salary into state pension and social security but no quarters credit for social security and you can’t get ss unless your disabled. So in order to get ss you have to work a second job for the quarters. As my sister learned when she went to get ss, her state job which didn’t qualify for ss quarter, nor did she pay in at that time, her state pension was deducted from ss (ss law says no double dipping even though this wasn’t double dipping). If ydd did pay into both and work a second job her ss would be reduced by state pension (if there is anything left). She would only get a fraction of what she paid into ss. At least the field related jobs that she has had pay into ss and count as quarters but not into state pension.

@PNWedwonk My son has narrowed down the schools a bit, and most are “activist” schools. I learn much by reading the school newspapers. (Tangent - our family was really amused by an article in the Beloit paper about the elimination of warm cookie Wednesday. A quote from a student “I’d don’t want to freakin’ microwave my cookie”, we got a good chuckle over that) Young activists will find a way to find something to improve, so complaints about the college are expected by me, whether its the President, or the cafeteria. It’s interesting to learn the where that activist energy is going, and learn about the governing process in the student to settle issues. I think the comment on employment and timing is important, that it’s not necessarily the college choice that is the main factor in hiring. And yes, corporate america is horrible with hiring part time with no benefits while they sit on historical amounts of cash - that is a separate post outside of Beloit College. With the cost of college being so high, I understand why parents are concerned about landing that first job straight away.

@DoinResearch. My daughter will be a junior transfer from another small liberal arts school. She is in theater but changing her focus. Beloit is one of the only schools that she can make her major the way she wants it. She got a large scholarship also… We live in Chicago and I like the idea that she can get to either airport or union Station downtown by bus and we will pick her up(or take the “El” home . It’s not a long trip either. They can also get a “student” car if needed for the day etc She found the kids /staff highly intellectual. She was considering Knox also years ago. There is a cool /"funky vibe at Beloit also. Kids seem to be themselves and comfortable.

@lisabees I have a current junior at Beloit who chose the substance free dorm as a freshman. The dorm is substance free, the kid’s aren’t necessarily outside the dorm, but at least there’s no barfing in the hallways, etc. After her first semester she moved to SPIEL (substance free programming interest house) and where she has stayed. She has had the opportunity to hold several board positions in SPIEL, so if you D is interested in leadership positions, there is a path within the house. The best route is to move out of 609 and two buildings over either after first semester or for sophomore year, depending on how well she gets along with her roommate. Your D would need to actively participate in SPIEL before she would be able to move into the “house.”

During her freshman year, my D came home with blue hair, which she kept for about a year. It’s pretty common in a lot of places, but it’s particularly popular at Beloit. But, it’s a phase.

As for Scotty B (that’s what the kids call him), we love him even with his unique presentation style. He’s doing good things for the college.

The creative writing program at Beloit is a good program. They bring in well-known authors to teach a spring semester course and present the Mackey Chair program each year (https://www.beloit.edu/english/mackey/). Also, my D has spoken highly of the TDMS performances she’s been to.

PM me if you want more clarification.