Should I go to Colorado College? Confused about campus culture

Hi everyone. I was accepted to CC as a junior transfer, and am really giving the school some serious thought. I loved it when I visited, but am left wondering about a few things:

  1. block plan: what’s it actually like on a daily basis? On paper, I love the idea of being class every day, and taking only one class at a time…but In terms of class experience, and also the course load, I’m a bit confused. I know it’s a matter of personal choice, but as someone who has experienced the traditional 4 class load semester system and has no qualms about it, I’m confused about the actual experience/benefits of being on a block system. I understand that the stated benefits are closer class engagement(ie no time to slack off) and that it allows students and professors to be totally engaged in one subject. But that’s also sort of just marketing. Is the experience actually so? How much time should a student in the humanities(no labs) expect to spend daily on homework? Does anyone have any personal or anecdotal experience experience with the block system? And what about testing?

  2. what is the campus culture like? People were incredibly friendly when i visited(both on campus and in CS) but si that impression valid? Also how outdoorsy are people actually? I am a fairly avid skier, like the snow, and enjoy an easy(!) spring hike, but I don’t like camping and I am no avid outdoors-woman. I think about sustainability a whole lot, am passionate about the topics I care about(economic inequality, and cultural studies being the biggest ones) and have been plant based for the past 7 years…but I don’t think I am all that crunchy. I’m mostly easy going, but grew up with the conveniences and culture of east coast urban life. I know these words aren’t really indicative of much, but I’m trying to grasp whether I fit, and also decipher truth vs stereotype of CC students here.

  3. relating to that, what does an average weekend look like for students? I like to to travel, explore, and would be bringing a car if that helps. I also enjoy studying and writing. I like going to parties but I don’t actually party that much.

4)if anyone has any experience with transfer students as well, that would be super helpful! Ie, how difficult would it be for me to integrate myself, meet people, etc? And how hard is to register/class space?

The professor who wrote this article discusses college block plans from an academic perspective: The key for you would be to ignore the headline and then interpret the article through your understanding of your own learning style.

@merc81 thank you for sharing this article. He does bring up some interesting points regarding taking related courses at the same time, and being able to share knowledge from one in another. also think it’s valid that some lengthy material cannot be presented(or at least well) within three weeks. I’d be curious to see if there are any studies about retention in the block learning plan. I’m pretty sure CC teaches languages and lengthy literature within the three weeks. And also the matter of writing a senior thesis? I’d think that a thesis develops out of a long class, as with the help of a semester or year long thesis seminar.

I didn’t go to a block plan school, but did take summer school courses in 4 week blocks. It’s different, and while I think it works for some courses, it is really hard to read 4-5 books in just a few weeks and to write longer papers. But some people like it.

I’m not certain as to what type of retention might interest you, but CC does retain and graduate students within 4-years with a frequency similar to that of some other top-quality liberal arts colleges.

@merc81 i wasn’t clear, but I meant retention, as in memory retention. Implying that there might be a difference in how I store information if I learn it at a greater frequency in a shorter amount of time, Versus a longer period but less weekly frequency.

A CC parent explained to me that the language students actually met throughout the year to keep learning the language- not sure how it works

Right – based on context I should have inferred what you meant! On this topic, though, I had come across a study that examined cognitive development (in general, not specifically retention) in relation to curricular form. I believe it concluded that students who changed their academic orientation several times within the course of a day developed their overall cognitive abilities more strongly than students who focused on fewer academic areas for longer intervals of time. However, I believe the paper analyzed a group somewhere in the K-12 range. Compounding this uncertainty, I can’t recall enough specifics of the study to retrieve it for you with a link.

“A CC parent explained to me that the language students actually met throughout the year to keep learning the language- not sure how it works”

There are 1/4 credit adjunct classes that meet throughout the term, there are language tables, and language houses that offer events and other opportunities to practice.

Daughter just finished her freshman year. You sound to me like the perfect fit for CC in terms of your attitude and interests. I will say that there was more partying than she would have preferred. With D1, she was in Boston, so many options for fun off campus were readily available. With this daughter, Colorado Springs is a relatively small suburb, and there were lots of “dorm activities” which often involved more alcohol/mj than she would have preferred. She is hoping that this was freshman stuff, and will improve next year. In terms of the block program, this has been just as amazing as described for her courses. The professors put a tremendous amount of effort into planning a class that is active and engaging. In many cases, reading and writing is done outside, and class time is spent discussing and applying. With the professors only having a small number of students, tight knit relationships quickly develop and each group becomes a pretty cohesive unit. D1 and I seldom had this happen in our college experiences in a traditional college. She is an art and science double major (at least today), and LOVED the focus of staying in the studio all day for eighteen days, and then staying in the lab or doing science related stuff all day the next block. I asked her at one point how the difficulty level compared to high school, where she did IB and honors. She indicated that the number of hours studying were slightly lower (a relief after many 12 -16 hour days in high school) and there was less weekend work. She’s an effective reader and writer and generally a serious student, and she’s loved every class. One thing that I’ve noticed that might affect you as a humanities major is that she churns out writing more quickly and with somewhat less precision. Writing an essay in one day does not leave the time for polishing and rewriting that high school demanded. I think this is great preparation for employment or grad school, when you have to work much faster and get it right “the first time.”

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Hi! My daughter is transferring to CC as a sophomore in August…not a big partier either…would love to introduce to your daughter! But how?

To the best of my knowledge, there are only two colleges in the US which use the block plan. There must be a reason.

OP: You seem to be a match for Colorado College’s location & frequent long weekend breaks due to your interest in skiing & hiking.

Whether or not you are well suited for Colorado College’s academic schedule is, in my opinion, a matter of personal preference. If you simply want to experience taking one class per term, then consider attending a summer session at most any college or university.

Personally, I would worry that the block plan is too boring over a three or four year college experience. Dartmouth College’s trimester system in which students usually take 3 courses per term would be ideal.

my S3 is a sophomore who is having an awesome time (so much so that I told him he should get a summer job with Development). He has lots of friends, and an amazing advisor who has helped him create his own personal major (psychoanalysis and poetry–philosophy minor). He had one awful teacher for micro in which the average grade was C-- really for 6 people in the class. Lots lots of work, but also they play pretty hard as well…yes there is a Colorado culture (I’ll leave it at that…). As for retention of material, I think it is excellent so far for him…but he isn’t a science major…