Marine Biology at The Evergreen State College

Are you a passionately independent thinker? If so, The Professor has news that will pique your interest.

Here in Olympia, Washington, The Evergreen State College issues no grades and has no course-of-study requirements. It’s a place where community-minded, independent spirits excel.

Instead of majors, Evergreen has “area of emphasis.” Students choose a traditional area of study (such as psychology or history) or a tailor their own degrees. Examples of student-designed courses include Media and Culture, Social Justice, and Somatic and Consciousness Studies.

One popular area of emphasis is marine biodiversity, offered by the Biology and Life Sciences department. Students learn about marine life, the sea as a habitat, how organisms live in and adapt to their environments, oceanography, field sampling methods, statistics, laboratory techniques, and data analysis. They design, write, lead, and analyze research projects that last several semesters.

After studying marine biodiversity, graduates often become employed in laboratories, universities, industries, or with non-profits. Many pursue teaching certificates and become science teachers. Others go on to careers in medicine or law. Evergreen claims a high success rate in placing marine biology graduates in professional and graduate schools.

To earn a degree, students complete 180 quarter units, similar to the unit requirements at typical college. Here, however, they choose which classes they’d like to take.

At Evergreen there are no grades. Instead, academic progress is assessed via narrative evaluations. The reasoning behind narrative evaluations is that they are descriptive and reveal the thinking processes behind students’ work. For each class, professors write evaluations, and students write self-evaluations. If they get stuck on this sometimes daunting task, the Writing Center is ready to assist by breaking down the self-evaluation process into manageable steps.

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With so many decisions to make at Evergreen, students often consult the Career Development Center, which offers structured approaches to career planning. The center assists both students beginning their studies and those about to graduate. It holds weekly “Job Club” and “Resume Review” workshops.

Evergreen has a specific set of expectations for students and graduates. Among them: assume responsibility for your own work;

participate collaboratively and responsibly in society; master communication and listening skills; and think critically, creatively, and independently.

Several course titles reflect these campus community values: Consciousness Studies, Community Studies, and Outdoor Leadership, just to name a few. Also reflecting these values are facilities such as an organic farm, community garden, and community-run bike shop.

Olympia, Washington, Evergreen’s home city, is an hour from the Pacific Coast and within day-trip distance to Seattle, Portland, and Mount Rainier. When not in class, students can be found exploring nearby woods or Puget Sound, running the campus newspaper and radio station, taking yoga or tai chi classes, or scaling the on-campus rock climbing wall. They also might be found enjoying Olympia‘s film society, farmers market, or food co-op.

Evergreen is a public liberal arts college with about 4,000 undergrads. Admissions are rolling, and the acceptance rate is about 98 percent. It’s ranked 27th on the US News & World Report Best Colleges report and in the Princeton Review’s Best 378 Colleges.

True to its enthusiastically independent spirit, The Evergreen State College, whose sports teams are represented by Speedy the geoduck — an enormous clam native to the region — consistently ranks on “weirdest mascot” lists.

To learn more about The Evergreen State College University’s application requirements and deadlines for marine biodiversity and other areas of emphasis, please visit

Introverts and College: Survive and Thrive

Personality type is important to consider when deciding on the college or university that is right for you, especially if you tend toward being introverted. It’s worth it to really think about yourself as an actual student at a particular university or college – to imagine how your natural personality type would approach your studies and your interactions with other people: students and professors alike.

More about you

Being introverted does not necessarily imply you are shy. It does mean that you are likely to naturally turn your focus inwards and, therefore, exert a great deal of energy when you have to deal with large groups of people.  It’s important to think about what this means for your choice of college. For example, the thrill and excitement that often characterizes a large, sport’s loving university means that, in principle, students who are more extroverted (gain energy from social interaction-focus attention on outside world) might find this type of environment more stimulating. On the other hand, as an introvert, you may like the idea of a large, exciting student body, but be aware that to share in this excitement, you may be going against your natural way of preferring to retire to your inner world—to recharge your batteries.


Class size and professor/student interaction

Here’s something to think about: As an introvert, would you feel comfortable going up to your professor amidst the large crowd of students already waiting in line?  Would you be okay with not getting personalized feedback from your professor?  Consider that at a large university, your natural introverted need for depth and discussion cannot necessarily be met.  It could mean a year or two going by—before you make it into smaller classes and, by that time, you may have already grown personally frustrated with yourself and the school you have chosen. But keep in mind that you are in very good company. A third to a half of the American population leans toward introversion!

You can and will be successful in college! The world needs you, so go forth bravely and find the college environment that best meets your needs.

Resources and tools for the introvert

–      Here is a very practical look at how introverts can especially survive the beginning of their freshman year.

–      This USA Today article takes a closer look at the perceptions of an introvert in college.

–      Here’s an article about the loneliness and people problems introverts can experience at college.

–      Here is a shortened Meyers-Briggs assessment tool and snapshot of the 8 personality types.

–      A pithy and very helpful article about surviving and thriving in college as an introvert.

Sociology and Anthropology at University of Redlands

The Professor has landed in Redlands, California, a lush, temperate city of about 70,000, nestled between Southern California’s urban areas, ski-mountain destinations, and theme parks, all of which are close enough for a day trip or weekend getaway. In the midst of all this natural and cultural wonder, Redlands is a livable city of historic charm and exurban convenience. No wonder it’s nicknamed the Jewel of the Inland Empire.

With such a multitude of vantage points, Redlands seems a fitting place from which to embark on a course of study that aims to “understand humanity in all its social and cultural diversity.” Those are words from the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the University of Redlands, which confers majors or minors in “SOAN,” a degree combining sociology and anthropology. Students in the program learn to understand and analyze social structures, institutions, and processes. In an effort to encourage SOAN students to be responsible citizens, the department emphasizes developing a solid understanding of inequality and prejudice and urges students to challenge stereotypes.

Many SOAN majors become researchers or work with social scientists and urban planners. Others work in education, government, or business, often with a mission of solving social, economic, or environmental problems. SOAN graduates also typically pursue careers in social work, medicine, urban planning, or museums.

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The Professor found the views on Redlands’ picturesque, 160-acre campus quintessentially Californian. The historic Memorial Chapel, for instance, is framed by snow-capped mountains and fronted with a spacious lawn known at The Quad, shaded by oaks and bordered with palm trees. For more up-close glimpses of campus, visit the online, interactive Bulldog Cam, or watch a very inviting hip-hop campus-tour video.

The University of Redlands is a private school with about 4,500 students. It has an active athletics program and a busy schedule of music, theater, community, and special events. Students practice the university’s “learning by doing” philosophy in over 120 clubs and organizations, where they pursue sports, fine arts, culture, politics, social justice, or religion. Many students find lifelong friendships by joining the school’s active Greek organizations.

Several programs, departments, and projects at Redlands contribute to the university’s environmentalist efforts, characterized by LEED-certified buildings, a comprehensive recycling program, and a campus farm. And, consistent with its Earth-friendly focus, the university offers degree programs in environmental science, policy, and business.

Redlands ranks on US News & World Report Best Colleges and on the Forbes list of top colleges.

To learn more about University of Redlands application requirements and deadlines for Sociology/Anthropology and other programs, please visit

How to Prepare for Work after College

It’s about post college preparation so you can hit the ground running!

Economists maintain that a college degree is still the best way to land high-paying jobs, but lots of graduating high school students are questioning that when they hear about college graduates not being able to get a job, or finding a job that has nothing to do with their major. On top of that, add the dismal figures that reference student loan debt topping $1 trillion and graduates finding themselves with low-paying jobs that make them no better off than if they hadn’t gone to college.

Let’s take a closer look at how college students can successfully hit the ground running as soon as they graduate. We’ll examine the idea that just attending college may not be enough; students may need to make more focused decisions before entering college – to help put their degree to work right away.

Have a Plan
It used to be OK to head off to college and figure out a degree later. According to, 80% of students entering college hadn’t picked a major and 50% will change their major while in college. But the combination of rising college tuition and students spending more time in college to get those degrees is posing a problem. Matter of fact, Harvard economist Richard Freeman advises that students who are undecided about their future plans find a job after high school until they decide what they want to study—instead of heading to college without a clear plan.


Don’t Follow Your Passion?

Get a job doing what you love. We’ve all heard that mantra. However, a new school of thought espouses the idea that students not follow their passions, because most of our passions don’t necessarily translate into successful careers. Instead, the idea is to follow our effort. Students, even in high school, can focus in on how they spend the majority of their free time. It’s the idea that whatever you spend the most time doing—may be your perfect career. When we spend time with something, we gain a lot of skill which makes us an expert in that field and being an expert translates to career success.

Look at Barriers to Entry
Pursuing a profession that requires a specialized degree creates a barrier to entry—and this can be an advantage. When a student pursues medicine, education, law or accounting, for example, those fields require a degree in order to gain certification to apply for those jobs. Other careers, like the arts and many business roles, have collegiate degree programs, but these degrees are not a requirement to work in those particular jobs, increasing the number of eligible job candidates. More people applying for fewer jobs can automatically lower the pay.

Check out the BLS
The Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ website has detailed information about most career paths including average salary and the amount of people needed in those careers in the future. If you’re considering more than one degree path, choose one that will have a large need for workers in the future. Fields that have a saturated market not only make it harder to find a job, but the salary may also go down due to the oversupply of workers willing to work for less.

The Bottom Line

Remember, the sooner you get out of college, the sooner you will earn money instead of building up more debt.

Architecture at Woodbury University

The Professor is starry-eyed in Los Angeles, and it’s not just because of the Hollywood glamor. This pulsing conglomerate of dozens of cities and suburbs is characterized by every style of food, fashion, art, and music The Professor can imagine. And the region is a veritable 35,000-square-mile museum of architectural styles.

Drive around the Southland and you’ll see building styles such as Folk Victorian, Beaux Arts, Craftsman, Cottage, Mission Revival, Neoclassical, Spanish Colonial, Bungalow, Egyptian Revival, English and Tudor Revival, Art Deco, Modern, Contemporary, Postwar, Ranch, and many more. Not to mention styles with eclectic names such as Dingbat and Googie, and buildings shaped like a donut, a hot dog, or a gleaming silver abstraction.

In such a stylistically diverse urban area, it seems fitting that students in Woodbury University’s Bachelor of Architecture program learn about architecture from all angles. They study architectural practice, technique, theory, technology, and policy. As explained on the School of Architecture‘s web site, “Graduates don’t just learn to design buildings. They learn to effect positive change in the built environment, to tackle theoretical debates, and to take on architecture as a critical practice.”10.2014_WoodburySchoolofArchitecture

Woodbury has two campuses: a grassy oasis replete with palm trees in Burbank, and an urban warehouse in San Diego‘s Barrio Logan district. At both locations, there’s a strong emphasis on leadership and creativity.

The architecture degree program is rigorous, requiring 160 semester hours over five years, as well as 300 hours of work experience.  Woodbury’s architecture students are expected to produce innovative, high-quality models, prototypes, and designs. To help make this possible, each campus has digital fabrication laboratory outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, CNC mills, and laser cutters. Facilities also include a library of building materials, the WUHO gallery, and wood and metal shops.

While Southern California is indeed rich in visual resources, Woodbury students also know there is a vibrant world to explore. With that in mind, the university offers semester-long study-away programs in Buenos Aires and Rome; summer programs in Spain, Germany, China, India, Tahiti, Latin America, and the American Southwest; and exchange programs with South Korea and Germany.

The Career Development & Alumni Center offers career planning and job-finding assistance for students and graduates, who often place in design competitions and scholarship awards, go on to elite graduate schools, and work in all areas of architecture, planning, and design.

Woodbury admits about 75% of applicants, has about 1,500 students, and its 10-to-1 student-faculty ratio allows for a lot of individualized attention. Incoming architecture students must submit portfolios and are expected to be prepared for college algebra and college-level writing courses. Woodbury has several academic and cultural clubs, as well as fraternities and sororities, but does not have a sports program.

The university offers 16 additional undergraduate programs in fields such as business, media, design, and interdisciplinary studies. Woodbury ranked 48th on US News & World Report‘s Best Colleges list.

To learn more about Woodbury University’s application requirements and deadlines for architecture and other programs, please visit

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