Alicia Wooten ’17 and physics professor Scott Hyman share a laugh during her 2016 Honors Summer Research project.
Let’s face it. At most universities, you are a number. You are one person seated among dozens — or even hundreds — of students in every class you take. Sure, you may be able to create a meaningful connection with a professor within your four years. But why wait until your senior year to enjoy having a great relationship with a professor when you could immediately come into a college with a support system of faculty and staff?
When our admissions office says that Sweet Briar facilitates connections between faculty, staff and students that are long-lasting, it can be hard to believe. After all, professors are often said to be a cold, “no-funny-business” kind of company. But anyone who has had the opportunity to meet with a Sweet Briar faculty or staff member will tell you: Admissions knows what they’re talking about!
I have been to many home-cooked dinners hosted by Professor Laufenberg. I have had lunch with Professor Ashbrook and his son Sven — on multiple occasions. I have babysat and dog-walked for the director of residence life, Kerri Bond. I received multiple crockpot recipes from Professor Loboschefski after moving into an apartment and realizing I am not the best cook. I worked alongside Professor Loftus on planning and executing Relay for Life on campus last year. Marcia Thom-Kaley in the alumnae relations and development office gave me chocolate on multiple occasions and always greets me with a hug. I took the van certification course alongside Dean Kraft-Meyer, assistant dean Leslie Perkins and Professor Alexandrin in the education department.
Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence Carrie Brown hosts students at her campus home.
Long story short, one of my favorite things about Sweet Briar College is that I get to form meaningful, close connections with faculty and staff.
There are many advantages to forging these relationships. Seniors have a difficult time picking only a few professors to write their letters of recommendation for graduate school or serve as their references for job applications.
Having good relationships with your professors can also mean that the classes you take with them are much more satisfying. For example, I am not a math person. I was required to take Statistics for Behavioral Science for my major, and just knew I was going to have a rough semester. It quickly became one of my favorite experiences because Professor Loboschefski made learning the material fun.
Baylee Worth ’18 with history professor John Ashbrook and his son, Sven, at Opening Convocation 2015
Another advantage is that professors are always willing to help you with any problem you are facing, whether it’s related to their class or not. Many professors even give you their cell phone numbers to text them if you have questions about the homework!
This individualized educational approach is one of the many reasons Sweet Briar is such an amazing place to call home. There is nothing better than connecting with a scholar in your field and being mentored in a much more involved capacity.
Part of the decision you’ll have to make as a graduating high school senior is whether you would feel most comfortable in large classrooms, or if you would want to be in a small classroom in which roundtable discussions are the norm, and professors hold their students accountable for their performance. Sweet Briar is truly special because many students have a close connection with at least one professor on campus, often times more.
When making your decision on where you want to spend your four amazing undergraduate years, consider the level of involvement you want to have with your professors. If you are interested in the Sweet Briar community, come to an open house
, schedule a visit
, sit in on classes, meet with professors, and see for yourself what makes Sweet Briar truly magnificent!
Baylee Worth is a history and psychology double major and a former admissions ambassador. She was the orientation chairwoman this year and serves on the Student Government Association’s executive board as the non-academic judicial chairwoman, on the Inter-club Council board, is chairwoman of the Sweet PEAs, the president of BAM and a member of Aints ’n’ Asses.