Founded in 1833 at the same time as the city it resides in, Oberlin, Ohio’s Oberlin College is a rare combination of both “a respected liberal arts college and a world-class music conservatory of music on a sign campus”. Its legacy (a college that’s been around this long deserves that term) is one of “academic and music excellence” as well as a storied history of advancements in diversity, as it was not only the first to grant Bachelor degrees to women in a “coeducational” school, but has also historically been inclusive of African Americans in their programs.
Distance learners can look elsewhere than Oberlin, as President Nancy Dye feels that the “isolation” involved with distance learning retards the “social process” so essential to a creative learning environment. The school prides itself on policies and educational plans that show how “excellence in education can only occur in the context of relationships and in hands-on experiences that can’t be mediated by a computer”.
That being said, Oberlin College is one of the most selective, respected, and successful schools in the USA, with a long history of unique and fertile academic programs. The schools bring in a total enrollment of about 2800, with the majority (2200) in the College of Arts and Sciences pursuing traditional degrees, while another 600 are enrolled at the Music Conservatory, and the last bit are enrolled in the five year dual degree (BA/BM) program offered through the both the college and the conservatory (a dual major in both a traditional program and a music/fine arts program). There are a total of 47 majors offered in the Arts/Sciences, while the Conservatory offers music majors another 8 majors (with private study in 20 or so areas). There are Master’s programs in the Music school as well, with MMs in Historical Performance, Music Teaching, and MM variations like conducting, opera theater, and performance on historical musical instruments (had to include that last one).
For the Arts and Science crowd, enjoy an 11:1 student faculty ratio, while the Conservatory offers an even better 8:1, with most classes taught by PhD level professors. Though there is no online class aspect at Oberlin, there are links to learning tools for students, with the OhioLINK consortium, linking Oberlin to libraries in the state, as well as digital media, and allows students at Oberlin to borrow books from any library in the system. There’s also the Oberlin College Library, widely respected across the country for its 2.4 million books/journals/etc and its quality of holdings.
Some programs unique to Oberlin include an Experimental College, allowing students to teach limited classes for credit on subjects not covered by other faculty. There is also a Winter term in January that allows students to pick courses of study, projects, or work/service outside of the school (it must be completed three of the years students are enrolled).
Oberlin even has its own Museum (the Allen Memorial Art Museum), 500+ musical performances of varying styles on campus every year (some due to the college’s proximity to Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and is lauded praise for their green efforts and sustainability commitments.
Never satisfied, always striving, always searching to educate no matter who comes calling, Oberlin College has left a legacy of fine graduates, excellent education, an appreciation for the finer things in life, and a history of top achievement.