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2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

All students major in some form of Engineering, as well as completing a series of classes on either a Humanities topic or in Entrepreneurship. A reasonable number of math and science classes are required as well. Classes are generally small, from as few as 2-3 people up to around 30. Professors are highly accessible, and most are engaged in research projects with students. Students are generally very willing to help each other, and professors typically avoid grading on forced curves or other comparison methods, which helps to minimize the competitiveness of the students. Study abroad is available and promoted.

Quality of Life

The dorms are all relatively new and well furnished. The cost of living is slightly high, particularly the dining plan, but that's a function of the small student body. The neighborhood and community relations/safety are all excellent, and most students are very happy with the dorms.

Admissions

Two unique essays plus a final round of cuts following a weekend of interviews and team-based activities at the college.

Graduation Year

2010

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

The Olin curriculum is extremely labor-intensive but well worth it for the education you receive. It is a projects-based curriculum designed to help students integrate theory and practice. You don't learn equations for the sake of equations. You learn equations for how they help you design and build. Class sizes are small, since the school is only about 300 students. Professors are extremely accessible, and most are on a first name basis with the students. Students are not competitive with each other, but rather very eager to help each other and work together to complete assignments, which is encouraged.

Quality of Life

All students live on campus. The dorms are new and very modern. The cost of living is a little high. The dining hall food is delicious, and the staff is wonderful. Needham is a safe and pleasant town. The only difficulty is getting in and out of Boston without a car, if that is important to you.

Admissions

The best part of Olin's admission process is the Candidate Weekend, where the top applicants are invited to the school for the weekend to see if Olin is a good fit for them and if they are a good fit for Olin. You participate in group activities and individual interviews. It is a great way for mutual evaluation. Many applications are entirely online today, but Olin's was one of the first all online applications that I know of. Of course, Olin's partial tuition scholarship for all admitted students makes it very attractive.

Graduation Year

2006

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

I am no longer aware of the general requirements.

Quality of Life

Quality of life was wonderful. The student life group paid close attention and provided solutions to any issues.

Admissions

The admission process did (and still does) require both a paper application and an in-person interview process. The in-person process requires the presence of a candidate (candidate = applicant who has passed the first cut and made it to the weekend) at Olin to interview both as a member of a team and as an individual. This extremely individualized focus helps to ensure that the individuals attending Olin are able to not just survive, but also thrive in the type of education provided.

Graduation Year

2006

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

Collaborative, hands-on group projects focused on understanding and exploring the fundamental principles behind Engineering and Engineering Design

Quality of Life

Amazing. It's like home.

Admissions

Standard form app, with two unique essays. After that, Admissions selects the top applicants to all come back to the campus for interviews and group exercises in a Candidate's Weekend, after which final admission decisions are made.

Graduation Year

2006

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

Olin has a strong set of core requirements for their degrees, but also allows for an exceptional degree of flexibility if you decide to design your own concentration withing the general engineering degree. The curriculum also allows you to focus on areas of interest alongside or within your major. Class sizes are small. I had several that had fewer than 20 and even a couple under 10 students. The school is not competitive at all, people mainly compete against themselves and their own personal standards.

You can go anywhere in the world with the study abroad program and the school has partner schools as well that make it even easier if you so choose. I studied abroad in Cairo, Egypt and got full credit for the courses I took regardless of the fact that no one had ever been there before.

Professors all have offices in one building and can often be found there and most are very responsive to email. Your academic adviser can always make time to see you since they have few advising students and you can always change your adviser to find a better fit.

Quality of Life

The housing is palatial compared to just about any other school's dorms. The campus is absolutely safe 24/7. You have the opportunity to select a book for the library through the community collection program.

Graduation Year

2009

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

Olin is an incredible school. The academics are mostly project based, which means students spend less time studying and more time working (and learning about) things they are interested in. There is also a do-learn mentality, meaning professors have students try things before they learn how to do them exactly, then they learn from their mistakes and learn better when the material is taught. In addition, the faculty are really inspiring, creative, wonderful people. They are literally on a first-name basis with all the students, and they are super open to feedback (Olin has a culture of change--it is always trying to improve its courses). Class size is generally tiny--you'll have plenty of time to talk with faculty because there aren't many other students with you. Huge lectures are almost non-existent. It's really common to work in groups at Olin--a valuable life skill--which keeps things interesting and makes school work seem less lonely. At Olin, the workload is pretty intense. People are working every day of the week late into the night. Olin is a super-competitive school--on par or above the ivy's and similar in caliber to engineering schools such as MIT, Stanford, and Harvey Mudd.

Quality of Life

I have a great dorm room (very high 20 foot ceiling, extremely spacious, and really nice furniture. The lounges in the dorm are fantastic and a great place to socialize. The library is tiny, but it is a nice place to work and the library culture is very relaxed--you can walk around without shoes, eat food, and there are no late fees on books. The library, and all the other facilities on campus are open 24/7 to all students. Everyone is bound by an honor code, and the campus is so small (less than 350 students) that it is extremely safe (the safest place I've ever been in fact). People are trusting and helpful of each other. Every students knows every other student by name, which makes it comfortable to leave personal belongings out. Nothing is ever stolen. The first thing people generally do with their dorm rooms is disable the lock on their door. Honestly, when I graduate and move into the real world I'm going to be in big trouble because I'll probably end up being too trusting of others and getting robbed or something--I'm just so used to having a perfectly safe campus!

Admissions

Olin has a special weekend for candidates during which they hang out, have fun, and do activities with other candidates and Olin students. This helps the candidates decide whether or not they wish to attend Olin, and it also helps the college decided which candidates are best suited for us. The college admits a certain percentage of these candidates based on interviews and recommendations from other students.

Level

1

Graduation Year

2014

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

The class sizes tend to be small and the faculty are highly accessible. There are usually opportunities to do research on campus, but the number of projects available are usually few. The curriculum is project-based and there is a lot of team work.

Admissions

Some aspects of the admission process are fairly standard. A student must take SATs, write essays, fill out a general application and provide letters of recommendation. One of the unique features of the Olin admission process is the Candidate Weekend when a select number of applicants are invited to campus for a weekend-long experience. During this time, students take part in team building activities, interviews and get to know more about Olin. All admitted students are currently offered a half-tuition scholarship and additional financial aid is available. Those students placed on the wait list, have the option of taking a year off and attending Olin the following year.

Graduation Year

2006

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

Few general requirements which are unrelated to the major. Small class sizes (some as small as ~5). High contact with faculty. Innovative teaching style, limited lectures. Many research opportunities for students of all years. Students work collaboratively on projects in most classes. Limited busywork.

Quality of Life

Excellent housing and facilities. Food good, used to be better. Honor code means virtually no crime whatsoever. Students work hard but are overall very happy. Campus facilities very open to students.

Admissions

Unique application including essays, then visits and interviews to determine final admission. Originally full-scholarship, now half-scholarship for all students. Candidates are brought to the school for a weekend to experience the school and for final selections to be made.

Level

2

Graduation Year

2013

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

Small class sizes for the most part with incredible faculty access. The school's core focuses on leadership, engineering, and entrepreneurship, offering a few degrees in just engineering. Heavy cross-registration opportunities at prestigious liberal arts schools. Students become part of an advising family generally focused in their area of interest. School is competitive and grading is fair, but the focus is on project-based work and achieving as a team. Outstanding faculty of note (example - previous head of NASA Goddard Flight Center). Study abroad as flexible as possible - pretty much any justifiable program is allowed. Heavy workload and expectation to contribute across the board to the renaissance program, pursuing personal interests.

Quality of Life

Campus dorms like palaces, incredible and inspiring facilities. Safe and friendly local towns, great relationship with school. High workload and activity level contribute to high stress, but student network is vastly supportive of itself.

Admissions

Complex and dynamic Candidates Weekend selection process, by which the best applicants on paper are invited to attend. Once there, they meet current faculty, students, and staff (and interview with a mix of each of these), participate in competitive engineering and creative activities and design projects, share information about themselves, and learn about school culture. Essay questions are also very pertinent and grounded.

Graduation Year

2006

2011VERIFIED STUDENT
Academics

We're all engineering majors, but that really doesn't describe us. We have an amazingly diverse student body especially relating to individual talents and interests. Classes are generally very hands-on, project-based, and team-based. The professors generally go by their first name and regularly hang out with students in the dining hall to have informal conversations over lunch.

Quality of Life

At the end of my freshman year, I know 95% of the students by name. We're really close and we look out for each other. it's almost like a big family.

Admissions

We use the CommonApp with two supplement essays. Out of more than 1000 applicants, the best ~200 are selected and brought to the campus for a weekend. This "candidates weekend" includes activities for fun and for evaluation. Once you get to candidates weekend, all of the candidates can handle the academics, it's now a matter of fit. You get a good idea of what the college is like and we get an idea of what you're like.

Level

1

Graduation Year

2014

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