College review by Lisa Bleich
Oberlin is a music lovers dream. As we walked into the new music building a student randomly broke out into song. A world-class viola played in the background while we congregated into the recording studio. As we were leaving to go on tour, a trio of bases was jamming in the atrium. Oberlin has 2400 students in their liberal arts college, 600 students in their world-renowned music conservatory and about 30-40 kids in a five-year joint degree that provides a BA and BA of music from both colleges. Students benefit from having so many musically inclined people in one place from TGIF lawn parties with students jamming on the lawn to the opportunity to attend one of the 550 concerts performed in a given school year.
Oberlin students are quirky, artsy, creative, green, crunchy, passionate, flexible thinkers, and friendly. Students all have “weird obsessions” as one of the students at dinner commented. He was a Narrative Arts major, one that he created to combine his love of songwriting, music, story-telling and oral communication. Another student created his own major of jazz entrepreneurship, a dual degree between the conservatory and the Creativity and Leadership department. His goal was to open up his own music venue in Oberlin. He even received a $30,000 grant as seed money to get him started when he graduates. However, many students also focus on the sciences and Oberlin has outstanding departments to support them. Our student panel was extremely animated and at times, the students overlapped in their enthusiasm to share their ideas.
The Buildings are as eclectic and disjointed as the people, ranging from modern to traditional to funky. In speaking with the future Dean of Student Affairs, he said that Oberlin has invested in several building projects during the economic down turn because they were able to build at a good price. That is reflected in an amazing state-of –the art science quad, a modern, new music building, and a sustainable new freshman dorm. However, there are also parts of campus that look tired and quite run down.
There is a central green quad area that runs the length of the campus and connects the campus to downtown Oberlin, which has a collection of independent restaurants, shops and coffee houses. Students say they use the town a lot and really enjoy the close connection with town. Students live on campus freshman year and after sophomore year have the option to live in one of the many themed housing options or student coop where students collectively cook in a house. There are also numerous off campus apartments and houses that students can choose to live in.
Oberlin has a strong commitment to sustainability and to that end some of the science students created a device that measures the energy consumption per building. Students have contests to see who can use the lowest amount of energy. This device has been so popular, that these students developed a company to sell these devises to other institutions.
Oberlin is a unique environment for highly creative, quirky, passionate students who love music and enjoy stimulating conversations with like-minded individuals. Oberlin is also a great place for science students who have a passion for the creative side as well.
College of Arts & Sciences Admissions
101 N. Professor Street
Oberlin, OH 44074
800-622-6243 or 440-775-8411
Conservatory of Music Admissions
39 W. College St.
Oberlin, OH 44074
phone: (440) 775-8413