Back to Full Profile

Shimer College Reviews

58 reviews
All Categories
0
Overall my academic experience at Shimer has been wonderful. The classes are (for the most part) well designed with good reading lists. The main skill professors (or "facilitators" as professors are often called at Shimer) need at Shimer is the ability to moderate class discussion (since all classes are discussion based). Some professors/facilitators better at this then others. Some professors are very "active" in class often making their own points and try to steer the conversation in particular directions. Other professors are very passive only jumping in if there is active student conflict or a major need for factual clarification. Both models can work it often depends on what material your working with and what students your in class with.

Given the open discussion based nature of Shimer classes "class dynamics" are a major issue. After two semesters at Shimer I have not had a class in which the dynamics were so problematic they interfered with positive discussion and learning.
Most Shimer students go on to graduate or law school. Shimer students often get into very good graduate and law problems throughout the country (although most stay in the Chicago area). Shimer has an "automatic admission" deal with IIT-Kent School of Law and Vermont Law School. If you hit a certain GPA at Shimer you are guaranteed admission to these two law schools. IIT-Kent often gives very generous scholarship packages to Shimer students.
Shimer has been a great for me as a a somewhat unusual ex-home schooler. Almost everyone here has some kind of unusual backstory. Shimer is very unique microcosm of people with intellectual interests, a high degree of intellectual independence and oftentimes a history of difficulty fitting in in other communities. Shimer is obviously incredibly small. Which is both its best and worst feature. Best in that you will probably know the entire student body (or 90% of it), all the faculty and all the staff by your second semester. Everybody is on a first name basis with everyone else. You can always count on other students for support/help when needed. On the negative side the size can intrude a bit on student privacy and can amplify issues between students in the social/romantic department.
Start Your Review of Shimer College
Rate It!
I live off-campus now but on-campus housing is fine.
There are a few sororities & fraternities on campus. Shimer students are allowed to join but Shimer doesn't have its own Greek life ((other than reading copious amounts of Plato & Aristotle))
I came to Shimer because I literally couldn't sit through lectures. The fact that every class is a small, Socratic discussion and that the school is self-governed really set it apart from other colleges. I love the emphasis on community. I think that Shimer is uniquely challenging for that--it forces you to put in what you want out of it.
There are intramurals and a gym.
The professors are great! They're really willing to work with you on your papers. The workload is overwhelming if it's your first semester. I had to drop a class in order to keep up, and even then sometimes I didn't get all of the readings done, which is really important since participation is most of your grade. But if you don't manage to get it finished, you can either ask someone to summarize for you or you can let your professor know at the beginning of class so that they know you won't be participating much.
I like how small it is and how friendly and approachable the faculty is. I often wonder if I made a mistake though. The students are hard for me to get along with and the classwork (though interesting) doesn't seem to be of much help to my career choice. I hate how discriminatory and hypocritical the students are. We're encouraged to look at different viewpoints, but if you try to bring up an unpopular one, you're met with open ridicule and hostility from your classmates. Everything is about not offending people to the point of fearing to speak at all. On the other hand, I wore demon horns to school one day and that was perfectly acceptable. So basically, if you're afraid of bullying, just be a sheep.
The classroom is discussion based, so that's really cool. There's no lectures and everyone gets a voice since the biggest class is only 12 people. Participation is a huge part of your grade. Essays make up the rest of your grade. There's not really any finals, just writing week where you get to do a project of your choosing and that's really fun. The professors are very approachable for help with work or personal problems. The school is so small that you're on a first name basis with pretty much all the faculty. My biggest complaint about classes is that electives change every semester and don't come back around for awhile, so if you see something you're interested in you have to get it then or you may not get to take it at all.
I guess a lot of graduates go on to secondary schooling, but I've heard a lot of outsiders say that you can't do much with a Liberal Arts degree. I don't really know about career prospects, but I don't think it'll help me much with mine.
Coming from the country to the city, it's a fifty-fifty toss up. Most places are conveniently located (which is great), but there are a lot of dirty places and a ton of homeless people downtown. The area around the school seems to be pretty safe and clean, but I'd love to have more parks and forest preserves that were closer than a 30 min to an hour train ride away.
I've had a really hard time making friends. Everyone was welcoming, but I didn't really click with many people because of having a different background. The social scene isn't too friendly of rural kids. Everyone's super concerned about offending others, so conversation can be difficult. I've actually been verbally bullied in class because I had a different view than everyone else. If you're a vegan feminist minority, you'll be fine. I have a friend who had to drop classes because how bad he was discriminated against for being "rich white male." But if you actually talk to people one-on-one you can find people like me who disagree with the general public and are just too afraid to speak out.
I was able to get therapy fairly easy and the people are really nice.
I moved from Pennsylvania and had to find an apartment without seeing it and with very little money at that. Everything in the area was super expensive depending on the roommate situation, so I ended up thirty minutes away from the school. The housing that the school suggested was way out of my price range, and from what I saw of it, wasn't in a convenient location except for being by the school. Grocery stores and restaurants were too scattered. The actual houses didn't seem like bad places to live, and neighborhood was fairly quiet, but just too expensive and inconvenient.
The process itself wasn't too bad. Everyone was really helpful and understanding when I was having trouble getting my loan application to go through, but that didn't stop them from hitting me with late fees even though there was nothing more I could do.
The administration are very supportive and open-minded, they're willing to hear your part of the argument and want to help in whatever way they can.
Start Your Review of Shimer College
Rate It!
You'll definitely need a computer for the extensive paper writing you'll be doing which replace exams at Shimer.
Chicago is known for as the Windy City, and in the winter time, it gets even colder than Michigan, due to the high winds that stream from the lake. You may need to bundle up in heavy clothing, because sometimes it blows so hard, it's difficult to walk when it's against the wind.
The campus is really near Chinatown, so it's easy to go out for some authentic cuisine. I like the Chicago Cultural center, it puts on the International Chicago Film Festival where you get to watch free international films. The beach by the lake is nice to relax and sun yourself. Chicago has so much going on, you can find almost any niche you would want obscure or mainstream.
Back to Full Profile