Frequently Asked Questions
How big are the classes at Berea College?
The student-to-faculty ratio is currently 10 to 1, and the typical average class size is 10 – 15 students per class. Faculty usually learn student names within the first few weeks of class.
What are the classes like?
Classes are usually lecture/discussion courses or seminar courses. Several majors, minors, and programs include classes that offer hands-on experience, such as work in photography, use of science laboratories, student-teaching in local schools, and use of manufacturing, agriculture, and other technical equipment.
Do students have the opportunity to talk with professors outside of class?
Every professor at Berea College arranges office hours for open consultation with students. These hours are set up during times when faculty are not teaching a course so that students can come to them for guidance or assistance. If a student cannot meet during a professor’s set office hours, typically the professor will work with the student to set up a time that is more convenient.
Do teaching assistants ever teach classes in place of real professors?
No. All classes at Berea College are taught by members of the faculty.
When do students have to decide on a choice of major? Can students pursue an independent major?
Most students at Berea must declare a major when they have accumulated 15 course credits. Typically, this will be by the end of the sophomore year. Declaring a major is usually done with help from an academic adviser. Certain majors may require students to begin coursework as early as the first year of enrollment (including Art, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Elementary and Middle School Education, Engineering, Foreign Languages, Math, Music, Nursing, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Med, and Pre-Vet).
Designing your own major is possible through our Independent Major program. Independent Majors work with their academic adviser and the Office of Academic Services to develop an appropriate plan of study. Past independent majors have included work in the areas of Computer Science and Robotics, Peace and Justice Studies, and Asian Studies, to name just a few.
Is it possible to receive credit for courses taken at other colleges? AP? CLEP?
Yes. Credit through all of these programs is possible. For transfer credit, you must provide us with an official transcript sent directly from the college(s) you attended. Keep in mind, though, that some classes may not transfer. You can consult with the Office of Academic Services to confirm whether or not the college you are transferring from is accredited and whether or not the classes are transferable.
For AP credit, you must earn at least a 3 on the AP exam.
If students need help with coursework, where can they go?
We offer several ways you can get the help you need. The first people you can seek assistance from are your course instructor and/or Teaching Associate (TA). Faculty have office hours to assist you and TA’s hold evening study groups. We also have a Learning Center. Whether you need help with a paper, a presentation, or homework, the Learning Center offers assistance to any student for any course. Math labs, language labs, and tutors also provide support for students to meet academic challenges.
What are convocations?
Convocations are an important part of the general education program at Berea College. These events bring on campus notable speakers, scholars, performers, and programs on a variety of subjects to enhance the cultural, intellectual, aesthetic, and religious dimensions of campus life. Convocations offer information-insights on important topics likely to be part of class discussions. Every student is required to attend seven convocations per semester for which one quarter credit may be earned.
Don’t Berea College students have to work? What’s that all about?
Yes, every Berea student is required to work 10-15 hours per week in one of the 140 different labor departments across campus. Your labor position is chosen for you your first year, but after that you can interview with other departments if you want to work in a different position. While some portion of student labor is used to assist with the 4-year tuition scholarship, students can earn $110-$300 a month to help pay for books, room, board, and personal expenses.
After graduation what help is there for job placement? Graduate school study?
Berea’s Office of Career Development provides a variety of services to assist students with professional development. Some of these services include helping secure campus jobs, coordination of job interviews and career fairs, assistance with preparing a résumé, and identification of internship opportunities. The College also provides financial assistance for graduate application fees and research into schools and programs.
How large is Berea’s student body?
Berea College currently enrolls approximately 1550 undergraduate students.
What is the retention rate?
Our freshman-to-sophomore retention rate, which is the percentage of first-year students who return for a second year, was most recently 83%. For African American students, freshman-to-sophomore retention was also 83%.
How much diversity is there at Berea?
Berea College strives to create a community of people from various backgrounds and cultures. About a third of the students you meet at Berea are members of an ethnic minority group, about 18% are African-American, and about 8% are international. By working, learning, and living with people with differences, students develop skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively in our diverse society.
What is the ratio of men to women?
Approximately 45% of Berea’s students are male and 55% are female.
Where do students study?
There are many study areas around campus. Most residence halls have a large study lounge or lobby for students. Hutchins Library offers quiet individual and group study rooms. For those night owls that study late at night, the Woods-Penniman Building is open 24 hours a day.
Where do students eat? Is there a meal plan?
There are two main areas on campus that provide food for students. First, there’s Berea Dining Services, which is located on the first floor of the Alumni Building. It provides breakfast, lunch and dinner for all Berea students. The other option for students is the Crossroads Café, located in the Woods-Penniman Building, which makes food available outside of the normal Dining Services hours. The Café offers sandwiches, milkshakes, Starbucks coffee, and other snacks that are not normally offered at Dining Services. Berea offers two main meal options: the 21-meal plan (three meals a day, seven days a week), plus 50 Berea Bucks; and the 14-meal plan (two meals a day, seven days a week), with 100 Berea Bucks. Berea Bucks can be used in place of cash at the Crossroads Cafe.
Where do students hang out on campus? Off Campus?
There are several places on and off campus where students hang out. The Woods-Penniman Commons is a popular gathering place as are the recreational lounges in each of the residence halls. Often referred to as “loud” lounges, these friendly hangouts are equipped with large-screen TVs with cable access, game tables, and snack machines.
The Corner Pocket, the College’s student game room, provides for casual entertainment in the form of pool tables, ping-pong, foosball, and air hockey, as well as sponosoring several tournaments and championships throughout the school year.The Campus Activities Office also sponsors regularly planned activities, including theatrical movie presentations, shopping and recreational trips off campus, dances, comedy acts and novelty shows.
Off campus, Berea Coffee & Tea is a regular hangout for those who love a great “cup of joe,” while the Main Street Café is popular for lunch; and to get the true Berea experience, you might want to check out PapaLeno’s, a local Italian restaurant.
How do students get around on campus? Off campus?
Just ask anyone who has ever lived in Blue Ridge residence hall. You can walk anywhere on campus within ten minutes. Also, the College has bike racks all over campus for student use. Students also travel by skateboard, scooter, or rollerblades. When you need to make a trip off campus, Berea offers plenty of opportunities through the College shuttle vans. Mondays through Thursdays, there are shuttle vans that go throughout the Berea area (Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, etc.), and on Fridays, the shuttle runs up to Richmond, the next closest city, where there is a mall, movie theater, and plenty of other things to do. On Saturday, a shuttle runs to Lexington, a larger city that offers various cultural and recreational activities.
Do students have access to e-mail and the Internet?
Yes, upon enrollment, every Berea College student receives his/her own personal email account, as well as a Dell laptop computer that includes software necessary for a successful college experience. Students utilize the most current technology both in the classroom and out, for such varied activities as completing coursework, Internet research, and communicating with professors, classmates, friends and family.
Best of all, students turn in their laptops during the fall of their junior year and are given a new one that is theirs to keep upon graduation.
Do you have any sports teams? Any other athletics?
Yes. Berea College currently has 16 intercollegiate sports teams for both men and women. We are a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). For men, we have baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, tennis, swimming and diving, soccer, and track and field. For women, we offer basketball, cross-country, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. We also provide opportunities for cheerleading, martial arts, dance, gymnastics, aquatic arts, and intramurals. Intramurals offer co-ed and single gender competition to all students. These sports include basketball, flag football, racquetball, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball.
Can I bring my car to Berea?
This is a big question asked by many of our prospective students. Like most residential campuses of its kind, Berea College generally does not permit first-year students to have vehicles on campus. However, exceptions may be made for the following: (1) a student’s home residence is more than eight hours away; (2) a student is considered “independent” as defined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); or, (3) a student requires personal medical attention outside of the area, as verified by the College Health Service. Upperclassmen are permitted to have cars on campus provided they are not on probabtion and there are adequate parking spaces available. Seniors are given first priority with regard to parking privileges, then juniors and sophomores until all spaces are filled.
What community service opportunities are available?
At Berea College, community service activities are as popular as sports. If you like to apply your knowledge and skills to help solve real-world challenges, then our CELTS (Center for Excellence in Learning Through Service) department will help you find exciting service opportunities. These opportunities include Students for Appalachia (SFA), People who Care (PWC), and Habitat for Humanity. We also have groups like Bonner Scholars Program, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness for Readiness of Undergraduate Programs), PIE (Partners in Education), and TRIO programs: Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Carter G. Woodson Math and Science Institute. These groups provide tutoring and mentoring programs and activities for children, teenagers, and other local residents during the school year and summer months. CELTS is located in the Bruce-Trades Building on campus. Check out the CELTS Web site.