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Cornell University

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Date: Mar 26 2009
Major: Communications (This Major's Salary over time)
I was very naive when I first decided to go to college. I thought that if I graduated from an Ivy League school, regardless of my major, that I would be hired into a top position at the company of my choice. My parents and other family members had not attended college in the U.S. before. I had no real career guidance from family members or high school advisors.

Majoring in Communication was a huge mistake. The Communication major at Cornell is a complete waste of time and money. You will not learn anything you don't already know. There is NOTHING you can do with the so-called information and theories you study in that major. They are all common sense stuff you'd already know from being a human. I had about three to five classes that stressed the freaking definition of Communication even! How stupid! They broke it down to a sender sending a message to a receiver and how the message is not complete until the receiver gives feedback of receipt back to the sender. Duh! Do we really need to go over that? Anyway, going into that major was my mistake. They certainly beat a dead horse with all those useless, pointless Communication major classes. Heck, I learned to communicate, as if I didn't know that already. I didn't know how horrible the major was though, until I tried to get a decent job after college. I realized how unprepared I was and how skill-less I was after graduation, after 7 years of bad jobs in NYC.

Also the biology, chemistry, and psychology 101 classes that are required with the major are taught breezily in the classrooms, but the tests hit you like a punch in the face (usually the exams are all multiple choice too). You look at 50% of the exams and wonder—was this ever even mentioned? The biology and chemistry exams were graded on a curve because so many people did so badly on those exams. The teachers in these classes did not really help me learn the material. It was all do it yourself. They assign chapters to read, give their breezy lectures (during which you have to take notes like mad because there are no handouts), and then hit you with this in-depth test that covers a lot of material you don't even remember hearing or reading about. There is no homework to help you learn the material and of course no study guides. The exams at this school were usually a bad surprise most of the time, especially in the bio, chem, and psych classes. And I had a very minimal social life and studied most of the time too. It's not as if I wasn't working hard. I got only As and Bs in all my classes, but still feel I learned very little.

At the university I now attend, a small, career-focused school, where I'm studying pre-health classes for entry into a nursing program (yeah, an actual specific career that will actually pay me a decent salary), the teachers really help me learn the material and teach more slowly. They offer study guides before exams, homework, quizzes, and the class sizes are much smaller. I'm actually learning something useful at my current school, which makes Cornell look all the more unhelpful. Cornell does have some useful degrees such as Accounting, however, considering the mad-pace and lack of learning tools offered in my bio, chem, and psych classes, (i.e., the hard sciences) I would be afraid to take a serious major at that school. You'd probably leave the school knowing much less than someone who studied at a smaller school where the teachers put more effort in helping students learn. I felt some of the classes were taught (such as my Music 105 class that I dropped or my Logic class) as if you already knew the material and were just being given a review of it. If I already knew it, why would I pay so much money for you to teach it to me? Is it all just so I can get that name on my diploma? I actually wanted to learn more and understand why the Ivy League is considered to offer such a great education. I've learned more from my local community college. Notice that Jeopardy champions are hardly ever Ivy League students. That's no accident. If people from the Ivy League seem smart, it's because they were smart before they got there. The Ivy League, at least from my experience, did not make me any smarter. It in fact hurt me and delayed me. Looking back, it seemed like a lot of smoke and mirrors. Though I admit, many of my teachers you can tell had a very high IQ, but they didn't all teach me better. That is, the star athlete doesn't necessarily make the best coach.

Good points: My English classes were all quite impressive, I must say. All the English professors I had at Cornell went a bit more out of their way to help me improve my writing. Even in a big Great Books class, the teacher took time to meet with me to help me improve my paper. I was impressed! Also the pre-calculus math class is very well taught during the lab classes by the TAs. It's not all bad, but my major was HORRIBLE. That was probably the biggest reason I was so disappointed. Had I majored in something else, I would probably have liked the school much more, but I still am a bit doubtful of that. Avoid majoring in Communication like the plague (no matter what school you decide on). Ccommunication is a useless major that leads to no career prospects no matter where you study it.

Another plus: Cornell has to be the most beautiful campus in the world. I just wish I didn't have to cross a bridge every time I go to class. A beautiful place, but I wouldn't want to study there. Go to a more career-focused school with smaller class sizes. That's my recommendation. It's NOT the school name that matters (unless you're going to be a lawyer or the President), it's what you will actually learn from the school. Cornell hardly taught me anything useful and the pace of the classes is much too fast. It's a do it yourself school that makes you pay big bucks.

responseYou must be telling the truth based on your expression. It is so true: Ivy League schools aren't a guarantee of receiving a great education.
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