O'Connor's critique of progressive education began early at GSCW. As a freshman, O'Connor's first piece, "Doctors of Delinquency," appeared in the college magazine The Corinthian.
The perception of academic rigor at GSCW by students was mixed.
Upon arrived at GSCW O'Connor became the cartoonist for The Colonnade, the biweekly campus newspaper.
Beginning in 1934 he served as president of GSCW for twenty years.
Wells had hosted him on campus twice during World War II and Talmadge had falsely accused the GSCW president of bringing "the Million Dollar Professor" to Georgia at state expense.
O'Connor was a student on the GSCW campus when the accreditation controversy flared up and was well aware of William Heard Kilpatrick, who had made two visits during O'Connor's time at GSCW.
She was quite familiar with teacher preparation as practiced at GSCW, and although she never completed the teacher training core, she did take three education courses, including "Introduction to Education" and an upper division education course, "School and Society" (Bulletin 1944).
On the accelerated wartime program O'Connor finished her degree in social science at GSCW in three years, graduating in June of 1945.
Although GSCW held a literary tea and book signing for their increasingly famous alumna, not all were in agreement as to its appropriateness.
She believed the "Dewey system," as she referred to progressivism, had not addressed the classics, leaving a gap in her literary education that would need to be remediated after she graduated from both Peabody and GSCW. Furthermore, the freedom of the progressive system was, in her opinion, excessive (Cash 2002, 36-38).