The following reviews are the views of students or alumni at this school and are unrelated to the school data and other editorial content on usnews.com. These reviews neither reflect nor impact a school's position within the Best Colleges rankings.
I love that the people here are, for the most part, incredibly open minded. I came in as a transfer student from a HORRIBLE place called Eckerd College, where everyone was a rich, spoiled white kid who had no concept of self and who spent their time sitting on there asses, drinking, smoking, and letting their brain cells disintegrate into blobs of narrow-minded waste. Sorry if I sound vindictive. I am. At Sarah Lawrence, however, people are very progressive in their though, very accepting of difference and diversity, and willing to spend hours discussing and debating what they're learning. The intellectual stimulation here is not to be believed. The people I've met here are changing my life and I love them for it. The one thing about Sarah Lawrence that's important to note, however, is that you HAVE to (you MUST!!!) be a very self-motivated individual. This school is not the ideal place for someone who prefers the regular structure of a typical university or college. You think you have a lot of free time, but you really don't. It's important to know how to manage your time and to pace yourself. You can definitely go for days without doing work, but it will be obvious when you come to your conference with no knowledge and no material for discussion. My advice: alot yourself specific hours in the day where you subject yourself to reading/writing/studying/or just simply cogitating/ruminating about one of your concentrations.
I love Sarah Lawrence. I definitely have had my share of complaints... but at the end of the day, there is no school I would rather be at. And I'll try to explain why. The location is great for anybody who enjoys quiet neighborhoods with easy access to the city. Personally, since I am originally from New York, I didn't need to be *in* the city all the time. It was old news for me. It's great that it's close... but I'm definitely very happy to be in a college where I can find peace and quiet that isn't necessarily indoors. I love being able to sit outside on the lawn(s) without the constant drone of traffic in the distance. Sarah Lawrence is in Bronxville, which is... in my opinion, pretty dull. There's one bar that everyone goes to locally... and not much else. I would definitely say that most people leave Bronxville/Yonkers to go to the city for a good time. I would personally recommend having a car... or befriending someone who does. Being a freshman here (when I didn't have a car) was REALLY frustrating for me. I got really sick of bronxville/the campus and got sick of taking the train to the city. Also... SLC is really small. Its comforting at times, but most of the time it's just really frustrating. I also recommend living off campus after your Freshman year. You'll save a ton of money and won't feel so trapped. Lets see... don't come here if you want to play sports seriously, and don't come here if you want to attend college football games... and don't come here if you don't want to participate in class discussions (I'll elaborate later on that.) Despite our lack of sports teams... I'd say we all have a good amount of school pride. Sarah Lawrence is really special and different and I don't know anyone who isn't proud to be going here.
The best thing about Sarah Lawrence is that if there is something you feel is lacking at the school you can work with the administration and your teachers to bring it to campus. If it is an area of study you can work on it through your independent conference work until there is a class that addresses it. The attention you get from teachers and the administration (with the admin you have to get off your butt and ask for it, but all that entails is just an e-mail requesting time) is incredible. I don't think there is another school where face to face time is available on such an equalizing basis. Yes teachers are teachers, but most of them are addressed by their first name (in fact I think that is the case for all of them), yes they know more than you, but you aren't expected to censor yourself for them. I also love the ability to work in multiple disciplines. So many school section off each discipline, if you are in one you are highly limited in all others. There are some limits here, but there is a lot of room to work in many fields to a higher degree then anywhere else I looked at during my college search. Linked to this is the sense that it is never too late to learn. As opposed to conservatory based performing arts programs at SLC you can join the theater, dance, music, or arts programs having never done anything in these fields and still be accepted as much as the virtuoso artists who also make up these programs. Specifically the dance program has incredible, and in some cases, well known teachers who treat all equally and emphasize healthy fun dancing and work to eliminate the stress of competition. The only thing I would change would be the endowment, the school is held back by its lack of income and this is at the base of all the problems I have encountered, a very high tuition, too few admin workers making the administration inefficient. When people hear I go to Sarah Lawrence I tend to get one of four responses; I've never heard of it, St. Lawrence? That's a wonderful school, or most often Is that a girl's school? No we are not St. Lawrence, yes we are a wonderful school if a little unconventional, no we are not a women's college, we have been co-ed since 1968 (but we do still have approximately a 30/70 male female ratio and a large homosexual community). Most of my time on campus is spent in my room or in class, or rehearsal, but I do tend to be a homebody, and I have more class time then most because I am in a performing art "third". Bronxville and Yonkers are not college towns, and while relations aren't great I would say that if anything they are indifferent as opposed to negative. There is not a ton of school pride here in that there isn't a large sense of campus wide community, which is to be expected when you have a school made up of highly independent people. Is there anything unusual about Sarah Lawrence? You might want to ask what is usual about this school. Most of our classes are small and are in a seminar format where in theory the students discuss the readings and what they are learning under the guidance of the teacher as opposed to being lectured (except for the one year long class worth of required lectures). Are physical education requirements are really quite minimal, and credit options vary from playground games, sports teams, recorded individual work outs at the gym, movement classes as part of performing arts classes, and quitting smoking through health services. Some of the most frequent complaints are the quality of food and housing, the inefficiency of the admin, the lack of party life, the class registration system which makes getting ones prefered classes a game of chance, and the price of tuition. There is no one experience here I will always remember, all of it has been memorable, all four years as a dance third, my year abroad in Paris, the performances I was a part of, Michael Moore's visit, Samantha Power's visit, the yearly flower circle in the spring, improv classes outside in the spring, the campus after a big snow, the changing leaves, hours spent in a corner of the library working, all of these will be with me for a long time.
SLC has nearly no ties between its neighboring town, Bronxville, or nearby Concordia or Iona Colleges. SLC is so much in its own little bubble that in fact, it is known that some people driving along Kimball Ave (the main road running through campus between Bronxville and Yonkers) will roll down their windows and throw stuff at Sarah Lawrence students walking next to the road. The school now makes sure this kind of stuff doesn't happen. They do this because they think we're "different". This hasn't happened to me, but it has to some of my friends. They just don't understand us. Not! They're actually just ***s. SLC is in the perfect location. Nearby is all the amenities one would need, like movie theaters, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. but you still have your own peaceful, secluded community. The best part about this is you're a short train ride away from Grand Central Station, so it is still convenient to get into NYC. You get the best of both worlds.
The overall stand-out characteristic of Sarah Lawrence is its academics and class-room environment. My whole way of thinking changed after the first year I spent there because of the professors and the other people that I met. This is a school for people who like to think a lot, and to deeply understand what they are working on in school. Though the lack of requirements makes the education less broad for some people, intellectual progress is a constant source of variation there. Social life: Though its a little on the small side, students are hip and into partying so it is fun to stay on the campus. Parties are usually small there are a lot of dance and theme parties. SLC and NYC: New York City is near-by and that is great for hanging out, it is great to be able to get internships there and get to know the city. For anyone who thinks that they might one day want to live in New York City, this school is a great way to familiarize yourself with it and build connections. There is a really good alum network in New York, and across the country actually, but I would say that about 60% of my graduating class moved to Williamsburg right after school. The uniqueness of the school's academic system and the kind of kids who choose to go there leads to an odd sense of school spirit. Students know that Sarah Lawrence is different than anywhere else and so they identify strongly with each other, and share a sense of pride and respect for each other's intellect and world views. I am making it sound like some weird kind of utopia but it kind of is.
The best thing about Sarah Lawrence is the professors. They are generally very knowledgeable and accessible, and very welcoming of enthusiastic students. However, there is something I would change about virtually every other aspect of the school. Number one on the list is some kind of required general education class, in which students would also learn how to participate in a productive seminar, because the First Year Studies classes don't achieve this. Seminars often turn into an agree/disagree game, and there is little to no common foundational knowledge among the students on which the professor can build. The school's size is just fine. When I tell people I go to Sarah Lawrence, they often haven't heard of it, or ask if it is an all-girls school. I spend most of my time in my dorm because there is no student life center. "What college town?" Bronxville is nice but not the kind of place where a college student can hang out on a Friday night. The administration is inefficient, but well-meaning and approachable. The biggest controversies on campus usually revolve around a trivial point involving gender identities, even though there are plenty of larger academic and financial issues this school should be focusing on. There was a bigger uproar about the supposed "misogyny" of bathroom signs than the fact that students were sleeping in cots for the lack of proper bedrooms. There is no such thing as SLC school pride - people are too afraid of seeming conformist. Everything about Sarah Lawrence is unusual because students make that their goal every morning when they get out of bed. Take that as you will. I will always remember the night last April 20th when I walked to main campus to get a late-night snack, and saw people running around naked. The most frequent student complaints are the food, which I think is fine, and the horrible financial aid situation.
Anna SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo