- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Spanish
- Gender: F
- High School: Bel Air High
- Transfer Student: N
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.
Professors definitely know students' names, even in lectures. My favorite classes have been my language classes because everyone finds a way to make grammar fun, and class participation is higher than in my seminars. My least favorite class was my First Year Studies, because communication with the professor was like constantly jumping hurdles. He snidely discouraged certain students from participating, turning a once-enthusiastic and inquisitive group into a room of dead silence. I don't know how often students study, but judging by the constant noise in the library, I'd say it's probably fairly infrequently. Class participation varies by class, but I think it's higher than at most universities. However, constructive participation in seminars is not as common as I believe it should be. It often centers around agree/disagree or simplistic opinion-building. Students don't really have intellectual conversations outside of class. Students aren't competitive about grades or academic, but there is a sense of competition over who can be the most different. The language classes here are incredible, they are taught immersion-style by excellent professors in a way I never dreamed of in high school. The Spanish department is amazing, filled with highly knowledgeable and experienced faculty. It's required to spend time with professors outside of class in the form of conferences, which are nice but not really all they're played up to be. SLC's nonexistent academic requirements are too minimal, which only does the students a disfavor. I'm not sure what education here is geared towards, since it certainly isn't job training but also fails to provide the student with a general foundation of intellectual skills.
The LGBT group runs the campus like a mini-mafia. The "religious" groups are a more-or-less secular Jewish identity group and the Christian Union, which has like, 5 members. I guess there are also a few Hindus. The general attitude towards religion is so hostile that I don't blame religious students for avoiding SLC like the plague. Students socio-economic backgrounds are so homogenous that talking about that kind of diversity is futile. Racial diversity is worshiped on our virtually all-white campus. That said, any student looking for a diverse campus or a robust intellectual atmosphere would feel out of place on our campus. Students wear leggings or jeans and t-shirts to class. There aren't really different types of students who could interact with each other. Most SLC students are from New York or New England and California, mostly from upper-class WASPy backgrounds. Students are politically opinionated, but often naively so, and dive on anything that is uber-liberal. Students joke about how little they plan on earning as starving artists one day.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
financial aid and student unprofessionalism