Professors know your name
Lots of work
Lots of class participation
Lots of intellectual conversations outside of class
Class sizes are gloriously small, usually no more than 15 people in a seminar and 45 in a lecture. So profs definitely get to know your name and a lot more than that. Even my lecture professor got to know me really well by the end of the semester and I've already had dinner with my don about 5 times. It allows you to get a lot out of both discussion and the professor's time. Plus, you meet one-on-one with seminar professors biweekly and in small groups with lecture professors. It's unparalleled individual attention. Class participation is therefore unavoidable.
Class discussions often pour out of the classroom and into the dininghall. I always here someone talking about Nietzsche or Stendhal or Wallace Stevens over their salads. People are really interested in sharing what they're studying and getting other students' perspectives on the topics covered in class.
Competition isn't really an issue since grades are such a low priority at our school. It's mostly about comparative interests.
The classes range from pretty standard: Chemistry II to playfully constructed, "Playing with Light" or "Steampunk Physics." The most unique class I've taken so far was my First Year Study in Philosophy. We started out reading a Russian novel, The Master and Margarita and somehow wound up getting an introduction to our first philosophical text, Plato's Republic. We then read Freud, watched a Canadian television show, Slings & Arrows, while discussing Shakespeare's best-known tragedies, before moving on to Kuhn's philosophy of science, and then finished up with a memoir by Eva Hoffman. It was a really unique way to approach philosophy and definitely helped ease us into it.
I can't really speak for anyone else, but I know that I spent a good portion of every day reading for class or writing drafts for conference. It feels like most people are too. There is a surprisingly studious feel on campus. The library is rarely empty.
Finally, Sarah Lawrence is truly a college that values learning for the sake of learning. So much so that there is no academic requirement. That is a very serious commitment to the school's philosophy, so you need to really think about that before you apply and realize that you are in virtually complete control of your academic structure. It can be as focused or free as you choose, so if you're a highly independent learner and value knowledge for its own sake more than as a means to an end, then it's definitely worth checking out. But if you need some sense of security or programatic structure, then I'd urge against it.
Academics at Sarah Lawrence are what I wish academics could be like everywhere. The largest class I've ever been in was probably around 20 people. Though they can get a little larger, they rarely ever do. Lectures are taught in relatively small traditional-style lecture halls and seminars are taught at a round table. In the spring, many professors hold their classes outside on one of the many scenic lawn areas on campus. Professors know you and address you by first name, and you know them and address them by first name as well. You take three 5 credit courses per semester (unless you're a music, theater or language third, in which case you take a little more), so there's a lot of time to study and be involved in campus activities and organizations. Most students study often, and as the semester comes closer to the end, the library is open 24/7 to accommodate long papers being written by students campus-wide. There isn't really any competition because our grades, though they are recorded, are not given to us unless we request them. Instead, students get written evaluations from their professors, so consequently by the end of a class you know what you need to improve on, what you have improved on, and other things that a simple letter grade just cannot tell you. I feel that this aspect of my education is among the most helpful, because I am guaranteed feedback, and thus, I always learn from my classes, and they continue to impact me after I've completed them.
A really unique characteristic of Sarah Lawrence is the conversations that one can overhear in the dining hall and other student-populated places. Often you can hear philosophical debates, discussions on politics, science or literature, as well as, discussions on pop culture, theater, music and more. Intellectual discussions are absolutely not restricted to the classroom and more often than not spill over into casual conversations.
One of my favorite and most valuable academic experiences has to be the poetry class I took my first semester called "The 60s", taught by well-respected poet Jeff McDaniel. We went through material ranging from Amiri Baraka to Sylvia Plath to Frank O'Hara to Gwendolyn Brooks. My writing improved more over the course of that semester than it has in all the years I have been writing.
I think learning is more than emphasis of Sarah Lawrence education, and because of that, students are adequately prepared for the professional world by graduation. Education here stresses understanding, rather than simply spitting the information back. This is an important part of my experience because the information that I acquire in each of my classes is retained long after I acquired it.
The academics at Sarah Lawrence is different from any other school in America. We are only allowed to take 3 classes per a semester. For each class you have an in-class work and independent work. Example, for my Rainbow Nation: Growing up in Post-Apartheid South Africa Class, I have to write papers and read books and journals, but at the end of the semester I have to hand in a 15-20 page written paper. This research paper is called a Conference Paper and it can be about anything related to the class. My paper for this Class is "The Role of Music in the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement." I have been doing outside research for this paper all semester.
There are no tests or quizzes at Sarah Lawrence, unless you are taking a language course, a science or math course. I have been here for two years and have never taking a science and math class, because the requirement for graduation do not mean that I have to take them. I love this, because I hate math and science. I only take classes that I am interested in, or classes that will lead me toward my preferred career. I am still undecided because I am exploring career options, and I am not required to pick a major yet.
You know, anyone looking at SLC already understands that the academic opportunities can't be beat anywhere. The "brand" is much softer that the reality. There are no limits here. Every other school provides structure, so students here don't want that.
One of the best things about SLC is the fact that the classes are small. If you're in a regular seminar, classes are capped at 15 people. Lectures, which are around, and you have to take at least 3 in your time here, are 45 people. With the seminar-style classes, there is so much that can be talked about. Class participation is expected and a big part of the course. If you're quiet like I am, this can be difficult--but it teaches you to push yourself in a different way than a regular school (I transfered to SLC). The bad part about Sarah Lawrence is course availability. Because the courses are limited, you have to interview for a lot in them, similar to a job interview. You may or may not get your favorite class--this can be a bad thing, particularly if you have a set course in mind, like going to med school. We aren't a science-y or math-y school. If you're looking for an individualized education, this is your best bet. Be warned, though, that because you're only allowed to take 3 classes a semester, you may not have the same breadth of knowledge as students who did undergrad at a regular university, because you are limited by what you can take and the fact that there are NO introductory level courses here.
Lots of colleges have good professors. But at SLC, your professors are actually a part of your life. They actually show up to class rather than sending a grad student to do the job. They sincerely care about nurturing your ideas. You’ll babysit their kids. You’ll keep in touch with them after graduation. And it works. They will make you smarter. Here’s the catch: if you can’t do things on your own, discipline yourself, or stay motivated in the dead of winter, you will leave Sarah Lawrence with a scattered education and a concentration in 19th Century Women’s Auto Mechanics. If you stay focused and take advantage of what SLC has to offer, you’ll feel (and likely be) capable of absolutely anything when you leave.
There are no tests. You learn by reading, you learn by researching, you learn by discussing. Some professors give tests (I would suppose if you took a Language, and of course, math, you would be expected to demonstrate your skills in such a way), but most professors on campus don't believe in it. You prove yourself by orally presenting what you have done over the course of the semester for your final "conference" paper. The seminars are very close knit and you will not be able to slip under the radar. You have to be in class, and you have to participate. Your teacher WILL know you by name, and often, they will get to know a lot more about you as the semester or year progresses. It becomes a family of sorts. If you think you're a writer - they'll break you down and make you think twice. Your professors will push you to be the best thinker, learner and writer you can possibly be. If you aren't a writer (and I mean writer in the most academic sense of the word), I wouldn't suggest going to this school. The papers are long, the research moderate to heavy all the time, and the classes are very small and personal. There is no doubt that you will become a better intellectual than you ever thought. They really teach you HOW to think, not WHAT to think. And most importantly, they encourage you to ALWAYS ask questions.
If you don't choose Sarah Lawrence for the academics, or you end up not liking the unique pedagogy, then you are bound to be on the the many transfer students.
Academics at Sarah Lo' seem to be a hit or a miss. Firstly, the class scheduling is a real gamble. You interview professors (which isn't as terrifying as it may sound), apply for classes, and pray that you are chosen. If not, you repeat the process and likely end up with a class you're not altogether interested in.
Some classes are vibrant; they motivate the students to work hard and think analytically among peers. But, because there are no tests, there is often little motivation for students to be prepared for class. The Sarah Lawrence workload, that is, reading, is truly demanding. Therefore, many students slack off, intimidated by large quantities of work, with the knowledge that it is difficult to be caught in a discussion-based course.
The solution to this is, of course, conference work. Unique to Sarah Lawrence (and Oxford..) students can design their own individualized curriculum for a semester-long project. Students can make this as challenging or easy as they wish.
Importantly, I do not want to fail to mention how spectacular the faculty at Sarah Lawrence is. They are all distinguished, accomplished, and committed to their students.
And, as a personal note, I highly recommend exploring the Dance Department. They combine the intellectual with the physical and fostered a new curiosity for me.
Academically, Sarah Lawrence offers an amazing learning experience. Students choose their own academic paths. Student's do not need to keep track of General Credits or worry about meeting Major requirements, which become very tedious, and can put a strain on enjoying one's educational experience. Students at SLC learn to speak their ideas openly, concisely, learn how to organize their ideas, and students are encouraged to think outside of the box and question conventional ideas.
Academics are designed to be what you make them, which can be a lot, but for many students, they don't want to make anything of them. You'll work hard if you want to work hard.
No majors, no exams, hidden grades. I'll just get that out of the way up front. Additionally, the classes are small and intimate; you'll have plenty of time to get to know your professor during the semester, both in class and in private conferences. I've had nothing but funny, intelligent, friendly instructors in the two semesters I've spent at this campus. I really can't say enough positive things about them. As a writer, the workshop atmosphere of my classes has been great: many opportunities each week to share and critique work with other passionate artists, and many opportunities to pick up new techniques and discover new masters to read and explore. Outside of class, you'll be hard-pressed to find a student who doesn't love talking about their studies, and groups of like-minded students seem to form naturally, thanks to mutual respect and admiration among peers.
Sarah Lawrence, in its best capacity, affords a totally unique (with the exception of Oxford) learning experience. It is an incredible place to really learn because you are learning exactly what you want to. Sarah Lawrence is as good as you make it because it is a self-directed, self-designed education. It is far and away a writing school. The way it's set up is that instead of taking 5 or 6 regular classes you take 3 classes that are composed of 2 parts: 1. A round-table seminar of 10-15 students, and 2. A one-on-one conference with your professor. Basically, you're getting depth over broadness--you are taking as much work as 6 classes, but going twice as deep into 3. The seminars are mostly discussion-based. Classes are usually 90min to 2 hours long, twice a week. You do the reading, or whatever assignment, and then talk about it with your professor (who you refer to on a first name basis). The professor is part of the roundtable--everyone's equal. The conference is every other week for 30min to an hour. Conference is what makes SLC really unique, because you can take anything that interests you from your seminar class and decide to make your conference project about it. With conference, the sky's the limit. You literally can choose to study whatever you want. There are no tests. At the end of the semester you write a (usually research) paper for your conference that is anywhere from 10-40 pages, av. 15-20.
There are no requirements, no majors, and no grades at SLC. You graduate with a degree in liberal arts. The only "requirement" is that, of the 4 categories of study--social sciences, humanities, math/science, arts--you have to take a class in at least 3 of the 4, which is hardly a requirement because you'd probably end up doing that anyway. There is a lot of freedom so you have to know what you want. The professor-student relationship is very close and informal, which is helped by the fact that everyone uses first names, and because of the conference system. You have to be able to hold your own in a discussion, and the scarier thing, which is 45min of conference of just you and your professor in a room talking. SLC is really about learning for learning's sake, and intellectually curious people thrive. Because there are no grades--students receive written evaluations at the end of the semester--students aren't competitive in a traditional way. Students tend to be more competitive intellectually, which is challenging, and better.
Academically, I would never attend any other institution than Sarah Lawrence. I love it. Love it. My don is brilliant. I meet with her once a week, and we email the rest of the time. She responds in a minute. She knows me, everything about me, my history, my story, my future likes and dislikes. She is fabulous. My professors know me, challenge me, keep me on task. Depending on conference work relationships with professors can get extremely close, when dealing with off campus case studies, vocational roadblocks, vocational realizations, research design. I remember my don telling me that she had been training new faculty for student conferences one on one, and she had brought boxes of kleenex. "Take these and stock up now, " she told them. "You're going to need it." She's right. Conferences can get weepy, they can be joyful, most of all, they illustrate the commited relationships between faculty and students that is immeasurable to other institutions. We are particularly focused on relationships, and it is impossible to go unnoticed at Sarah Lawrence. It is perfect.
Most professors know all of their student's names and students know their professors very well, often as well as they know each other. Professors and students alike formulate the sense of community on campus, and the administration plays a part, though it is a bit smaller. The combination of intellectual freedom and the level of engagement in classes makes conversations about the most mundane things become intellectual, not to mention politics, identity and pop culture, which are some of the most common conversation topics at parties. The individualized nature of the courses makes the place less competitive because people are more focused on achieving their personal best and there is little to make comparison by since there are no grades.
professors are VERY personal. the classes are tiny so if you miss one, they'll notice. some thrive in this atmosphere and some dont. one thing's for sure, i learned that i can no longer hide behind a textbook like i did in public highschool. teachers and students expect you to speak up. that's a GOOD thing. you learn to develop your opinions and think critically on your feet. at first it was almost frightening, but now i have the urgency to learn more. its a great feeling.
i have benefitted SO much from writing conference papers instead of tests. i feel freer to explore my interests within certain fields versus memorizing names and dates for the big test. the curriculum is all about theory and round table discussion. i cant explain how much ive gained from that.
I adore seminars. They force you to think, and then to challenge or defend those thoughts. With about twelve people to a class, participation is definitely mandatory in most subjects. Professors, especially SLC veterans, are pretty good at guiding student discussions while weaving in lectures. Conferences, which are unique to SLC as far as I know, are my favorite part of the curriculum. They allow you to explore your own interests in depth as well as getting one on one time with professors, to ask questions, get advice, or just chat. There are definitely intellectual conversations outside of class at SLC, if you're looking for them. Sciences at SLC are up and coming, but facilities are already pretty good. It would be nice to have a larger science faculty and course selection, though. The most intersting course I've taken at Sarah Lawrence was one that I made up myself and took with the aid of a professor from the literature department. It was a study of cosmogony myths, fairy tales, and my own mythological system.
My professors all know my life story, and I know most of theirs. I think that's enough said on that topic.
Academics are rigorous, but exactly how rigorous is up to you. I chose to do conference work on everything from Chaos Theory to Acoustics, and threw in Linguistics for fun, thus, I kept myself pretty busy. Generally, SLC students like to push their limits, and execute fairly ambitious conference projects. This is the best way to take advantage of the fantastic faculty, and the resources the school has to offer. On the other hand, I know a few students who just slid by, but that was their loss (these were, I suspect, the bottom tenth of the accepted students. I could be wrong.)
The music department, to be frank, kicks ass. Great connections, fascinating courses (Post-Tonal and Rock [Music] Theory being my personal favorite), and incredibly talented faculty that are all seasoned performers. However: you HAVE to be a motivated musician to make your music 'third' work. Sarah Lawrence is an incredibly rigorous school in terms of academics, and if you are not completely committed to your instrument(s) you will have serious trouble. You need to be have ninja time-balancing skills, but if its something you are prepared to apply yourself fully to, a music third at SLC will be an incredibly valuable and thrilling experience (as a violist, I got the opportunity to play professionally [in orchestral, chamber, and Rock settings] all throughout my four years due to recommendations of my professors. If you impress your professors, they will be happy to share their [considerable] expertise and their connections. The key part being the 'if you impress . . .').
The education is really geared towards learning for its own sake. The caveat being: if you stick with it and get your degree, you will be incredibly well prepared for life and, if you played your cards right, your profession as well. Not to mention: the Sarah Lawrence name is well-respected (to say the least) within knowledgeable circles, and employers are impressed (I speak from experience) when they learn that you have a Sarah Lawrence education.
The best thing about sarah lawrence is the amount of time spent with teachers. We have one-on-one conferences every other week — some teachers will meet more often if you want to— which means you get twice the class out of classes, in the best way. There are no required classes. It's learning for learning's sake, which means intellectual discussion happens everywhere.
Sarah Lawrence is conference work. Make sure you understand our unique system before joining the bandwagon. Firstly, we only take three classes instead of five. You meet with each professor once every other week to discuss your conference project, which can be anything from a 40 page paper to a series of songs you've written about Charlemagne. Some conference work can be ridiculous, but that is where students take off and show their individuality. I've taken classes where the teacher has made my class read our poetry in the city, I've taken a computer science class where the teacher was intimidated by me, and I've taken a class called Sex is Not a Natural Act. I've got relationships with my teachers for life. Sarah Lawrence is like a grad school for undergrads; you get a lot of information in very specific areas.
All professors know your name, you become friendly with them very quickly.
Some classes have more participation than others, depending on the professor, but the small setting makes it impossible to have a class without discussion.
Sarah Lawrence study/read/write quite a bit and they discuss their work with other students often.
The system is free of most requirements, you develop a program with your advisers and closest professors.
The system is very geared towards learning or its own sake.
It's a free-for-all. Academics can be really wonderful and really awful. The faculty is fantastic overall. You get to meet with professors one-on-one weekly. There is never a shortage of attention from your professors. However, if you take comfort in sliding into a large lecture class late without doing the reading, you will be in for a rude awakening at SLC. The classes are small and always discussion based. It depends on the class and the professor whether the discussion is active or awkward and long. You are also assigned a don for your four years. Personally, my don knew a lot about theatre, but very, very little about anything else, and therefore, wasn't too helpful in general. Arts students should be aware that they can only take 1/3 of their classes in the arts. Theatre students are not getting the same intensity that they would be in a conservatory, by a long shot. People are dedicated, but everyone has other classes they need to deal with. SLC is ideal for people who have many interests and are self-motivated. There is always an opportunity for guided independent study. You direct your own path. But if you aren't willing to direct your own path, then you may float around among every subject for four years and graduate just as confused as you were when you entered. Basically, if you need someone to tell you what to do (essays, requirements, jobs, etc) then don't come to SLC.
The academics are really what makes SLC shine. We have incredibly small classes, and we talk to our professors on a regular basis. There are no academic requirements (except that by the end of your 4 years, you're supposed to have credit in 3 of the 4 major academic disciplines, which is pretty easy to do, and a lecture requirement). You study what you're interested in, and then you write a 15 page paper per term, per class, on whatever you want that's related to the material. It's hard to chose a favorite class, because I really loved most of them. It's really the teachers that make the classes great, though.
Students study a lot, although there aren't a lot of tests, and there aren't finals really ever. It's reading and writing. Intellectual conversations happen everywhere, though, learning becomes part of your daily routine. There's no competition at all, people are really just learning for the sake of learning--which, unfortunately, doesn't gear well towards getting a job after you graduate. I worked with many departments, one of the perks of going to SLC--I took classes is Political Science, History, Sociology, Psychology, Literature and Writing. They're all great, especially the writing department, which is pretty much nationally renowned as having some really incredible writers.
Professors know my name.
My favorite class is my sculpture class. This year will be my third year taking it. I'm obsessed with the teacher, and I feel like I've grown as an individual and a student and a human being. It's incredible.
My least favorite class has got to be... some LGBT class I took soph. year, but only because me and the teacher didn't get along, and she accused me of plagarism. I totally shot her down. The actual class was pretty interesting though.
Students studying habits really vary, just like mine have throughout my time at SLC. Freshman and soph. year I rarely "studied" or did homework or anything, but now, I feel like I'm constantly working, and it's only because I want to.
Class participation: it varies on the class and when the class meets. Although, yes, students tend to participate in class.
Intellectual conversations outside of class do occur.
Most students aren't competitive at all because it's not the kind of environment where aggressive classroom behavior is encouraged. Everyone is kind of just pursuing their own thing. It's not about who's better or smarter.
Unique class: a science class with an irish professor. He just drew us diagrams on the chalk board, showing us how a bullet is propelled from the barrel of a gun, and how a cannon works, and a cross bow. Stuff like that. He also assumed that we were completely awful at math, which in my case is absolutely true, and so we never really had to do any equations, it was more just about explaining how things worked. He also told us stories that somewhat related to what we were learning in class. It was an awesome class.
Sarah Lawrence doesn't have majors, but if they did, I would be majoring in Art. I adore the art department at SLC, although it's not all good, and you do have to deal with a lot of bullshit from the administration. But, the visiting professors they choose are phenomenal.
I spend the most time with my sculpture teacher, Jeanine, outside of class. I sometimes run into her in Brooklyn or NYC and we stop and chat. We're friends. We also keep in contact over the summers via email, and she even recommended me for the Watson Fellowship, which I never would have applied for let alone been aware of if not for her.
SLC's academic requirements are kind understandable, but still frustrating. You should be able to take as many "creative" classes as you deem necessary, because we are supposed to be making choices for ourselves as newly emerging adults. but that's not an option.
SLC's education is somewhat geared towards getting a job, but I feel like that's for you to figure out and not for them to instruct. They really focus on the development of an individual and their education and learning rather than the marketability of an individual in the work force. I like that about them. And I still feel fully equipped in the job field.
If you have a specific subject or sub-genre that isnt generally found in your average college coursebook, then SLC is the place for you - if you're motivated! Most kids will study what they like, but they wont realize that you can REALLY study what you like. There is a professor somewhere that will sign off on your independent study on whatever you can come up with. Sadly, though, most kids resign to just taken a course that fits their ideal schedule and "seems ok." In terms of professors, though, it's really the best in the bunch and if you want a more personal relationship with them, they are open to it.
As we freshmen stood in line to register on our first day, we found ourselves discussing John Donne and whether his love poems were better than his religious poems. As someone quipped, we knew we were in Sarah Lawrence at last.
Classes mostly consist of reading things and then talking about them. Everybody is eager to give his or her opinion, to the point of disagreeing with the teacher about what something "means"! It isn't about listening to the Word of Authority and then regurgitating on cue -- it's about forming an idea, and then giving expression to that idea as eloquently as possible.
There are many distinguished and personable faculty at Sarah Lawrence. Class sizes do tend to be small, and it is possible to establish close relationships with professors. The work load largely depends on one's commitment to the class. Not having to look at one's grades is a blessing to either the lazy or those who never liked being "measured." There are also, unfortunately, some nuts on the faculty--not that I'd name names--but the laisezz-faire attitude makes it difficult to get rid of bad eggs once they get tenure.
Professors are genial, smart, and almost always good people who will help a student grow academically and intellectually. Sometimes, professors here can be a little stuck up and fiercely protective of their material, but this is largely the exception to a wonderful norm.
the academics are amazing, the roundtable discussions are like no other.
Academics are very concentrated and personal. There are no more than 15 people in class and you form a relationship with your professor. My favorite class is Ecological Principles.
The academics are fabulous here. I have had some amazing professors that I will probably end up keeping in touch with for a long time. It's weird getting used to having only three classes a semester and sometimes I feel like I have too much free time on my hands but when conference time comes around I am extremly busy.
Academics are the best part of SLC. Classes change your life.
Love it. Favorite Professors: Herschel Miller (Japanese), Mike Siff (Computer Science), Ursula Schneider (Painting), Kris Phillips (Printmaking)
Most Unique Class: Fear and Loathing in Cyberspace (seriously, the coolest)
I do spend some time with my professors outside of class, but for special occasions. I do know that lots of my housemates have similar relationships.
Sarah Lawrence is geared towards learning most of all.
Classes here max out at 15 students (except lectures which go up to 45), so you get to know professors well. On top of that, there is a seminar/conference system here. That means that for each class you take, as part of your class, you have a guided independent study with your professor (that's why each class is five credits here-- they should even be worth more, in my opinion). One of my most interesting conference projects was for a class called "Animals: Articulating Human and Non-Human Struggles." I researched about what kind of environmentalism was going on at zoos, and during spring break (we have a two-week spring break), I drove up and down the east coast going to zoos, meeting people that work there, and interviewing zoo-goers. I turned in my 40-page paper and the school even paid for my gas and park entry fees.
The writing teacher's here are all very helpful with getting into your personal style, meeting with you during off-hours and e-mailing back and forth. They'll read anything you want to send them and are eager to work with you on outside projects and career aspirations. Because academics here are so personal and individual there's almost no competition. I have no idea how my friends are doing in class unless they share that information.
I like the school academically, I like the discussion based class rooms. Although, I have to admit, nothing you do here really makes a difference. There are no incentives to doing well and no consequences to doing poorly.
All of my professors know my name and where I'm from. My favorite class is called: The Making of Modern Theatre from Ibsen to Chekhov. It is a literature course in which we learn about and read plays as literature. My professor for this class is absolutely wonderful. My theatre classes (acting, playwrighting) are also really great and my professors are really supportive and helpful and insightful. I got all of my classes this year, but I am always worried that I will have to take a class that I am not at all interested in.
My favorite class is my film class. the teacher is really great. i have learned so much about film and watched so many films. I really like the academics here.
The academics are very writing oriented, lots of essays, response pieces, stuff like that, but because there aren't requirements, the idea is that your in a class you love, so the writing is a joy. You always know your teachers names, generally a fair amount about the careers and interests, and you work one on one with them to form your own independent project for their class. I think that the most unique class I've taken was a psychology lecture titled "Sex is not a natural act". It sounds like a joke, but this was a very academic class, and we learned a lot of anatomy and theory, and things like that. And while I did get to do my presentation on pornography, it was about the effects pornography has the sexual self image and expectations of men and women. So you can do a lot here, but the professors expect you to keep up your end of the bargain, you have freedom, but you have to use it well
Acadmemics at Sarah Lawrence are what we do best. This year my smallest class has 5 people in it. My largest is my lecture (you are required to take one lecture, two if you don't go abroad) which has about 40 students in it. However, even for the lecture my teacher knows us all by name and is available for us outside of class. I don't think I could ever choose a favorite class-- when (almost) every class you take is a small seminar based on intense discussion, debate, analysis, critical thinking and learning for learnings sake everything becomes much more interesting than it was in high school. Since you only ever take classes of your choosing you get to tailor your education in ways that you never thought possible that are uniquely perfect for you. In this environment of constant academic stimulation, good conversation is never lacking, whether you are walking to class or at the local bar on Saturday night.
Classes are great and well-rounded. As a grad student, I find the students both challenging intellectually and free-spirited with their own substantial opinions in and out of class. Professors know how to meet your interests at their fundamental needs.
The academics are amazing.
The atmosphere is highly personal because of the very low 6:1 student-to-professor ratio. The professors are always around and usually respond to you quickly. In fact, students are REQUIRED to meet with each of their professors every week or two weeks to discuss work and conference projects. How many others schools will do that.
Conference projects are usually large papers that are due at the end of each semester for each class. Often these papers are a hassle. They're very stressful to complete and many students save writing it until the last two weeks of the semester, which is when campus turns into a madhouse of angry and disgruntled students scrambling to finish their papers. In a perfect situation, this is not supposed to happen. A student is supposed to choose a topic for research that throughly interests and that they're excited to research throughout the semester. Ideally, it is supposed to tie in with something learned in class, but it can really be about anything the student wants. A lot of students get caught up in the desire to write lofty and complex papers about a topic they are not completely interested in but that make the student seem academically impressive. The key is to pick a topic that throughly interests you, no matter how ridiculous it may sound. However, whatever you do will need to be approved by your professor, so not too ridiculous hopefully.
When you graduate SLC, your degree won't seem as impressive as if it were an ivy-league degree from Harvard or Yale, but in the business world, people know of Sarah Lawrence students as being self-motivated and thinkers outside the box, which is what some jobs go for. But if you're in the theatre at SLC, chances are that you'll either be homeless, jobless, or struggling.
Academics are intense in a way that you self-manipulate extremely high expectations for yourself, and surprise your professor with how serious you take your work. Sometimes I feel like this is a tricky enviornment for over achievers - ample opportunity to over achieve, over work and burn out.
We're all about learning here, less so about competition (except to get into classes), and above all about the professors knowing your name. You want a personal relationship with every professor you have through your college career, you come to Sarah Lawrence, period. You want to participate in classes as much as you please, you come here. Each department has its own idiosyncrasies - the fine arts departments in particular - but it's not a long uptake process.
My professors know infinitely more than my name. Most of my professors know how my week went and why I do or don't love their class. SLC students quite frequently have intellectual conversations outside of class. SLC is all about learning for it's own sake.
Not only do professors know your name, you call your professors by their first name. they even invite you over for dinner and tea.
You will never have a teacher at SLC that doesn't know your name. In fact, they'll know your name, your hometown, your email address, phone number, your favorite books, what you did last weekend, and maybe even your social security number... SLC professors know their students, because they spend a lot of time getting to know them. Missing class is a big deal at SLC. If you miss more than 3 a semester, you'll lose credit for the class. If you do miss a class, you can almost certainly expect an email from your professor wondering if everything is okay. The classes are very small, and the students do a lot of talking. Professors are incredibly flexible at SLC, and are very understanding about late papers, poor test scores, missed conferences, etc.
smart professors, but they are dealing with too many independent projects instead of a single well focused area of expertise.
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