Sarah Lawrence College is a liberal arts college of 1300 students on 44 acres in Westchester County, NY that is unique in several ways:
- It is among the colleges with the largest percent of classes with fewer than 20 students.
- Students interview the professors for 30 minutes in order to decide what classes they would like to take.
- The classes are modeled after the Oxford/Cambridge tutorial. The seminar classes include a round table discussion with a group of 15 or fewer, where the students need to come prepared to reflect on their reading and have a conference with their professor every other week to go over their term research project/paper.
- The music, theatre, and dance classes are organized differently. Each class is broken into three-week sessions on a particular skill set. There are theatres, art and performance spaces, and music spaces.
- There are only 10 lectures courses offered each year and they are capped at 45 students.
- Professors give students a written evaluation of their work, in addition to grades.
- Their don (i.e., advisor) is also their teacher for their yearlong first year seminar. With the don, students create their own program of study.
- Students take three 5-credit courses a semester.
- Thirty credits are needed for a concentration (i.e., major). Many students take two or three concentrations.
- Many buildings contain teacher’s offices, classrooms and student housing. Freshman housing is not separate from upper-class housing.
The college is known for creative writing, visual and performing arts, history and international studies. The student body is 70% women and tends to be politically liberal. Eighty-five per cent of undergraduate students live on campus. There are six study abroad programs, including one in Cuba.
The school is located in an upper middle-class suburban area. There are some stores and restaurants about a 15-minute walk from school. Many students go to New York City, a 30-minute train-ride away, for pleasure, cultural experiences, or internships. A free shuttle to the train station is available after 5:30 PM. Those who stay on campus on weekends participate in dances, poetry readings, concerts, plays, or community service.
The school seems to be a good fit for an outspoken, well-written independent learner, interested in intellectual discussions in multiple disciplines and independent research in the liberal arts. The academic requirements include that students to take a yearlong freshman seminar, take a course in at least three of the four areas of study, and take 2 physical education classes. Students can earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years in Teaching, Child Development, or Women’s History. There is a 3-2 Engineering program with Columbia University. There is also a pre-med program.
SATs / ACTs are not considered in admission. The college uses the Common App with a Supplement which includes the “Why Sarah Lawrence?” question. Students should submit a graded high school paper as part of their application. An interview is strongly suggested; seniors often conduct the interview.
The college is need-sensitive and uses the FAFSA and CSS/PROFLE for financial aid. Students are automatically considered for merit aid.
What is your experience with Sarah Lawrence College?