Located in a beautiful suburban setting only a half-hour train ride from Grand Central Station, Sarah Lawrence College offers an intellectual enclave with plenty of connections to the outside. The campus environment is liberal, liberal, liberal, with social justice, inclusion and personal tolerance key values. Courses in education and sociology might have a component based in the local community, and musicians regularly play gigs in the city. The lack of course restrictions and prerequisites encourages students to try new areas of study. All 1400 students graduate with a BA in Liberal Studies, with trascripts that include narrative evaluations as well as grades.
Sarah Lawrence has decided not to play ball with US News, and has paid a price in the rankings. But don't be fooled: the students here are serious scholars. They construct their own concentrations, meeting distribution requirements within the open curriculum. Each course they take is actually two courses in one. The first component is a traditional small lecture/discussion, requiring extensive reading. The second part is a weekly individual meeting with the professor to work on an independent project. Each student is assigned a faculty Don (based on the Oxbridge idea of a "tutor") for four years. He or she is so much more than an advisor, though -- more like a director of intellectual formation. According to one student, "It's no wonder kids do so well in graduate school. We basically have a graduate school experience for four years."
A close-knit community, all students live on or near the hilly, leafy campus, and they are involved in a wide variety of clubs and sports. If personal and intellectual freedom and responsiblity are attractive, and if you are a mature, well-organized self-starter, you might really thrive at Sarah Lawrence.
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