Campus Spotlight: Sarah Lawrence College

Located just 35 minutes north of New York City in Bronxville, NY, Sarah Lawrence is a small liberal arts college with big academics. Read on to learn about the small classes and individualized education plans that make this institution stand apart from its peers.

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Sarah Lawrence College

Creative Concentrations

Looking for an academically rigorous institution that offers students a high degree of independence? Sarah Lawrence College may be the right place for you.

Although the college is renowned for the strength of its academics, there are no majors at Sarah Lawrence. Instead, undergraduates build their own 'concentrations.'

All students are required to take courses from at least three out of the school's four areas of study, which include humanities, natural sciences and math, history and social sciences and creative and performing arts. As each student develops a primary area of interest, she or he works with a faculty mentor to develop an educational plan that leads to the bachelor's degree.

Faculty mentors, also referred to as 'dons,' are another element that sets Sarah Lawrence apart from many other institutions. The dons are somewhat like academic advisors, except that they develop much closer mentorship relationships with their students. They provide both academic and personal guidance, and help students ensure that their concentration plans provide a well-rounded liberal arts education.

small student to faculty ratio

An Emphasis on Teaching and Writing

Courses at Sarah Lawrence are also different than your average large undergraduate lecture. They're taught in a seminar-conference format, which includes small, interactive seminars and biweekly one-on-one conferences with professors. This focus on individualized attention from professors is part of the college's larger ethos. It's committed to providing high quality teaching from full faculty members for all courses, without relying on graduate assistants or adjunct lecturers.

Sarah Lawrence also prides itself on de-emphasizing letter grades. While the school does maintain a record of student grades for external communications (such as for graduate school applications), it doesn't provide them at the end of courses. Instead, professors give written evaluations that offer detailed feedback in response to student work.

The nature of coursework at Sarah Lawrence lends itself well to this kind of feedback. The school emphasizes a 'writing-intensive' education, requiring students to produce analytical papers in all disciplines. Academic progress is measured by these papers, and as a result both graduate schools and employers report that Sarah Lawrence grads excel in writing.

graduate studies

Graduate Studies at Sarah Lawrence

Although Sarah Lawrence is a small liberal arts college, it also offers several master's programs. Graduate students who want to take advantage of this unique environment can study in one of eight disciplines:

  • Teaching
  • Child Development
  • Creative Writing (MFA)
  • Dance
  • Theater
  • Women's History
  • Health Advocacy
  • Human Genetics

Although the master's programs are more guided than the undergraduate concentrations, they offer the same rigorous academics and strong emphasis on writing and faculty interaction.

Want to learn more about liberal arts institutions? Check out Kenyon College.

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