Should I Go to Sarah Lawrence College?

Shejla holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Sarah Lawrence College. She helps students through chemistry tutoring, algebra tutoring, and a number of other academic areas. Interested in attending Sarah Lawrence College? Shejla shares her experience as a student there:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options.

Shejla: Sarah Lawrence College is located in Bronxville, New York, one of the most panoramic, quiet and safe villages in Westchester, so you can say the campus is in a rural setting. It was overall a safe area and there were shuttle buses to and from the closest Metro North train station. Most students living on campus would bike around. I commuted throughout my stay at SLC, so the train was my only means of transportation.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Shejla: The professors and academic advisers are always there for you. Sarah Lawrence College runs on a don system, where a faculty member serves as an adviser and helps the student plan the courses of study and have a chance to succeed while at SLC and afterward. Having a don establishes not only a longstanding academic relationship with your adviser, but a personal and career-oriented one.

How would you describe the dorm life—rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?

Shejla: I really didn’t experience much of a dorm life, being a commuter, however I really enjoyed sleep overs or all-nighters at my friends’ space. There were two main food courts, but I wasn’t quite a fan of either. Mainly, you’d join fellow students at the food courts just to spend time with them, rather than for the food. It also served as a good opportunity to talk to people, both students or faculty.

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Shejla: The unique thing about SLC is that there are no majors. Everybody graduates with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts, however there are certain “concentrations” you can follow (not officially) based on the type and amount of certain classes you’ve taken or the career path you want to follow afterwards. I mostly studied Chemistry, completed a senior thesis in Inorganic Chemistry, took all of the possible advanced classes offered in the area, and it did serve me well. I was a Visiting Student for a year at an Ivy League institution and look forward to enrolling in graduate school next year to pursue a doctorate degree in Chemistry.

How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Shejla: I transferred at SLC from a community college after studying there for three semesters, and I found it hard to connect with peers, especially since everybody knew everybody from freshman year and commuting made it even harder to make friends. I found myself connecting to others through classes and study sessions. Greek life, on the other hand, is non-existent to my knowledge.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?

Shejla: The Career Center proved to be very helpful during my senior year when I was sending out applications to graduate school. They helped me build the best resume, and we went back and forth in several editing sessions. I’m not sure about other areas and concentrations of study, but in the sciences, the only instances in which chemical and pharma companies held college students recruitments were while my friends and I attended chemistry conferences.

How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?

Shejla: I always studied in the library, since being at home meant too many distractions. What I didn’t like about the library was its hours. It would only be available 24 hours during finals, which is when everybody studies at the library. Other times, it closed around 1am, and there were many nights when I needed to be up studying longer than that. Overall, the library is very small and there aren’t that many quiet study areas.

Describe the surrounding town.

Shejla: Bronxville is a small village, however there are a few restaurants and coffee shops we would always go to when we needed a break from campus food or when we were “too lazy” to head for New York City. Sometimes I would meet my friends there during the weekend for brunch, or walk with them from the dorms. It was always a nice walk, about 15 minutes, while we enjoyed the panoramic views of Bronxville houses and parks.

How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Shejla: One of the things Sarah Lawrence College is famous for is its class size and one-to-one time students spend with the faculty, which is the main reason why I decided to attend SLC. Seminar classes have no more than 15 students, while lectures, depending on the professor’s popularity, vary in their size. I’ve attended lectures with 30 fellow classmates, and others with 50. The overall undergraduate body comprises around 1400 students.

Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Shejla: I don’t think I regret anything from my time at SLC; not classes taken, projects undertaken, interactions with faculty, etc. All of them were extremely fulfilling and instructional to me. If I could choose between the countless great moments spent there, I would choose one with my professor and don, Dr. Colin Abernethy, who saw my potential in chemistry research. After having successfully completed one of his classes, he asked me if I had ever considered the possibility of conducting a senior thesis with him. I was really touched because it showed that he believed in me, but it also made it possible for the two of us to get to know each other better during that one year of research. The academic and professional bond created is still going strong today.


Check out Shejla’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.