What is it Like to Attend Sarah Lawrence College?

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach—they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Hailey is a Manhattan tutor and 2012 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and theatre and tutors several subjects, including English tutoring, history tutoring, and writing tutoring. Check out what Hailey had to say about her time at Sarah Lawrence College:

Describe the campus setting and transportation options. 

Hailey: Sarah Lawrence College is, in many ways, the perfect combination of urban and suburban. The campus itself is completely walkable or bikeable, and there are grocery stores and the small town of Bronxville within walking distance. New York City is only a 25-minute train ride away. It’s a beautiful, very safe campus.

How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants at Sarah Lawrence College?

Hailey: Extremely! Every student is assigned an adviser—we call them dons—who helps you chart your academic course over four years. You also have bi-weekly meetings with all of your professors. Professors teach all of their own classes—you’ll never be handed over to a teaching assistant.  

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

Hailey: If they want (and are punctual about applying), it’s quite possible for students to live on campus all four years. There’s a huge variety of dorms, from the traditional-feeling 1970s-style hallways, to the campus’s original 1920s dormitories, to remodeled early 20th century houses. There’s even a few rooms on the top floor of the admissions building, and another set attached to the president’s house! Many of these have kitchens so that students can cook for themselves.

Otherwise, there are two main dining options, both of which have lots of variety. The Pub, which is open late, is best for quick lunches and late-night french fries. Bates Dining Hall is a more traditional dining hall, and it’s where everyone gets their weekend brunch.  

Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? 

Hailey: Sarah Lawrence College has an incredibly unique academic system. Rather than traditional majors, students create their own concentrations. This is primarily enabled by our conference system. I mentioned above that students have bi-weekly meetings with all of their professors. These meetings are when you talk about your conference project, an independent research project that is attached to every class (with the exception of some math and science classes). While the subject matter does have to relate to the course, it gives students so much latitude to pull in their other interests. So, for example, I was able to constantly intertwine my love of theatre, history, and literature in my conference projects, a blend of topics that eventually led me to get my MA in Shakespearean Studies, where performance practice, cultural history, and literary analysis were all equally important.

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?

Hailey: There is no Greek life at Sarah Lawrence College. A full week is dedicated to orientation at the beginning of each year, which is an amazing time packed with activities, all of which are fantastic ways to either meet new people, or catch up with old friends. There are several days at the start of the year when only freshmen (and a few upperclassmen who are leading activities) are on campus, which helps you get a head start on getting to know your classmates.

How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services at Sarah Lawrence College? 

Hailey: Every spring there is a job and internship fair. One of Sarah Lawrence College’s major advantages is its proximity to New York City, and lots of companies make the short trip up to talk to Sarah Lawrence College students.

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

Hailey: As I mentioned above, the dorms are so different, it’s impossible to generalize, but all of them have common areas of some kind or another. The library has tons of study space, not to mention a stock of beanbag chairs, so you can make yourself a little study nest wherever you find empty floor space. Lots of people like to camp out in the dining hall to study, or, when the weather is nice enough, just take their books out to the lawn.

Describe the surrounding town.

Hailey: Bronxville is a fairly small town, though it has all the staples: a movie theater, a mall, some grocery stores. It’s a nice place to go to grab a coffee or to have an off-campus lunch, but most students who want to get away from campus for the weekend or the evening take the train into New York City. This doesn’t mean that the campus empties out every weekend. There is still a vibrant campus social life, and lots to do every night.  

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

Hailey: Sarah Lawrence College has a small student body, and it prides itself on its small seminars. I never had more than 12 people in a seminar, and I only took one large lecture-style class.  

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

Hailey: One of my professors at Sarah Lawrence College has completely shaped the direction of my post-graduate education and my career. It’s thanks to him that I was able to see how unhappy I was with the focus and goals I had entered college determined to achieve, and with his help, I was able to zero in on the areas of study that made me genuinely happy, and to have the courage and self-belief to take a leap of faith into seriously pursuing them. I can’t express the extent to which attending Sarah Lawrence College is the reason I am where I am in my life, and the reason that I have had amazing education experiences. The freedom to explore my interests, rather than being locked into a major, was so incredibly important to my development as a student and as a person.

Check out Hailey’s tutoring profile.

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