St. Lawrence University Visit Report by RockySoil
Campus Tour: Yes - Very informative and thorough tour. We liked the fact that they showed us two different dorms and at least three different eating places, but we do wish we had seen a classroom.
Campus Visit Notes for St. Lawrence University
This was the first time we visited St. Lawrence. We were looking for a small rural LAC with good athletic facilities and a strong environmental studies/science program. We also like a school with some personality - the little things that make a College standout from its peers. We were a group of 6 - two parents, a high school junior, and three high school freshman. The Junior is a track/cross country athlete, and one of the freshman is a swimmer, so we asked specifically for an athletic facility tour on top of the standard destinations.
I think it is safe to say that all of us either liked it a lot or loved it. My DS21 (who was the reason for the tour) described it as "awesome", while my DD23 said it was her favorite so far (she has also visited Yale, Brown, Middlebury and Wesleyan with DS19). The least impressed was DD's swimmer friend, who loved it until she saw the pool (kind of small and old).
We have been on a lot of repetitive college tours, so I'll just stick to some things that stood out about St Lawrence.
1. Treehouses in the library - the library has 16 carrels which are located above other carrels and must be climbed into via rungs built into the carrel below. It is a small thing, but immediately all the teenagers, who were very subdued as we entered the library, leapt to climb up and try them out. They really responded to something physical, irreverent and unusual - climbing in a library. Well done, SLU
2. Freshman dorm housing - like a lot of schools, St Lawrence has a choice of Freshman seminar (34 in this case). What is unique (in my experience anyway) is that they use the seminar you chose to group the freshman dorms. So, if you sign up for the seminar on Lord of the Rings (like Becky, our tour guide, did), you end up on a floor with the other kids in the same class. We thought this was a very clever way of grouping people by interests and giving strangers a good way to break the ice.
3. Athletic facilities - all I can say is wow, these were phenomenal for a school with 2400 students. My Track/CC/Soccer DS21 was blown away by the indoor track and workout room. The workout room was huge, with separate area for varsity team workouts, so it was a clear signal that this school attracts people who like to workout. The only disappointment here was the pool, which was kind of small and old.
4. Theme houses - most schools have these, but I thought two stood out here. There is a house of students who organize/participate in the outdoors club, and there is a house called "the Hub" which emphasizes all things electronic, like games, TV, movies, etc. and bills itself as the center of "nerd culture" on campus. A nice change from the standard "Asia house" and "Arts house".
5. SLU "walked the walk" on environmental issues. It has a very strong program in Environmental Studies,so we were pleased to see area next to the paths which were planted with wildflowers to act as "insectories" for wildlife. We also appreciated that many of the brick paths had small weeds between the bricks, so it was clear that they were not using herbicides to maintain a manicured look.
This isn't a comprehensive report because we didn't visit when students were there, but for a summer visit it was really helpful. We were very impressed by the school. If we had to point out a criticism, it would be that most of the tour was about the feel of the place rather than the academics, but that was ok with us as we try to make a good application list. We definitely will return with DS21 for another visit and interview. And another home made cookie at the end of the tour:)