We were talking to a friend about daughter Endub's search for the right college. She wants a place that is intense and serious about study, but lighthearted and friendly in tone. Our friend suggested that the distinctive teaching pattern of Sarah Lawrence College might suit Endub very well. So, since we were in the Northeast anyway, we made a quick trip to Bronxville, NY.
At Sarah Lawrence, students take three year-long seminars. That is the full load. The seminars are capped at 15 students. Students and professors interview one another in the registration period to make sure that they have a real match with one another, since they are commiting quite a bit of their teaching and learning time to each other. Then, on top of the seminar, each student meets individually with the professor to work on an intensive project that is related in some way, or at least inspired in some sense, by the seminar topic. This individual project lets students go deep on something of interest to them. Endub really liked that part.
On the other hand, the nice young people who acted as tour guides had to admit that the stereotypes about Sarah Lawrence students were not, um, convivial and fun. One emblem of the campus are the ubiquitous black squirrels. There is even a campus eatery named for them. The campus joke is that Sarah Lawrence students are like the squirrels: contentious, aggressive, and always dressed in black.
The jury is out, but she remains intrigued.