Lawrence University
Appleton, WI, USA

Reviews

Lawrence University
4.10 Average Rating

Stephanie from Seattle, WA

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Lawrence is a wonderful, welcoming community with a variety of great programs and some extremely special professors. Winter can get pretty long at times, but there's lots to do if you can navigate the cold and get involved in activities. The best part is the spread of people: you get hugely talented musicians, athletes, and people majoring in everything from English to Biochem to Russian.
Tips for prospective students
Get involved! Find your place, whether it be Swing Dancing, Lawrence International, Habitat for Humanity, Ultimate Frisbee, or LUMOS, our Harry Potter club. Can't choose? Join them all. Everybody's welcoming. Get to know people on your floor. When choosing dorms, go for Ormsby or Plantz - they're the most central, and walking can be brutal in the winter. Go to class, go to your professor's office hours, call their cell number if they give it to you - use every resource you can and get to know your professors!
Academic Rigor
Some intro courses can be a bit lacking, of course, but you can't really sail through anything, and once you're past the beginning, everything gets much, much tougher - and way more rewarding. 18th Century Literature totally isn't my thing, but it's part of the English Major's requirements, and while I worked harder than I ever had before on a 15-page term paper about a book I didn't like, I still loved the class, thanks to my wonderful professors. There are some amazing, inspiring teachers here who make you love working hard.
Dorm Life
Dorms are fine - nothing special, nothing terrible. A lot of renovations are going on, so many buildings have lovely new bathrooms! Definitely not half bad. The community of a dorm is there if you want it, but you don't have to join in, either.
Food and Dining
It gets boring after awhile - it's cafeteria food. But before it's boring, it's pretty darn good - better than probably 95% of the cafeterias out there. The cafe is overpriced, as is the corner store, but you get used to it.
What to do for fun
Join clubs. Play club sports. Lie out on Main Hall Green with your friends on a sunny day. Go to the VR, if you're 21, or numerous other institutions on College Ave. Grab some coffee at Harmony Cafe, go to a frat party on a Saturday night.
Bang for the buck
I won't lie - it's expensive. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. I have to conclude that it is - it's truly a wonderful experience here.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Ahem. Senior Streak. It's exactly what it sounds like. And the Great Midwest Trivia Contest - look it up. It's my favorite weekend of the year and the one on which I get the least sleep.
Great for these types of students
Non-competitive students who are interested in learning, not just getting the highest score. Students who maybe didn't get the best grades in high school, but whose test scores tell a different story.
Clubs and Activities
There's pretty much something for everyone out there! And if there isn't, you'll probably be able to start it.
Greek Life
Greek Life exists, but it's by no means the center of the social scene. It's nice to have it there - parties and events, etc - but also nice that it's not the be-all end-all of making friends.
Campus Safety
Never once have I felt unsafe, even walking across campus in the middle of winter at 4:30 AM.
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Alexander from Northbrook, IL

a current student here
6 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
A truly inspirational institution with dedicated professors and eccentric people that are dedicated to learning.
Tips for prospective students
Explore all the opportunities Lawrence has to offer, because there are so many of them!
What to do for fun
Go down to the train tracks and fish, or go to the VR (Viking Room) and have a beer with your professor and discuss the impending heat death of the universe.
Bang for the buck
This school is really on the expensive side, but the food and the academics really make it worth the cash. That is, if you can afford it.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
There's the senior streak at the end of the year, the nearly naked party where you have to wear only clothing made from non-clothes materials. We're nudists here in Appleton.
Great for these types of students
Brilliant minded, devoted, driven, open minded, and cool guys.
Clubs and Activities
There are so many activities here, and the best club of all is the Outdoor Recreational Club (ORC).
Greek Life
The frats are full of nice people, mostly... There are a few of them and they throw the biggest parties, naturally.
Campus Safety
Overall Lawrence is really quite safe. Albeit there was an incident where a sketchy guy in a van was driving around and popping into peoples' rooms while they were asleep and stealing things. A guy had his laptop taken. But that was an anomaly.
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Anonymous

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Lawrence is a small, liberal arts university in Appleton, WI. It is a residential campus, so there is a large sense of community. Everyone is unique, and Lawrence is very accepting of that.
Academic Rigor
Lawrence is a difficult school. Much work is expected of students to do outside of class, and many classes require a least a couple hours of work daily in order to do well in the class.
Dorm Life
Some dorms are typical dorms with community bathrooms that are primarily for freshmen and sophomores. Other dorms such as Hiett and the Execs are nicer dorms with your own bathroom that are for upper class-men. Overall, I don't think any dorms are bad to live in.
Food and Dining
Our food is actually really good compared to other schools. Sure, it can get old after eating it every day for a couple years, but there are plenty of options to choose from so you aren't forced to eat the same thing day after day. All of our food is from Bon Appetit which is a catering company and they do a great job to provide good quality for the students as well as keeping options open especially for vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free eaters.
What to do for fun
There is almost always something to do on the weekends. There are parties frequently as well as other big events especially in the spring like LUaroo, Relay for Life, and Ormsby Zoo Days.
Bang for the buck
Lawrence is expensive, but it's totally worth it. It's a great school, and professors really make an effort to make you get the most out of your experience and education here. Also, financial aid is very possible to get and if you feel like you need a little more help to afford it, just talk to admissions/financial aid office because they are usually able to help out and make it work.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Senior streak is probably the most unusual tradition that I can think of at Lawrence. Every year, towards the end of Spring term, the seniors have an event at the VR and then it's followed by the senior streak where they all take off their clothes and run around campus while other non-senior students gather around to watch.
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Valerie from Appleton, WI

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
LU is a society which accepts a wide variety of people from all over the world.
Tips for prospective students
Always be eager to try out new things, trust me, it is very exciting!
Academic Rigor
LU is a tough school to keep up with as the weeks go by. This does not mean that it is impossible to pass tough :)
Dorm Life
Dorm life presents a lot of opportunities for students to interact with each other through communal activities which are hosted by the RLA's
Food and Dining
The presence of the Cafe and the dining room is very convenient.
What to do for fun
Trying everything on campus in its own is fun. Just make sure you don't get caught up in life at Lawrence and forget about your academics
Bang for the buck
It is expensive, but it is worth e.v.e.r.y p.e.n.n.y
Greek Life
Greek life is really noticed on campus due to all the activities they organize for Lawrence Students
Campus Safety
Security on campus goes out of their way to keep Lawrentians safe. they are accessible 24/7 and are always seen around campus.
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Ruby from Bellevue, WA

a current student here
4 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
I am learning so much more than I ever thought I would! The professors are wonderful and the classes are ridiculously small. You can't fall through the cracks.
Am enjoying being here
I love the people and the campus is really nice, however Appleton isn't a very fun city. Its hard to get around if you don't have a car. I'm from Seattle so the weather in both summer and winter is unpleasant.
Bang for the buck
Even though its expensive, Lawrence gives good scholarships and makes it possible for most people to attend who deserve it.
Tips for prospective students
Be yourself!
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Molly from WI

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
LU is a tight-knit community. Academics come first for everyone. There's still plenty of room to have fun, though!
Tips for prospective students
Prospective students should first consider the potential financial strain of attending Lawrence. It's a fantastic school, but the price tag can be hard to swallow. If you can do that and want to know more about student life, stay overnight as a prospective student! It's a great way to meet current students and get a better look at the campus. Pay special attention to the quality of the different dorm buildings - LU is a 4-year residential campus, and not all dorms are created equal.
Academic Rigor
LU was rated the 18th most rigorous college in the US in 2011, beating out Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. It's tough, but worth it.
Dorm Life
Dorm life depends heavily on where you live and who your neighbors are. Sage Hall is the notorious party dorm, but it's not a total disaster (usually). Trever is sort of the odd one out, and not a lot of people spend time there or want to live there. It is also the furthest away from academic buildings. Plantz is the unofficial dorm for conservatory students, and has a very good community feel. Colman has the benefit of sinks in each room, and is generally a good place to live. It is the furthest from the campus center, which becomes important during the winter. Brokaw is generally a last resort, though some people totally love it and live there every year. It's four floors with no elevators, and campus security's headquarters are on the first floor. Ormsby is old and fairly quiet with the occasional weekend parties. Kohler is the largest dorm on campus, and is completely substance-free. It is also a popular spot for conservatory students. After freshman year there are other housing options, including group/theme houses, fraternities, and apartment-style dorms.
Food and Dining
Dining at LU is run by Bon Apetit, a large but environmentally conscious food provider. Generally the food is excellent, with a variety of choices and plenty of options for people with dietary restrictions. The campus center houses all of the food options. There is a dining hall that has breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a corner store for buying snacks and other essentials, and a cafe that serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, bagels, coffee, etc. that is open until midnight (important!). The most important thing about dining is deciding on how you want to split your meal plan funds - there are different plans that change the amount of dining room meals you get vs. cafe dollars. Cafe items have been increasing in price, and many people underestimate how often they will go.
What to do for fun
Appleton is a great city, but it is fairly spread out and hard to navigate without a car. So, most of the fun activities students participate in are through campus clubs and groups. There are countless trips to sign up for, including annual camping and canoe trips. Many people are involved in athletics. Despite the academic rigor of the school there is a fairly active party scene, especially around the fraternities, who have 1-2 theme parties per term. Upperclassmen can enjoy the Viking Room, which is a bar for students and professors located in the basement of one of the academic buildings.The VR holds activities like weekly trivia, guest bartenders, and Senior Night activities. The main attractions of downtown Appleton are also bars, though there isn't really a college bar scene due Lawrence's small size.
Bang for the buck
Prestigious but expensive. Getting your money's worth depends on which department you're in. The LU conservatory is widely celebrated, and the psychology , biology, and chemistry departments are strong. The only major that is an absolute waste at Lawrence is art - the program is tiny and terrible.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Oktoberfest takes over College Avenue every year, and is extremely well-attended by students. Lawrence students participate heavily in the Midwest Trivia Contest, which is an experience that can not be explained in writing. LUaRoo is a mini-music festival held each spring, and popular campus bands as well as outside acts are invited to play. My favorite tradition is senior streak, in which the senior class attends a final Senior Night at the Viking Room in June and then collectively streak through campus. Underclassmen often line the exit of the VR to cheer on their friends. The one famous location on campus is the large steeple/tower on top of Main Hall that is featured in the majority of photos of the campus. To students this structure is known as the Nipple of Knowledge.
Great for these types of students
Work hard, play hard. Students with varied interests. Students interested in music. Pre-med or students thinking of going to graduate school.
Clubs and Activities
Everyone is in at least one club, they're a great way to meet like-minded people and get involved with the community. Most people are in 3-5 clubs.
Greek Life
There are four fraternities on campus: Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sigep), Beta Theta Pi (Beta), Delta Tau Delta (Delt), and Phi Kappa Tau (PhiTau). Beta and Phi Tau are generally held in high regard, Delt is a bit misunderstood but mostly full of good people, and Sigep is half good people who make bad decisions and half bad people period. They are the root cause of many complaints and incidents on campus. Joining any fraternity requires a willingness to balance academic life with residential life, and many students have failed out due to an inability to keep grades up in the frat environment. There are more sororities on campus, but the popular ones are Delta Gamma (DG) and Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa). Sororities do not have campus housing at all, which is a definite drawback. Sororities do about twice as much philanthropic work as any fraternity.
Campus Safety
Super safe. On campus security is always patrolling, they are generally a kind group that are more concerned about safety than pointlessly busting people for underage drinking. Appleton PD generally only comes on campus if asked to do so by security, but the downtown area surrounding campus is safe and extremely well-patrolled.
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English major

a current student here
2 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
In three sentences
Lawrence is a great place that suffers, like most other small liberal arts colleges, from an inflated sense of importance. That said, there are great people here in both the student body and the faculty. One thing that makes it stand out is its commitment to never make students feel like a cog in a machine.
Tips for prospective students
It's Wisconsin, and it's cold. It isn't terrible (though this winter - 2014 - has been unusually bad) because it means that you have to be very productive. When there's no incentive to go outside, you're more likely to do your homework inside. Bring layers and something to cover your face, that's the part that is the most uncomfortable when it's exposed.
Academic Rigor
Because we're on the trimester, things move fast. That also means that if you're in a class you don't like, it's over quickly. But it also means that a lot of material gets covered in a shorter period of time (though people will tell you that the professors aren't supposed to put a semester's worth of work into a trimester). Most people thrive in this environment and for those who don't, the teachers are very supportive and flexible.
Dorm Life
The dorm life varies by dorm and by residence staff. In general, most people are happy and several of the dorms just got new bathrooms a few years ago, which is really, really nice.
Food and Dining
Second to none. Really - the food is excellent. Lots of choices and the quality is far and away superior to every other college I've ever eaten at.
What to do for fun
Appleton isn't as po-dunk as it sounds. Offerings off-campus include the typical kitschy-type stores, lots of bars, a performing arts center and a mall. Other than that, students are pretty self-sufficient in terms of entertaining ourselves and there are groups designated to making life on campus fun. They do well.
Bang for the buck
As far as I can tell, most students go on to good jobs/internships after graduating.
Share any unusual traditions or locations on campus
Winter carnival, in which students laugh in the face of the Wisconsin winter and get outside to do wintery stuff, like ice carving and broom ball (if you want to know what that is, come to Lawrence!)
Great for these types of students
Focused, high-strung, go-getters.
Clubs and Activities
The campus life office is very supportive of all the groups and clubs on campus, and they make it super easy to start one that doesn't exist already.
Greek Life
Very chill. Three sororities and three or four frats. There's a decent participation in Greek life but it is by no means dominant on campus. Most people in the sororities are also active in many other facets of campus life.
Campus Safety
I have no qualms about walking home by myself at night. Appleton is one of the safest cities in the countries. It's nice not having to think about that.
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Hilary from Soquel, CA

researching this school
13 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
My mom went to Lawrence and she and all of her classmates are amazing, intelligent people that have gone far. My mom has her PhD and has a friend in the Bankok Orchestra. Whenever I have gone to the campus, I've really loved that they have the conservatory of music integrated into the rest of the school. My mom was a pre-med major with a minor in theatre and that isn't uncommon. A girl from my town who is a freshman there now says it hasn't changed. She's currently doing freshman seminars, where a physics professor is studying the Odyssey with them with a totally different perspective that a Lit professor.
Will enjoy being here
A huge turn off is the weather. Lawrence is right on a river so the wind chill is crazy. That being said, Appleton is a fun town. Personally I think its really cool that such a small town gets Broadway tours just like a big city.
Bang for the buck
Its expensive, but worth it.
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Alexander from Wausau, WI

a current student here
11 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Am learning a lot
The professors are absolutely knowledgeable, inspiring, and helpful. What is fantastic is that they do not teach and expect only the basics of any topic; they encourage students to delve into their own experiences, to pull disciplines together to create a new intriguing perspective which enhances students' understanding. Academics certainly hold high priority, but here it is not a chore but an antidote for one's unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
Am enjoying being here
The atmosphere is perfect. There are many places one can go if they seek friendly encounters or simple solitude. Everything is within one's grasp; literally everything is within a comfortable walking distance. The people are very friendly and intellectual, but not in competitive manner like larger schools. Professors really invest time into their students which enhances understanding and offers students reliable references for the future.
Bang for the buck
Tuition is already over $40,000, and rising, but because of the above reasons, I feel that Lawrence deserves a large percentage of this. They do offer decent financial aid, as well.
Tips for prospective students
I would recommend visiting campus, taking classes, going to some extracurricular events. Lawrence is not for everyone. Despite its rigorous academics, Lawrence has myriad clubs and various other events one could participate in. Prospective students must realize that academics are only half of the equation, that this is their surrogate home. Be as involved as possible, make friends, create lasting memories.
Great for these types of students
Lawrence is great for academics of any interest. Music is particularly strong, and even if you are not a major, there are plenty of opportunities to view concerts, oftentimes by world-renowned fantastic players and famous groups: we had Bobby McFerrin, Howard Levy (renowned harmonica player), Richard Goode. Jazz, opera, and ethnic music are also very strong here. There are many lesson opportunities along with ensembles that many non-majors participate in. On the other side of the street, there is a wealth of research opportunities in addition to or as part of independent studies which count as classes. These truly uphold Lawrence's individualized learning tradition. Lawrence encourages well-rounded students by its degree requirements which, no matter one's discipline, requires at least a sampling in many others. I feel Lawrence really prepares students for the real world.
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Luis from Chicago, IL

researching this school
7 people found this review useful
Categories Comments
Will learn a lot
The teacher in Biodiversity made the class as focused as possible so that the people knew what the lesson was about. He also sensed when class morale was low and interacted with the students the entire period.
Will enjoy being here
My personal preference is that I just go to college, regardless of the town area. I actually like the quaint area because of the mix of brand name and mom and pop shops. For an outsider, you might have to go about an hours way for some entertainment but I like the area. The campus is beautiful and the conservatory is just so fitted into life here. The dorms are cool and I loved Kolman Hall.
Bang for the buck
The tuition number was large and quite frightening. After a talk with one of the admissions staff, Ken Anselment, I felt reassured that this place is worth it. My overnight visit, for all it's worth, helped me choose to apply and want to be a lawrence viking.
Tips for prospective students
Even though this is a fair test school, If you have a good ACT score, It would be of good use to submit it. It'll be one more thing that will make you stand out in a good way. Don't just take other's words for it, take an overnight trip and see the campus for yourself.
Great for these types of students
Students who don't mind what the town is like. Students who love music. Students who are thinking of doing a double major. Students who like a fair mix of party attitude and civil, academic representation.
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