Read Tanay's comments given below:
1. How important do you consider rankings while evaluating schools? How have your perceptions changed about this now?
I go to a school that does not participate in the ranking system, but to be honest I did look at school rankings while applying. At the time I thought going to a school that did not participate in the ranking system was something "cool" in itself, but I wouldn't go to the extent of calling the system inconsequential. My perceptions have changed over the two years that I've been here. Having interacted with students from different universities one comes to realize that while rankings are important they certainly aren't a topic broached on a conversational basis. Each school is identified with the caliber of students it produces and that might not necessarily be reflective of the ranking of that institution, so really I think it has more to do with whether the school has produced students that are now on the public radar.
2. Did the geographic location (NE, Mid West, West , South) and setting (urban, rural, suburban, college town) of your college impact your overall assessment of your college experience? Did you think about this when applying? How did your perception change with time?
The geographic location most definitely benefited my college experience. Sarah Lawrence College is located just 30 minutes away from New York City. And living so close to the city has added to the cultural aspect of my college experience. I have been able to attend numerous concerts and plays, and visit an array of museums. I don't think I would have had the same exposure had I gone to school in a smaller city.
3. Did you consider size (student population) as an important criteria while choosing schools? What do you think is a size that is ideal for you? Why?
I did think of the size of the school while applying. I was keen on going to a school with a relatively small student population. Sarah Lawrence has a student population of just 1200 students, and the small student body has helped advance my academic experience. I am able to interact with each of my professors for an hour on a weekly basis, which would not have been possible at a larger university. I think a small school helps immensely at the undergraduate level, if you're confused about what you want to pursue professionally. It allows you to develop a genuine interest in a particular sphere due to the focused attention you receive.
4. What was the average class size of your intro classes? Were you satisfied with this? In what way did this change your perception of your academic experience? What would you do differently?
The average seminar class size at Sarah Lawrence is 15 students, and that for a lecture is 45. As first year students we are advised to stick to seminars, and being in a small class was once again a beneficial experience. The class size particularly helped my writing skills. The bi-weekly interaction with my peers not only allowed me to analyze my own writing, but the writing style of other students as well.
5. What is your current major interest? Did this change over time? Explain if it did? Do you think that the courses you took to fulfil general education requirements were good? What would you change about the choices you made?
My current major interest is Non-Fiction Writing, and it hasn't really changed over the past two years, but being at a liberal arts school has allowed me to study a variety of subjects. Over the past two years I have taken classes in French, Political Theory, Chinese Literature, European History, and Art History.
6. Was the ratio of international students/total population an important criteria in your selection of schools? Did you feel trapped in any sort of bubble or clique? Did your perceptions about diversity change while you were in college?
I was keen on going to a school that did not have a large international student population, and I'm glad I made the decision of choosing Sarah Lawrence. I often find that Indian students tend to stick together and get trapped in a bubble that limits their interaction to the people from other countries. I believe this greatly detracts from the overall college experience. I didn't want to travel all the way to America to solely interact with students from my country. Interacting with American students and students from different countries has been an enriching educational experience, and I would go to the extent of saying that it has changed the way I perceive life. However having a small international population or for that matter having a largely white student body does have its drawbacks. While I have personally never faced any problems, people from smaller ethnic groups seem to feel threatened at times, and this has resulted in racial tensions on a few occasions. Though this experience cannot be relegated to Sarah Lawrence College, such issues often have a magnified impact at a smaller school.
7. Can you comment an the overall personality of the student body? What aspects of this did you like/dislike?
A typical Sarah Lawrence student is very individualistic by nature, so there isn't a strong sense of community at Sarah Lawrence, but I think that is a positive for most of us as it does not detract from the overall college experience. Moreover the College tends to attract students who prefer their independence so it doesn't cause friction in the community. That is not to say that we are all superficial beings that only care about ourselves. There is a lot of activism within the community. One of the major issues last year was workers rights for staff employed by the college food services, and students did come together openly to voice their concerns, and to march in support of the workers. However in relative terms you might not find the same number of communal activities that maybe be found at a large number of schools.