Conversation with a Prospie

This week, we thought it would be interesting to get in touch with a prospective student and gain some insight into what’s being assumed, perceived, and questioned about dear SLC.

Emily Mercurio, a student at the Watkinson School in Hartford, CT, was in my Creative Writing class two years ago. I deeply resented her for being so young, talented, and aware of that talent. Now a senior interested in coming to Sarah Lawrence in the fall, she’s helped piece this article together.

Feel free to answer her questions, add your own for her, and put yourself back into the mindset of choosing a college.

Look out for future pieces like this one as the acceptances begin to roll in. We want to be the all-encompassing, most-read publication with the highest baller status for new and old students alike.


Assumptions about Sarah Lawrence

Among my classmates, Sarah Lawrence is casually referred to as ‘writer college’. As in:

“Oh, Emily, you should go to Sarah Lawrence! That place is like… writer college, or something!” Or,

“If you like writing essays you should go to Sarah Lawrence. That’s all they do there. Twenty-five page papers and stuff.”

This assumption typically comes from the people who have only heard of the school through a series of tenuous connections to an actual Sarah Lawrence student or alumni. I was initially a very firm believer in their validity. Once you start seriously looking at the school, however, an entirely new set of hypotheses emerge, mostly from those who briefly considered Sarah Lawrence before deciding it wasn’t for them.  Their perception of the school is a bit more… avant-garde.

“I’ve heard that Sarah Lawrence is one of those schools where you could major in Goddess Worship or Quinoa Farming.”

“You want to go to Sarah Lawrence? Just so you know, it’s all-girls and most of them are lesbians. Good luck getting a boyfriend.”

The rumors are not all bad, though. People also tend to assume that a Sarah Lawrence education means one that gives equal attention to depth and breadth of learning. They think that Sarah Lawrence is heaven-on-earth for bookish and weird girls like me, that I would have little trouble finding someone to talk about books with. They think that a Sarah Lawrence student always has a poem they want to write or a novel in the works. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it sounds like mine. Even knowing that obviously not every student was a writer (or even a reader), the general supposition that there was a formidable number of people like me in the student body was what led me to apply.


Facts I know to be true:

I know that Sarah Lawrence doesn’t have majors, which made me wary from the start. Someone who’s gone through their whole high school career announcing “I’m going to be an English major!” can get a little bit jumpy when their dream school throws a wrench into that plan.

I also know, however, that you design your own program of study, giving students more freedom to explore what they’re actually interested in, so maybe instead of the obligatory English major class on Pre-1500 Literature, I can study something more in my interest range, like Women’s Studies (not that there’s anything wrong with Chaucer).

I also know that classes work on a small scale. Having three classes each semester and small class sizes are another element that make Sarah Lawrence so attractive to me, even if it can be initially difficult to explain to people that, yes, three classes is quite a full course load.



Does it matter that there’s not a whole lot to do in Bronxville?

Has your time at Sarah Lawrence been like you expected it to be, or were there some major surprises?

Do you feel like you’ve been free to study the things you’re interested in and that you’ve enjoyed not having a long list of required classes to take?


Image Credt: fuckyeahsarahlawrence

Gabrielle Campagnano (Opinion Editor)’s favorite word is communication. She is described by close friends (and enemies) as “diligent,” “an appreciator of words,” “jolly,” “hottest monogomist” and “moogle”. Although she concentrates in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence, you can talk to her about intelli-rap and Szechuan peppercorns. Post-grad, Gabrielle plans on readying the next generation of artists (ages 5-10) to take on the world with mindfulness and sensitivity.

1 Comment

  • Reply February 8, 2012


    First off, I may not be majoring in quinoa farming, but I definitely did conference work about it! And we do write and read a lot, but about a whole lot of different ideas.

    In response to your questions, in order:

    No, it doesn’t matter that Bronxville isn’t the most hopping of (college) towns. It has what matters: 2 coffee shops, a supermarket, a health food store, one or two reasonably priced restaurants, and a few expensive ones. New York is really so close and everyone takes advantage of that.

    College is just really different than high school. I don’t remember what I expected too well, but I’m liking what I have. You definitely have to be willing to make the school work for you and be active in that, but that’s how SLC’s designed, so it works.

    Yes, yes, and yes again. It’s most evident when I talk to my friends who go to other schools, who may complain about having to take one class they don’t like or some distribution requirement that keeps them from doing what they want. It’s awesome to be able to take exactly the classes I’m in to. It makes learning so much more engaging and fun, and means the other people in your classes want to be there too.

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