Haverford College Students Say...Founded in 1833, Haverford College in Pennsylvania is “small, but exceptionally vibrant and engaging,” offering a “solid academic experience” under one of the country’s oldest and most revered honor codes. Though founded by Quakers, the school is nonsectarian, but the community aspect of its founders remains, creating what one student calls “a challenging, interesting environment with the best people I know.” The teacher education program is one of the most notable, but there is a strong emphasis on writing and a “breadth of amazing programs” for everyone else. The real love affair is with Haverford’s “awesome, invested” professors, who “lead a group of idealistic students to point—but never force—us into a better way of thinking.” Everyone is “passionate,” “people are always up for intellectual discussion,” and “everyone works very hard.” Students here were all motivated enough to get in and “want to succeed for themselves and not to appease others.” Students describe other students as having “hearts of gold and giant brains that they put to use to change the world for the better.” “It’s a small school full of nice kids—not naive (well, sometimes naive), just genuinely compassionate and interested in other people, whether or not that’s ’cool,’” says a student. The culture of “trust, concern, and respect” created by the Honor Code carries over into the rest of this “awesome, at times idiosyncratic, place where community thrives and cliques are very loose if existent at all.” “The honor code unifies everyone.” “Being able to take an exam in your own room, sitting relaxed on your bed because your professor trusts you not to look at your books is one of the luxuries of being here,” says a student.
Goucher College Students Say...Providing “a small, liberal-arts education” with a “fantastic location” just outside Baltimore, Goucher College’s academic environment is one where students are encouraged to “develop close relationships with professors, and with other students.” Goucher offers a “small college feel” and a “gorgeous campus” to its “tight-knit community.” Goucher students “understand that exploring cultures outside your own is important” and pursue a “focused track of study within a well-rounded and rigorous liberal arts curriculum.” Study abroad is not just emphasized, but mandatory, and the college offers a stipend for international study; this is highlighted by many students as a primary reason for attending and results in a “globally-minded and social justice oriented” student body. According to students, the typical Goucher student is “very intelligent, passionate, outgoing, liberal, fun [and] quirky.” One student explains Goucher ’s quirky moniker: “I think it fits well—I mean, I think we’re the only place where students in a room would shout ‘Opa!’ when someone accidentally breaks a plate. No fuss—just fun and understanding.” Students particularly praise the dance, equestrian, and athletic programs, as well as each other ’s differences: “Most students definitely dance to the beat of their own drum.” “You will never be bored here” because it’s “really easy to get into downtown Baltimore” via Goucher ’s free shuttle, and because of the myriad on-campus activities: “The SGA does a wonderful job planning activities.” It’s definitely possible to “have too much fun” amidst the “big cuddle puddle of cynical and hyper-analytical over-achievers,” but students are “hardworking” as well as social.
Davidson Students Say...This small school north of Charlotte, North Carolina, cultivates an environment “that is very open to change and improvement” and empowers students to “be better people and make a difference in the world.” The administration works hard to create an on-campus community and constantly makes efforts “to support and improve Davidson,” all while keeping students happy and their minds full. “I have never witnessed people so eager to come do their job every day. [Professors] are almost too willing to help,” says a student. There is also a trickle-down effect because even the student body is supportive and “eager to watch you succeed.” Davidson is “an amalgamation of all types of people, religiously, ethnically, politically, economically, etc.,” all “united under the umbrella of intellectual curiosity” and their devotion to the school as a community. The typical Davidson student is “probably white,” but in the past few years, admissions has been making progress in racially diversifying the campus, which students agree upon as necessary. Though there are plenty of Southern, preppy, athletic types to fit the brochure examples, there are many niches for every type of “atypical” student. “There are enough people that one can find a similar group to connect with, and there are few enough people that one ends up connecting with dissimilar [people] anyway,” says a student. Davidson “possesses an intense study culture, and people hit the books regularly; it’s cool to be smart.” One of the many wonderful things about Davidson “is that academics voluntarily leave the classroom.” “It’s not uncommon to hear people discussing their current academic topics at lunch or in the gym.” Basketball is a huge common ground for the student body at large; “Everyone enjoys being a part of the underdog/Cinderella story.” Weeks are devoted to study, as well as extra- curricular activities—“you see your friends because you are doing homework together or eating meals together, not because you’re vegging out.”
Fordham Students Say...With two New York City campus locations (Rose Hill and Lincoln Center), Fordham is truly a metropolitan school, offering a great liberal arts education in a small, tight-knit community. This community of “dedicated, opinionated students” are aware of the world around them, and the university offers students “serious academic opportunities and challenges, along with amazing opportunities to become involved with urban life in NYC.”Classes are “challenging, but you leave with a new perspective on the world— I’ll never see things the same way again,” says a junior history major. Faculty are “so accessible beyond class and are extremely willing to help,” not to men- tion the fact that they are “constantly researching” and at times “can ask you to help with it.” Fordham’s population is really diverse, which is “reflective of a New York City population,” but there is a fair number of “Caucasian Catholics, usually Italian or Irish,” who come from “upper-middle class families” in the Northeast. The school “is not cliquey at all,” and students use their freshman dorms or “a wide range of clubs and extracurriculars” in order to fit in. New York City is beloved by all at Fordham, and the affection spills over into the school. “Fordham is my school, New York is my campus.” At the Rose Hill location in the Bronx you get “a beautiful gated campus with the city just minutes away”; at the Lincoln Center location (home to the Theatre Department) you’re right in the thick of things. Either way, you “still have the college campus feel” and “truly get the best of both worlds.”Fittingly, “tons of students like to go into the city for fun and see Broadway shows, sporting events, or just walk around.”
Emerson Students Say...“Perfectly situated in the heart of Boston,” Emerson’s campus sits “in close proximity to a plethora of other academic institutions and culture.” Emerson is “the number one school for film/television/media production.” The combination of a “very active” alumni network and plentiful “industry connections” greatly help students in their post-college careers. Emerson fosters a “creative atmosphere” where people have “passion for [their] craft” and “strive to do their best.” As one student puts it, “Emerson is a specialized school for people who are passionate and know exactly what they want to do with that passion.” The faculty and students are “creative and professional,” and the experience of attending Emerson “is like a mini version of what the film industry or the business world looks like.” Emerson students are “creative, innovative, friendly, and passionate.” Although students say racial diversity could be improved, the school is “very LGBTQ friendly” and has a “large LGBT community.” Emerson does not have a “normal campus where kids walk around in their pjs.” Students here are constantly active. “Life at school is a combination of running to classes, running to projects, and running to clubs,” one student reports. “No mat- ter what your major is, there’s an abundance of extracurricular opportunities” and the “clubs and organizations are awesome and incredibly professional.” The college puts on “a lot of activities on weekends on campus,” and students here are “very social beings and love to get involved in everything - from summer internships to student orgs to the Quidditch World Cup team.”
Carleton Students Say...Students seeking a “top-notch” and “cooperative…learning environment that challenges students without leaving them overwhelmed” will find a happy home at Carleton College, an extremely rigorous liberal arts school characterized by what students call “collaborative academia.” The “phenomenal” professors, in particular, who “focus on teaching” rather than on research and “seek out…personal relationships with all of their students” are a huge draw. As one under- graduate says, “One of my biology professors got an ovation at the end of the last class of the term.” “Quirky,” “passionate,” and “nerdy” are a few words undergraduates fondly use to describe the community at Carleton. As one student explains, “Due to some sort of unexplainable Carleton magic, a motley crew of odd, but intelligent and disciplined individuals come together at Carleton for an excellent and challenging four years.” Another student describes her reasons for choosing Carleton: “Almost everyone is friendly—and I don’t mean that only groups of people are friendly, I mean that practically any individual you could come across has this desire in them to learn in a positive environment, which I think is so intense that it translates into sharing that desire with others through encouragement and assistance.” While “quaint,” Northfield and its “coffee shops, thrift stores, random little book- stores and art shops, [and] restaurants” are “minutes away,” Carleton life, or “the famous Carleton Bubble,” centers around a balance between “study hard, party hard,” and it’s “pretty easy to get completely wrapped in what’s happening on campus.”
Binghamton University Students Say...SUNY Binghamton provides "the best bang for your buck"to "hard-working, high-achieving kids" who want an "Ivy League workload at a SUNY school price." The school provides "students the ability to receive a top notch education at an affordable price" while maintaining "high standards" and a "commitment to excellence." Like many SUNY schools, Binghamton has "a diverse and active student body" that "take responsibility and pursue what is interesting" to them. Its "great reputation," "value" and "positive, respectful environment" make for "the archetype of an overall college experience." A key part of a great college experience is challenging professors, and Binghamton boasts "approachable, understanding," "very knowledgeable and experienced professors who care about their students." "Diversity" is a real plus at Binghamton. As a SUNY state school, "there's about every type of person you can imagine making it easy to make friends expand what you're used to. Most people "were serious student in high school with many AP classes" and now are "really driven," "really smart," "liberal" and "willing to be friends with everyone."
Auburn Students Say...Auburn University is a traditional Southern school full of Southern hospitality that provides a surprisingly “family-like atmosphere” for a school of 25,000 and an unsurprising level of school spirit. “Auburn people are proud to be Auburn people,” says a student. Such a large student body has the power to enact change, and the school actually listens to the constant desire “to improve academically, to make the campus safer and the facilities better, to improve the aesthetic appeal of the campus, and to address student demands.” “Auburn has really accessible faculty and administration that care if the students here succeed.” Though the school was once mainly populated by Alabamans, “Auburn is becoming more diverse,” and a large percentage are from out-of-state (though still mainly the South), so “it’s not hard to fit in…because you meet people that came from areas just like you.” Auburn is “a big school in a small college town, where the people are friendly and love their football.” On this “nice comfortable campus,” everyone is “amiable, outgoing, and pleasant,” and “there are so many groups and ways to get involved that it’s almost ridiculous. If you can think of it, you can find a class or club about it!” As one student lovingly puts it, “Auburn creates a sense of family during the first few months after moving away from your biological family, and it lasts through life.”
Xavier (OH) Students Say...Xavier University is a medium-sized Jesuit school where “professors genuinely want students to succeed” and “really care about their students.” Classes offer “real life, unbiased discussion” in a “fast-paced” environment. The idea is simple: to get students thinking about their place in the world. “The professors, staff, and students at Xavier University are truly invested in the community, whether local, national, or international, and making it a better place.” One student enthused, “I have come away from classes questioning (the world) almost every day at this university, and I think that’s a wonderful thing.” These efforts are spearheaded by educators “who have spent significant time working in their field” but who still “make students the priority over other commitments.” The “career-driven” students of Xavier are “dedicated to their studies, tend to work ahead, find the best internships, and really prepare for their career,” but that does not mean they are not “very outgoing and friendly.” One student claims, “I once had a professor comment that he has never seen so many hugs on a college campus.” Students here are “involved in a variety of activities, work hard to achieve goals, and are concerned with the dignity of others.” One need not be into the “party scene” to find a good time at Xavier. “At Xavier it is easy to find the perfect balance of academic and social life.” Students here “do not feel too overwhelmed,” so even though there is “never a dull moment,” excitement tends to be low-key, centered around enjoying time with friends “talking about faith, politics, what’s on TV, the whole spectrum” rather than going wild. Finding things to do outside the classroom is not difficult. “Xavier SAC hosts tremendous events for Xavier students to participate in,” and downtown Cincinnati offers plenty of options, from “movie theaters and an awesome restaurant” to a new casino, along with “professional sports, Broadway shows, as well as the aquarium and zoo.”
Yale Students Say...By their own account, students here benefit not only from “amazing academics and extensive resources” that provide “phenomenal in- and out-of-class education,” but also from participation in “a student body that is committed to learning and to each other.” Unlike some other prestigious, prominent research universities, Yale “places unparalleled focus on under- graduate education,” requiring all professors to teach at least one undergraduate course each year. “[You know] the professors actually love teaching, because if they just wanted to do their research, they could have easily gone elsewhere.” A residential college system further personalizes the experience. Each residential college “has a Dean and a Master, each of which is only responsible for 300 to 500 students, so administrative attention is highly specialized and widely available.” A typical Yalie is “tough to define because so much of what makes Yale special is the unique convergence of different students to form one cohesive entity. Nonetheless, the one common characteristic of Yale students is passion—each Yalie is driven and dedicated to what he or she loves most, and it creates a palpable atmosphere of enthusiasm on campus.” True enough, the student body represents a wide variety of ethnic, religious, economic, and academic backgrounds, but they all “thrive on learning, whether in a class, from a book, or from a conversation with a new friend.” Yale is, of course, extremely challenging academically, but students assure us that “aside from the stress of midterms and finals, life at Yale is relatively care- free.” Work doesn’t keep undergrads from participating in “a huge variety of activities for fun. There are more than 400 student groups, including singing, dancing, juggling fire, theater…the list goes on. Because of all of these groups, there are shows on-campus all the time, which are a lot of fun and usually free or less than five dollars.
These college profiles are adapted from The Princeton Review's Best 379 Colleges Guide. This guide provides narrative descriptions of schools' academics, student body, and campus life, in addition to other general information. To view these details, you must create a free Princeton Review account.