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SLU's Frequently Asked Questions:
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After Words: Reports, observations and reflections on the September 11 attacks

Alumni Accomplishments

Class Notes

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Frequently Asked Questions

You see them everywhere these days.
St. Lawrence gets them too-big ones, little ones, serious ones, weird ones-and last fall we assembled a group of people with several hundred combined years of service in admissions, fund-raising and communications, and asked them to help us compile a list of the ones they hear most often. There are probably more-if your burning question isn't here, let us know, even if you think it isn't frequently asked-but here's our collection, complete with answers.

How "wired" is SLU?
How many student-accessible computers are there?
Are students required to bring a computer with them to school?

All students automatically receive network and e-mail accounts, at no added charge. With network access, students can use e-mail, the World Wide Web, course software, the campus library system and a variety of other services.

There are eight computer labs and eight mini-labs in residence halls, totaling some 135 computers available for student use. In addition, students may use computers in academic building labs and the Owen D. Young and Launders Science libraries.

Students are not required to bring computers with them to campus, but most do. A University survey has shown that nearly 90 percent of first-year students bring a computer with them - almost evenly divided between desktop and laptop models.

For more information: Russell Merrill, vice president for information technology,

What's the status of the Greek system?
Greek societies were founded on the principles of scholarship, leadership and service, and became places where deep and abiding friendships were formed. These principles have the University's strong support.

With four sororities (Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Delta Sigma and Kappa Kappa Gamma) and four fraternities (Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Phi Kappa Sigma and Phi Sigma Kappa), the St. Lawrence Greek system is a viable part of a varied set of options considered "co-curricular"-which means we believe that students learn much in their out-of-class experiences and commitments and we work hard to assure those experiences and commitments are the best they can be. The sororities have more members, and more members who reside in-house, than do the fraternities. About 20% of all students (15% of men and 24% of women) elect to join a Greek house; students can pledge during the first week of the fall semester of their sophomore year, to establish three years' membership.

Students work closely with the University and with their national chapter leadership to define the tenets of contemporary Greek life. Greek leaders themselves work with one of two groups: Interfraternity Council (for fraternities) and Panhellenic Council (for women).

For more information: Craig Harris, associate director of student activities,

How can I volunteer?
First, decide what you'd like to do: admissions, career advising, regional events planning, or fund-raising. Contact the alumni and parent programs
staff (call 315-229-5904 for the right liaison) for advice on the next steps. Volunteers always welcome!

Can first-years have a car?
Yes, all students are allowed to have cars on campus, if they wish, though it is not necessary. St. Lawrence offers free airport transportation at any time and bus transportation to several cities at vacation periods.

Are all residence halls co-ed?
All residence halls (not hallways, but buildings, or "dorms" if you're of a certain generation) are co-ed. Residences that are single-sex are the fraternities and sororities and Louis Ray House of Brotherhood, Black Women's Residence, Women's Resource Center and 62 Park, which houses only women.

What's Early Decision?
If St. Lawrence is a prospective student's first choice, we encourage the Early Decision application option. The applicant commits to attending St. Lawrence, provided satisfactory financial arrangements are completed; if admitted, he or she then must withdraw any applications to other colleges. The "ED" pool is considered before the rest of the applicants, so ED applicants receive the University's decision well in advance of others.

For more information: Alison Almasian, senior associate director of admissions,

What jobs do grads go into?
For the Class of 2000 (the most recent class for which figures are available), 95% are employed or enrolled in graduate and professional schools. Sales and marketing, education and banking/finance/investments have been the top career choices for recent grads for several years.

For more information: Tracey Cross-Baker '90, associate director of career services and leadership education,

What's the First-Year Program? The First-Year Seminar?
Here's how we describe the First-Year Program, briefly, to prospective students: "In your first semester, you'll take a team-taught course, live in a residence hall with other students taking that same course, and develop remarkable relationships with both professors (one of whom becomes your advisor for at least the first year and sometimes beyond) and classmates." Continuous learning is one of the goals of the FYP, which unites students, faculty and upperclass mentors and college assistants in a stimulating, interdisciplinary mix of questioning, communicating and living. The FYP course is just one of four courses taken by incoming students, but it's a course that forms the foundation of the St. Lawrence education.

Each fall, we offer several different First-Year Program courses, each taught by faculty teams of two or, sometimes, three. Samples from this fall's schedule: Images of Africa; Women in the Global Market; The Games We Play; Our Communities, Ourselves; and Knowing Nature. Then, in the spring, students take the First-Year Seminar, one of 30+ additional courses that are taught by one faculty member and focus on research and continue to work on developing communication skills. Although these seminars are not residentially based, they are small, thus allowing students to build close relationships with another group of students and with another faculty member. (This is a recent innovation; until a few years ago, the FYP course continued throughout the year.)

For more information: Steven Horwitz, associate dean of the first year,

How do I put a friend's prospective student in touch with St. Lawrence?
Easy-contact the admissions office, 315-229-5261, admissions@
, or see our Web site, for instructions.

What is the average SAT?
The most valid reporting method cites what's called the "middle 50%," indicating that one-half of any class falls between the scores at the 25th and 75th percentiles for the class. For the Class of 2005, the 25th-75th percentile boundaries are 1040-1240.

Why is St. Lawrence a University?
A University usually has more than one "college" under its auspices and/or offers graduate degrees. When St. Lawrence University was founded in 1856, it had two colleges-the Theology School and the College of Letters and Science. Over time, we have also had under our auspices a law school (in Brooklyn, N.Y.), an agriculture school and a second liberal arts campus, in Fort Plain, N.Y. Today's St. Lawrence consists of the original College of Letters and Science and graduate programs in education, so the name fits.

For more information: Archivist Mark McMurray,

How do we get into guidebooks? How is our rating determined?
Prospective students starting their college search might quickly become overwhelmed with the number and variety of guidebooks on bookstore shelves or posted to the Internet. Printed books alone number 25 and counting, with most published annually, and some are published just once,
never again to see the light of day! What's a high school
student to do?

First, it's important to differentiate between the objective guidebooks (Peterson's College Guide is a good example) that provide statistical information, and subjective books that provide editorial perspective (The Fiske Guide, for example). Both can be useful, in their own ways. Most guidebooks ask colleges to respond to survey questionnaires; some surveys are 60 pages long, while others ask just a few questions. One guidebook, The Princeton Review: The Best 331 Colleges, periodically asks student
opinion, though the book is published annually.

US News and World Report offers the most famous rankings, developed through a complex formula that is 75% objective (using data supplied by the college) and 25% subjective (incorporating the opinions of presidents and deans at peer institutions). Most colleges object to rankings per se-the #1 college is only #1 if it matches a student's hopes, dreams and abilities. But if rankings must exist, the USN&WR probably places colleges in approximately the right places. St. Lawrence is listed in Tier II (at #55) within our category of national baccalaureate colleges; the top 50 colleges make Tier I.

For more information: Lisa Cania, associate vice president for University relations,

Who can get married in the Chapel?
According to Chaplain Kathleen Buckley, "At least one of the people needs to have some association with SLU. Our policy states, 'Only persons with direct relations to the University may reserve the Chapel (faculty, staff, administrators, students, alumni and their children).'" Brush Alumni House guardian Leigh Berry '64 chimes in, "In order to have a reception on campus, you BOTH have to be alums."

For more information: Leigh Berry, administrative assistant to the director of alumni and parent programs,

Is SLU really a party school?
If there's a source for the "party school" label, it's probably the admissions guidebook The Princeton Review: The Best 331 Colleges. Every couple of years, editors of this guidebook "survey" students at the colleges selected for inclusion in the book and the University has no opportunity to shape the results. St. Lawrence in several of the past editions was listed among the top 20 "party schools" in this book, according to answers provided by our own students. We have not made the "party school" list in the past two editions.

In fact, St. Lawrence has made several other lists in recent years, such as Happiest Students (ranked #2), More to Do on Campus (ranked #5), Most Politically Active (#16) and This is a Library? (#10), so we take these rankings with a large chunk of salt.

We recognize that prospective students use guidebooks-some with very objective information, others with much more subjective information-as tools in their information arsenal, and we provide accurate statistics to surveys when asked. Now, as in the past, a college's reputation is based both on formal criteria and informal perception.

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