April 12, 2012
Franklin and Marshall
This was my third or fourth visit to F&M as I toured with Elsa and later stopped by for a few self-guided tours with Jeremy when we were in town for soccer tournaments. The school actually quite a reach for Jeremy and perhaps should have been deleted from this tour, but Elsa and Heather both like it enough that I thought Celeste should see it.
The school is beautiful, and full of old and new, detailed red brick buildings that surround three different quads.
There is a public park in the middle of the campus, creating a whimsical effect: colorful slides and swings near classroom buildings and in view from the back of the library. F&M is a college-y college and has traditional aspects such as Greek life, (about 30% of students participate,) a football team, and a politically diverse student body. I heard a parent in admissions explaining most campuses are so liberal but that there must be some sort of “moral compass” in the school that they choose for her daughter.
One aspect of F&M that is unique is that each student is assigned to a “house” with which they are affiliated for all for years, regardless of whether or not they live in the house. The house is determined, not by a sorting hat, but by the freshman seminar that the student selects and is assigned. Each house has academic support (professors have offices on premises,) in addition to residential advisors (which are called something else.) The house has study spaces in the lobby as well as small classrooms in which the seminars are held!
Both our admissions dean, Katie, and our tour guide, Steph, emphasized the close nature of the relationships that students form with professors. Steph also sang the praises of librarians who specialize in helping students gather sources for research papers and said she was able to check out texts for her paper on Chinese Hermits which had not been touched for decades.
While I was attending the information session, Jeremy wandered over the the athletic center and found the men’s soccer coach. Although Dan was not expecting Jeremy (oops!) they had a nice chat and Jeremy was invited to observe practice later in the afternoon. To kill time, we window-shopped in lovely and very cool Lancaster, a real draw for F&M. On the weekends, Lancaster has the oldest public (farmer’s) market in the country!
F&M is a very nice little school. Based on the location and reputation, it is an excellent option for many students, but it will be a reach for Jeremy if he applies.