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A mom’s perspective of Denison

weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
edited November 2006 in Denison University
I thought I’d post this because a lot of people have private-messaged me to ask my thoughts about Denison.

So...Here is one parent’s perspective of Denison:

My son is a freshman at Denison, and he is very happy there. When we first visited Denison he liked it right away.

The admissions people are amazing, and their personal approach truly reflects the overall atmosphere of the school.

The campus is beautiful. They really should have more photos on the web site! It’s perched on a hill above the quaint, lovely little town of Granville, Ohio. Granville has no “chain” businesses (no mini-marts, fast food places, chain hotels; no chain anything). The nearby town of Newark has all the sprawl stuff (including several hotels). Granville has plenty of places for necessities – there is a drugstore, a grocery store, banks, pizza places, etc., but it is NOT a college town in the traditional sense of a main street lined with bars. There are a couple of charming inns and B&Bs for accommodations. The nearest mall is Easton Center, and it is widely regarded as one of the most progressively planned malls in the country (I’m not kidding – it’s not like anything you’ve seen before – it is like a huge, fake Main St, only with great stores, restaurants, and a HUGE movie theater). There is a bus that goes there on Friday nights, and maybe other times too.

Denison has a nice mix of kids from all over the country as well as some international kids, and, of course, lots of kids from Ohio -- and they are so friendly in that great Midwestern way. Denison is serviced by the Columbus, Ohio airport which is about 40 minutes from campus. They have a free bus that goes back and forth frequently at break times.

Denison is a residential college – students MUST live on campus all four years. The dorms are average dorms and there are very nice apartments for seniors (and a few lucky juniors). Freshmen live together. One of the freshmen dorms (Smith) has been recently remodeled and is very nice, but the kids think Shorney is the friendliest, liveliest place to live. There are no frat or sorority houses anymore. (You can join a frat, but you can’t live with one.) The lovely, former frat houses are now general housing, called the “North Quad.” A couple of these are reserved for freshmen, and I think you have the best shot at one of those if you apply ED. They are nice and the kids get very close in those houses.

Sophomores-Seniors can also choose to live in Denison’s sustainable housing project called The Homestead. There are about 12 kids who live there who are off the power grid, grow their own food, heat with wood, and cook their meals together. It is on the 300+ acre nature preserve adjacent to campus. If you are truly a self-sufficient kid who is passionate about the environment (OK, you need to be more than a little granola-ish) you will love it.

I’m not going to lie - my son hates the food. OK, what else can I say about that? Only that his dorm has a fully functional kitchen and he does cook there now and then.

There is a full office for the first year students, with a very helpful and supportive staff. They run a great summer orientation with lots of info for kids and parents. They also offer special student orientations like a backpacking trip, a cultural trip, and a service trip. Freshmen benefit GREATLY from going on one of these trips (it’s just a great chance to make friends), although my son didn’t have time. Denison all but guarantees kids a 10-hour a week job on campus if they want one. There is a 24/7 staffed health center where kids can stay if they are sick.

Classes are, of course, small and interactive. Professors will know you. You will eat dinner at their homes, and all that good stuff. The academic quads are scheduled to go wireless this spring. The library, like all the buildings, is beautiful. The science buildings are all new.

My son plays in both the orchestra and the jazz band and is enjoying them. There seems to be plenty of activities on campus for weekends, and they host trips to skiing, Broadway shows, Washington DC etc. He is also active with club sports and is having a great time with those.

Like ALL schools, Denison struggles with student drinking and related problems. About all I can say is that if you don’t drink you will find friends who don’t drink.

Denison gives out great scholarships, and they consider you for them automatically, so there are no extra essays to write (yay!). They are trying to shrink the student body by a couple of hundred though, so admissions could get more competitive.

I hope that covers some of the issues people might be wondering about. If you have further questions I can try to answer them…
Post edited by weenie on
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Replies to: A mom’s perspective of Denison

  • FresnoMomFresnoMom Registered User Posts: 1,044 Senior Member
    weenie

    Thanks a bunch for such a great review of Denison!!!!!
  • Lewis1212Lewis1212 Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    Wow, this is a great review. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it!
  • CarmelMomCarmelMom Registered User Posts: 36 New Member
    Thank you for writing the review of Denison. We are visiting next week. My daughter thinks she wants to attend William and Mary but I'm pulling for Denison because it's only 3 hours away versus 11. I hope she likes it.
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    Have fun on your visit CarmelMom. W & M is a great school too! Sounds like she has nice choices.
  • Lewis1212Lewis1212 Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    CarmelMom,
    Where are you located, if you don't mind sharing? (you can PM me if you'd rather). I just ask because we lived in Cleveland for 10 years until DD2 (the one considering Denison) was 9, then moved to Indiana, and now live about 1/2 hour from William and Mary! DD2 was also admitted to W&M but has ruled it out, primarily for swimming reasons. Her best friend lives very near campus and they frequently go to W&M just to hang out.....no one questions whether they're students and its a cheap/fun place to go to the Student Center & play pool, watch the "Open Mike" night types of shows, catch the free movies or get cheap pizza. If you have any questions about the area in general, I'd be happy to help if I can. William and Mary is a GREAT school.......I was honestly surprised when we moved here to find out it was a Virginia state university----I'd always assumed it was an expensive private college!
  • birch45birch45 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    Great review Weenie. Everything you touched upon especially the uniqueness of Granville is right on target. The food isn't miserable just mediocre. Where this school really falls down is housing. First years get a good deal especially if they get into one of the former frats as my son did. Sophs and Juniors are crammed in doubles, triples and moresomes. The students have no social spaces so they use one of their allotted bunkrooms as an added social room.
    My son slept his entire junior year in one room with three other friends. His grades plummeted. I complained to the Dean about this situation. She offered to move his back to a double with a stranger who was also a sophomore. My son refused to leave his roomates. He really struggled with illness, depression and nearly flunked out. Senior year he missed out in the lottery and failed to get into Sunset the senior apartment complex. He was forced to stay in the same dorm senior year. He recovered but friends visiting from other schools couldn't believe the abysmal conditions for seniors. Denison is addressing this concern with additional Sunset spaces. The damage incurred junior year could not be totally made up senior year. A decimated GPA was barely lifted to a 2.5/2.6 by graduation after having been 3.1/3.2 starting out sophomore year. That was Denison's only black spot. Great profs, good kids especially the Ohio ones made my New Englander's life a happy one for four years almost four. Denison needs to rebuild those old brick dorms and provide far better accomodations if it ever hopes to attain the truly selective status it is chasing as a top tier lac institution.
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    birch45:

    Good points! My son actually wanted to room next year in a triple - but I *think* I've talked him out of it. I think it's just too many distractions. The problem is he likes his roommate and they have a good friend who has no one to room with.

    I attended a meeting here at home with Pres. Knobel recently and he was talking about a few things related to housing. First off they are trying to shrink the student body by 200 to 300 kids permanently (starting with the fall 2006 class), in part to ease housing and in part because they feel Denison is getting too big to be as personal as they'd like it to be. (Maybe they are simply trying to improve their stats -- who knows.)

    He also was talking about the cycle of renovation for the dorms. They finished Smith two years ago (?) and are planning on moving on to Shorney and two other buildings that I can't remember on the other quad. He said they were actually trying to create more single rooms on campus (?!).

    Another couple of buildings of Sunset opened in September, and they now guarantee all seniors an apt in there. I wish they had enough for juniors too!

    I'll have to ask my son if he knows kids squished into housing. I haven't heard him talk about that, but that doesn't mean a thing. He does know upper classmen though, I'm sure of that.

    I know bad housing can really affect kids' grades at school. I know it did for me when I was in a bad situation way-back-when.

    Thanks for your post! I'll try to get some more scoop.
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    I asked my son if he knew of upperclassmen kids squished in housing. He replied, "No, none at all." (Of course the thoroughness of his knowledge may be questionable. ;) )

    Apparently the new apartments, called The Brownstones, and opened in September 2005, have lightened the load a bit. So that's a good thing.

    That's not to say all of Denison's dorms are great. They are dorms!
  • prachi240987prachi240987 Registered User Posts: 465 Member
    I'm an international.. and in many threads there is stuff abt New englanders..
    how are they perceived there??
    n also whats the diff. btw the ppl of the north/south and cali/east side Ny etc..
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    Bumping for nightengale.
  • myheartisinohiomyheartisinohio Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    Im actually not a Denison prospective or anything but I am going to a very, very, very similar(but much nicer :)) LAC (DePauw University) in the fall. Since our schools seem to be following the same paths to work their way up from the bottom 25 of the top tier to the top 25, I just wanted to ask a few questions about whats going on at Denison. DePauw is known as a party school (and i love it that way) but the administration seems to be taking the Denison route in destroying the #1 ranked greek scene and seriously cutting down on partying in general. I just wanted to know what were some of the steps that Denison went through as it downsized its one thriving social scene, what were some of the signs that it was coming. Also, what is Denison doing to continue to destroy the social scene. I was once a Denison prospective but decided against it because of the lack of a real social scene, among other things, and I am just looking for some of the warning signs so I can at least try to organize some kind of student protest when I see something coming...
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    Hope you have a great time at DePauw. Sounds like the perfect school for you.
  • CarmelMomCarmelMom Registered User Posts: 36 New Member
    If Depauw is successful in destroying their "social scene" you can always transfer to IU!!
  • myheartisinohiomyheartisinohio Registered User Posts: 375 Member
    yea, then i could pay 28k a year too!!
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    topping for marion
This discussion has been closed.