A 'Nerd' at St. Lawrence University (NY)?

Hi folks… wondering what people think/know about a ‘nerd’ fitting in at St. Lawrence University (NY)?

You need to be more specific. Theater nerd? Computer geek? Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones nerd? Sports statistics/fantasy League/Moneyball nerd? Techno music geek?

We can help you if we understand what you are talking about. One person’s nerd is another person’s “Renaissance Woman”.

Well… not into sports much at all, though played soccer in HS. Does some role-playing games, video games, enjoys nerf and airsoft activities. Likes film/tv quite a bit. Pretty quiet, more of an introvert. Not part of HS ‘scene’ at all, though does have a solid group of like-minded friends. For categories above, I’d say LOR/GofT nerd. Read all the GoT books.

St. Lawrence University offers a very social, athletic environment.

We found that each LAC has a distinct vibe and the best way to determine “fit” is with a visit – if possible I’d suggest your S visit St. Lawrence (perhaps he can shadow a student for a day, sit in on classes etc.) before making a decision.

St. Lawrence University is well known for social, athletic students with outgoing personalities. Much of the socialization involves alcohol.

SLU also has a lot of outdoorsy type students who camp & hike in the Adirondack Mountains.

My impression is that a self described nerd would be lonely & uncomfortable at this particular school.

To be clear: This is most likely not a school that should be on your son’s radar.

Well, I have a good friend who, 30 years ago, when he entered SLU, was a major nerd. He loved it, especially all the personal attention from faculty. He went on to Grad school at Georgetown. So, I don’t know. OP - I will tell you my son is a bit of a nerd and he applied to St Lawrence as well. We have received such a fantastic financial aid offer that he will definitely be visiting to check it out. I think you should do the same if possible.

My somewhat nerdy daughter couldn’t picture herself there, though she did get excellent merit aid.

I thank you all very much for this information. It seems it would really be necessary to spend a bit of time there
to get a feel for the student cultures. Like I said, he’s definitely not into sports, or partying (at least at this point!). Not an extrovert at all. He has done very well in HS. He does have an interest in the outdoors/nature (thus the application to SLU). Many liberal arts colleges offer primarily need-based aid, and St. Lawrence has offered a very nice merit scholarship.

Keep looking. I agree…you would be lonely there.

We know an introvert at SLU who is not into sports or drinking, though loves the hiking and cross country skiing, and is quite happy with his choice of schools.

We had also visited several times for athletic recruiting and spent time at Arts/Music facility with faculty and students – my impression was the students were down-to-earth, decent people and there was generally a relaxed vibe on campus.

I should supplement that to say, the kid we know is quiet and quirky but not “far out” on the quirky side. But then again, I’m not really sure what that would mean since pretty much every male I know between age 18 and 28 has read all Lord of the Rings books, can quote the film and debate at length, and has watched GoT multiple times. I have to admit, I don’t know many that made it through George Martin books. If a kid were only socializing with peers who played an online game, and was not comfortable interacting with others with different interests, then my sense is that St Lawrence might be a tough fit. It seemed like a school filled with nice, decent kids, but not the kids who would be attracted exclusively to, for instance, Oberlin/Grinnell/Bard and who would shudder at the prospect of school like Bates, Conn Coll or Dickinson.

Bottom line – hope you can visit to get a feel yourself.

I don’t understand the comment “would shudder at the prospect of school like Bates, Conn College or Dickinson” in the context of St. Lawrence students.

SLU kids would use Oberlin/Grinnell/Bard kids as dodge ball targets–so I agree with your assessment with respect to those schools, but I do not understand the reference to Bates & Conn College.

P.S. Historically, the easiest way to compare / understand St. Lawrence University student body was as Dartmouth College rejects. Preppy, athletic, upper middle class & upper class white kids who like to socialize with each other & with alcohol. Much has changed over the last decade, but just how much is the question.

Bates, Conn and Dickinson have a more “mainstream” feel than the overall pool of students at Grinnell, Oberlin, Bard etc. If a kid found that kind of environment at Bates etc. stultifying and oppressive, then St L would probably not feel like home either. It’s really a question of how many of your “people” someone wants to feel comfortable and supported. Not a question any of us can answer in the abstract for another student.

Our experience with St L over the past 3 years was that it is not a super preppy place. Just one slice of experience, but I recall our tour guide was an African American girl from Baltimore who was very happy with her research opportunities as a pre-med student.

St. Lawrence has definitely become more racially & socio-economically diverse over the last decade. This is a positive change.

“more racially & socio-economically diverse”. It’s about 77% white, 4% African American and 4% HIspanic/Latino. That’s compared to about 84% white in 2011-2012.

I found it interesting that another poster’s tour guide was an African American student from Maryland. I don’t think their students who work in admissions represent their population. Our tour guide was from out of the USA. I can’t remember from where but she was a boarding school kid herself and clearly quite wealthy. It seemed she was quite bright and was recruited for her diversity. I got the impression that even though she was wealthy she was there on a nice scholarship.

It seems clear that St. Lawrence wants to encourage diversity in its student body. Moving from 84% white to 77% white is more diverse racially. With 64% of undergraduates determined to have financial need, St. Lawrence is certainly more socio-economically diverse.

Nevertheless, St. Lawrence historically has been comprised of white upper middle class & upper class athletes who are & were very outgoing & social whose most common first choice school was Dartmouth College.

As with most rural LACs in cold areas, drinking remains a concern. Hopefully, students have the option of substance free housing.

To its credit, St. Lawrence encourages its students to take advantage of a great number of study abroad options.

Agreed with above poster. SLU is also entitled to their typical student body. Let’s face it, most schools have a student body vibe/stats. It is just a matter of if the OP is a match for it or not. Nothing wrong SLUs demographics. Again, all schools have their own.

Outdoorsy is the adjective that comes to mind first for SLU. That’s not necessarily mutually exclusive with ‘nerd’.