I just read one really bad review on another website

The student said that the town, Carlisle was dangerous and that the kids at the school were very snobby and unfriendly. In your experience, is this totally false? It seems like a great school with a mix of kids and I thought it was in a small, cute town. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

Parent of a high school senior here – those student reviews are typically submitted by students who either loved or hated their experience. I’m not sure there is confirmation that reviewers were actually students at the institution (though I could be totally wrong about that, apologies in advance).

As someone who gets student reviews in my work (college professor), I usually focus on the recurring themes that come up among the middle range comments. The students who love my classes or hate my classes rarely have substantive feedback that I can address in future years, but the ones who liked it fine but suggest specific modifications, are the most useful. So – disregard the isolated student reviews. If everyone said Carlisle is dangerous and D’son students snobby, without exception, that could be a trend worth following up on. But not even a few reviews like that should substitute for your own judgment and impressions.

And while there may be parts of Carlisle, for all I know, that are not especially safe, the area around the college and the downtown (all of 3 blocks away) seemed fine. When we visited, we saw middle-aged women walking alone at night from downtown restaurants back towards campus (which is a demographic I would fit in), as well as groups of students walking around town. Nothing threatening or unsafe. As for the students, we did not take an impression of snobby or unfriendly at all, and we know a number of current students there who are very happy and active in a number of different groups.

Not true in my kid’s experience. Visit for yourself and see what you think.

There is one site (I can’t mention it by name here) of student reviews that presents some of the most bifurcated reviews for the reasons that @Midwestmomofboys lays out. People tend to write reviews if they are at either extreme of the love/hate spectrum. I find that the site that rhymes with which provides reasonably balanced assessments but even there, I disregard the outliers.

@mamaedefamilia That site that rhymes with “which” is where I saw that bad review, and I wanted to hear from others that it wasn’t accurate, I was especially surprised about the town being unsafe. That sounded weird to me.

Hmm, even so, if it’s a minority view, I’d not take too much stock in it. I remember somebody once describing an urban neighborhood in Boston as “sketchy” and I thought just the opposite. I guess it depends a bit on personal experience or perhaps the reviewer was just unhappy and went overboard in the review. I guess the best way to find out, is to see for yourself.

It seems to me that it is easy to look at crime statistics to determine if a town is dangerous or not. I’d ignore what the school publishes because they are not required to reveal certain information that is relevant to the amount of danger a typical student is exposed to (risk) and often the materials comes from the PR department. Take a look at the crime rates for the area that the students are likely to spend time in-including the area of restaurants, bars and other places where students hang out off campus. Also consider the crime rate in the specific area. Sometimes with small cities or large towns, the crime rates for the area students hang out in are diluted with large rural areas that have no people and zero crime, making the overall stats look ok. But it is usually possible to narrow in on the exact area that students spend time in by using a tool like neighborhoodscout. Getting the actual crime stat’s can change things markedly-can take what looks like “safe” large regions and zoom into the areas students frequent-and all of a sudden you can see the there is a concentration of gang activity right where students spend their off campus time-not good! Beware. In contrast, I’ve seen the tools show that students in some schools in cities known to have high crime rates are actually relatively safe because the area students spend time in has a much lower crime rate than the overall rate of the city.

Also be aware that stereotypes about smaller cities or large towns being safer than large cities are not generally true. Over the past 20 years, some cities have gotten safer through exportation to small towns. Further, one factory towns that may have thrived in the days of the industrial revolution are often now depressed and crime ridden. Do your homework!

You can walk around town at night even if you’re a single woman, with no worry whatsoever even in back alleys. Seriously, I’ve done it often when I lived there and the worst encounter I ever had was with black ice. :smiley:
The town is cute but some parts are depressed. It doesn’t mean it’s bad or crime-ridden. Students wouldn’t have any trouble that I can think of, even if they stumble home at 4am completely drunk in the area around campus. (In some areas past the train tracks, I’m not sure but even there you walk around without even heckles, which isn’t true everywhere.) I’m sure there’s crime like in all economically-depressed small towns but not in the three-four block area around the college - There may be bike thefts but even that is rare enough people often don’t use locks on campus…

I would not have let my kid apply there if I thought it was dangerous. When I read one negative review, I then try to seek out others. The only college that I wouldn’t let my kid apply to was Susquehanna. After reading a report that actually said “do not let your child attend this college” and reading the crime stats as reported by the college, we never went further than preliminary research.
I do beleive that evey college bound kid should be taught some basic self defense, and paretns hwould have serious and uncomfortable discussions with their kids about campus crime, and crime in general. That’s just being smart. They have to grow up, and we can’t protect them from everything.

@Lindagaf , could you clarify why your kid avoided Susquehanna. I already applied there, and would like to hear your thoughts on it. Send me a private message if you prefer. Thank you!

@frank6215 , I read an article that basically said Sus was not a safe campus for women, that there were a lot of reported sexual assaults, etc… My child is female, and I did check on Sus’s crime reports, which, IMO, did have too many of these types of incidents for me to be comfortable for my daughter. This was at least 18 months ago, maybe things are better, but as we, the parents, are paying for college, I drew the line.

@Lindagaf Thank you so much. We will be very careful. My daughter was accepted this Fall at Sus. Best of luck for your daughter.

Any idea why there are more sexual assaults at Susquehanna? Frats? Lack of security?

Maybe you should post this on their forum.

My D is a student at Dickinson. We never thought of Carlisle as unsafe - it is a very cute town, and the students walk between campus and town regularly.