Is Lawrenceville school strong in Technology, STEM?

Can L’ville students or families please comment on the following: Do STEM kids fit in at L’ville or is it predominantly a liberal arts school? What academic opportunities are there for STEM kids in the technology area at Lawrenceville? is the school strong in computer science courses, robotics, artificial intelligence, tech/science competitions, engineering courses, offer guidance and help in securing summer science or technology internships? Also, what is the level of academic competition and stress? What is the grading system? Hard grading, on a curve? Are the following issues common at L’ville, such as sleep deprivation,excessive workload, cut throat competition, too much of a pressure cooker? Are most students happy or not with the academics, school life, dorm life? how is the community feeling. sense of comaraderie and school spirit? What school do you wish you had gone to rather than L’ville? Thank you

@jogger, @skieurope , I think you want this in the prep school forum, not summer programs…

MODERATOR’S NOTE:
Moved to Prep School Forum

I go to Lawrenceville so I’ll answer this question.
1st, I’ll speak on STEM at Lawrenceville:
I actually happen to have a very high interest in the stem field, and I want to major in computer science in college. Like you, when I went to Lawrenceville, after hearing about its strength in the liberal arts, I worried that it might be lacking in stem. Lawrenceville definitely has many opportunities for stem students. This includes clubs and classes (you can look on our course catalog online to see all the courses we offer). But the tricky part is finding time to fit in all of these things. As you probably already know, we have a 3 term sports requirement. (You can get an exemption, but you have to have a VERY compelling reason unless you reason is because you’re physically hurt.) Sports take up a good amount of time at Lawrenceville. I don’t know if you’re interested in varsity sports or house sports or lifetime (dance, conditioning etc), but varsity sports definitely take up a lot of time mainly because most of our competition is pretty far. You will spend a lot of time traveling for varsity sports. If you plan to only participate in stem related clubs, you will probably be able to find time to fit in sports, school and clubs, but it’s unlikely that you will only be interested in stem-related clubs. We have so many clubs that it’s almost inevitable that you’ll only want to join 1 or 2. Also, don’t forget that we also have a community service requirement. So you have to find time for this.
As far as the stem curriculum, it’s definitely NOT as strong as the liberal arts departments, and, in my opinion, at times it kind of feels like a joke. Lawrenceville likes to boast their “many course offerings” and how they have a lot of courses in general, but in actuality, when you’re a freshman and sophomore, you’re schedule is pretty laid out and there really isn’t room for electives. And when you’re a senior or a junior, you can only take 5 classes (They are very adamant about this because they claim that more than 5 classes will be too much for anyone to handle). Keep in mind that our graduation requirement requires 4 years of english, so that already takes up one class. (You’re already down to four classes.) It’s a law that you have to take U.S history, which you can do either junior or senior year (it’s up to you). So now for either senior or junior year you’re down to three classes that you get to choose. Unless you get to a language in level 3 before junior year (which is possible if you’re in a language 2 level freshman year, but unlikely) you have to take language. So now you’re really down to 2 courses. Don’t forget about our 2 term interdisciplinary credit requirement. I also think it’s important to add that there aren’t that many stem interdisciplinaries, most of them are liberal arts related. I’d say the best truly stem interdisciplinary is Phys-Calc, which is a class that mixes physics with calculus. However, this class is really two classes that takes up TWO blocks and only counts for ONE interdisciplinary credit. So, you probably pick up on what the problem is here. We also have a 2 term religion requirement and 2 term arts requirement.

As far as fitting in- For the most part, L’ville kids are very nice and you will probably find a friend group. There are definitely kids who excel in stem fields at L’ville. Lawrenceville’s student body is pretty diverse so I don’t think that finding friends will be a problem.
For summer internships: I myself have personally never seen Lawrenceville offer or help in finding stem related summer internships or camps, this has always been something I’ve had to do myself. But i’m also not from the Lawrenceville area or anywhere near it, so I don’t know that it would’ve even helped if they had. We don’t have a class specifically dedicated to artificial intelligence but we do have an engineering course that works with robots a lot and a computer programming course.
Although there are robotics courses and engineering courses, I’m going to say it again- the hard part is trying to fit in all theses courses while also fulfilling your graduation requirements.
The Grading system: I think the grading system at Lawrenceville is absolute TRASH. Being completely honest, I dont even make bad grades and I still think it’s trash. The problem with the Lawrenceville grading system, especially in the liberal arts, is that it varies wayyyy toooo muccchhh. There is no standardized grading rubric. Your grades in liberal arts fields are going to be very subjective and a big factor will be your teacher. At times, I have felt like my Lawrenceville English teachers were just writing grades on papers without even reading them. For example, I know people who have gotten very low grades on an essay, and they showed that essay to another teacher who outright told them that if they had been in their class, they would’ve given the essay an A. This just goes to show what the grading system is like. Essentially, Lawrenceville teachers can give you whatever grade they feel like giving you-it’s the truth. Now, there is one good/bad thing about grades at Lawrenceville. Grades aren’t really stressed. People don’t really flaunt their grades at L’ville and teachers don’t really make a big deal of them. Before I went to L’ville, I went to a school with an online grade book that I could access at all times. At my previous school, I could literally check my grade whenever and a number would always appear. At Lawrenceville, most teachers don’t post grades and sometimes you will get papers/tests back without grades. It’s good because during the school year it kinds of makes it less stressfull, but at the same time, it’s bad because who wants to take class and ask the teacher your grade and their literal response might be “around an A- or B+/A-”…like what the heck does this mean? Do I have an A- ,or around an A-?Do I have a B+ or an A-?? It’s very annoying. Another good thing about the grading system is that it can be finessed. You can make Bs on every test in a class but if you take the time to go over things with the teacher and show that you care by making an effort, you can probably come out of the class with either a B+ or maybe even an A- if you’re lucky. The bad side is that Lawrenceville teachers don’t really give high grades unless you show a lot of effort. You could make all As in a class at Lawrenceville and you will end up with an A, but there might be another kid who makes all A-'s in a class at Lawrenceville but goes to the teacher a lot and shows effort, and that student will also end up with an A. Yes, I think this is unfair because I think a grade should reflect your work in a class and your knowledge in that subject rather than how much you went to see the teacher. Some classes have curves, it just depends on the teacher. For example, I know Latin has a curve because people have told me that that class is pretty hard. But like I said, everything REALLY DEPENDS on the TEACHER.
That being said, there really isn’t any pressure at Lawrenceville. Like I said earlier, grades are kept pretty quiet and aren’t discussed much and there’s no “cut throat competition.” lol Of course, we’re high school students so we’re competitive and want to do the best that we can do, but it’s all healthy competition.
As far as people being happy with academics, it really varies from student to student. There are of course some students that if you ask about L’ville academics, they’ll say it’s crazy and an overload and they might even say they can’t handle it. I personally, have never really felt this extreme feeling. While you will definitely have a lot of work, it’s completely manageable once you figure out how to fit everything in. The dorm life is pretty good after freshman year. Most people are happy with their house. Freshmen housing is not the best…I’m just going to leave it at that.
The amount of school spirit really just depends on the day-if it’s headmaster’s day (when the headmaster cancels school for a day), then there’s a lot of school spirit and of course everyone is proud to be a Lawrentian, but if it’s a monday, when we have 6 classes (Juniors and seniors have 5 with a free period), those are the days that no one is proud to be a Lawrentian. But overall, we have pretty ok school spirit. Yes, just OK. I’ve definitely seen better but it’s ok.
If I could do it all over, idk, lol. I’d probably stay at the high school I used to go to (it was a pretty good school), but I don’t really know. There are some things about Lawrenceville that I absolutely love and there are some things that I absolutely hate. So that’s a hard question to answer. I’ll let you know once I graduate though.

Lawrenceville is worth a close look for any strong student, regardless of their particular level of interest in STEM.

It offers an outstanding education, has amazing extra-curricular opportunities, and a wealth of resources. It deserves its reputation as a top-tier school.

You have to visit yourself to assess the subtleties of culture that determine “fit” for your family.

But everyone should know that “liberal arts” is a much misunderstood term having little to do with “being liberal” or what we would consider “the arts.” (Read this excellent [wikipedia explanation](Liberal arts education - Wikipedia))

The term essentially means “well-rounded” or “comprehensive.” And STEM fields are an essential component of that well-rounded education.

Since highly selective colleges want well rounded applicants with a broad and strong foundational education, “college prep” schools are all “liberal arts” schools. And the top schools discussed here will all provide good STEM education as part of that.

@seekers You’re right about what liberal arts schools value in terms of being well-rounded; however, all the top schools discussed here do not “provide a good STEM education as part of that.” The quality of the stem education depends on the stem-falculty and their knowledge in the field and the opportunities in stem that the school provides to students. It also slightly depends on the school’s attitude towards stem. I’m not at all denying that Lawrenceville gives a fantastic well-rounded education, but that does not mean that all of its departments are valued equally. I wouldn’t use the word good to describe its stem education either. The fact of the matter is that if you’re interested in pursuing a career in stem and you attend Lawrenceville, you will have to do the majority of your preparation for college stem outside of classes and some even outside of school. When I say this, I’m referring specifically to the more hands-on stem careers like CS, or engineering. Now if you’re trying to major in a like a hard stem subject like chemistry or Physics or things like that, then you’ll be fine.

I’m afraid we’re going to have to respectfully agree to disagree…

Perhaps our definitions of “good” differ. Or perhaps we differ in our assessment of what foundational educational experience is necessary and sufficient for pursuing higher education in each STEM discipline.

But I stand by the assertion that a kid who is strong in and passionate about STEM can go to any top school on the forum, and receive an education that provides a really solid foundation for success in any bachelor’s program (whether at a liberal arts college or a technical institute).

Sure, some schools will be stronger than others in specific departments. But prospective families need to apply to multiple schools, and I wouldn’t dismiss Lawrenceville. They need to know that all of these schools follow the liberal arts model. That is not a differentiator and is not a barrier to pursuing a STEM career.

I strongly suspect that “fit” will be a far better determinant of outcome (happiness, passion, academic success, and ultimately, college matriculation). So I urge families to get a sense of that fit for themselves, by visiting.

Lville offers the Hutchins Scholars program, which helps arrange Summer research internships. Only a handful of students in each class are in the Hutchins program. Everyone else is on their own to secure summer opportunities.

Other than Hutchins, the STEM offerings at Lville are weak. If you’re interested in robotics and engineering there are several public magnate schools that have much better programs.

I’m currently a student at Lawrenceville, and honestly, the science department is essentially nonexistent. In freshman year you are required to take a course called IBES and in sophomore year you are required to take a course called ICAPS. These courses are so easy that they are considered a joke. The reason why the school doesn’t remove these courses is because the student body is more liberal arts focused, and for that reason many people still fail the course. Some other people mentioned already mentioned this, but grading is complete garbage here. Your grade is completely dependent on what teacher you get and how well you can kiss up to him/her. Someone also mentioned how we have extracurricular programs such as Hutchins, but getting into this program is also completely random and doesn’t depend on your skill or expertise. I know some people in the program who are getting Ds in ICAPS, whereas some of the people who were rejected get A+s in that course. The application process also includes teacher recommendations, so if you want to get in you better start kissing up to your teacher at the beginning of the year. There are a multitude of other problems I have with Lawrenceville, but just to keep things short, if you want to pursue STEM, STAY AWAY FROM THIS SCHOOL OR YOU WILL REGRET IT.

I’m also a current Lawrenceville student and I couldn’t agree more with your statement! This is completely accurate, and I would also advise those serious about stem to stay away from Lawrenceville.

are the last two posts directly above written by the same person?