Miscellaneous Questions, Revisited

Hi all - Hope all is well. My D was admitted to Rhodes EA, and although she has not yet caught her breath from the application season, I am starting to catch mine and digging in a bit to Rhodes. Rhodes checks a lot of the boxes of what she is looking for in an undergraduate institution.

In 2014, a “Miscellaneous Questions” thread in this Rhodes subforum asked several questions I am asking. User “love2trvl” posted a reply, and rather than reinventing the wheel, I’ll just ask if anyone has impressions about love2trvl’s replies to a couple of the questions. I thought the replies helpful, and wondering if others have similar or different impressions:

love2trvl wrote:

"My daughter has no interest in joining a sorority but she does not feel out of place. She said some kids are cliquey, some aren’t. She feels she the majority of the kids are inclusive.

Southern Culture - my daughter is from New England & she definitely notices the southern culture! Rhodes is very “southern preppy”, lots of Vineyard Vines, etc… Some of dd’s friends fit this but most don’t. Her roommate is really into Anime. DD is artsy. She estimates that 60% of the girls are in a sorority, which is much higher than most of the northern schools. There are kids from all over the US so even though there is a very strong southern presence there are kids there from the west coast, north and midwest.

DD thinks the campus is split fairly evenly between liberal/conservative. This is based on her classes from last semester, which required a good amount of class participation. This balance is something my daughter was looking for.

My daughter requested the substance free dorm so she is grouped with several religious students but neither she or her roommate are religious. I think both religious and non-religious students would feel comfortable."

Those questions - centrality of sorority life, campus culture for a “Northerner,” political atmosphere, and comfort of non-religious student - are topics our family is interested in.

I’d add two more questions:

  • The new Rhodes President cited the size of the student body as one of the things she wants to examine in terms of "what Rhodes wants to be." At around 2000 students, I thought Rhodes a nice size, but in her wanting reflect on Rhodes size, I am wondering if there has been a lot of enrollment growth (or maybe creep) that some think is changing the character of the institution? On a more practical level, is availability of dorm space or class registration or other possible effects of the size of the student body playing into President Hass's comments?
  • Maybe not a separate question, but related to the religious/non-religious character of Rhodes, it seems like the centrality of the Life and Search sequences to Rhodes' liberal arts curriculum is one reflection of its Presbyterian roots, at least insofar as each uses the Bible as a focus/departure point. The "History of Rhodes" page on the Rhodes website explores the relationship between Rhodes' mission and the Life/Search sequences. I've read that the Life option may be more "religious" than the Search option. Anyway, the centrality of Life/Search is part of the reason for my interest in the experience of students who enter Rhodes without a grounding in the Bible (or in any particular faith tradition more generally).

Sorry for the length. Thanks very much all!

I would like to know about religiosity on campus. I see there is an Easter break, not Spring break, like most colleges. Do most kids go to church on Sundays? How would a non-believer or someone from a different religion fit in? Also, how does this affect sorority/fraternity life?

My D is a junior, she goes to Catholic mass weekly and has a friend or two who does same. That said, she says it is a very NON-religious campus, very few kids attend church. It would not be odd to be a non-believer or non-Christian, a devout kid is an exception. It will have no affect on sorority life, mine is in a sorority. Her sisters are Christian, non-Christian, and probably largely not practicing any faith,

With recruitment in the spring now, only 150 girls even signed up. It is NO big deal to not be in a sorority, she won’t feel left out, and there is much harmony BETWEEN sororities. I have to laugh at the split between liberal and conservative, my D says there are NO conservatives on campus. The atmosphere is very PC and all the hot button issues you might expect at a liberal arts school are regular topics. She is very liberal and we are pretty mainstream 3rd party voters, so I don’t think I have a skewed perspective. She took Search and I sat in on a class once, not religious in any way. Not sure what to say about the question about Haas. Optimistic but unsure.

Thanks very much mom9955 for the very helpful replies I appreciate it very much! And thanks havenoidea for the reply too - we have many of the same questions!

Yes, thanks mom9955. And JMS111, we (husband and I) are from NE, but now in SW, though not at all “southern” type area. Never even been to Tennessee…hopefully the visit will answer some questions.

Oh, by the way, they have spring break too! Can you even imagine a college without it? But I believe there is no school Friday so kids can get home for Easter weekend and maybe in small part as a nod to Good Friday, a crucial day in the Christian faith.

My son is a sophomore. Rhodes’ student body grew some over the past decade and the school does have to evaluate if it wants to continue to grow, or remain just under 2,000. I have not heard any problems with my son finding the classes he needs or room in the dorms (although he and his roommates did lose the the room lottery this year and are in a very small triple but have made it work). I cannot speak on sororities, but my son is not involved in Greek life and does not seem to have any problems finding friends or fun. Some of his friends are Greek, some are not and they all seem to get along. He does seem to go to many sorority formals (which do not seem to be very formal).

My son was in the Life section because of the way it fit in his schedule and enjoyed his classes for the most part… He is not religious but went to a catholic high school so had some background in the bible. The students are from many different religious backgrounds, some are devout, some do not practice. I think the school might skew more devout christian than an east coast liberal arts school, but he said that no religion dominates.