Question for current students

<p>I know that F&M is known to be incredible at getting their students into graduate schools. This is wonderful, but do you ever feel as though students just attend F&M as a stepping stone to grad school and future careers? I want to attend a college with students who care about their futures, but I also want them to treat their F&M experience like college, enjoying the social life, night life, and friendships. I feel like this is a silly question, but my high school experience hasn't be fantastic, so I would really like to have a true college experience at a small school like f&m. Is that possible here?</p>

<p>I am going to give you a brutally honest answer. I am senior at F&M about to graduate this spring. While it does supposedly have a good reputation for getting students into graduate/professional schools, I know a lot of us (myself included) are realizing that that is mostly hype and its as impossible for us as it is for people from other schools right now. So that really isn't true. As for the social life, I'd suggest joining a greek organization if you're concerned about making friends. Its a very small campus and it can be a isolating environment. Everyone knows everything about everyone else and your reputation can be tarnished very quickly. A common saying I've heard in my 4 years there is "F&M is a great school, except for the people." I have to agree that this is true for the most part. Unless you come from a wealthy, upper-class background you aren't going to fit in and you may feel out of place. However, if you do come from that kind of background you'll have a much easier time. The academics can be very demanding but come Friday (and even during the week) the parties start and it can be very crazy. There's a fairly prominent drug culture (but you'll probably find that on any campus in America) but you can stay away from it if you want to. Basically if you want to have a good experience there be as extroverted as possible from the day you get there and always remember people will find out everything that happens. I personally did not have a good experience there but I know some people who did, you really have to put yourself out there and work diligently on keeping a good image. Good luck</p>

While it does supposedly have a good reputation for getting students into graduate/professional schools, I know a lot of us (myself included) are realizing that that is mostly hype and its as impossible for us as it is for people from other schools right now.

Please explain/write clearly. Are you saying that it is not easy for people to get into top grad schools from F&M, contrary to what is believed?</p>

<p>Yes that is what I mean. The administration and admissions department here loves to tell people that when graduate schools/med/law schools see an applicant from F&M they said "OH F&M! Well this student must be great!" and they advertise these high acceptance rates but that simply isn't so. I heard once that the med school application rate was only taken from the pool of people that they "recommend" apply, which means that they'll only recommend that say, 10 people apply because they know they will get in and the rest of the people that apply don't get in but their rejections don't get counted in the numbers. I guess its complicated to understand the way they do things sometimes. Especially with this bad economy and a lot of people going back to school, from what I've seen in the past 3 years and this year, being from F&M doesn't make you any more special to an admission committee of a graduate school than being from another school even of lower prestige. If anything it can hurt your chances because of the grade deflation here. They may tell you "Oh its OK, they love to see an F&M applicant" but they don't love to see a GPA under 3.0, they'd rather you go to a state school and get decent marks. So the moral of my story is, despite what they want you to believe, F&M doesn't have any sort of magical status that helps you get into graduate schools, its just as difficult for us as it is for people from other schools.</p>

<p>KLP224 - From reading your posts it appears that you haven't had a positive experienc3e at F&M. Is that true? What are some of the positives and negatives of F&M???</p>

<p>You're right, I didn't have a very good experience there, but that was probably because I didn't come from the right kind of background to fit in there. Read some of the posts on websites such as "college p r o w l e" and you'll get a better idea of what F&M is really like.. nothing they'll tell you on the tours or in the brochures.</p>

<p>For some reason they won't let you type the word "p r o w l e r" without putting ****** on it, thats why I spaced it out, haha weird</p>

, F&M doesn't have any sort of magical status that helps you get into graduate schools, its just as difficult for us as it is for people from other schools.

which doesn't sound that bad.</p>

<p>Go ahead and try to apply to graduate schools these days.. its hundreds of applications for usually less than 20 spots. I know people who applied to 15 schools and got rejected across the board even with great grades... so yea I would say is it that bad. But that is my predicament right now, graduating college into the worst recession since the great depression.</p>

<p>Unfortuanetly the website you recommended has lots of negative comments for a lot of schools. That is why I hoped you would give more specific info. What was your academic load like? How was the social life?</p>

<p>Haha well you asked for reality, and all of those negative comments are probably completely accurate. There are things you can never really know about a school without going there yourself, and I'm sure everyone realizes once they get there that it isn't what they thought (either in a good way or a bad way). I hesitate to post any harsh truths about the school in such a public forum, but I'll try to give you a general idea.
The academics are known for being challenging, but the truth is that if you don't want to try you don't really have to. It depends on what your major is and what sort of course load you're used to. You see a lot of people complaining about how much work there is and spending lots of hours in the library, but you also see those people out on a Wednesday night drinking and partying with everyone else. The grade deflation around here makes it so its very difficult to get A's in any class so mostly you just do what you can do and thats it. During finals weeks the libraries are open 24 hours and most people camp out there but you can look around and find people not actually getting anything done. Its a strange atmosphere sometimes because most of these kids come from private schools and are used to rigorous academics so they don't really have to work their asses off to get decent grades, but its still hard.
The social life is a very complicated, mixed bag. I can tell you my personal experience and I can tell you about other peoples as well, mainly because everyone is in everyones business at such a small school. Its almost impossible to keep anything a secret and its easy to tarnish your reputation (lots of gossip and rumors). Since the greek system was re-recognized a little while ago frats and sororities have become big on campus. They just added a new sorority and there are rumors of another coming in, although they have recently closed 2 frat houses because they weren't up to code. Thats where most of the parties are, and guys can only get into them their first semester, afterwards you have to pledge or you can't party with them. Girls, of course, are always allowed. F&M is not really known for being a party school, and I don't know what parties are like at other schools but I can tell you we have no shortage of that going on. We have plenty of drugs, alcohol and misbehavior just like any other college. An interesting thing is that we don't have RAs so no one ever goes into the dorms and patrols what goes on there. Its really hard to get in trouble, you basically have to run around naked outside with a bottle in your hand and really call attention to yourself.
Its a small place, and you feel it. It can be suffocating and isolating at times. There's nothing to do in Lancaster and you have to make your own fun, which is probably why everyone says the drinking/drugs culture is so alive there, there isn't anything else to do. The Lancaster city area is very dangerous and hates F&M students. Its a poor/working class area that is bitter towards the rich students and sees them primarily as targets for mugging/assaults. We had a student get shot my freshman year, and there are always incidents like muggings and robbery going on in the area so not many students venture off campus much. You have to have a car to get anywhere. It can be hard to fit in if you aren't from a wealthy background, F&M is said to be the place that diversity goes to die and I'd agree with that.
I'd listen to both the negative and positive comments you find on websites that actually let the students speak out instead of listening to what the administration tells you and make the best decision for yourself. if you are an "F&M type" student you'd probably love it there. I hope I helped.</p>

<p>Thanks. It's always good to get a picture from inside!</p>

It can be hard to fit in if you aren't from a wealthy background, F&M is said to be the place that diversity goes to die and I'd agree with that.

Does any other current student have anything to say about this? It's not that I don't trust you, but different people have different experiences. I doubt topics like these are "positive" (vs "normative").</p>

<p>I'm currently a junior at F&M. Many of the negatives at F&M are similar to the negatives at many LACs. Most LACs in the area that I know of, are in smaller towns/cities. There is less to do on campus than at large universities, so parties and frats tend to be more prominent. But unlike larger universities, you get to know your professors personally, classes are smaller and more individualized. I knew going in that there was a trade-off. While you have to make more of an effort socially, there are plenty of clubs and organizations that allow students to meet others with similar interests (athletic, musical, religious, social cause, ect). </p>

<p>In terms of graduate school, going to F&M is not a birthright to admission, but I think it is well respected. They do discourage students with low GPAs from applying to medical school, but I've heard of other (even higher ranked LACs) doing that for statistical purposes. I've taken courses at two other schools, and F&M is more challenging, but not impossible. The average GPA is around 3.0, but I think nearly half of the students at least make Dean's List (3.25+). The sciences classes tend to be harder than the social sciences.</p>

<p>I am a recent graduate of F&M and I'm not finding all of these comments very accurate... First of all there is no such thing as a school that gives you a free pass to grad school, but F&M has all the tools and resources to send you to the best. I am currently applying to grad schools and have received offers and interviews to the best schools in the country and being from F&M has made a huge difference. I have been told by deans and professors at some of this institutions that F&M is a HIGHLY respected school and we are known for having successful alum in graduate and professional school. Just going to F&M and not working hard or taking advantage of all the wonderful things our school has to offer (i.e. working one on one with faculty, research, honor societies, extracurriculars, volunteering, tutoring, TAing, etc) will not guarantee admission to the top schools. Yes, our classes are hard to get A's in, and I have taken classes at other schools (including grad classes) and ours were much more difficult. You really earn your A. But if you rise to the challenge, you will have prepared yourself to do well at any higher level education post graduation. If you are active in your own education and experience at F&M, there is no limit to where you will go. And I cannot tell you how much alum have helped me with jobs and applying to graduate school - they have been among the most amazing people I have met since graduating.</p>

<p>Yes, F&M is a small school and there are perks and negatives to any small school. The best thing is you will get to know MANY different types of people very very well. For a LAC, we are fairly diverse. Even at a big school, if you don't make an effort to make friends, then you probably won't like the social experience at college. F&M has a great social life and like many things, it's as much as you make of it.</p>

<p>As in any college, students have a mixed experience. I honestly feel that F&M has prepared me so well for MANY experiences, let it be grad school, jobs, professional school, etc. There are fundamental ups and downs of a small school, but you will find those anywhere. Just make sure you are not just following the advice of one student who has had a bad experience - you will find those people anywhere. Feel free to PM me with more questions.</p>

<p>Previous poster is right, there are good and bad aspects of every college and every small liberal arts school as well. There is def. an F&M type kid like someone else said, and if you fit that mold its a great place to be. If not then yea, you will probably feel isolated and unhappy, but nobody goes to F&M to experience diversity haha</p>

<p>While private schools have less diversity typically than public universities, F&M does have diversity. There are many more international students at F&M than other private small schools. Also, Lancaster is a very diverse city, with a strong hispanic population and residents ranging within the socioeconomic spectrum. If you make an effort to meet people across the campus, you'll find a bigger diverse population than some of these other posters are saying. And you don't need to be white, upper middle class student to find friends and fit in - just like everyone and everywhere else, if you make an effort to make friends, you will find a group that you "fit". I know as a student there I had many friends with a variety of backgrounds. The only way to feel isolated at F&M is by not making an effort to meet people.</p>

<p>Case and point, I was walking to class today (at F&M) and overheard a conversation between two girls (students) who were discussing whether they were going to ask for a BMW or a Lexus for graduation...I can't wait to get out of here.</p>

<p>Don't make F&M sound so miserable. If you are able to mix with kids I don't see how having a good time could be a problem. A lot of my friends aren't flaunting their money all the time. If you want to look for the bad parts about F&M, yes you can do that and paint a bad picture of the college. However, it is easier, and a lot more fun to discover the good at F&M. If you want to enjoy your experience here you can. Like at most colleges, college is what you make of it. At F&M the tools are right in front of you to have an awesome time.</p>

<p>It's OK, I'm gone in 4 months so I'll never have to deal with this place again after that. This was a bad choice for me to come here and I acknowledge that, I just wish that I could've known the negative things about that before coming here. But its nothing I could have really known without that experience, I just think people should have all the information before they make a decision, not just what happy people on tours tell you.</p>

<p>Everyone has their own comfort level with today's hot topics, depending on who one is and what one is into. Telling it like it is and allowing honest decision making is not something that is prevalent in this process. Hence, forums like this for anonymous but honest discussion and answers.</p>

<p>The question remains, should someone "work" to fit in or should they be allowed to see the real picture so that they can perhaps make the best choice for who they are. $50K dollars per year should be spent on the best choice, not the choice that requires that energy be spent to "fit in" when the focus should be academic.</p>

<p>I have had a wonderful experience at F&M so far, I went to a public high school and my parents have saved enough money to send me here, but we do feel the pinch. I haven't been discouraged by the amount of wealth on campus but it probably depends on what circles you travel in. My friends are all incredibly down to earth... I've met so many dynamic people here in general. I'd say that compared to similar schools there is a good amount of diversity here and that although Lancaster city isn't exactly a "hopping" metropolis, there are many fun activities downtown if you look for them. You can go ice skating or see baseball games at Clipper Stadium, see INCREDIBLE musicals at the Fulton Theater (tickets are only $10 for F&M students), make pottery or jewelry at this pottery studio, get coffee at Prince Street Cafe, go to the Farmers Market, etc. etc. (all of these places are within walking distance from campus.) So although there aren't opportunities to see Broadway shows or go clubbing around the corner, I didn't come to Lancaster expecting this (obviously... you drive through cornfields to get to F&M). I did come here expecting that the college would have to find ways to entertain students on the weekends (since we aren't in the most lively location ever) and I have not been let down in that sense. I'd say there are ALWAYS at least 5 events that I'm interested in attending on any given weekend and the hardest part is deciding which one to go to.</p>

<p>Anyway, I'm rambling, but F&M is great. Life is what you make of it and I've been so happy here.</p>