University of Puget Sound and Lawrence University

How do they compare?

I am a high school senior and I am going to be attending the University of Puget Sound next fall. I live in Wisconsin about 10 minutes from Lawrence and I seriously considered going there. For me, a big part of my decision was based on location - I’ve lived in the Fox Valley for over 16 years, and, though it is a great place to live and Appleton has a lot to do, I was looking for somewhere a little father away. So that factor may or may not apply to you. As far as campus vibe, I felt they were pretty similar, though I felt that Puget Sound was more concerned about the environment (although I did visit on Earth Day, so that might not be how it is all the time…). I also felt that the campus was more beautiful at Puget Sound - though Lawrence has a gorgeous chapel and limestone buildings and the Fox River - but again, all of the evergreen trees and mountains and the ocean seem very exotic to a native Wisconsinite. Anyway, other than location I chose Puget Sound because of access to music programs, resources for my major, and overall opportunity in the area. I am going to major in English and hope to pursue book editing as a career. However, music is very important to me and though I don’t want to major in it, I would like to participate in ensembles. Lawrence has a stellar conservatory (in fact, that’s really all it’s known for in the local community) but I’ve heard that their ensembles favor music majors over anyone else. One of my friends is currently a freshman at Lawrence and she was probably the best alto saxophone player at our high school. But when she tried out for ensembles at Lawrence she couldn’t get into any of them. As for English, I was looking at their resources for publishing and editing, and it seemed to me like Puget Sound could offer me specific ways to get into that; one of the professors I spoke to mentioned a class that included internship opportunities as part of the curriculum, which would definitely be helpful. At Lawrence, the professor I talked to pretty much said that they prepare you to edit with almost exclusively literary analysis classes - not that those aren’t important, but publishing requires more than that, you know? And after college, I felt that Tacoma/Seattle could offer me more opportunities for careers in my field. Appleton has the local newspaper, the Post-Crescent, but other than that, I can’t really think of any other places that could offer editing careers. Appleton does have a lot of other businesses that are big. Kimberly-Clark is huge in this area (and just paper in general), there’s a fairly big construction company called Miron, Bergstrom Automotive is super huge if you’re into selling cars… there’s definitely more but I’m just a teenager so I haven’t really been searching for careers yet. Anyway I hope this helped and sorry if it was really specific to English majors. I

That’s interesting intel, @BugQueen13, about access to the music ensembles. My son is also headed to UPS next fall, and sounds similar to you in that he probably won’t major in music (or if he does, it will be as part of a double major), but participating in a satisfying ensemble was a high priority for him. I’ve been lumping Lawrence in with some other schools (e.g., St. Olaf, UPS) where the ensembles have many non-music majors in them, but it sounds like that might be a bad read. Sounds like my son is headed to the right place! Maybe he’ll meet you in orchestra or band :slight_smile:

Thanks for the response @rayrick ! I have definitely heard that the orchestra at Lawrence is extremely competitive, even among music majors, so it sounds like your son might have a better change with the UPS ensembles. I’m a choir girl myself, so I probably won’t meet him in orchestra or band, though. It’s a pretty small school, though, so we might meet each other anyway at some point lol

One thing to consider @rayrick is that at Lawrence, there is a Conservatory and only one orchestra. So for non conservatory, non music majors, getting into that one orchestra is going to be more competitive than at St. Olaf, which does not have a conservatory per se, but has two very good orchestras, the higher level one primarily for music performance kids, with a longer practice schedule (3x per week) and nationwide tour, and the second orchestra, with a reduced practice schedule (2x a week) and local performances.

St. Olaf has many more ensembles as it should given it has more than twice the students of Lawrence. This is from 2013 but should be pretty accurate.

Good point, @TytoAlba. UPS also has only one orchestra, but they fewer music majors overall, and far fewer performance majors, than a place like Lawrence, so it’s easier for non-major kids to get in. Anyway, it’s all water under the bridge for us, but it’s nice to be clear on how the various schools differ.