St. Lawrence University: An Idyllic Setting for the Liberal Arts
By Lukas Hoffman
Nestled in the upstate New York village of Canton is St. Lawrence University, a small private liberal arts college that perfectly fits its surroundings. With only 2,414 total undergraduate students, SLU accounts for over a third of the town’s population and is closer to nature than any urban centers. In fact, the nearest major city is Ottawa, Canada, which is over an hour and a half away from the campus. For anyone looking to explore the liberal arts in a rural setting, St. Lawrence is a great option.
With a student-to-teacher ratio of only 11:1 and an average class size of 16, SLU is able to offer a more personalized education experience than many larger schools. The school’s most popular majors are business, economics and psychology, although they offer a strong program in biology as well. St. Lawrence has an endowment of over 295 million dollars, giving access to a wide range of student opportunities. The Johnson Science Hall and STEM center provides a home for SLU’s research program, with a 3,500 dollar stipend available in addition to project funds for students. Even as a school most fluent in the liberal arts, St. Lawrence can be put on the list for those interested in science as well.
SLU’s student body is relatively balanced, at a ratio of 55 percent female and 45 percent male undergraduate students. However, while the school is roughly equal in gender, it lacks ethnic diversity, as 78 percent of students identifying as white. St. Lawrence makes up for this lack of diversity with a culture described by admissions personnel as having a “very strong community,” and being “a very positive, energetic place.” Supporting this fact is the university’s alumni network, which rates number three in the nation according to a publication by the Princeton Review. With strong post-undergraduate connections, a large number of SLU students are able to find success through this network.
St. Lawrence has an acceptance rate of 43 percent, with an 85 percent graduation rate. The tuition sticker price comes in at 53,000 dollars a year, with an average of 30,600 dollars in grants awarded by the institution to students. At SLU, some 64 percent of students receive need-based financial aid. With everything included, the average cost to attend St. Lawrence clocks in around 32,000 dollars per year.
In terms of extracurriculars, St. Lawrence’s sports teams are all Division III with the exception of hockey, which is Division I. The school plays under the title of the St. Lawrence Saints, with the hockey team colloquially known as the “Skating Saints.” SLU also offers a range of club sports and over 170 clubs, offering students a wide variety of possibilities outside of class. The Outdoor Program also promotes a variety of activities in the nearby Adirondack Park, including a number of opportunities for hiking and the school’s Adirondack Semester program, in which students spend an entire semester living off the grid in the park, fostering connections with nature and their fellow classmates.
St. Lawrence University’s application can found on the Common Application, with a regular decision deadline of Feb. 1. The school also offers an option for Early Decision, due Nov. 1, which it says increases your chances of being accepted. SLU uses the holistic application review process to find candidates which they believe are most qualified for their school. With an average admitted student sporting a 28 on the ACT, admission to St. Lawrence is not a cakewalk.
St. Lawrence is one of the best options for a rural school with world-class academics. It brings student together in a tight-knit community with a strong bond that lasts long after graduation. For anyone looking at a liberal arts school, take a peek at SLU. What they have to offer may just surprise you.
2,414 Undergraduate Students
55 percent female, 45 percent male
11:1 Student to Teacher Ratio
53,000 per year before financial aid
64% of Students Take Need-Based Financial Aid
$295 Million Endowment
Rural; Canton, NY
43 Percent Acceptance Rate
85 Percent Graduation Rate