Impressions Of
Davidson College

Academic Experience

Male Economics and Latin American Studies Double Major C/O 2019

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
It’s usually pretty heavy on readings. Latin American Studies is a lot of reading and we sometimes have journal entries as a response. Economics varies by class but problem sets are usually involved. Latin American Studies is mostly essays and group projects, and Economics is heavily exams with either multiple choice and/or short answer questions.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it depends. You get a good mix of people. There are definitely some people who are very competitive, but you also get people who want to succeed but also focus on retaining information. For them, if group work is a better option they will work in a group. Some classes are pretty big on encouraging group work and sometimes it’s a hassle because you have to schedule with people, which can make it difficult at times.

Female Environmental Studies Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
What’s really cool about Environmental Studies is that we get to go to a lot of the different places we have here at Davidson. We have an ecological preserve near campus so we’ll measure trees out there and look at seed dispersion and stuff like that. We have a farm too, so we’ll occasionally visit the farm. I actually took a food and farming class and part of the class was volunteering at the farm for a certain number of hours. We also have the Lake Campus, so as an Environmental Studies major I’ve been able to do some research there too.

I like that it’s a very interdisciplinary major. They require you to take classes in every discipline. I’m required to take two humanities classes and two social science classes, which I really like. As someone who is interested in all aspects of academics, it’s been really refreshing for me to break up my schedule with classes where I spend time thinking about different things.

Female Biology Major C/O 2020

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Biology department is great. I like all the professors and I think everyone’s really approachable. I do research for one of the professors, and I have a lot of independence in my project and access to a lot of research materials. It’s cool that I’m going to be a junior undergrad and I have a pretty substantial research position. As an undergrad at Davidson, you can get a research position pretty easily.

How easy was it to get a research position?
It was pretty easy. I took a class with a professor whose research I was interested in and approached her about it. I joined the lab the semester after I asked. It was pretty easy for me, but it depends on spacing. If you really want to get involved there will be a position for you somewhere.

Social Opportunities

Male Economics and Latin American Studies Double Major C/O 2019

How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I definitely wish there was a bit more diversity of what was going on, but that’s also kind of something that I don’t seek out too much. I wish there was more live music and I wish there was more dancing. I wish there was more diversity of music, more dancing, or at least a different environment every once in a while.

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
My first year I was in a big freshman dorm and I was going out more than I did this past semester. I’ve never been a big weeknight guy, so I mostly go out Friday and Saturday. Sometimes there are Court Parties, which is basically where the organization will host parties. Every now and then that will happen and sometimes people will host those in Eating Houses, which are basically sororities at Davidson. They have a small house and they have all their meals and events there. Sometimes there will be smaller stuff going on at the senior apartments, whether that’s a themed party or one apartment wants to have something because it can get tiring going to the same thing every single night. It depends on the weekend.

Male Biology and English Double Major C/O 2020

Do freshmen boys have trouble getting into parties?
No, not at all. Davidson’s a little backward in the way we do fraternity rush. From what I’ve heard at other schools, as a freshman, you have to prove yourself. But at Davidson, there are only 250 freshman guys as it is, and there are eight fraternities. The freshmen are really welcome everywhere because all the upperclassmen guys want to get to know everybody that’s going down to F. All the freshmen are totally welcome everywhere and that kind of goes for everyone. Everyone’s welcome everywhere. It’s so small that everyone knows each other, so if I want to walk into another fraternity and hang out, it’s not an issue.

Female Biology Major C/O 2018

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Pretty much all of Davidson’s nightlife is on campus. There are two bars that we would sometimes go to, but that was mainly on Thursday nights. Almost all weekend activities are at the upperclassmen apartments or at the fraternities and eating houses. Most of the parties at fraternities and eating houses are open to the entire school’s campus. [The exclusivity of] senior apartment parties are dependent on the party, but, generally speaking, it wasn’t like you had to be on a list to get in. It’s very welcoming generally. I would do a lot of stuff with my eating house. We would have mixers with fraternities or we’d do just girls eating house activities. Sometimes fraternities would also host events for their female friends in their apartments. Alcohol is normally involved, but I don’t think you necessarily have to drink to have fun. I had friends who didn’t drink.

Campus Culture

Female Environmental Studies Major C/O 2020

What is an Eating House?
At Davidson, there are two sororities, and both are historically Black sororities. I’m part of an Eating House, which is Davidson’s version of sororities because they are all-female organizations. What makes them different is that you don’t live in the house. Our house is basically a big cafeteria with a basement and a study room on the side. It’s also a lot less of a commitment than a sorority would be. The rush process is different because you rank which houses you want to be in and then an algorithm puts you in the house, rather than you having to impress girls and them picking you. It’s similar to sororities in that we have [big sisters] and we do social activities and volunteer service together. I also like that there are only four Eating Houses, so they are bigger groups of girls. It doesn’t feel cliquey because you get to pick which one you want to be in. You can be friends with girls in other Eating Houses. It’s a really good medium between a sorority and also not being part of a group.

Male Biology and English Double Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the student body?
If you ask somebody at Davidson if they know another person at Davidson, the answer is more likely going to be yes than no. So, I think that people get to know each other in so many random ways, like through classes and social activities, that there are a lot of people that you would never expect to be friends that are friends. I think there is this really good mix of people all together in this weird thing called the “Davidson Bubble.” It’s a good vibe on campus always.

How did you meet your closest friends?
My initial group of guy friends I met on my freshman hall and some of them of my other really good friends pledging and through the fraternity process. My female friends I met kind of randomly. Davidson is so small that it’s like we’re all living together freshman year. If you run into someone freshman year at lunch and you sit down and start talking, they may be your best friend. There’s just not that many people. [Davidson has about 1,800 undergraduate students.]

Male Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I feel like they mix fairly well. If you read into things too much and think, “Oh, that’s a White person thing to do,” or “Oh, that’s Black, that’s ghetto,” you might cut yourself off and think it’s because another group won’t be accepting of you. I find you can go anywhere and do anything and if you’re pretty open and cool, most of the time it works out. If not, I don’t find people are rude or disrespectful to you.

How would you describe the social scene?
It’s not the best ever, especially with the academic rigor. People try but you can’t put in that much effort while still focusing on your schoolwork. Sometimes I find people want to get blackout drunk instead of just having a good time.

 

Davidson, NC

Pros of

  • “It’s not in a huge city, but it’s really close to one. If were to drive to Charlotte when there’s no traffic it takes like 15 minutes. It’s also not a rural location, so I can go to Walmart or Target.”

  • “I’ve always lived in the North, so it’s kind of nice living in the South. It’s always warm and people are really nice.”

  • “Everything’s very safe and contained. At times it doesn’t feel like it’s real life. If you’re trying to goof around and be happily contained, it’s a good place.”

  • “You can walk down Main St. any time of day and not be too scared or feel really worried about anything. It’s a really well maintained and manicured town where you’re not going to feel in danger.”

Cons of

  • “Because it’s a small town, we have stricter rules. We have a pretty strict 2AM quiet hour rule during the weekends.”

  • “There are some good restaurants and some stuff to do, but there’s not that much to do. The college is the majority of the town. If you don’t have a car, you are limited in your options. That’s super important to point out about Davidson.”

  • “There’s the small town feel. The town of Davidson is an older community, so there aren’t really places for students to go out off campus.”

  • “There are no major chains in the town.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Biology and English Double Major C/O 2020

What is something you wish you knew about Davidson before entering as a freshman?
I wish I had known how real the community is. There are a lot of selling points that schools try to get cross that tries to make them unique, and you have to take them with a grain of salt because you don’t know about a lot of those things until you get there. At Davidson, the emphasis on attracting students that are gifted and also want to be a part of a good community and a respected community. The sense of community you get is really great.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The basketball games are pretty cool, especially the one time every three years Steph [Curry] shows up. Then Frolics, which is a weekend of partying. On the tours there is a lot of focus on academics, but not how you can have a lot of fun. I think that this weekend where we all come together and party on this one lawn is awesome.

Female Biology Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective pre-med student should know that we haven’t touched on?
To not be afraid to ask for help. My freshman year I would go to the tutoring center where I work now and the older students would help me proofread lab reports and work on problem sets and stuff. I know some people feel uncomfortable asking for help, but no one here judges you if you have a question. Also going to professor’s office hours can be really helpful. They’re always willing to help.

What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The new science building, [the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center] is really beautiful. The professors are always there and the research labs are open [so you can check them out.]

Female Biology Major C/O 2018

What is something you wish you knew about Davidson before entering as a freshman?
This is going to sound cliché, but the quality of people at Davidson has been one of the biggest benefits of my experience. The kindness that you see on a day to day basis I think affects so many aspects of the school from social life, to academics, to extracurriculars. I really think it’s something that shouldn’t be discounted.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Davidson College

To Attend

  • “I’ve met the best teachers in my life without a doubt. I really enjoy going to class. Obviously, every now and then there are classes that are just boring, there’s no way around that. But I think the frequency of my classes that are like that is really limited.”
  • “If you like the idea of a college town, Davidson is pretty quintessential for that. It has restaurants and it has a little main strip. It has stuff around it, like you can go into Charlotte, but for the most part you feel like you’re in a quiet, small college town.”​
  • “The Honor Code is really strong.”
  • “Flexibility to define your experience. There are a lot of opportunities in terms of academics and extracurriculars, and there’s a lot of funding and grant money that’s accessible to students.”

To Not Attend

  • “If you’re not sure if you want a small school, Davidson is really small. The people I know who have been unhappy at Davidson have been unhappy because it was smaller than they expected.​”

  • “If you’re somebody who truly doesn’t like school and for whom academics isn’t a big deal, I think Davidson may not be the place for you. Davidson students spend a fair amount of time in the library.”

  • “Davidson is pretty liberal and pretty progressive, but if you drive 5 or 10 minutes into the country it becomes really Southern. It’s a drastic change in lifestyle for people from big cities.”

  • “The social scene is going to be limited.”​

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