Impressions Of
Franklin & Marshall College

Academic Experience

Male Business Major C/O 2019

Is there anything you feel the Business department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think that some of the teachers in the Business department are too smart sometimes. They don’t understand that you need to explain stuff a lot because we’re not as proficient in the major as they are. They kind of lackadaisically teach it sometimes thinking that we know more than we actually do.

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think that it is competitive within different majors. I was a pre-med major when I first went and I think the science department is very competitive. I would say that it’s very productive, they have free tutoring for most subjects and people are there to help you a lot.

How was managing both your sport and your coursework?
I had a hard time just because my team travels a lot because we play a lot of schools in the northeast. The school and the coaches are really good at helping you through that. Your coaches get weekly reports of your grades so if you’re failing anything or if your grades have dropped significantly in any subjects they’ll call you in and you’ll have a meeting with them. I think there’s a good support system to help you manage that.

Female Psychology and Sociology Double Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It can be both. It’s competitive in that everyone wants to do their best and people are vying for the same grants and scholarships. But, at the same time, everyone is willing to help each other and the classes are based around discussion and in a lot of classes we have shared study sessions.

How was managing both your sport and your coursework?
It’s pretty hard work, but you learn how to do it. The first semester I struggled quite a bit getting used to it, but I think you learn pretty quick. It also creates motivation to get your work done sooner.

Social Opportunities

Male Business Major C/O 2019

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Usually, we’ll go to fraternities, bars, or the Lofts. But this year we had an administrator who was in charge of all the Greek life stuff, and she made everything so strict. We ended up just going to bars because Lancaster has really good bars. Loft parties still happen, but fraternity parties are on the downfall. The lady that did that left and we have a new director and she seems pretty cool so it has yet to be determined what next semester is going to look like.

How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
Honestly, until this past year our nightlife was a lot of fun. We had parties every week. We didn’t really have to go to bars, but this most recent semester is when people started going to bars just because fraternity parties were non-existent. In the past, bars had never been a huge thing.

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I think it has a pretty big impact just because it’s a relatively small school, so it really helps if you’re part of either Greek life or a sports team to have more friends and know where you’re going [at night].

I’ve heard that Greek life has been going through some changes this past year. Has that impacted your experience at all?
They brought in third-party security this last year and it was pretty unpleasant. The security people weren’t that friendly, but I’m pretty sure we’re getting a new president so I’m pretty sure that’s going to change. They would be outside of frat houses and they would ID you before you go in and you’d have to be on the list. Brothers found ways around it, so it didn’t end up working at all.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What have been some of your favorite times at Franklin & Marshall?
Life is generally quite good. There are not big moments of happiness at F&M because it’s a really quiet and calm campus. I liked the Halloween party held by the school, that was a fun time.

How happy are you with the options for weekend activities? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think I am just okay, but I’m not sad. If I was in a big city I could explore the city and not be stuck at school. I could go to more stores and stuff. Lancaster is just so small and has very few places, so I’m restrained to the campus and doing the same activities during the weekend.

Campus Culture

Male Business Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the overall social scene?
A lot of the time, athletes and people who are in Greek life stick together. It’s a big group. Outside of that, people who aren’t in fraternities or not on a sports team I don’t really hang out with them. Realistically, I don’t have any place to hang out with them in a social setting.

How would you describe the student body?
I think the student body as a whole is pretty good. I’d say the majority of students are athletes. [About 30% of the student body are athletes.] But, no one hates each other because they aren’t on a sports team.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

To what extent do you feel international students mix with domestic students?
It’s really, really not mixed. I’ve been to summer school at big universities before and there the students were more diverse and people were more willing to interact with each other. Here, I think international students spend most of their time with students from the same country. Also, our school has a really high percentage of Whites and not many people of other races. [About 57% of domestic students are White, 10% are Hispanic and 6% are Black. The number of international students at F&M is growing, as well.]

Female Psychology and Sociology Double Major C/O 2019

How would you describe the student body?
It’s a pretty diverse group. There is kind of a divide [along socioeconomic status] because we have a large contingent of people on financial aid. [Franklin and Marshall is fully dedicated to need-based financial aid and does not offer academic or merit-based scholarships.] I think there is a bit of divide between those who can pay for F&M and those who can’t, which can be sometimes kind of obvious. For the most part, it’s a pretty open campus. [Socioeconomically, 48% come from the top 5% and about 3% come from the bottom 20%.]

Were there any parts of Franklin and Marshall or American college overall that surprised you on campus?
The atmosphere is very different compared to what I was used to back home. Here, everyone is very driven and there is pressure from people on campus to do well and be involved in a lot of things, which is not really the case at home.

Lancaster, PA

Pros of

  • Things are pretty close to campus so you don’t have to use Uber that much.
  • It’s pretty small, so on one side of the campus is the city of Lancaster and on the other side is Amish country.
  • The city is really tranquil and quiet, so it’s a really good place to study.

Cons of

  • The weather. In the winter it sucks because it’s always cold. I guess I’m not used to that coming from North Carolina. That’s my least favorite part of it, especially when you’re playing sports outside.
  • It’s pretty remote and isolated from other parts. It’s like an hour drive from any big city, like Philadelphia.
  • It’s too small and you have limited places to go. There are no big shopping malls and many places to have fun.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Female Sociology Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Look into Lancaster because when you drive into the school you see a lot of farms and stuff, but if you go past the school a little bit and check out the city it’s a really cool place.

Female Business Major C/O 2019

What is something you wish you knew about F&M before entering as a freshman?
I don’t know how they would do this, but the whole idea of hyper-masculinity and how much being a varsity athlete or in a fraternity is tied to the social status here.

What is something a prospective international student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
F&M does embrace how many international students we have, but it’s not a very diverse group of international students. [15.6% of students at F&M are international students.] [More than half] of international students are from China, so I know a lot of international students were shocked when they arrived at international student orientation and found no one other than Chinese people.

Female Undeclared on Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Franklin & Marshall before entering as a freshman?
I wish I had known how difficult it was to go out as a freshman. Until I met guys in my grade who were involved in frats it was hard to get onto the list for any parties. There’s also a dry period the first two weeks of freshman year, during which time we weren’t allowed to go to any parties.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Franklin & Marshall College

To Attend

  • Sports. Our sports teams are very good in our conference.
  • Traveling home is really easy because there’s an Amtrak station right there. If you’re traveling home you can just hop on the train.
  • You can get really, really close to professors. They are really approachable and if you want an appointment with them they are ready to help.
  • Studying abroad is really encouraged and there are so many programs. [Over 50% of students study off campus at F&M.]

To Not Attend

  •  If you aren’t able to bunker down and get work done and actually put time and effort into school, don’t go to F&M because that’s the fastest way to fail out. It’s not a school where you can just skate by.
  • I don’t think it would be good for somebody who does not like small environments.
  • It’s not that diverse. [About 57% of domestic students are White, 10% are Hispanic and 6% are Black. But, the number of international students at F&M is growing.]
  • Although I have really good classes and professors, it’s small so there are limited opportunities academically, like for research and internships.
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