Impressions Of
Kenyon College

Academic Experience

Male Neuroscience Major C/O 2021

Is there anything that you feel the Neuroscience department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the professors are really good and they really care about you. If you’re particularly interested in a field, they help foster your curiosity and explore your passions outside of the classroom.

Can you describe your weekly coursework for Neuroscience?
Because I’m a Neuroscience major and am on the pre-med track, that means I’m either studying or doing problem sets 16-20 hours a week. Some classes are more concept-based where it is really important to memorize and understand concepts, and there are other classes, specifically Organic Chemistry, that are much more based on repeating exercises. Exams constitute from 40%-60% of the grade and the rest of the class is based on homework, participation, and group projects.

Transgender Male Math Major C/O 2020

Is there anything that you feel the Math department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Math department is really good at courting students and encouraging them to pursue mathematics. I also think they’re particularly good at being available to students. All of my professors are really consistent in being available. There’s a community in the Math major in which we’re all taught to be very collaborative with each other. That’s something the professors really encourage, and I haven’t found that [level of encouragement] in a lot of other subjects.

How does Kenyon’s focus on writing impact your coursework for Math?
The Math department definitely teaches you how to write mathematically. I wrote my first math paper when I was in the calculus sequence, so they start you pretty early on. Even though you’re doing a lot of problem sets, you’re also doing a lot of writing.

Female Molecular Biology Major C/O 2021

How does Kenyon’s focus on writing impact your coursework for Molecular Biology?
I get a lot more exposure to writing than I did in high school. For all my lab classes, I have to write up a protocol reflection of what I have done. I’ve also gotten exposure to how to write scientifically. In my other courses, we do a lot of primary source readings about what is going on in the world.

Is there anything that you feel the Biology department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Biology department professors are really supportive of the material. It’s easy to get involved in research at Kenyon. You can just walk into a professor’s office hours and express your interest.

Social Opportunities

Transgender Male Math Major C/O 2020

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Frats and sororities will sometimes throw all-campus parties. I went to those a lot my first year, but now I much prefer to hang out with my friends, go to a small house party or rugby party, or just do things that are more insular.

How has identifying as LGBT+ influenced your nightlife experience?
One of the reasons I don’t like going to all-campuses or formals is that I am more worried about safety, especially being trans. When I go to those things I go with people who will stand up for me if something bad happens or will leave with me if I’m scared. Luckily, I have a lot of friends who I can put in the category of being safe people to be with. I general, I’d just say you’re more worried about your safety than you would be if you were cisgender.

Female English Major C/O 2018

What have been your favorite days or nights at Kenyon?
I have fond memories of my homecoming weekend not even because of sports, because I never really watch sports games at Kenyon. I just remember there was really good food and this really good cider. Homecoming is fun in a way because sports aren’t a huge thing, it’s fun to go to the game because it’s a more intimate homecoming than it might be at bigger schools.

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
The nightlife at Kenyon is much more circumscribed than the nightlife at big schools just because we’re in the middle of Ohio. It’s mostly parties that Greek life throws but Greek life isn’t that big at Kenyon. They throw most of the on-campus parties and even some of the smaller parties. When I would go out with my friends as seniors we’d go to apartment parties. We did on-campus parties more when we were freshmen and sophomores just because they can kind of be chaotic, or there are too many people there so campus safety has to shut it down. So, I gravitated more towards the smaller parties as I got older.

Female Molecular Biology Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
There isn’t as much nightlife compared to the big state schools some of my friends go to. There are house parties, but all the residents live in on-campus housing owned by the school. I go to rugby parties, or sororities or fraternities will always have something. Kenyon is also good at bringing in musical talent, so you can see a band or singer perform as well. There are a good number of things to do. We also have one bar around campus called The Village Inn, so there isn’t much of a bar life.

Are there regular places you go on certain nights?
On Wednesday, there is trivia night at The Village Inn, there’s also Weaver Wednesday that’s hosted by [a student organization at] Kenyon, mostly first-years will go to that. Friday and Saturday nights are usually when there is an all-campus party or other parties like that.

Campus Culture

Female Biology Major C/O 2021

How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I like the size. You get to know so many different types of people. With that being said, it’s not too small that you can’t meet new people. Sometimes it’s overwhelming when you see the same people every day. Gossip and drama can circulate really fast, which you can feel heavily here compared to a larger state school. [Kenyon had 460 students enter the class of 2021].

How would you describe the overall social scene at Kenyon?
Others have told me it can get cliquey. Being involved in lots of activities, I move laterally to associate with different groups of people. There is a healthy amount of social flexibility and lateral movement. It’s definitely a quirky, nerdy vibe, where kids can get intense. Overall, it’s a welcoming and positive environment.

Transgender Male Math Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene at Kenyon?
It can be really cliquey. Kenyon’s really small, so there are times when I’m walking around and I feel like I know everybody and that can be annoying because you can’t be anonymous. I also think that there are people who do feel anonymous here and they feel really isolated because everybody has their group that they’re a part of, and if you’re not a part of that you feel like you don’t have anything. People at Kenyon area really nice but awkward. It’s not that they don’t want to be friends with you, it’s just that people are afraid of social interaction with people they don’t know very well. I don’t think Kenyon students are mean, it’s just that we’re all a little socially awkward.

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them freshman year and we’ve continued to be friends. I met them all circumstantially. I also have really close friends from rugby and a lot of other really close friends that I’ve met in the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ community at Kenyon is pretty small because Kenyon is pretty small, so we all know each other. A lot of my friends in the LGBTQ community I met because I knew one person and they introduced me to another.

 

Female Molecular Biology Major C/O 2021

How would you describe the student body?
There isn’t a lot of racial diversity, which is something Kenyon is working towards. It definitely has pretty wealthy students, so the socioeconomic diversity isn’t as diverse as I hoped it would be. Other than that, I think people are pretty accepting and liberally minded, which creates an environment where people are open to new experiences. [Socioeconomically, 75% of Kenyon students come from families in the top 20%, and the median family income is $213,000.]

How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I was looking for smaller to mid-size schools because that is what I came from. When I got to Kenyon, I was worried I wouldn’t know anybody, but I like the small size of it. I know a lot of people, but if you don’t want to see a certain person you’ll still run into them. [Kenyon had 460 students enter in the Class of 2021]. I know some people that have come from larger schools who feel a little isolated. I pretty much know everyone in the Molecular Biology department, which has helped my form relationships.

Gambier, Ohio

Pros of

  • “The isolation helps you focus on your academics. There are very few distractions around so you can really hunker down, study, and focus on what you’re passionate about.”
  • “It really pushed you to be creative in terms of what you should do for fun and what you can do for fun. It really changes your perspective on that. We’re in a culture that is becoming increasingly consumer-focused, so being in a place where there isn’t a lot to consume really opens up your mind.”

Cons of

  • “The political atmosphere is pretty liberal, but there is a more conservative area surrounding Gambier.”
  • “It can feel very isolated. Freshman and sophomore year when I didn’t have a car it could feel very hard to get space from campus because I just didn’t have access to transportation. There’s a shuttle that runs between Mount Vernon and Gambier but it’s still difficult. The location can be a con just because you’re at Kenyon, and you couldn’t really go anywhere else super easily.”
  • “Because you’re in the middle of nowhere it’s hard to find alternative groups to hang out with if you don’t fit in with the general zeitgeist of the school.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Neuroscience Major C/O 2021

What is something you wish you knew about Kenyon before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that Kenyon’s social scene is cliquey.

What is something a prospective lower income student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
With college admissions in general, don’t always go for the most affordable option. It’s important to find a school that you really enjoy. Affordability is one of the reasons I came to Kenyon and I sometimes second guess myself.

Transgender Male Math Major C/O 2020

What is something a prospective transgender student should know that we haven’t touched on?
If people are mean to you, there are a ton of people on campus who can help you. You can go to the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and figure out to make things better for yourself here because there are people whose job it is to make things better for you.

What is something you wish you knew about your school before you entered as a freshman?
People want to help you more than you think they do. It’s really important to ask for help because it’s surprising how much help you can get. I also wish I knew that the counseling office is not great. It’s not as good as they say it is. They don’t have enough resources for mental health on campus. [See Kenyon Thrill article, “An Open Letter to Kenyon: On Being an ‘Inadequate’ Performer of Mental Illness.” See Kenyon Collegian articles, “Destigmatizing mental health issues,” and “College has duty to provide timely mental health care.”]

Female English Major C/O 2018

What is something you wish you knew about Kenyon before entering as a freshman?
I would say to do an orientation program because I regretted not doing one. And I guess how intense the environment could be just because of how small and isolate it is and also because of the considerable workload. It can be an intense experience both socially and academically. Just remembering that there was life outside of Kenyon was sometimes hard to keep in perspective because it was such an immersive experience when you’re there. It could be overwhelming at times, I won’t lie about that. I think just being on a small campus in the middle of Ohio with a lot of people, who some of them are the best friends you’ll ever make, but at the same time spending so much time with the same people can be a very intense experience.

What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I think I didn’t get a full sense of the community there when I visited, which I don’t think is really possible to see in a one day visit. Even though I could tell the classes were really good and all that, I still think it’s hard to know what the full experience is like. I don’t know how to put that into words.

Reasons to attend and not to attend Kenyon College

To Attend

  • “It being so small is a reason to attend because you get to interact with people like your professors much more, and you can have leadership positions in ways you maybe couldn’t at a bigger school.”
  • “There is nature around you. If you like meditation and being outdoors it’s a great place for that.”
  • “The alumni network has some very successful people who are very willing to talk to you because you’re going to have a lot of things in common with them by the time you graduate.”

To Not Attend

  • “If you are worried about being in a small and rural environment.”
  • “If you’re somebody who doesn’t like having a clique or tight-knit friend group, Kenyon is a tough place to be at.”
  • “With the intensity, sometimes people can get too high strung or anxious.”
  • “If you’re not a fan of rain or snow, Kenyon is not a good place.”
Notice: Kenyon College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Kenyon College.

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