I am a commuter student and a language major (small language, not Spanish or French) in my senior year. As such, this description is largely based on that. I transferred mid-sophomore year and will graduate on time.
My department is among the smallest, yet we have an amazing, internationally recognized professor and we typically have the highest percentage of symposium, NCUR, and honors participants. Our professor finds ways to challenge us in a variety of mediums: watching films, making films, speeches every day, recording speeches outside of class, writing extensive research papers, quizzes, and philosophical discussions inside and outside of class. Plus drawings and skits.
I entered foreign language at the senior level at a state university as a freshman. With THAT university: the distance would have been acceptable if student parking existed, the health services were crap, and the campus became unsafe. I transferred here because of a significant health situation but found that the health department actually cares, the parking is decent for being in a somewhat outdated road system, and the professors are willing to challenge you if you are willing to challenge yourself. They will also become agitated if you have potential and do not live up to it.
I do music activities and cultural activities and have never had issues finding nice friends, but I've been at the senior level since I got here so the people I meet in my department are those who want to be there and have to work every day on their own to retain their skills because language atrophies so quickly. I never really got close with students who had time to dabble before getting serious and I didn't care to party. I was also never "popular" and couldn't care less about athletics. I got involved
with music because I like it and they're always short on my instrument.
I noticed some clique-ish behavior but didn't care. I'm in college to learn, not socialize. I do have many friends here, some close, some not, but I found people were generally polite, especially when campus freezes over and tripping is rampant. The students who gave me problems were/are just trying to get through class and don't care, especially the clowns, who will openly admit to not caring and probably aren't capable of contributing to anything.
The people who work in the registrar's office are typically really nice...except I get the feeling they make nasty comments in the back without realizing everyone can hear. Watch your finances like a hawk. They will make mistakes, but the state school was far worse.
I also studied abroad twice and it was fantastic.
Go here if:
You want to make your own way
You are independent
You are determined to do independent research
You want to write A LOT (liberal arts school)
You want to have time to take classes outside your major that interest
you (liberal arts school)
You want professors who care and have office hours
Don't go here if:
You don't like to write
You want to party
You're a follower
You want most of your schedule set in stone from the get-go
You won't go outside the box/WAY above and beyond what exists here
True, I am not challenged, but here you'll get one on one attention because the classes are small enough instead of having a huge lecture hall and four tests with no time for real, personal interaction/participation.
Remember, this is a liberal arts college: you WILL take courses far from your major and purposefully have a lot of time to do so. You WILL write a lot. If writing is not your strong suit and you don't want it to be, then DO NOT go here. This place isn't for everyone. The language I take is small wherever you go and does not leave much room for slackers. I don't do athletics and have no problems whatsoever socializing, even though I'm not very social. This is REALLY a school that gives you EXACTLY what you get out of it: put forth an extreme amount of effort and you will be rewarded. Put forth just what's required and you'll have a mediocre experience and graduate with a piece of paper that says you went here for x years and were a generic student who wished they were elsewhere/suffered from inflated grades. Students who just want the grades will get them. This school separates the REAL academics from the merely average. Anyone can graduate but those who go above and beyond will stand apart from the rest.