Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts - Comments and Student Experiences|
ACADEMICS: You're going to have a lot of homework. Every class will have a lot of reading, essay assignments, and research projects. The work is rigorous and can be challenging, but you'll learn a lot. I'm a psychology major: Some of my professors have been amazing, others have been terrible. Some assign good quality work, while others assign busy work. The workload can be overwhelming at times, leaving very little room for "free time," but overall, my academic experience has been rewarding. I've been pushed out of my comfort zone and learned not just about the content of psychology, but about what it's like to be in the field of psychology; I discovered from this that I do not want a career in the field of psychology, but I might not have known that had I not come to this school. Most professors are approachable and are willing to help you with your work outside of class if you need it.
One thing to watch out for: students can be very competitive with one another when it comes to grades, so your best bet is not to share your grades with anyone.
Another thing to watch out for: The attendance policy is very strict. Try not to be late to class, and try not to miss class unless it's absolutely necessary.
SOCIAL LIFE: I didn't have any friends at Lang during my first semester here. We don't have a closed-in campus, there's no greek life, and most students do not live in the dorms; they commute from home or have apartments in NYC. During my second semester here, I started to make friends in my classes, and those people are still my friends. It's harder to meet people here than at most schools, but once you do, those people will be your friends for the rest of your college career. I made friends in my classes, but you can also meet people by joining clubs at Lang or attending dorm events if you live in the dorm. You can also meet people outside of school by joining groups/events in NYC. I attend a local yoga studio regularly, and that was another place where I made friends. Lang is not really a "party" school, but the people that do like to go out usually go to a bar with just one or two people. One thing I love about Lang is that unlike my former college, it's not a "cliquey" environment; there's no pressure to fit in with a certain group or to be the most popular person in school. Students are generally more academically than socially oriented here. This is not the type of environment where people show up to school in sweat pants. For the most part, students are friendly and polite.
One thing to watch out for: It's an expensive school, so some students are snobby. However, I think this is something you find at every college.
Another thing to watch out for: Lang attracts a lot of students that are different. Personally, this aspect doesn't bother me, but for some people it's uncomfortable. There's also a lot more women than men, and therefore it can be hard to have a dating life at this school.
FACILITIES: I would not call Lang a campus. Lang is the undergraduate, liberal arts division of The New School, and we have about 1 or 2 buildings where most of our classes are held. Although we do have dorms, most of them are not close to the classroom buildings; I take the subway to get to class. However, the facilities are gorgeous. The buildings are well-kept and the furniture and technology are relatively new. There's 3 cafes on "campus" and a cart that sells coffee, but the food here is not that great. I usually just get take-out from nearby restaurants. However, nothing in NYC is cheap, so be prepared to budget your money carefully if you go here.
One thing to watch out for: There's security guards at the front desk of every single building, including the dorms, so be prepared to show your New School ID when you enter one of the buildings here. If you're bringing a guest from outside of school into any building, including the dorms, make sure they have a photo ID with them, or else security will not let them in. This policy did not exist at my former college, so it was annoying at first, but it's understandable considering that this is NYC. Although Lang was a hard adjustment at first, I'm used to it now and could not imagine myself anywhere else. Lang has been a great fit for me, but that doesn't mean it's a fit for everyone. The best way to know if this school is right for you is by visiting here and reading reviews on websites similar to this one. Most importantly, trusting your instincts will be the best way to find the right school for you, because your instincts will never let you down.
Other aspects that I love about the New School:
-NYC is the greatest city in the world. The university really has created a presence in the West Village/Union Square area but it's not as overwhelming as NYU's presence in Greenwich Village. Classes really feed off of the city- celebrity lecturers come to the school and field trips are planned. You can sometimes even receive credit through school civic engagement programs that allow you to volunteer in the city. Unlike more traditional schools, students never feel trapped on campus. Easy access to bus/train stations and airports makes it easy to leave the city, too.
-Most students are involved in a lot of other activities outside of school. Especially as students get older, they hold several jobs and internships. These opportunities are hard to come by at other schools.
-People are extremely liberal and open minded. There are pretty much no cliques, although Parsons students have a reputation for being kind of snobby. If you feel like you don't fit in at your school, you probably will here. If you're a conservative Republican, it's probably a good idea not to come here, lol. There is a lot of diversity within the student body, too. Large GLBTQ population, racially diverse, and lots of international studies. Students who are not international hail from all areas of the U.S., although I have noticed a large group of students from NYC originally/surrounding East Coast states.
-The University is undergoing a re-branding. I really love the design of all of the buildings. The school is just really innovative in the way that it presents itself, i.e. marketing campaigns (like the Metrocard one), logo, social media and website, etc.
-The school offers a lot of free stuff through health services and discounted activities with the OSDA, but most students don't know about this/take advantage of it.
-The dorms are really expensive compared to other schools, but you get what you pay for, in a way. It is a lot cheaper to live off campus, but in order to get those lower rents you often have to move to other neighborhoods or other boroughs. Compared to rent in the East/West Village, the dorms are pretty inexpensive. From what I've heard, 13th St residences SUCK but the other three are pretty awesome. At the other three buildings, dorms are a suite with two or three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Most students don't go to the dining hall. There are tons of restaurants in the area. But the cafe food at the University Center is actually pretty good for school food.
What I don't like about The New School:
-It's expensive AF. I got a substantial amount of financial aid (both need and merit based), but I will still be close to $100k in debt at graduation, before interest. Plus the cost of living is really high in NYC. Either you need to have a rich family or be prepared to work at least one job + side hustle. I'm not really sure if the value of the degree is worth the price. Yes, you're going to school in the best city in the world and receiving an academically stimulating education. But the school's name is not super well-known. I feel like most graduates from Lang/The New School do go on to become successful, but that's because of the connections that they form in NYC, rather than through the school. The financial aid office can often be frustrating to deal with. They're unsympathetic and largely unhelpful with offering advice on budgeting and such. Also there seem to be a lot of complications with financial holds that prevent students from registering for classes on time. (Tip: registration is cutthroat here- it's like the Hunger games.)
-Really the main frustration with the school stems from the lack of community and social life. On one hand, most students choose the school because it's atraditional in an urban setting. I like that it's not cliquey and students are pretty liberal. But I sometimes feel like I'm missing out on the college experience. There's no school spirit, no sports games, definitely no Greek life, etc. I feel like most of us don't need all of those things, but it would be nice to have some sort of community. It's very difficult to make new friends. Most of my friends I already knew before I moved to the school or met outside of school. At TNS there's barely any orientation (most students skip anyway) and because there's no official campus and a lot of kids live outside of dorms, class is really the only way to meet people. The seminar style courses offer some opportunity for conversation, but it's sometimes difficult to continue that outside of the classroom. Students become really independent in this setting, but also very lonely. A lot of people I've talked to admit to having less friends than they did at home and feeling anxious/depressed about it. There are some school clubs but not a huge selection. They don't seem to be very popular. The office of student activities sponsors a lot of field trips/discounts, but I don't think many people take advantage of them. The Lang courtyard is really the only place where people can convene and be social. Most students bond over bumming cigs off of each other.
-In terms of nightlife/partying, it can go either way. In NYC, there are a lot of opportunities to go to bars/clubs and there are always a lot of concerts. Students who party take advantage of these opportunities. In a way this can be kind of awesome (who wouldn't want to say they partied with Travis Scott at a club on a Thursday night?), but at the same time it's very expensive, you need to have a fake, and it's kind of hard to find your niche, especially as a freshman. If you don't have friends to go out with, it won't be very fun. It's not like you can just go to a house party or frat party alone like at other schools and meet random people. The club scene can be great, but like I said, it's expensive and sometimes hard to get into if you don't have a good fake + a hookup with a promoter. It's also a bit shallow- I feel like you really get judged on your outfit/appearance/etc. The bar scene can be fun too, but there aren't as many college/laidback bars, unless you go to Brooklyn. Gentrification has made drink prices crazy high and most bars, even in the East Village area, are frequented by people in their late 20's & up. Most students at TNS do drink at least minimally. Everyone is pretty liberal and open minded. But very few students are heavy drinkers like those at typical college campuses. Partying stays pretty regulated to weekend nights. In terms of drugs, a lot of people smoke weed/occasionally do other recreational drugs. We probably have more cigarette smokers than other schools though. For students who don't like to party, there's still a lot of opportunities for nightlife in the city, like comedy shows, 24-hour restaurants, or art shows.
-If you're a straight female, it's probably going to be pretty difficult to date. There are few straight guys at the school and most of them don't seem too interested in dating anyway. A lot of girls at our school end up dating NYU guys or older guys who have finished college and just live & work in the city.
-It's awesome that the students are so progressive and diverse, but sometimes it seems a little too hipster. Like you would get judged pretty easily if you listen to a mainstream artist or wear a mainstream brand.
---Ultimately, the New School is what you make of it. It's certainly not for everyone, but there is a certain niche of university students that it seeks to accommodate. The academics are really incredible, they nurture students without holding their hands. But the social life and high cost can be a bit frustrating. All in all, if you put yourself out there and try to make the best of your opportunities, you will probably do well.
Another important thing to mention is that Lang doesn't force students to take required classes as much as other schools do. For the most part, the first 2 years students get to choose their own classes from all the different study areas. By junior year they are supposed to declare a concentration (or major) and begin to take classes focusing on that study. The registration process, however, is a mess and students sometimes wind up having to take classes they don't want to because the ones they wanted were filled to the limit. Then you have to run around to the professors and deans asking them to let you take it. Also, a new requirement is that a student has to take 2 lecture courses before he graduates. Lectures at Lang are a new thing and some students are wary of them becoming a bigger part of the curriculum.
Most of the people, from the professors to the students, are friendly and approachable. There are no cliques or social groups that you would find in high school because a lot of people have similar interests, and if not, are mature and respectful enough of each other's opinions to not let that get in the way. The entire school is very liberal minded and politically motivated, and even the professors make themselves be heard when it comes to politics and the results of our latest election, for example.
The retention rate for Lang is pretty low because a lot of kids drop out after not being able to handle the pressure from both living in NYC and adjusting to a different method of learning. I guess what I should tell people is if you're considering coming here, seriously consider if you're ready for a challenging but at the same time unique experience. This is certainly NOT a typical "frat parties everywhere!" college. There are occasional get togethers but kids are just as likely to go see a play as they are to party.
If you are looking for a career in writing, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, or any other liberal art and at the same time want to create your own path through your studies, this is the place for you. I like it so far and have no intention of transfering.
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