I am a Theatre Production & Classics major at Fordham's Lincoln Center campus. Overall, my experience has been positive -- but I agree with the other caveats given on this board. Studying in New York City demands that you be a motivated, self-starters, resourceful, creative, and open-minded individual. (Too bad those kids got into NYU or Columbia. Just kidding.) When it comes to seeking students of this nature, Fordham is no exception.
I think the positive remarks I can make about Fordham College at Lincoln Center stem from how it seems like luck--and little else--has dealt me a good hand. It just so happens that the areas I enjoy most--theatre, communications/media, and campus ministry--are the strengths of this campus. I know all too well, however, how these are not necessarily the interests of other students here, providing a complex situation.
In short, Fordham College at Lincoln Center is a highly atypical college experience. Seemingly, the students who feel most isolated and unhappy at this school did not understand this reality before entering, and a few will transfer out. To many others, the unique undergraduate experience is one that is relished and enjoyed, especially when they know the resources to utilize. The rest simply deal with it.
With a 50-50 commuter-resident ratio, on-campus student life is difficult to praise. With half the students going to their non-dorm homes, many students with jobs and/or internships, and the competition of New York City nightlife, Fordham's location can be its strength and its downfall. Plus, the folks working in Student Activities come across as uncreative, clique-ish, or just plain greedy (signing up for / taking tickets or programs, for example, that students are actually interested in) on many occassions.
But this disconnect from the needs and wants of the student body is more widespread at this campus than one would care to admit. Frustration towards an aloof administration is rampant among many. The McMahon Hall apartment-style dorm on campus is gorgeous and head-and-shoulders above traditional university housing nationwide, but petty, invasive, and overbearing rules (and Res Life directors) infringe upon residents' lives. Security guards at the campus entrances range from friendly and helpful, to crass individuals on a power-trip. While the campus is indeed safe, the affluent neighborhood bears the credit more than the security department. Some students will argue that Fordham Security & Res Life seek to make criminals out of their students, and overstep boundaries seldom crossed at other NYC universities. The cafeteria food is ranked 4th/5th worst in the nation. The "campus" at Lincoln Center features a single high-rise building whose interior is as drab, depressing, and institutional as its exterior and the University itself.
To a cynic, it may be amazing how for such a small liberal arts college, Fordham at Lincoln Center cannot attend to such essential facets of the college experience.
To someone who actually enjoys FCLC, however, the people--whether dedicated faculty members, intelligent and creative friends, or just REAL people studying in the classroom with you--make this place worthwhile. I like to consider myself in this category. I guess unity through adversity is the case here. Whatever it is, Fordham students strike me--years ago when I came to visit, and still today--as very real, down-to-earth, inquisitive, and intelligent people with a fun streak. These are all qualities that drew me to Fordham, and were not as apparent at Georgetown and BC. Real people, in an unbelievably real city.
The theatre department here is fantastic, though like many majors here, is woefully underfunded and with facilities that are good at best. Still, the faculty in this department is amazing and foster a closely-knit community. (This theatre community is incredibly friendly, though rather clique-ish.) I don't know much about the other departments, but communications is the other stronghold at this campus, with great connections. It is fitting that theatre, communications, and dance are among the more popular and competitive majors here, located in the world's cultural epicenter for all three fields.
The Lincoln Center undergraduate college shares its campus with Fordham's graduate schools, and that makes for a, well, boring motley crew filling the building's elevators. This campus is bursting at the seams, and is in dire need of a new building and facilities--to separate the undergraduate and graduate schools, one would hope.
Campus Ministry is a must-participate at this school, though few students actually do. Even if you don't align with a particular faith, stop by and see what this great person-centered program has to offer. Many of my friends (religious and agnostics alike) enjoy the Global Outreach program, which is open to all students and is one of the few (read: very few) clubs on campus with enjoyable, worthwhile, and consistent activities. A lack of prayer spaces, especially in the dorms, however, might pose an inconvenience for some. Still, the Jesuit identity (while selective at times) is one whose mission of education with a purpose fits this urban environment well.
I must warn that my comments here are solely those of a Lincoln Center student, with little experience of the College at Rose Hill. The latter is a fine institution with one of the lushest/nicest urban campuses in the nation. I visit at least twice a month, as Rose Hill is the more "typical" college experience I sometimes envy and miss. It's only a van ride away (though paying for this shuttle bothers me). And as a male, I have nothing to say about Marymount College of Fordham University, except that the pictures of their campus are pleasant, that we hear nothing about their campus, nor see any of their all-female students. Then again, they've only been with us for a year.
Love it or hate it, Fordham Lincoln Center very much embodies what a New York City university can be. The best students and friends I've met here have a sense of self-identity, know their capabilities, and utilize the resources of this great city to meet and exceed such expectations. And even though it sounds like I'm highly critical of this college, I think it's with a sense of hope and gratitude to this place that I know it can be much better. I love Fordham, and I don't see myself studying, learning, and living anywhere else.People sometimes refer to Fordham University as "the best-kept secret in the Northeast." That's often true. Once Fordham grows into its britches, perhaps it won't be a secret for much longer.