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Franklin and Marshall College

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Franklin and Marshall makes it as painful as

Feb 04 2014Political Science
Franklin and Marshall makes it as painful as possible to go to college.
I was a member of a Fraternity, and I return regularly as a part of alumni events. What I have heard from the undergraduates echos my experience.

Greek life is the only social life on campus. So if you don't plan on pledging don't go. The school also has made it their absolute mission (intensified in the last year) to make sure no parties happen on their campus.

You will have a happier, more productive, and cheaper college experience going anywhere else. The school is so bad that I am taking the time to write about it 9 years after I graduated.

You will have no fun, get laid less than you should, and will be overseen by people who enjoy fucking with your life.

Don't go.

Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
Starting Job: Attorney Preparedness: F Reputation: B

F&M is an atrocity to higher education

Jul 22 2014Economics
F&M is an atrocity to higher education. For four years my parents' spent over a third of their yearly income paying my tuition at F&M. I worked my butt off as an Econ major and earned a 2.8 GPA because the professors hold students to an extremely high standard and expect them to conform to their opinions. Several papers I wrote I received bad marks on because I did not agree with my professor's personal views on highly debatable topics. I was extremely unhappy socially, as I had no interest in greek life, which apparently made me a loser by default even though I was a varsity athlete. When I walked across the podium to receive my degree I received an embarrassingly underwhelming applause, while the rich underachieving frat bros had all the girls hooting at them. I never had a girlfriend at F&M, which I know wasn't my fault because I do well with women in any other social environment. After graduation I was unable to find employment for over a year. I had about five interviews during which I was asked about my "low" GPA from a college they had never heard of. I live in New Jersey, so I'm not even far from campus. After working as a table busser at a restaurant for 6 months to fund my expenses, I finally found employment as an accountant for a low-tier used car dealership crunching numbers in a poorly air-conditioned cube of an office. I hate my job and I still live with my parents. When I was at F&M campus housing was atrocious, and when I moved to off-campus housing (College Hill Apartments) they charged my family an unbelievable amount of money for damages caused by other students (ex. $60 to clean a "sticky substance from the mailroom floor" and $100 for "light post pulled out of the ground by sidewalk") because somewhere in the 300 page lease I signed they were allowed to do that. Now my parents can't afford to send my younger siblings to other expensive schools because of the unanticipated dent F&M put in their bank account. I'm ashamed of my experience at this school, and if you read more reviews about this school you'll find I am by no means alone. The new president Dan Porterfield is the best BS-er I've ever been forced to listen to. He is a pro at convincing prospective students that the F&M experience or "mission" is the complete opposite of the reality, making him no better than a lying corrupt politician. Franklin & Marshall College is a despicable place, I have friends who went to Rutgers and Penn State satellite campuses for a tenth of the price and had a highly better and more rewarding experience. I can't even think about grad school right now given the personal debt I still have from unsubsidized government loans I took out to help with tuition. If something in my life doesn't change dramatically then I blame Franklin & Marshall College for my unhappiness and unpromising future. Please, please, do not go here, you will regret it.
Alumnus Male -- Class 2000
Starting Job: Accountant - Used Car Dealership Preparedness: D+ Reputation: F

If you want real advice on your college

May 16 2013Neuroscience/Cognitive Science
If you want real advice on your college decision, don't take a tour. Instead, ask students who aren't getting paid to tell you how great F&M is and read the student reviews online (that goes for any school). This is a long review, but before you make a life-changing $55,000/year decision, you should spend a few minutes reading it. It will give you the comprehensive, honest truth coming from a current student.

Quite frankly, don't go here. The chart showing the percentage of former students who would return isn't lying. The majority of students here don't like it. I wish I never went here, and you will too if you decide to go to F&M. For every one person I know who enjoys it here, I can name five others who are applying to transfer schools. Just take a look at the "F&M Confessions" page on Facebook and you'll see what I mean. It really fails at everything it claims. It is not comparable to an ivy league school, and don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. The claim that "a 3.2 at F&M is equivalent to a 3.6 at most other schools" is false because most employers have never heard of F&M and don't know how to interpret your grades. Although the professors here are knowledgeable, the quality of the professors is pretty poor. Just because you know a lot about something doesn't mean you will be good at explaining it to others. F&M has professor review forms at the end of each semester, but they are not taken seriously, as many professors with well-known bad reputations receive tenure. The majority of them are old, very old-fashioned in their methods, and are just here to earn money, not actually teach students. Courses are taught like high school: professor talks for 50 minutes, gives you an exam next week, and doesn't encourage actual thought. I've been here two years so far, and I wish I had a professor lead a class discussion, assign me a unique presentation, or assign me something to research. But instead, my grade is based solely on my exam performance. So much for F&M being "a liberal arts school encouraging students to think critically."

I can count on one hand the professors who are actively involved in research aside from the chemistry and biology departments. If you don't like chemistry or biology, then you are out of luck with research. Sure, you'll hear stories of students getting published with a professor, but those are few and far between and it does not happen on a yearly basis. When is the last time you read an article citing F&M research? My experience in several departments, especially math and chemistry, has been that professors are haughty and just don't care about students. I've had chemistry professors give me the useless advice to "study harder next time," and one who even said to our class "the book problems will not be enough, but I will not give you any additional problems." There are definitely some professors here who I loved and who really cared about their students, but it seems that most professors are just looking for a way to pass the time during the day.

Before you decide to go here, you should take a look at the F&M course catalog online and compare it with the course catalogs of your other school choices (something which I didn't think to do). Because F&M is so small, it has very few classes compared to larger schools. Of the classes F&M does have, even fewer are unique professor-designed courses. Almost all the courses are general topics that you can find at any university. Again, I can count on one hand the unique courses that F&M offers.

The student body is predominantly wealthy, stuck-up caucasians who have never stepped foot out of suburbia. If you want diversity, F&M is definitely not the place for you. F&M recently got rid of merit scholarships, so good luck getting financial aid if you're not a POSSE scholar. The financial aid office pretty much assumes everyone else is a rich suburban kid as I described above and very few people besides POSSE scholars get any aid at all. Students from middle-class backgrounds (like me) get forced into paying full tuition because it's too late to transfer at that point and F&M knows it. The financial aid office is stingy and poorly run just like the rest of the administration. You can ask any student on campus to tell you a story of how he or she was screwed over at least once by the registrar, the housing office, the dean, house prefect, or really any other administrative department. The course selection process at F&M is probably the most convoluted system out there. First of all, they finally switched to an electronic system for Fall 2013. Before, it was still the archaic paper system where you had to spend the day waiting in a line of 300 students. Basically, now it's first come first serve online, but only for half of each class because each class is randomly split up into two days for no reason, and if you don't get a class then better luck next semester.

The rest of the administration is just bad decision after bad decision. Need to mail something? Better get to the mailroom before they close at 3:00, even though you'll probably still be in class then. Need to cash a check from work at the business office? Well you'll have to go between 12:00-1:00 Monday to Friday. That's right, they're open for one hour every day. The residence halls, or dorms, are open to the public from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday to Friday (no key needed to get in), and there are no security guards or even student workers who man the entrances. I'm very surprised that there haven't been any major thefts yet. Recently, there has been a movement from students to install security cameras at the main entrances to the dorms (just like every other school did ten years ago), but the administration has decided not to move forward with the cameras over concerns for student privacy, even though the students themselves brought up the issue.

Social life, as many others have said, revolves around the greeks and the athletes. If you are not either one, then you will find yourself sitting in your room on the weekend. F&M provides zero activities for anyone else. One weekend per semester, they will sponsor a movie, and that is about it. They play up Lancaster as a thriving, up-and-coming city, but it surely is not. The residents are poor, and F&M students have a bad relationship with the residents and the police.

When it comes to food, it's another swing and a miss for F&M. There are four dining options run by Sodexo: the main dining hall, and three small cafes called Pandini's, ZeBi, and Flavors Cafe. Sodexo is a poorly run food service that overcharges you for everything and doesn't properly train workers. Employees will argue right in front of you, keep their phones on the cutting board, shake hands with a student and then use the same gloves to make your sandwich. Oh, and you want a cup of water? That'll be 79 cents. I bet you thought water was free - nope not here. Want to eat healthy? Then go to Flavors Cafe located in the biology building. Oh wait they close at 4 even though all labs go until 4:30. You could try ZeBi, but they're likely out of whatever you want until next week's food arrives. So instead you go to Pandini's and eat a burrito or slice of pizza because the dining hall isn't open continuously throughout the day.

Extracurriculars are ok here. There's plenty of clubs to go around. I think that's the only positive thing I have to say about F&M. But then again, any school you go to will have the same clubs available, if not more.I think that pretty much covers it. Professors: knowledgeable but could care less about students; Administration: confused and poorly run; Social Life: athlete/greek or go home; Student Body: 85% rich caucasians, 15% other. Going to F&M was the worst decision of my life. If you still decide to go to F&M after everything that I've covered, may the force be with you.

2nd Year Male -- Class 2015
Campus Aesthetics: B+, Individual Value: F
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