College Advisor and Essay Coach, Sasha, just returned from a visit to upstate New York, where she learned some great insider information firsthand. Read all about her experience touring campus below.
Why is this school awesome?
Skidmore feels like the typical liberal arts college, until you hear about the academic offerings. The campus is small but not claustrophobic and the student body comes from all around the world. The motto is “Creative Thought Matters,” and this influence is clear throughout the campus and in the course offerings.
What makes Skidmore most unique is the Scribner Freshman Seminar Program. All freshmen are required to enroll in a year-long seminar that have very niche topics that range from “Picturing Time” to “Sexing Politics.” These classes are fundamentally interdisciplinary and teach students the basics of college writing, seminar-style discussions, and how to keep up with the college course load. However, the real benefit of these seminars is the mentorships students receive. The professor of your freshman seminar becomes your advisor until you declare a major at the end of your second year. Unlike normal academic advisors who are randomly assigned, your freshman seminar professor knows you as a student and person. In addition, each seminar has a peer mentor—an upperclassman who sits in on the class and provides academic and social support.
Skidmore is in the town of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. The town has the benefit of the summer tourism industry without the tourists! Saratoga Springs is famous for its horse racing, and during the summer, the population grows from 30,000 to 90,000 people. That means that there are tons of restaurants and shops to support this summertime population, but the people aren’t there during the school year! Saratoga Springs is also a cultural hub of upstate New York because of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center-- the summer home to the New York City Ballet.
Favorite spot on campus?
Tang Museum - a world-class contemporary art museum right on campus! And the dining hall - there are truly so many options!
The "typical student" is...
Someone who is interested in the arts but does not want their education limited to fine arts. There are endless options to combine majors and explore two seemingly distinct fields of study. Because there is not Greek life at Skidmore, the social life seems to revolve around the clubs and extracurriculars. This seems great for someone who is excited about drama or a cappella!
60% of students study abroad for at least a semester, which means that there is an international focus on campus. Skidmore gives all students grants to help them afford studying abroad and provides a “cultural stipend” in which they reimburse any cultural outing done while studying abroad. In addition, around 8% of the student body is international.
Special programs or offerings applicants should consider?
Students should think seriously about the freshman seminar program to see if it appeals to them. In addition, there is a heavy emphasis on the arts at Skidmore, so students who are interested in pursuing studio or performing arts should seriously consider applying. They have fantastic arts facilities and allow students to combine arts and other majors. Our tour guide was double-majoring in arts and health sciences.
Tips for the application process?
Skidmore is test optional and in the information session it was mentioned that they will not hold it against you if you do not submit test scores. They accept 50% of their freshman class from Early Decision applicants, so if you want to go, you have a much better chance of getting in if you apply ED. However, remember that is binding! Skidmore tracks demonstrated interest so definitely go visit the campus and have an on-campus interview if at all possible.
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