Franklin and Marshall College
College review by Lisa Bleich
Set in the lovely town of Lancaster, Franklin and Marshal is a beautiful, brick campus. Downtown Lancaster is about a 15 minute walk from campus with lots of cute shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafes. The city of Lancaster is more than just Amish country, which provides a plethora of activities for students in terms of internships and the like. The student population is preppy, clean-cut and able to balance academics, extracurricular, and athletic activities. F & M values leadership very highly in its applicant pool as there are numerous opportunities to get involved from House governments, to athletic teams, to the writer’s house, to performing arts. Students have the opportunity to participate in numerous and unrelated outside activities and F & M expects its students to take full advantage of this. President Frye came from the University of Pennsylvania and has initiated a number of programs that were successful at Penn, such as the house system and the shared activity housing, such as the Writer’s house modeled after the Kelly Writer’s House at Penn. Students have the opportunity to meet with writers and also share their own work. There are four houses that freshman live in complete with Faculty member and separate dean. This system gives students the opportunity to lead outside of the classroom. Sports are also very big on campus with 25% of students participating in varsity sports and 75% in club or intramurals. They have a beautiful Olympic size swimming pool and field house.
Admissions takes a wholistic approach to the process, with emphasis on challenge of curriculum and leadership potential. It is SAT optional and students with 100 point lower than the average score of 1350 (M/CR) are recommended not to submit. They do not consider writing in the admissions process, nor do they look at SAT subject tests. Leadership seemed to be the key distinction among students who got in and who did not get in as F & M is a college of doers who thrive in an environment that promotes active balance in one’s life. The Greek life represents 26% of the population, more so among men than women, but it does not dominate the social scene.