On our application for admission, we ask a fun little question: “Why Lawrence? It’s a short question seeking a short answer. 47 well-chosen words—give or take a few—should work.”
We appreciated some of the early questions from students about how to answer the question, along with their adherence to instructions.
- “Can I go with 48, 49… maybe 50?”
- “Do articles [“a” and “the”] count against the 47?”
- “I have a few haikus. Is that cool?”
Posted below are some—but not all—of the entries that caught our attention. We asked students their permission to use their posts, and they gladly obliged, although some preferred to remain anonymous.
For future applicants to Lawrence, we hope you find some inspiration here for your 47 words, along with the comfort that there are many ways to answer the question, and the best answer is the one that is true to your voice.
OK, on with some of the entries.
From Elizabeth in Elgin, IL, a nice twist on the 1950s roadside advertising phenomenon of Burma Shave:
If a scholar lacks for fun,
Send him off to Appleton.
Bio, music, Russian Lit.
In Lawrence I have found my fit.
Lawrence lacks not for its fundin’
Evidence? Just see Björklunden!
Oh, let me be a racing cox
For Lawrence crew out on the Fox.
Offering just what I need,
Veritas est Lux indeed.
Jillian from San Mateo, CA, dropped a little Greek on us.
Stimulating conversations, pianos and guitars, windy campus, MΩlΘe, study abroad, nurturing environment, LU-a-Roo, Cancer Biology, hands on learning, Appleton, SPAMALU, Japanese, Contemporary dance, college town, CORE, understanding not memorizing, Mathematics, varying seasons, CADY, music, Neuroscience, tapping toes, trees, integrative biology: cells to organisms, GLOW, creativity, community, intelligence, passion, determination, harmony.
Brittany from Libertyville, IL, shared with us a little-known, yet helpful tip about the Fox River (do not try this at home):
My tour guide told me that if one were to touch one’s body to the Fox River on campus, one would grow an extra limb. I hope to experiment on this and grow a third hand in order to master the art of the Double-Belled French horn.
Sarah from Minneapolis uses the signature sign-off from our admissions letters.
I want to live the Lawrentian way for life, not just four years. At Lawrence, I know my creativity would be fostered, and my writing ability would increase tenfold. Above all, I want individualized learning, and I want to be well and do well.
Harrison, also from Minneapolis, rocked the haiku (x4):
4 Haikus: 1.People say it’s dead / but Latin lives at Lawrence / roots to so much more 2.One-on-ones with profs / interacting afterclass / gives it all new depth 3.Spanish, English, film / top-ranked in all my majors / want to see the world 4.Students need a voice /LUCC speaks for them / I might run for prez.
Sam from Sacramento, did a great job preserving the anonymity of a semi-well-known Ivy school while showing Lawrence some love:
In exactly 47 words, Lawrence because: I can get Broadway shows right down the street. I can complete a senior project of my choosing. I can experience the outdoors. I can get a well-rounded “Schmarvard” class education. I can be something besides a number to a school.
Briana from Evanston (IL), on a favorite dessert around here:
Down to earth life (farms included), the opportunity to learn to play the harmonica I’ve had for years, and the pursuit of Breadpudding.
Emma from Wheaton (IL), gives us a Lawrence litany:
Why Lawrence? Blue-wrought iron railings at the Wriston Art Center; Björklunden; trivia contest; beach parties in the dead of winter;SLUG; tennis courts on the Fox River; fencing team; Con students; Freshman Studies; Francophone Seminar in Dakar; Convocation Series; Plato’s Republic; multi-interested students everywhere; the endless possibilities…
And, speaking of “multi-interested,” Arianna from Eugene (OR), captures the spirit well:
I am a musician. That point is indisputable. However, I also think of myself as a scientist, an artist, and an autodidactic bibliophile (yes, that’s how I think). Lawrence appeals to me because while the conservatory provides a strong musical community, the school allows students to pursue other interests concurrently.
Olivia from Clinton (NY), might be a budding spoken word artist:
An icy April visit: I walked along a campus coated in ice. Curiosity. Wonder.——————————————————————————— Chinese class: I was greeted by engaged students who welcomed me as if I were an old friend returned. Community. Acceptance. Zeal. ———————————————————————————–Lawrence: a place to revel in the excitement of education. Stimulates creativity. Fosters individuality. Champions diversity.
Grier showed us a bit of sass—the good kind—from Saint Paul (MN), also with footnotes:
Lawrence is awesome /Because it is so unique /And I am also //Here one is quite free /To learn whatever you want,* /To be quite nerdy //This now does conclude /My concise Lawrence essay /As three great Haiku**
*Apart from underwater-basket weaving
**Plural of haiku = whatever
Arianna from Bayside (WI) taps into her family’s history at Lawrence:
Embarking on a journey to a place full void of status quo, enveloped in life and learning, and achieving the sense of community that I have longed for since entering middle school. Where opportunity is seeping through the walls of the classrooms as well as the beautiful birches by the water at Björklunden. A place I will be able to call home for the rest of my life, just as my parents have before me. Why Lawrence? Because it is everything I could ever dream of in the next chapter of my life.
Max from Arlington Heights (IL) uses the space well.
Why Lawrence? 47 words? Here we go: Non-major musician? Conservatory is open to all. Non-major percussionist? Join LUPE. Anthropophobic? Nine to one student to faculty ratio. Want to learn Chinese? Associated Colleges in China. Study abroad in Minzu. Need a getaway? Björklunden. (If you can pronounce it.)
Joanna from Evansville (IN) captures the spirit of one of our professors, Julie McQuinn, perfectly:
Typical music history class: bland lecture about dead composers. Lawrence class: animated professor leading a discussion about music in Disney’s ‘Snow White’. Spacious campus, fun town, interesting people. Good place for a girl who lives to sing, and also loves AP Comparative Politics, being outdoors and talking sports.
Echo from Mount Prospect (IL) gave us warm fuzzies:
Because Lawrence is Lawrence. This question is kind of like, “Why do you love her?”; The answer (hopefully) cannot be found in a single characteristic, but rather a unique combination of characteristics that lets you make up your decision. I love her because of who she is; I want to go to Lawrence because it’s Lawrence.
Matthew from Washington DC, knows his nautical terms:
This prompt—word count taken from the two starboard digits of the year Lawrence was founded—is “Why Lawrence”. Out there, but not uncomfortably so. Lawrence’s intimacy, strong academics, and idyllic setting contribute to my interest in the school; I know it’s a place where I can thrive.
Eva from Beaver Dam (WI), with a few haiku strung together, a dropped in one of our favorite majors along the way.
Haiku to Consider:
Close-Knit and artsy,
College that will change my life,
Yes! Small class sizes!
Free to try and fail,
This is my purpose,
My major you ask?
Help me find myself,
I will now conclude,
Forty-seven words you said,
Consider me please!
Anmol from Middleton (WI) gave us a poem that really builds to a crescendo before giving us a giggle payoff at the end.
A poem: “47 Words”:
Teach me how.
How to learn.
How to sing.
How to be.
How to surpass limits.
Change my life.
Show me the light.
Forever more light.
Scholarly, astonishing, fostering, distinguished.
Voice + Biology, Voice + Pre-Law?
Endless paths: learning and life.
Forty-seven million possibilities.
Hannah from Oak Park (IL) sent us a Lawrence postcard, ending with what may be the most essential thing.
Liberal arts education. Small class sizes with attentive professors. Surrounded by music. The infamous Trivia Weekend. Community, nature, and learning through Björklunden. Learning how to pronounce Björklunden. Gloriously cold winters. Interest houses, studentorganizations, and convocations. Beautifully green landscape and “green” architecture. International interest. Great community with great sandwiches.
Amanda from Williston, VT, spelled it out for us:
L is for Loving the Midwest, A is for Appleton’s small town charm, W is for Walking on a safe campus, R is for Really good cafeteria mac and cheese, E is for Enjoying Björklunden, N is for New Knowledge, C is for the Con, E is for the Experience.
One student nicely grabbed onto one of the significant features of 47:
Lawrence offers a uniquely holistic learning environment as well as a student body that fosters acceptance, understanding, and diversity. Also, given the significance of the number 47 in the Star Trek canon, this question is in and of itself a pretty great indicator.
A student from Albuquerque, finding that he only had 46 words, employed a familiar five-syllable word occasionally employed by haiku writers who need to complete their third line:
I am interested in Lawrence because I am looking for a well rounded education at a small liberal arts college. I am also a musician and I like the idea of having a conservatory and an exemplary music program built into the rest of the school. Refrigerator.
Hannah from Oak Park (IL) describes what she (and we) saw as a great match:
Lawrence University and I have a lot in common. It is confident in and proud of its unique identity. It strives for excellence and embraces diversity. And, with its request for a 47-word statement, it definitely has a sense of humor! We would make a great team.
Sater from Oconomowoc (WI)… who had us with “Well… Lawrence!”
Why Lawrence? Well…Lawrence! Greyfell: student created, written, performed. Freshman Studies ¡ coolest idea ever. Then, Senior Experience ¡ coolest follow-up idea ever! Inspirational. Fresh made food = yum! Informational. Professor Peter Peregrine and Professor Carla Daughtry. Bizarrchaeology! S.L.U.G. Dedication to green. The ability to gain “more light.” Enough Said. But…IHRTLUHC!
Madina from Dashogus, Turkmenistan gives us a blend of poetry along with pulls from course listings in our course catalog
1-1 Class ¡ my first reaction ¡ eyes popped out, jaw fell open Freshman studies ¡ smoother translation to college The friendliest-students and staff talk, reply to emails Code of Honor ¡ students take responsibility for their work Language program- LING 265,LING 310, LING 330… Eloquent colorful website! Diverse Clubs!
Lauren from Milwaukee
Lawrence offers qualities that excite me: a strong sense of community, open-minded students, approachable professors, emphasis on study abroad, customized classes, and a reputable conservatory of music. Bonus- I can learn how to properly pronounce and experience Björklunden.
Emei from Minnetonka (MN) shares a secret:
The most memorable recruitment e-mail I received described the typical Lawrentian as a “cool geek.” Secretly, I loved that label.There were plenty of colleges that fit what I was searching for–a Liberal Arts environment, serious academics and a close-knit campus. After many overnights on cold dorm room floors, sitting in on biology classes, meeting swim coaches and sampling some surprisingly great cafeteria food, I found a school that spoke to the cool geek in me. Lawrence is the one.
Kim from Albuquerque realized that Lawrence changed her mind about what a college can and can’t do:
Soon after starting my college search I became convinced that compromise was inevitable. I could study linguistics but not studio art, or I could live in a small community but I’d have to give up swing dancing. However with Lawrence I don’t have to compromise,it’s perfect.
A student from Portland (OR) gave us hope that the junk mail we send students (we can call it that; we write it) works:
You had me at your first brochure, with its funky type face and amusing narrative. I want to attend a school that, while being a serious academic environment, doesn’t take itself too seriously. I have always been someone that enjoys traveling off the beaten path, and I feel that Lawrence would be the perfect school in which to continue my journey.