SUNY Potsdam (visited 7/27/15)
This is a solid school located about a mile from Clarkson and about 15 minutes from SUNY Canton and St. Lawrence University. “We may only have 4,000 students on campus, but you have about 15,000 college students in a 15-minute radius. There’s stuff going on,” said the tour guide. Potsdam is a bustling town with plenty to do within about a 10-minute walk from campus. Town-Gown relations are good. The first Saturday after freshmen move in, all the stores downtown open late. There are concerts, good deals at restaurants, huge checkers games, and more. All students can have cars on campus for a $112 fee, but the college will also run the Bear Bus to Albany, Syracuse, and NYC for breaks.
The most notable “hook” at Potsdam is its Crane School of Music. Students must be admitted by Potsdam through the regular application process AND be accepted into Crane through auditions. Many students will audition on campus, but they know that not everyone can get there. Most international students and those living across the country will send in a DVD, but they also hold auditions in New York City which is much easier to travel to. They also hold scholarship auditions in October; it’s also a great chance to visit campus and meet with the music faculty.
The campus is attractive and walkable. A main road divides the academic and the residential sides. Many of the academic buildings are connected “which is great in the winter when you want to keep warm.” In the middle is a large, well-used quad.
There are only 3 lecture halls on campus. The tour guide’s largest class was Intro to Biology with 150 students; his smallest was a PoliSci elective with 6. He’s found all the professors to be very encouraging and willing to go out of their way to help – and that’s not limited to the school year. He’s been talking to and emailing a professor throughout the summer. There are also plenty of tutors available. He described how a tutor for one class came in on the second day and introduced herself early in the term so they knew who they could come to for help.
Unusual majors include Interdisciplinary Natural Science, Music Business, Archaeological Studies, and Business Economics. Some unusual minors include Biological Anthropology, Wilderness Education, Nutrition, Jazz Studies, and Therapeutic Education.
- 3-2 Engineering program with Clarkson
- Students can do Chemistry, Computer Science, Math, or Physics at Potsdam and get their Engineering degree at Clarkson
- Engineering double-degrees at either Clarkson or Binghamton
- Art Education with St. Lawrence
- 3-4 Optometry program at SUNY College of Optometry
- 4-1 MBA programs at Clarkson, Alfred, Oswego, RIT, or Union
- 3-2 Engineering Technology at SUNY IA
There’s a residency requirement for freshmen and sophomores. The Freshmen Quad has 2 FYE dorms; some freshmen are housed in the 3rd dorm because of space issues. They are typical doubles that are coed by floor. There are suites for upperclassmen that fit up to 8 people as well as Townhouses. Food is available somewhere on campus from 7am to 1am. The dining hall will show movies on the weekends and often have an associated activity to go along with it such as “make your own minion” with Despicable Me or Superhero Sundae with The Avengers. Becky’s Place is an on-campus place to eat that’s a bit more fancy.
Students don’t have to look far to find things to do. Greek life is pretty big here; students can rush starting second semester. There are plenty of active clubs, including a Step Team, Rugby, Law Enforcement and Tactics Club, Stitch-n-Bitch, and Japanese drumming. The Harry Potter Club hosts Quidditch games, and another club runs Cardboard Duct-tape Boat races. The river is about 2 miles away and is a popular kayaking spot. The Outdoor Club and other groups run frequent trips to the mountains for hiking and skiing. There are 3 big skiing centers are within an hour of campus. There are 400 artistic things on campus every year such as dance, music performances, art shows, and theater; students can submit art for consideration for display at the professional art gallery on campus.