orthodoxgal said: Oh and I forgot one more question!! I looked at the cost of Lang $62,268, RIP me and my parents. It said that books are around 2k and I screamed "WHAT". Are there required books that you have to get and you have to get them at specific places? Or can you do the cheapo college student route of getting books? What would happen if you opt out of the Student Health Insurance since I'm already covered by my parent's plan?
Oh my! Many questions. I’m unqualified to answer most of them, because the process of paying for school is different when you pay with loans, and because I have absolutely no idea how Lang doles out merit scholarships or need-based aid. With loans, they take the money when the loans come in. My boyfriend, who was super lucky in that his parents were able to pay for all of his college education, had a payment plan—I think he had to do a payment every other month, but it might have been every month. I have no idea how that works, though, so that would be something you’d need to talk about with financial aid and/or admissions. Same goes for how housing is billed—I have no idea, except that it’s rolled into the tuition bill. The most expensive dorm is 13th Street, because that’s the one with the mandatory big meal plan and a cafeteria in the basement. There are various cafes with food on campus (Lang Café in the main Lang building on 11th St., a Starbucks in the lobby of the 13th St. building, a cafe with salads and stuff on the 4th floor of the 13th St. building, and I’m sure there are others by now)—those are the places where you would spend the meal plan (I think it’s something like $250/semester) that you’re required to buy if you live in a dorm.
I never spent anywhere near $2k on books. I took mostly lit, writing, cultural studies, and politics classes, so most of the books I had to buy were regular paperbacks or hardcovers. I’d estimate I spent about $150-250 per semester. Amazon is a cheap college kid’s best friend. My boyfriend had to buy a $100 psych text book, but that was the only absurdly expensive book that either of us ever had to buy. Psych and Econ are the areas of study with pricey books like that. That $2k figure must be university-wide—Parsons students have notoriously expensive books, so that’s probably skewing the average quite a bit.
It’s not wrong to choose Lang in part because you’d like to give living in NYC a try. The one caveat there is that Lang is not at all a typical college experience, so you really have to be prepared for that. Academically, it’s a very specific environment—90% of your classes will have under 15 people, you will read a lot, you will write constantly, you will need to be fully present in class. Most people know this and are good at it, but some don’t get it—unfortunately, because the school sells itself as being a big city school, there are tons of students who apply to it only as a backup in case they don’t get in elsewhere (NYU, Columbia). A lot of them burn out really quickly, because the city is overwhelming and their classes are harder than they expected.
Socially: Almost no one lives in the dorms after the first year, there are very few student organizations, no sports, and the majority of on-campus events are academic, rather than social. I basically didn’t make friends. I had a boyfriend, who I met in class during the first week, and we’ve been together almost 6 years now, but he was pretty much the only person I was close to at Lang. I know plenty of people who had loads of friends, but I also knew a lot of people who had none. A huge part of that was my own problem (undiagnosed, unmanaged anxiety issues), but it was also partially that I had very little in common with my classmates. Socially, Lang was totally wrong for me. Academically, it was exactly what I needed and wanted. If it hadn’t been for the quality of my classes, I probably would have transferred to a bigger school after my first year.
Diversity at Lang is a problem. The vast majority of students are white and at least middle class. I’m white, but my family is lower middle class and it was sort of a challenge dealing with how much privilege and money people were throwing around. Many of the PoC I knew at Lang had seriously uncomfortable experiences as students there, especially because Lang students pride themselves in being liberal and progressive, but don’t go much farther than saying “I’m not racist/sexist/homophobic/classist/etc.” and then proceed to be any or all of the above, refusing to acknowledge that they’re not actually so progressive and perfect after all. The faculty is pretty good at dealing with stuff like that (both micro-aggressions and more blatant stuff), but not every professor is going to be as aware or sensitive as one might hope. My boyfriend is a PoC, and while he didn’t experience a lot of explicit racism, there were many times when he was made to feel quite uncomfortable. There are some good articles about diversity at Lang on the New School Free Press (newschoolfreepress.com), and they might be able to give you a better sense of what the atmosphere is like there. It’s tough, honestly. Probably a lot better than a lot of other schools, but Lang certainly isn’t perfect.
I lived in Loeb my first year (it was fine), but the next year they opened Stuy, which is where most freshmen live. It’s the newest, nicest building, but also one of the farthest away. Loeb is very close to the main academic buildings, and the 20th Street building is about the same distance away as Stuy. The closest to school is 13th St., but, as I said before, it’s also really expensive (and quite probably the worst in terms of comfort and size of rooms).
The global studies program at Lang was new the year I graduated, so I can’t speak to that. Lang does not have political science (at least, they didn’t when I was there), but it does have excellent politics classes (critical study of political movements, law, etc., but it lacks the quantifiable stuff that you’d learn if you studied poli sci).
I did not have an internship (I don’t believe in unpaid internships, it’s a personal/political thing; I think it’s an abusive labor practice, plus I couldn’t afford to spend 10 hours a week working without pay), but I know people who interned at: Teen Vogue, Vogue, Glamour, Cosmo, Marie Claire, Harper’s, the Feminist Press, various literary journals including n+1 and The Paris Review, music production and/or marketing businesses, major fashion houses (doing PR or social media internships), etc. If you look, you will find something.
Frankly, I hated living in New York. I was street harassed constantly, my rent was too damn high, everything was more expensive than it should have been. Lang was worth it for me, but living in New York wasn’t part of the reason. Almost everyone I knew at Lang, though, loved living in New York and tried their best to stay. I left a month after graduation and moved to Boston, where I am 1000x happier.
Class attendance: Yes, it’s absolutely mandatory. You can miss three classes per semester in most cases. Obviously there are exceptions: if you have a family emergency, you can miss class. If you’re seriously ill and need to be hospitalized, you get extra absences. If you miss more than three classes a semester, unless you had a special circumstance (like a death in the family or you had to have an appendectomy or something like that), you will fail the class. It sucks, but the vast majority of schoolwork happens in class, so it makes sense.
Most classes are 1 hour and 40 minutes long. I had classes that started at 8 am almost every semester. Most of my classes, though, were at 10am or later. The last Lang classes of the day start at 4 and end at 5:40, but if you take classes in other divisions of the university, there are evening classes, too. Friday classes only meet once a week, so they’re about 3 hours and 40 minutes long. I only took one class on a Friday in four years at Lang—yay, three day weekends!
I typically took 4 classes per semester (14-16 credits). My boyfriend is an overachieving type, so he had several 5 class semesters (18-20 credits). The max is 19 credits, I think, but you can go over that if you want to graduate faster—of course, it also costs much more money.
I really loved my classes at Lang. I think it’s fair to say that the education is on par with schools like Barnard, so the academic experience was really great. The faculty is largely awesome. However, Lang is such a specific sort of school that it’s hard to say whether it’s right for someone I don’t know. Only you can know that. If you want some more info about what my experience was like, and descriptions of how Lang is different from the other schools you applied to, go to my page and click on “Lang advice” near the top. I’d recommend calling admissions if you have more specific questions—things have changed a lot in the two years since I graduated, so I’m probably not the most accurate resource for information anymore! Good luck!