Lawrence University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Lawrence University
"Lawrence stresses the link between thought and reflection, teaching students to apply liberal learning...

Lawrence University

Appleton, Wisconsin

Left side. Right side. Lawrence has your brain covered.

Lawrence provides a quality education, outstanding faculty, close faculty-student collaboration, and a tradition of excellence in music and the arts. It is unmatched by any other college of its size.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,557 undergraduate students
97% of undergrad students are full time
45% male — 55% female
62% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
187 full-time faculty
31 part-time faculty
9 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

92% of students live on campus.

School Location

Appleton, Wisconsin—a city of over 70,000 in the northeastern part of the state.

Retention Fall 2015

89% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

76% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 11%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 3%
White 69%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 5%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


NCAA Division III, WIAC and Midwest Conference. 22 varsity sports (12 men’s: baseball, basketball, cross-country, fencing, football, golf, hockey, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor & outdoor track; 10 women’s: basketball, cross-country, fencing, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor & outdoor track, volleyball) and club and intramural sports.

Other Information

Lawrence University is a nationally recognized, four-year, undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences with a conservatory of music, chartered in 1847.

Academic Programs

Anthropology; Art & Art History; Biology; Biochemistry; Biomedical Ethics; Chemistry; Chinese; Classics; Cognitive Science; Computer Science; East Asian Studies; Economics; Education; English; Environmental Studies; Ethnic Studies; Film Studies; French and Francophone Studies; Gender Studies; Geology; German; Government; History; International Studies; Italian; Japanese; Journalism; Latin American Studies; Linguistics; Mathematics; Music Education; Music Performance; Music Theory/Composition; Natural Sciences; Neuroscience; Philosophy; Physics; Pre-Professional Programs (Business, Engineering, Forestry & Environmental Studies, Law, Medicine, Occupational Therapy); Psychology; Religious Studies; Russian; Spanish; Theatre & Drama.

More Distinctions

  • For five years in a row and a sixth time in the last seven years, Lawrence University placed in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report’s annual “America’s Best Colleges” rankings.

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Lawrence sixteenth nationally, just ahead of Dartmouth College, in its first year experience category, which covers curricular programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis.

  • Included in Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.

An education at Lawrence combines both mind and spirit. Students participate in retreats and seminars at the idyllic 425-acre estate on Lake Michigan, Bjorklunden vid Sjon (Birch Forest by the Water)…

Liberal Learning 101

The heart of the Lawrence program is teaching students to “learn to learn.” Faculty help students to understand contexts, learn problem-posing and problem-solving skills, and develop the ability to communicate both orally and in writing. Rather than major in business, for example, Lawrence students acquire the strategies and abilities that will allow them to efficiently address problems that they will encounter in business. For practical experience, Lawrence encourages students to pursue internships.

individually educated

After building a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences, students at Lawrence have extraordinary opportunities for individualized learning. Nearly 90% of its students take at least one course in which they are the only students in the class.

Interdisciplinary courses

Interdisciplinary studies allow students to cross the boundaries of their majors’ departments and look at issues from different perspectives. Areas of exploration include biomedical ethics, cognitive science, education, ethnic studies, gender studies, international studies, linguistics, and neuroscience.

study abroad

Lawrence offers a wide variety of off-campus study programs both across the United States and around the world. More than half its students study abroad before they graduate. Lawrence students study abroad on every continent but  Antarctica.There’s something for everyone to explore, for Lawrence offers programs in Tanzania, Hungary, Italy, and many more.

With 99% of its faculty holding a PhD. or the highest degrees in their fields, Lawrence offers its students excellent teaching. This school is proud of its 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, small classes, and lots of individual attention for its students…

Professors practice what they preach.

Lawrence prepares students for lives of service, achievement, leadership, and personal fulfillment. Professors are committed to granting students the development of intellect and talent, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the cultivation of judgment and values.

first-year study

Freshman studies is Lawrence’s introduction to liberal learning. It gives new students the chance to test new ideas and build an intellectual foundation not just for college, but for life. A part of the Lawrence curriculum since 1945, this program brings groups of fifteen students together for two-term, seminar-style courses on common topics from Hamlet to contemporary film. Faculty stretch outside their disciplines—biology professors teach Shakespeare, while English professors teach about “selfish genes.” One of the nation’s most distinctive programs for first-year students, the program pushes students to increase their reading, writing, and speaking skills as they are introduced to the kind of cross-disciplinary intellectual inquiry that is the core of Lawrence’s academic program.

esteemed professors

Faculty credentials in the Lawrence Conservatory are first-rate. Professors have performed nationally and internationally with the Atlanta and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, the San Francisco Symphony, the Boston and Cincinnati Pops, and more. However, they never lose sight of their main goal: to dedicate themselves to the musical, intellectual, and personal growth of their undergraduate students.

close relationships

Students enjoy individual attention with a student-to-faculty ratio of nine to one and an average class size of fifteen students. They are virtually guaranteed personal attention as they work toward goals in their 30+ majors. Among Lawrence’s most popular programs are biology, psychology, music performance, and English.

The classroom is only the beginning of the Lawrence experience. Each year at least half of the student body commits to volunteer projects in the community…

a vibrant neighborhood

Lawrence is located in the heart of Appleton, Wisconsin, in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation. Downtown Appleton offers an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, coffeehouses, museums, parks, and a new 2,100-seat performing arts center.

community service

One of the key components of a Lawrence education is involvement with the community. LARY (Lawrence Assistance Reaching Youth) links university students with local schools to tutor at-risk children in a variety of subjects. Many music students, particularly those majoring in music education, mentor pre-college students in music.

Lawrence students also volunteer in a wide range of other projects, including the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Oxfam America, Project Home, and the Fox Valley Special Olympics.

The University Convocation Series

The University Convocation Series, open to the Lawrence and Appleton communities, is a long-standing tradition that brings the entire campus community together up to four times a year to learn about and discuss issues. Past speakers have included Abigail Disney, Terry Moran, Joyce Carol Oates, Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, Maya Angelou, Elie Wiesel, and Lech Walesa.

student activities

At Lawrence, student participation in activities like athletics and music are viewed as important components of co-curricular learning. Extracurricular activities are taken seriously. The men’s basketball team went undefeated last year, and the music program offers concert series that regularly bring major-league musicians, such as Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin, to campus. In addition, Lawrence students belong to many other groups and organizations; lately, swing dance has been popular.

beautiful educational retreats

The university also offers a 425-acre estate on Lake Michigan for educational retreats. Björklunden was bequeathed to Lawrence University by Donald and Winifred Boynton of Highland Park, Illinois, with the understanding that it would be preserved as a place of peace and contemplation. Throughout the academic year, students expand their minds in a magnificent setting with a wide variety of study issues. Each year, Björklunden hosts more than one thousand students in over fifty seminars.


Admissions Fall 2015

3,014 Total Applicants 
2,057 Total Admissions 
400 Total Freshman Enrollment

68.25% of applicants admitted

Admissions Requirements

Lawrence is interested in students who have challenged themselves in high school, have performed well in their academic work and express themselves well both in speech and in writing. We want students who are imaginative, energetic, and willing to become active members of a learning community.

Applicants should complete secondary school with a minimum of 16 units (32 semesters) distributed among English, mathematics, social sciences, natural and physical sciences and foreign languages. The admissions committee carefully reviews each transcript – a student’s choice of classes is as important as the grades he or she receives. Additionally, applicants are considered on the strength of their standardized test scores, extracurricular activities and recommendations. An audition is required of applicants to the Bachelor of Music degree who, in addition to academic strength, are judged on musicianship and potential.




Tuition $43,400
Fees $300
Total $43,700
Room and Board (on campus) $9,210
Room Only $4,410
Board Only $4,800
Estimated Total On Campus $52,910


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

97% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
59% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$27,144 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$7,015 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates