Trying to see if Lawrence is the right fit for you? I was in the same position three years ago, and Visit Day offered a great chance to explore.
Visit Days come with some organized activities such as a campus tour, a presentation, a student panel, and lunch. You'll get a chance to see Warch Campus Center, Memorial Chapel, and residence halls, among other stops. But there also are opportunities to do some exploring on your own.
Whether coming for a Viking Visit Day, a visit on your own, or taking a virtual tour, there are opportunities to learn about life at Lawrence
I’m a history major heading into my senior year and have great memories from my campus visit. Here are some spots I’d recommend checking out while you’re here. Some will be on your tour, others you'll need to seek out on your own.
1. Don’t sleep on the library
For bookworms or those who simply like a quiet space to study, Lawrence’s Seeley G. Mudd Library is a must. It has four floors housing more than 350,000 books, music scores, recordings, and more, and the building has plenty of comfy seating and opportunities for library-volume socializing. The library’s helpful staff and sophisticated database are all here to make your research easier, from your beginning First-Year Studies assignments to your Senior Capstone.
2. Sit in on a mock First-Year Studies class
At Lawrence, we value a well-rounded education that allows all of us to explore new waters. First-Year Studies is a big part of that. A mock version of a First-Year Studies class is available as part of Visit Day. It’s worth your time to sign up. It’ll give you a taste of future discoveries and the teaching style that makes First-Year Studies such a special part of the Lawrence experience.
3. Explore Memorial Hall
Not to be confused with Memorial Chapel, Memorial Hall is a place all about gathering with others. I think it’s an underrated building on campus and well worth checking out while you’re here. Memorial Hall houses the Diversity and Intercultural Center, supporting students of all cultures and backgrounds, with a pleasant lobby perfect for casual gatherings. Memorial Hall also houses the Gender and Sexuality Diversity Center — a safe space for LGBTQ+ Lawrentians and allies. Downstairs is a bar for Lawrentians 21 and older called the Viking Room where there’s always music to listen to and conversations to be had.
4. History Museum at the Castle is a gem
When exploring the area surrounding campus, the History Museum at the Castle is something for the to-do list. If you’re interested in local history, artifacts, and archives, this gorgeous building at 330 E. College Ave. (easily visible from Main Hall Green) is the place to go. From stained-glass windows to decades of donated heirlooms to an impressive Harry Houdini collection, this museum is a dream come true for history lovers. If you’re considering a history major, the first required class, HIST:101, takes you right inside to learn about the operations of a museum. The museum rotates exhibits and programs frequently, keeping things fresh throughout your time at Lawrence.
5. Walk the North Island and Lawe Street trestle trails
Looking for a nice walk during your Visit Day? We’ve got plenty of trails to explore. Here are a couple connected to campus. Follow S. Drew Street from Main Hall Green and take a left down S. Olde Oneida Street. It will take you past Lawrence’s tennis courts and the Historic Fox River Mills, where Appleton’s industrial past lives on as renovated apartments. Cross the river and take a left onto the North Island Trail, where you can see the campus emerging from the treetops all the way along the paved track. If you want to explore further, you can cross S. Lawe Street and take the newly-built trestle bridge for more scenic views. If you decide to study at Lawrence, you’ll be among the first generation of Lawrentians to walk this trail — I remember arriving here in 2019 when it was just an abandoned and overgrown railroad trestle. The new bridge has been a great addition to the local trail mileage.
6. Explore downtown Appleton
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the downtown during your visit. There are local stores to browse and a great assortment of restaurants and coffee shops to sample. Here’s my recommendation for one must-see downtown stop: Heid Music and The Big Noise, 308 E. College Ave., just down the street from campus. The two neighboring shops are filled to the brim with musical instruments and offer lessons to anyone interested. Heid Music specializes in orchestral and classical instruments; The Big Noise focuses more on modern and electronic instruments. Nevertheless, with each store just a doorway apart, Heid Music and The Big Noise are fun to browse, no matter the instrument you play. It's a great place to stop as you wander through the downtown.
7. Prepare to root on the Vikings
You should definitely take time to visit our athletics facilities, which are steeped in Lawrence history. Alexander Gymnasium, Banta Bowl, and Whiting Field are located in close proximity across the river. Alexander Gymnasium is worth a visit just to see its elegant architecture. And the gorgeous Banta Bowl, home to football and soccer, is snug inside a grassy natural bowl and bordered on one side by a forest. Bonus tip: The Buchanan Kiewit Wellness Center has an indoor track on the top floor. As soon as you enter the gymnasium behind the welcome desk, take a right and you’ll see the door with the stairs to the track; handy for cold or rainy days.
I hope my list is helpful. Lawrence has so much to offer and so much to explore. This is just a start. I remember feeling intimidated when I was doing my college search. Every interaction I had with Lawrence made me feel more at ease. Visiting campus reinforced this feeling, and it seemed every location my family and I went to (including some on this list) provided hints that this was the school for me. I hope you have a great Visit Day.