One of the University's biggest detractors is its location; Canton is in the middle of farmland, and the nearest city is Montreal, at about two hours away. However, the location contributes to the community feel on campus, since students are there all of the time, and opens up opportunities for trips to Canada or the Adirondacks over breaks. Even so, many mourn the lack of off-campus entertainment and the difficulty of getting anywhere. Because of St. Lawrence’s location and strong campus community, there is a tendency for students to get caught in the "SLU bubble." To resolve that problem, students should make a point to volunteer or take advantage of other opportunities in the surrounding area. Some classes have a community-based learning component, which gets students volunteering in the community in a way that contributes to their class experience. SLU expects students to not only be able to memorize facts, but to also be able to apply them to real world experiences. Volunteerism, study abroad, research opportunities, and internships are all part of SLU’s hands-on approach to learning and a major focus of academics at the University.
Since it is a liberal arts college, SLU focuses less on job-specific skills and more on students’ ability to reason through problems in creative ways. Writing and speaking effectively are skill sets highlighted by the unique First-Year Program, but these qualities are also built upon in some ways in all classes. The small class size forces students to actively know the material and contribute to discussions. Classes are designed to engage students in the material, and it’s not a place for those who like to nap in class. The interactive approach, especially in the First-Year Program class, makes students work creatively to present and apply information. For many students, this is one of the best aspects of SLU.