Tufts vs. Wesleyan

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Tufts vs. Wesleyan
By Confetti (Confetti) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit

I got into both Tufts and Wesleyan, and they were both two of my top choices.

I plan on going to the Open House at Tufts and Wesfest at Wesleyan.

But I'm very torn between the two.

Tufts has always been a sort of dream school of mine. I guess it's just a gut feeling, but I can't justify my gut feeling at all, which is why I'm skeptical of following it--especially since all I've been hearing lately are negative things (but positive things in Wesleyan's favor). I like its emphasis on writing (or at least the small English class), how it seems dedicated to its undergrads, its location by both Boston and Cambridge, and its campus--among other things (I'm typing this up quickly). But numerous people have warned me about the bitterness of its students over not getting into an Ivy League school, how there's a lot of drinking (like more than normal at a college), and how it doesn't feel like a community at all.

I like Wesleyan's lack of official core requirements, the rich sense of community it has, the way creativity seems to be encouraged, and its campus. Wesleyan is giving me $10,000 in merit (!!!) and a lot of people have been pushing me to go there (higher rankings, the money, against Tufts Syndrome, etc.). But Wesleyan seems like it's really in the middle of nowhere and I've heard it be labeled as a "hippie school" where aaaa looot of people smoke pot and are so PC it gets annoying.

Again, I know that I shouldn't solely go on generalizations people make about these two schools. But it makes me suspicious when I hear the same complaints about them over and over.

I don't drink or smoke pot. I don't like overly pretentious people very much (it annoys me). I don't like feeling isolated--be it socially or from a major city. I want a good sense of community around me. I don't want to feel out of place not drinking or smoking. I want to be able to do have fun doing other things on the weekend (like now--I live by NYC, so I go in...).

Oh, I am so confused. I know I will get a great education at either school, but I still want to make sure I choose wisely. :( Help.

By Geowill (Geowill) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 08:46 pm: Edit


Go to the Parents Forum on this board, and look for "Message for Garland". Good stuff there on Wesleyan.

I'm a recent Wesleyan alum. I got a top-notch education there, had lots of fun, and made great friends. All this, without ever smoking pot and drinking only a little. There's no pressure to do that stuff there.

The place is liberal and somewhat artsy, but there are lots of regular mainstream people there too. The most liberal and the most conservative students on campus are also the most vocal, but the place is more politically diverse than the stereotype of the school suggests.

Go to Wesfest, visit Tufts, then decide which school makes you feel most comfortable. I can understand wanting to be near Boston. It's such a great city. Middletown is sleepy, but supposedly it's improving (see the Wes website for info on this). There's so much going on on-campus that you won't be bored.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 09:18 pm: Edit

You can't go wrong at either school and I think you will have a better idea after you go to each open house event coming up.

I just want to comment on some things you said about Tufts. I went there. I am a parent. My senior daughter just got in there and it has been one of her first choice schools right along. We never suggested the school to her and it is almost too funny to me that she had it on her list when she began this process and asked to go visit. She ended up loving it and then went back for a second visit/overnight. She is also going to one of the open houses coming up. She has not decided where to go yet either, even though Tufts is a favorite. She got in seven schools and has narrowed it to three at this point.

You mentioned rumors that kids at Tufts being bitter for not getting into an Ivy league school. Frankly, I do not believe this to be true at all. When my daughter visited, particularly on the overnight, she asked many students about this and about their happiness there. Every single kid she spoke with mentioned loving the school and that this was not a fall back school for them. In fact, many are admitted in the ED rounds, meaning it is their first choice. My own daughter is accepted at two Ivy league schools and may just end up at Tufts cause she is looking for the school that fits what she wants the most and is not after the name. I have a relative who told me his grandson is at Tufts and chose it over his acceptance to Penn. The myth of Tufts being a fall back is not that solid cause Tufts itself is hard to get into with a 23% admit rate. It surely is nobody's safety. For some, it is indeed their first choice. Go visit and ask this kind of thing of the kids you meet. It happened to be my first choice school way back when as well. And I went to Harvard for graduate school.

My daughter does not drink or smoke pot either. She did not get the feeling that it was a party atmosphere. It seemed pretty regular in that respect. There is no big frat scene either.

The location is pretty ideal for those that like to have a nice college campus and community, yet have Cambridge and Boston conveniently minutes away for a diversion when you want it.

That is not to say Tufts is better for you than Wes but simply addressing the issues you raised.

Once you visit, list some pros/cons on paper about each school (based on first hand experience or asking kids on campus, not hearsay) and it might become clearer which is the best match for you. And I say best match, not which is rated higher. I think either school is rated in the same ballpark. I get the sense that you desire to be near a city and so think about how important that is or not to you. My daughter likes how you can walk from campus to things to do (Davis Square) and also be in Harvard Square in ten minutes. She lives in a rural town now and wants to experience this change of environment.

Good luck to you and congrats on getting into both of these fine colleges!

By Nyc1000 (Nyc1000) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

I prefer Wes, but Tufts is good too, especially if you're interested in IR. Tufts has a better location, but Wes is an amazing, warm, first-rate LAC and on the large side so you'll keep meeting new people. More of a campus. Seems to me less conventional than Tufts. Congrats on two good choices. Visit each, of course.

By Confetti (Confetti) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 04:39 pm: Edit

i appreciate all of your responses.

thank you so much! :)

By Nannerl (Nannerl) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 04:53 pm: Edit

Go to the individual sschool site for Tufts and read "The Truth about Tufts" -- I think you will find that the "bitter student" idea is a myth. A close friend of mine graduated in 2002 and can attest to that as well. My son applied ED to Tufts and had he not gotten in, might have applied to Wesleyan but from my review of the course catalogues and faculty, I was much more impressed with Tufts . . . Tufts also attracts terrific faculty because of its location, same way it attracts great students, and especially those who want the best of both worlds -- the resources of a university and the collegiality of a LAC. In the last analysis, go with your gut.

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