Final decision: Choosing which LAC

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Final decision: Choosing which LAC
By Caramelapple (Caramelapple) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 09:39 pm: Edit

Alright, here's the deal: It's time to make my final decision and while I'm leaning toward one school, I'd like to hear some of your thoughts. I wrote the schools, my money offers, and my random thoughts about them.

Info about me... want to major in international studies and would like to study arabic. My parents will let me go anywhere regardless of money but it is still a big factor. It's just depends on how long I want to be in debt! I'm in CA but am not very concerned about where I go because either all my school are a good distance from where I live. Plus my family is scattered and my parents will probably be moving overseas after this year. Stats in profile.

It is down to...
1. Macalester: $5,000/yr fin aid for $34000 total cost. I love their international studies program and the diverse student body. Had a really good experience when I stayed over. Like how there are many opportunities because it's in the city, and I could study Arabic.

2. Grinnell: 15,000/yr merit for $31,000 total cost. Really like the facilities. Lotsa $$ available. Had a horrible host who didn't do anything when I stayed over so I'm not sure how I fit in with the student body. I think it was just a fluke and she was a bad representation. I'd have to create my own international studies major but many people do it. No opportunities to study Arabic that I can see. Like how it's in a quiet place but don't like how far away the nearest city is.

3. Occidental: $10,000/yr merit for $40,000 total cost. Good international diplomacy program. Nice weather. Diverse student body.

4. Scripps: only loanswith $36,000 total cost. love how it's with the other Claremont colleges and can study at Pomona and CMC for International Relations and Arabic. Also won't see so small. Like the location.

5. Whitman: $8,000/yr merit for $34,000 total cost. would have to create my own major. Haven't visited but still could.

Any comments are appreciated. Sorry it's so long!

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Monday, April 19, 2004 - 11:56 pm: Edit

Full disclosure - I am a Macalester alum.

I'd pick between Occidental and Macalester. In this group Macalester's strength would be its international perspective, which is campus-wide and not just in the IR classes, and the overall strength of faculty and student body. Occidental has a unique diplomacy and world affairs program and if that specific program appeals to you that might be the difference.

I think Grinnell is an outstanding school but might not select it for your particular interest. Scripps is a very good school, but it may not be as easy to get the specific CMC and Pomona courses you want, particularly upper-level courses. Not a very deep set of IR offerings at Scripps. Check that out.

Don't know much about Whitman. Good luck

By Macmom (Macmom) on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 01:03 am: Edit

My daughter is a first year student at Mac and is checking into Arabic for next year. Apparently it is available at Univ. of Minnesota. She is thinking about carpooling with some other students. She really likes Mac. She was accepted to Occidental and did not care for it; she thought the students were far less engaged in class. Lots of kids from our area go to Whitman and really like it, but Walla Walla seems pretty small and isolated, although pleasant. The big plus for Mac is its location in a city. My daughter also speaks quite highly of the rigor of her classes, the abundance of interesting lectures and activities, and the friendliness of the other students. She also liked Pomona, but didn't get in; she was accepted to Pitzer, but didn't think there were sufficient guarantees that she could take all the classes she wanted at the other Claremonts. My older daugther was accepted to Grinnell; I thought it looked fantastic, but she was quite turned off by the tiny town and the distance from anything resembling urban texture. I'm a big fan of Mac, especially for those drawn to activities both off and on campus. Good luck with your decision!

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