What College Fits Me?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: What College Fits Me?
By Jens (Jens) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Parents! What college(s) for the most part fits the below descriptions:
-small-medium sized
-surburban location
-not too cold
-small student-teacher ratio
-happy students :)
-lots of school spirit
-great undergrad resources, specifically access to medical center/research
-good shopping (haha)
-good prestige (not that important)
-new(er) campus (personally don't like gothic style)

Which college comes to your mind? Thanks!

By Dstark (Dstark) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit

Duke, Wash U., Stanford

By Patient (Patient) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:24 pm: Edit

Pomona College--ranked number 1 this year for happy students in PR review and fits almost all your other criteria--except I'm not sure about medical research per se. Slightly less selective but similar in many of your other criteria are the other Claremont colleges.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 10:38 pm: Edit

Emory University fits all of the criteria you mentioned.

By Anxiousmom (Anxiousmom) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Definitely Rice U. Kids there love it - lots of diversity, across the street from huge medical center with lots of research and internship possibilities, big green campus in midst of city, great food, residential college system, lots of diversity and all-for-one-feeling (don't listen to the one neg comment in the PR review), 1:5 faculty to student ratio, 2800 undergrads, low price, merit aid. My DD loves it, everyone we know who attends really loves it.

By Umiami (Umiami) on Friday, August 27, 2004 - 11:28 pm: Edit

DEFINITELY check out university of miami!

By Jens (Jens) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 01:11 am: Edit

Wow a lot of yall hit right on the spot- I have Rice, Emory, Duke, and Stanford (as a dream) on my list. I was considering Pomona as well...anymore colleges of the like? I'd like to expand my list a bit more- any hidden gems out there? :) I've heard great stories about the LACs, but don't know if they have many opportunities in terms of medicine...

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 01:37 am: Edit

Duke is the most "gothic" campus I've ever seen. If you don't like "gothic", you definitely will HATE Duke's campus.

I don't really understand the questions about opportunities in medicine. You are selecting an undergrad college, not a med school. Most of the top LACs produce huge numbers of successful med school applicants. For example, 87% of Swarthmore's pre-meds get accepted into medical school -- and that is without any games (discouraging the weaker students from applying to cook the books). Williams, Amherst, and many others are equally successful in med school placements.

Top LACs in suburban settings that aren't too cold include Davidson (near Lake Norman in Charlotte), Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore, Pomona (and the other Claremont Colleges) and Wellesley (depending on your definition of "not too cold").

By Valpal (Valpal) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 01:49 am: Edit

Bryn Mawr's architecture is very Gothic, too. In fact, they insist that Bryn Mawr is the school that introduced "Collegiate Gothic" architecture to the United States. I'm a little skeptical about this factoid, though. Bryn Mawr was founded at around 1884. When was Duke founded?

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit

Duke's current campus was plopped down in the 1930's or 1940's with money from a cigarette mogul. It's an exact duplicate of one of the colleges at Oxford, I believe.

I guess you are right about Bryn Mawr, but it has a very different feel than Duke or Yale. Like everything in Pennsylvania, Swarthmore's campus is all gray stone, but there is almost nothing "gothic" in the architecture. Only the bell tower could remotely qualify, but it lacks the gargoyles of a true "gothic" design. The other buildings range from a simple colonial style to French Provencial, to art deco, to modern, to ski chalet, to Hobbit -- all done in gray stone, mostly with slate roofs.

Like most schools, they lost their way a bit architecturally in the 1960s (Willets, Danawell, and the old science center). But, some of the recent buildings (such as Kohlburg) are stunning.

Nobody has egg on their faces like Williams. Not only did they build the world's ugliest dormitory, they build a new library in the late 1970's that is so butt ugly they are about to tear it down to the ground and start over.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 06:36 am: Edit


Have you seen the Harvard dorm on the B side of the river? It has to be a worthy competitor to the Williams dorm.

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit

Duke actually has two campuses. The East campus is where the freshman live. It is not Gothic at all, but rather filled mostly with beautiful Georgian type architectural buildings with nice lawns (similar to UVA). In fact, one of the things we really like about the school is that you have two beautiful campuses and some variety (along with Duke gardens!) In addition, both campuses are seeing some "modern or contemporary" construction as we speak. Even on the "Gothic" West campus, there are massive beautifully manicured quad areas between the buildings. It is absolutely amazing.....



By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:31 am: Edit

Haverford, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr (the gothic stuff isn't that bad)

Reed, Lewis and Clark (very shiny and new)

Bard (Frank Gehry designed their new arts center--it's quite soemthing), Vassar (lots of red brick)

Williams, Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke


By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit

Wellesley is very goth. Amherst is neo-colonial redbrick. Smith is Victorian redbrick. Mount Holyoke is kind of a blend of neo-Gothic and Victorian redbrick elements (spooky to me, but in a magnificent setting.) Williams doesn't have a style to speak of - they have very many ugly individual buildings, but the natural environment helps them blend into something very pretty - except for the Sawyer library, which is about to be torn down Thank the Lord, and the aforementioned Mission Park, which has got to be the low point in American collegiate architecture - built in such a way that they can't even get the doors to close in winter.

By Pokey318 (Pokey318) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:05 am: Edit


By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:13 am: Edit

"Duke's current campus was plopped down in the 1930's or 1940's with money from a cigarette mogul."

That is not exactly how it happened, but that's Ok. You can check the web site to get accurate information about the history of the school and the Duke endowment. It is quite interesting.

(When you open the photo links provided above, you can click on each individual photo to get an enlarged view.)

By Grlzmom (Grlzmom) on Saturday, August 28, 2004 - 10:16 pm: Edit

Centre College, Danville, KY

LAC, suburban campus, about 1000 students. 97% are residential, small student-teacher ratio (freshman classes no larger than 20-1, upper divisions more like 12-1). Tremendous access to faculty, no TA's

24 students in the class of 04 applied to Med school, 24 were accepted. I think 100% acceptance rate would beat most larger schools :)

By Mattmom (Mattmom) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 10:45 am: Edit

Davidson is very pretty, red brick, not Gothic. Active premed program, research opportunites on campus and nearby (Charlotte), great shopping several miles down Interstate 77, rated number 1 in quality of life in PR 2005, generally very appealing if you are intersted in a small, pleasant LAC with demanding academics (and D-I sports) that is consistently rated in the top ten nationally yet somehow flies under the radar of the CC boards.

By Anglophile (Anglophile) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 01:59 pm: Edit

Occidental has everything you asked for. It's in LA, beautiful campus, fabulous weather (obviously), and it is a small friendly school. Check it out. They also have one of the nicest interviewers I've met-- he's from the East Coast and can't say enough about escaping the snow!

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit

Occidental is good choice. They had best food that I got to sample. Staff couldn't have been nicer. One quick phone call, and S immediately seen by Physics chair. Courses interesting

By Par72 (Par72) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 10:58 pm: Edit

W&M, Holy Cross, Davidson, Villanova. But if looking for school spirit with solid academics might focus on Holy Cross, Colgate,and Davidson.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit

SMU, Loyola Marymount in LA, Trinity in San Antonio, Loyola of New Orleans, USC (you sound like a good fit even though it's not a small school), second the University of Miami

By Pattykk (Pattykk) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:57 pm: Edit

How about Goucher? It is in the suburbs of Baltimore. It has a very high "happy student" rating. It offers a pre-med degree and the possibility of studying at JHU. They even have a post-bachelor's pre-med program for people who majored in subjects that don't give them enough science credits for med school. I don't know your stats, but it might make a good match or safety.

By Jens (Jens) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 12:18 am: Edit

Thanks for all the replies so far! Great suggestions from all
Pattykk- my stats in a nutshell: SAT 800V, 750M, SAT IIs- 790 IIC, 770 Writing, 760 History, 690 Chem Rank: 70/950, in leadership, medical programs.
The thing is my parents are not very openminded to small, "unheard of" LACs, they are supportive of my decisions but also seem disappointed that I don't "aim for the Ivies" not knowing as I do of the stakes of applying to too many Ivies. Everytime another adult hears my SAT score they always assume that I'm applying to schools like Harvard, Yale, etc. not knowing how many 1600s get rejected each year. As of now, my top two "reach" schools are Rice and Duke. Yesterday at a meeting with my english teacher I was surprised at how many students with similar or lower stats than mine were applying to ivies. Everyone had Harvard or Yale or Princeton as their Early Decision choice and Emory as their match or back-up. I found it surprising considering how their only backup school if you can call it that is UT Austin and Vanderbilt. I may be just pessimistic as my parents say, but I doubt that they will get accepted at the ivies. Yet at the same time I got the feeling that maybe I should reconsider doing Rice ED (tho it may be too late as I've already sent in Part One of the App) and apply to a higher school. However back to the original topic of the post :), my college list thus far (what do you think?):
Rice ED, Duke, SMU, Emory, Vanderbilt, Dartmouth (not sure yet, but I've heard wonderful things about the students at Dart), and state schools as backup (auto admission b/c top ten percent rule. I'm also looking at Pomona and still researching other LACs.

Thanks and many thanks to those who actually read through this lengthy post! :)

By Mini (Mini) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 12:28 am: Edit

You'll be surprised of what little importance this decision is likely to be 30 years from now. You are already a highly motivated student with high aspirations and a supportive family. You'll end up applying to a bunch of fine schools, getting accepted to some, maybe rejected by others. What hopefully you'll remember is fond memories of being happy because the school fit who you are, and doing better as a result.

Pomona, by the way, has a lot of folks doing work in local and regional medical centers, or so the admissions folks told us. (I don't know what "a lot" means.)

Finally - is money an issue? Do you need merit aid? needbased aid? I think it is usually the case that there are at least two dozen schools at which any particular student would feel comfortable (with very rare exceptions for special interests), so allowing yourself to graduate from college with as little debt as possible can be a strategy to employ as well.

By Jens (Jens) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 12:39 am: Edit

Yes Mini just like highschool, choice of undergrad often is ultimatley insignificant, yet right now it is such a HUGE thing. It's confusing and something I'd like to finish even though I've only just began! And no I am fortunate enough that money is not an issue.

By Valpal (Valpal) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 03:55 am: Edit

Remember Jen: Duke is VERY gothic. Personally, I think it's breathtaking. But if you REALLY don't like gothic architecture, you might want to cross it off your list. I think that would be a mistake, considering what a wonderful education Duke has to offer. Only you can decide, however...

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 08:48 am: Edit

USC. Students are happy. Great school spirit. Not too big. Some of the best shopping in the world in LA. Fine weather. Has a medical school. Money will be available to you with your SATs.

Not suburban although the campus is gated.

BTW, listen to what Mini says about 30 years from now.

Best thing about Dook is that it's near Chapel Hill. LOL.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 09:28 am: Edit

I would forget about the architecture, if I were you. Are you really going to knock Duke off your list because of the way the buildings look?

Your list seems fine to me, assuming you're prepared to attend a state school if nothing else pans out. You don't seem certain about Rice so I would suggest not applying there ED. Is there an EA school you might like, maybe Chicago (it is cold, and definitely not suburban, but not sure how important those factors are).

I would worry less about "perfect fit" and try to come up with a number of schools you think you could be happy at.

By Kblodge (Kblodge) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 04:03 pm: Edit

You mentioned that you were thinking of applying to Dartmouth. Definitely, DEFINITELY do, as long as you're willing to scratch the "not too cold" qualification off of your list. In most of the other respects, I think it's perfect for you...Beautiful non-Gothic architecture, #5 in Princeton Review for happy students (I think it should have been higher), ridiculous amount of school spirit, strong undergraduate focus (100% of profs teach, no TAs to speak of), small classes, strong liberal arts focus, state-of-the-art laboratories, great research opportunities, and it's an Ivy, so it should make your parents happy. Duke and Rice are also excellent choices, and I think with your stats you have a great shot at any of these schools.

By Jens (Jens) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 05:22 pm: Edit

Thanks for such encouraging words Kblodge! Yes I've heard wonderful things about Dartmouth!

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