There were a number of reasons some of which were difficult to put into words. Part of it is that I was mistaken about her preferring a quiet suburban almost rural atmosphere. While my daughter is an introvert she is a talkative introvert, and in New York there may be 30 million people in the metropolitan district no one is going to make you talk to all of them. I also heard the dorms at Wellesley were a little nicer (more palatial in the words of the Princeton Review), but that was less important to her. When I got to see the dorms at Barnard I found that they were not bad at all. But when you get right down to it, it was the feel she got from the current students during the accepted student weekends. The Wellesley students seemed more subdued and controlled in their answers to questions. She felt they were all political science majors who had anticipated every question and prepared an answer, future CEOs. The students at Barnard had a more spontaneous "funky" feel to them. They also seemed more enthusiastic. An of course there's New York city. As you can see it is still a question as to what you prefer not your parents. Wellesley might be a better fit for me (had I been born female and 37 years later) but it wasn't for her. She is still very happy with her choice of college and the students with whom she attends. Visit the schools and just get a feel for them. Some of the selection process occurs at the gut level.
barnard is the most selective women's college in the country, in terms of low acceptance rates. this of course doesn't mean it's better than wellesley (even though in my opinion it is). one of the reasons it is ranked only #29 is because us news (that's the same as USNWR) doesn't count columbia's resources in barnard's total, so it makes barnard seem a lot worse since they only have one little library, even though students can take advantage of columbia's resources. i wouldn't base my decision on us news, though.
wellesley does have much nicer dorms, though. but you cant beat nyc!
I was accepted today at Barnard and Wellesley and I am definately Attending barnard over wellesley. My reasoning is that
- at barnard you get the benefits of an all womens school with all the benefits of a coed school
- NYC obviously
- i dont think i could deal with a secluded women's environment
- prestige of a degree from columbia
- columbia's great resources
thats my take on it
Just FYI - a lot of the Columbia students resent the fact that Barnard women use Barnard as a sort of back door to Columbia (that is, many of them apply to Columbia and don't get in and so they go to Barnard so they can use the resources, get the degree, etc.). I understand that the resources are shared (and so do they), but I wouldn't go around flaunting that you have a degree from Columbia, when it's a degree from Barnard. A degree from Barnard will have both "Barnard College" and "Columbia University" on it, while a degree from Columbia will say "Columbia College" "Columbia University". There is a difference.
"As a current admissions office employee, I can out right say you are wrong. Most Barnard students actually do not apply to both schools. A lot of students that are not granted admission to either institution do apply to both schools (CC and BC reject the same applicants)..."
So while the resentment is sometimes pretty open, it's also pretty ignorant.
The things that really hurt Barnard's USNews ranking are: peer score (where I think the Columbia affiliation actually hurts us), alumna giving rate (though they're working on that), and the faculty resources rank. The last one is total B.S. Barnard ranks, like, 109th, even though we have some of the best paid profs of any LAC, because it's all deflated by COL in NYC. And no other LAC is in a city anywhere near as expensive. Besides that, living in NYC is actually a DRAW for professors, many of whom would take a pay-cut to live in a city rather than the middle of nowhere.
On my experience, I'd put Barnard #1. On more objective criteria, I think it's a solid top 20 (maybe even 15) and will eventually get there. Though most of the US News stuff is similar for Wellesley and Barnard, Wellesley's much better known and has a peer score that reflects that, which keeps it at the top and consequently also keeps its peer score high. Yay, feedback loops!