you have an amazing shot of getting in if you write an amazing essay.....but of course I have friends that got into amazing schools like Brown and they got waitlisted from Conn which says that it's not only about stats.
Thanks for the response, but he's already been accepted at Conn. It's hard to judge how demanding or challenging the curriculum is though. How do kids who had great GPA's and SAT's/ACT's and lots of AP's feel about the school?
My sister was accepted for class of 2016 to Conn with similar stats as your son. She knows several people at Conn and your concerns are valid. Her experience with the students she knows there is that there are a few high stats kids that chose the school because of its small environment, honor code, and lack of Greek life. However they are not the majority of the students there. The ones from her high school who decided to attend in previous years were mostly in the 1800-2000 SAT range, and were not the top tier kids who got accepted to multiple top schools, however they probably have higher stats on average than at large state schools (with the exception of honors/merit kids.)
Since Conn doesn't offer any merit money and has the highest tuition in the country, most high stat kids have plenty of better options, both academically and financially.
After going on several admitted student days to other schools, my sister personally did not care for: the location (New London, plus isolated campus and freshmen can't have cars), the private school vibe (many of these kids have a superiority complex and think they are academically better than they really are simply because their athletic league includes Williams, Wesleyan, and Amherst, all schools with a substantially much more intellectual bent and cohorts of academically higher achieving students), the imbalanced gender ratio, which leaves many of the guys thinking that they are more desirable to women than they really are, and a prominent drinking culture (despite the absence of frats) that appears born out of boredom and basically becomes the default activity from Thursday through Sunday. It was also telling that these students think it is "working hard" when they knock college papers out in the space of several hours. Also, it seems that grade inflation here is rampant; most students seem to be able to get good grades despite letting their work go until the last minute, similar to what many kids do in high school. At most other colleges, that kind of approach just wouldn't cut it. So, depending on what kind of academic challenge your son is looking for, this might be disappointing or a relief.
Given all that, Conn might be a fine choice for a student who has really connected with a certain faculty member, needs a small social environment, or is unconcerned about the gender imbalance. It appears to be a pretty friendly and welcoming community. It really comes down to what he wants from the college experience.
At this point, my sister has pretty much decided to attend an ivy league school where she found many more students like herself, who were intellectually curious about the world and desired an academically challenging environment, and not just a continuation of high school with freedom from parental oversight. The school she has chosen is known for a collaborative student environment (similar to Conn) rather than a competitive atmosphere. There is also the ubiquitous drinking culture at that school, but many more social alternatives than Conn offers.
Doing overnights at the schools helped tremendously in making her final decision as it did for me when I was choosing between colleges.
My S went to the admitted student day as well, and although he really liked the school, he was disappointed by the homogeneous crowd - most people were tall, beautiful, preppy and white (and female). That's not really what he's looking for. He did, however, like the area even if the school was separated from the town, and he liked the comp sci programs and Honor Code. He's just looking for a different atmosphere.
My daughter went to the admitted students day also. She loved the school, but is worried that it is too much like her high school - very small. I agree that it "felt" small; particularly with only one dining hall.
We did love the academic offerings presented (career services, internships, centers), and the international relations program is very impressive. So we are wrestling with this.
The admitted students were mainly female, and that was quite noticeable. (Wondering what the stats will be for incoming freshmen...looked much greater than 60/40.)
Good luck to all. I will be glad when the decision is made....
" Also, it seems that grade inflation here is rampant; most students seem to be able to get good grades despite letting their work go until the last minute, similar to what many kids do in high school. At most other colleges, that kind of approach just wouldn't cut it. So, depending on what kind of academic challenge your son is looking for, this might be disappointing or a relief."
There may be grade inflation, but that's no different from the Ivies. As they say, it's easier to stay in, than get in. Grade inflation is more a function of Conn Coll being a private school. Want tough grading? Go to a public university
"Looking at finer scale variability, we find that colleges and universities have, without any collective consultation or external pressure, collectively created an ad hoc national grading scale based on school selectivity. Our database indicates that current grades at an institution can be roughly predicted by either of the following two formulae:
Average GPA = 2.8 +0.005*SEL + (if school is private add 0.2)
Average GPA = 2.8 + 0.001*(SATMV-850) + (if school is private add 0.1)
"where SATMV is the combined average Math and Verbal SAT score of students and SEL is a selectivity measure that represents the average of the percentage of students with high school GPAs above 3.75, the percentage of students who graduated in the upper 10% of their high school class, and the percentage of student applicants rejected.
"The above two equations suggest that private schools are grading 0.1 to 0.2 higher on a 4.0 scale for a given talent level of student. Since the evidence indicates that private schools in general educate students no better than public schools (Perscarella and Ternzini, 1991), private schools are apparently conferring small but measurable advantages to their students by more generous grading. Private schools also have on average students from wealthier families, and the effect of our nation’s ad hoc grading policy is to confer unfair advantages to those with the most money."
I think even an overnight stay can cause a misimpression. Conn Coll does very well in graduate and professional school placement, and holds its own in the awarding of Fulbrights, and the like.
Sixty percent of its students study abroad, and there is a very strong internship program. Since Conn provides a stipend for internships, students are at a competitive advantage. They can say, you don't have to pay me to a prospective internship sponsor.
My wife went to Williams, and there is a distinguished professor in math there who went to Conn Coll. Some Ivies foster undergraduate research. At Conn it is part of the culture, and it's not uncommon for students to graduate with a publication citation.
My daughter will be attending starting this fall. She has a good friend who goes there who loves it. In fact, my impression is that most students are happy being there.
The 60-40 split is fairly typical, and reflects both the fact that there is a female imbalance nationally, and that many formerly all female schools have such an imbalance. Vassar and Skidmore, for example, have a similar 60-40 ratio.
I actually think there are about 5 dining halls - correct me if I'm wrong. I was impressed by how many places there were to eat at such a small school.
We went to another LAC admitted student day, and I have to be honest, there was more diversity in one little group than there was on all of Conn's campus. Plus it looked like almost half the students were boys. It looked more like 70/30 at Conn's admitted student day. They were also a totally different type of student. It's funny how different LAC's attract different students.
They're making a serious attempt to diversify. It's already very diverse in terms of international students. Another of my D's friends at Conn Coll is a URM, and she works with the admissions office as a student recruiter. As I said, the school is no different demographically than Vassar or Skidmore.
That said, my daughter, from preschool, has always been in a very diversified environment--one, in fact, where she was more of a URM.
Ironically, Conn Coll for her is an interesting change. It will be like attending one of those private schools she never got to experience before.
Thanks for the "dining" clarification. Although, in speaking to two sophomores (who were not part of any forum) we were told that there really is only one place to eat. They were not including the small coffee type establishments in the count.
I know that the LACs are heavily female, but the accepted students day almost seemed to be for "females only".
Congratulations on your daughter's acceptance to Conn! It sounds like she and her friend find the school to be a great fit for them.
BTW, I certainly do not think that Conn is the only LAC to practice grade inflation, but my responses about my sister's impressions were meant as a response to address the OP's concerns about how challenging the coursework would be at Conn for an academic high achiever. I still stand by my impression that even though Williams and Harvard practice grade inflation as well, the basic standard of quality for high B's and A's at those schools is well...just different from the level of work that would receive those same grades at Conn. This is based on my impressions from reading actual papers from friends who have been at all of those schools. This is not to say that the academic experience at Conn isn't great...it will be for the right kind of student.
However, most of what my sister based her decision on was not the quality of teaching (which she thought was good to great at Conn) but the intangible quality of intellectual curiosity in the student body, and in that regard she definitely felt Conn was a mixed experience. There were definitely some students with wide ranging interests and intense curiosity there, but they were not the majority. There was also an incredible amount of superficiality and shallowness among these students. Conn has a strong regional flavor as well (mostly Connecticut, Massachusetts, NY, NJ students) with a smattering of international students (most of whom are full pay - so this does not make for as much of a diverse group as you would expect.) She was really looking for a much more diverse, intellectually curious group of students who would be the majority of the student body.
Also, she was told point blank by students at Conn that although the admitted class is 60/40 female/male, the actual class of who shows up in September is very close to 70/30 so the campus indeed has a very different feel (of more women) than Vassar and Skidmore (two other schools to which my sister was admitted and attended preview days.) There is nothing wrong with that, but my sister felt that it changed the social atmosphere quite a bit. She also heard about numerous people trying to transfer out of Conn to either other LACs or bigger schools because they were unhappy with a social life that centered around "drunk white guys at a room party" or "Cro dances where everyone looks for a hook-up for the night"
In the end, if your daughter has fallen in love with the school, that means that Conn is the best fit for her and the school my sister has fallen in love with is the best fit for her.
All schools have pluses and minuses and each student needs to decide for themselves which minuses they can live with to enjoy those pluses.
Not true about the 70-30. Enrollment is 60-40. 16 percent instate versus 11 percent for Williams (the gold standard of lacs). 9 Fullbrights for Conn versus 10 for Williams (last available data), and Williams has 200 more students.
The two schools have about the same percentage of non-resident aliens. Williams is a bit more diverse racially.
I'm not saying Conn Coll is Williams. Few are, not even Amherst as my wife, the alum, would say. I'm not even saying it's as challenging as wherever your sister is going, but I am saying it's no laggard academically.
I feel you're damning with faint praise, but everyone is entitled to their own subjectivity.
(And if for some reason you're into competitive sailing, Conn Coll is Harvard.)
kmht - There are indeed 5 dining halls on campus. Additionally, there are 4 "small coffee type establishments" and a snack shop where you can buy grinders, pizzas, drinks, etc. Only one of the dining halls is open 7 days a week, which is what the sophomores probably meant. Others are open 4-5 days/week.
Megan 12 - Your son may not be challenged by intro courses (I wasn't), but once he starts taking 200-level courses, he should start feeling the burn.