From the Chicago area, I've narrowed down my list to these three. I know all are great schools. I'm very focused on how the school will open up carrer opportunities, but also the campus experience. I would prefer a more intimate college experience, but don't want it to be limiting. I'm interested in studying science, but not premed necessarily. Seeing a different part of the country would be a plus for me.
I've always known Haverford since my dad went, but does Haverford have a strong reputation, especially in the East? It's not too well known in the Midwest. I think I like its small size, but does it ever feel too small and limiting in any way? If I didnt go to a LAC, I'd probably join a frat (I like to party), so how is the social scene at Haverford? I've heard the sports teams run the party scene, so if I wasn't on a team, is it possible to still go to these parties?
Son had this choice 1 year ago. Dad went to Haverford. Son revisited both and decided he preferred the social atmosphere at Haverford. An overnight visit at Haverford really helped. Planning on math major and couldn't be happier. You can't go wrong in either school.
Haha. Most major parties are run by sports teams, but what is unique about Haverford is that everyone here is allowed to attend any party here (but they are safe- the school pays students to check Bi-Co/Tri-Co IDs at parties, you just have to request them, free of charge). It's incredibly inclusive. I'm not sure if this is a result of the lack of a Greek system, or the just the Haverford community, probably both. There are generally a few good parties each weekend, and my hall is definitely on the social side, so we go out a fair bit, though some of the school never parties at all. Parties at Drinker House are basically frat parties in a smaller space, and of course, without frats...
I went to a huge high school, over double Haverford's size. That felt way too big for me, and I prefer Haverford's small size. I like feeling like I know more people and getting to know my professors if I want to. Still, I like going to Philly a lot, which is just a short train ride away (the train is maybe a 10 minute walk from campus), and the school actually provides some train tickets/subway tokens for free each week to encourage you to get out there. I've never personally felt the need to go party at other schools, but one of my friends goes to Penn every weekend and some of my friends go to Swat pretty frequently as well.
I live in California, where Haverford isn't that well known, but it's highly regarded in academia- grad schools, law schools, the like. People from the area I've met were familiar with and pretty impressed by the fact that I go to Haverford, if that's something you're looking for.
In terms size, you need to remember that college is not the same as high school in that you are living with this same group of people 24x7- not just seeing them during the day.
This means if you have a college and a high school of the same size, the college will seem smaller once it becomes familiar. Think of what happens when relatives come over to visit for an extended period of time :-)
I know a number of kids who have gone to NESCAC LACs (about twice the size of Haverford) and the pattern is the same. First year is great, second year is good,
third year it’s feeling small, but a semester abroad helps, and by fourth year they are going stir crazy and want to get out. This includes our family “bookworm”, who did not put a high priority on social life.
At Haverford there is the infamous “phantom 500” (i.e. nearly half the class) that are never seen on campus because they are always either at class or studying. This is the downside of having such a high “academic reputation” and it tend to make the campus feel even smaller (socially).
At Tufts there is a small frat presence, so the range of the social scene is much greater. There are some phantoms, some light "partyers", some medium "partyers" and some heavy "partyers". You get to choose.