Weenie--thanks for the different take on Denison. We will be so close in April at other OH schools that I really should swing D by there. Denison used to have a big partying/fraternity image of preps who drink and never study when I was in college in Ohio in the 70s. Over the past decade or so school has worked to change that image (rather like Lake Forest College has) and it appears to be succeeding--Denison is right up there in upper tiers of LACs. But old images take a long time to die out.
Sideways--Drake has a good rep as one of USNew's top 'regional colleges' but never seems to make the top cuts in all the college review books. Don't know why (my nephew flunked out of first term at their law school but subsequently JDed from U Dayton)--school offers a law and pharmacy school and I believe couples with Wash U on engineering. Campus was not too big, surrounded by an old neighborhood a little rough on a couple sides--wouldn't want D to live off campus. Most students hale from IA, MN, MO, KS, IL. (that may account for the regional vs natl rep). A lot of them seemed to be in Christian/religious extra curricular groups, majority seemed to be wearing DRAKE logo tees and sweatshirts (not my D's style), and they sponsor a natl/intnl track and field meet each spring--lots of the kids seem to be jocks--they even have a rowing team. Dorms and facilities were nice. My D loved the downtown area of DesMoines--state capital, renovated, a 'village' area with coffee shops recycled clothing shops, lots of indie bands (D's passion). Also, Drake offers AP credit for scores of 3 not just 4/5, so D figured it might be a bit easier than the other LACs she is looking at. She thought the kids were all friendly, even though my thoughts were that her stats were way on the high side and the kids were too wholesome for my artsy quirky kid. I told her I'd drive 6 hrs for Grinnell, but less sure about 6 hrs to Drake, though it is her life and being at a top 100 LAC shouldn't be the reason to pick a school. I am not sure how generous Drake is with FA--D should qualify for 50+% tuition scholarships at many of the other schools she is considering. Admissions very friendly and helpful. Still, I wouldn't put Drake in same basket with OWU or Denison.