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Most intellectual, hipster-like, diverse vibes? Denison, Wooster, Allegheny, Earlham, Kalamazoo.

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Replies to: Most intellectual, hipster-like, diverse vibes? Denison, Wooster, Allegheny, Earlham, Kalamazoo.

  • morningside95morningside95 Registered User Posts: 346 Member
    @lisabees - My S17 is pretty much an atheist and feels totally comfortable with going to St. Olaf. They definitely are looking to attract a wide variety of kids to this school "on the hill," as they call it. He knows about the religion requirement, but he's happy to study any religion from a more sociological perspective. I took History of Christianity as one of my requirements at Loyola Marymount, and really enjoyed the look at my faith from a real life, historical perspective. From the professors we met during accepted students visit, I would say that they have a very creative and engaging group of people there. Study abroad is really big there.

    A CC friend from our journey with our S16, @TytoAlba, has a D16 at St. Olaf, and can probably speak to her experience, if she notices that I mentioned her on this thread. Her D was definitely looking for a cool nerdy vibe for her daughter, and she seems to have found a happy home at St. Olaf.

    You are getting a lot of recommendations, and will have a lot to review. My S17 was initially more scattered about where he wanted to apply, but, in the end, chose the upper Midwest (good schools, nice kids, cheaper COA and better aid) and the Pacific NW, where we visited last summer. (good schools, more $, but we both loves OR & WA and thought it was worth taking a stab at getting in and finding aid). For us, it made it easier for visits, etc. to narrow the choices down the 2 or 3 geographic areas, so we could easily visit or re-visit, if necessary.

    From what you described about your D, maybe an all women's school would be the way to go. @janjmom pointed out some other good ones. There is St. Catherine's here in St. Paul, MN, and they may still allow a student to take a few classes at schools in their cooperative: St Thomas, Augsburg, Hamline and sometimes, Macalester, which is very close by. A shuttle travels between all 5 campuses. Has your D spent some time on an all women's college campus? I have no idea what it's like. :)
  • lisabeeslisabees Registered User Posts: 453 Member
    @morningside95 Thanks for sharing that your son is an atheist and happy at St Olaf. D is definitely an atheist; she would be totally fine with taking a religion course, but would be happy to challenge a religion rather than be silent about it.

    Other than our tours of Mt Holyoke and Bryn Mawr, she has not spent time on a women's college campus. When I homeschooled her in 10th grade, so she could study ballet full-time, she asked me to design a women's study course for her. It was an amazing year and she loved the idea of going to the same school as Gloria Steinem and Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker etc. If you knew my sweet girl, you would actually say it could be a perfect fit!
  • kt1969kt1969 Registered User Posts: 272 Junior Member
    My D looked at both Smith and Mt Holyoke, and ended up applying only to Smith, where she did not get in. She would have had a better shot at MHC but didn't like it enough for some reason. MHC might admit your D but I would guess she would be unlikely to get the merit that you need, based on my research for my D. We had had Mills on a prelim list but it didn't stay on...I know a woman who went there who is a big booster of the place and have heard good things. NOT a party school at all, if that matters. Oh, and if study abroad is a big deal, Goucher requires it of all students. :)
  • lisabeeslisabees Registered User Posts: 453 Member
    It totally matters that it's not a party school. D is sooo naive. She is shocked when she hears about partying at all schools! She has already said that she would ask to live in a substance-free dorm. She needs real relationships with real conversations.

    kt - Please share why your D picked Goucher!

    Correction: When I mentioned the famous women in my previous post, I didn't mean to suggest that they all went to Mt Holyoke or Bryn Mawr. Just that they all went to one of the Seven Sisters.
  • rosered55rosered55 Registered User Posts: 2,298 Senior Member
    One of my nieces went to St. Olaf. Her mom was raised Lutheran but our side of the family is quietly but firmly atheist. My niece did fine at St. Olaf (including coming out while there).
  • morningside95morningside95 Registered User Posts: 346 Member
    I get the impression that the St Olaf kids who are non-religious, are still very thoughtful, spiritual people, in their own way. My S will be attending there, but not until this fall. He's visited 2x and has a few friends there already, of all type of faith backgrounds. To him, it seemed like everyone is welcome there. S told me that there are kids how "party" there, but it is not prevalent. I'm pretty sure St. Olaf does not have a "substance free" dorm, because they are all treated that way. Students 21 and older do go to some of the bars in Northfield, on the weekend. But it's a small town, so they are more like taverns vs. bars.
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 2,984 Senior Member
    Not sure where you'd be flying from but Willamette, L&C and UPS are all very easy to get to from major airports (Portland and Seattle).

    All different and lovely, L&C likely the most intellectuall, hipster factor probably equal. Willamette maybe the most chill. Reed would win in both categories and if visiting Portland for the others may be worth a peek. S considered all and applied to and was accepted at UPS, including a theater tech scholarship. Loved the school and a lovely arts program (accepted to the music school though that wasn't the intended major) but in the end found a much better program for his major elsewhere.

    It was less holistic and more pure stats based than some for merit.
  • NolaCARNolaCAR Registered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    @lisabees I, too, admire your relationship with your SD. She is a lucky young woman to have you in her life.

    Muhlenberg gives a few select students a large amount of merit and therefore gives less to everyone else. They explain this on their website and a parent on another thread has a student who was awarded one of their big scholarships. So I'd be careful about them unless you have reason to believe your SD would get one of their big scholarships.

    Consider that going to another region of the country could give your SD geographic diversity, which could result in more merit. We feel this played a role in D17 getting merit at all of the West Coast schools to which she applied. We live in the upper midwest,

    I was also going to mention Agnes Scott. It's the only women's college in Colleges that Change Lives.

    I'll give you my perspective on Lewis & Clark v. Willamette, since they ended up being D17's 1&2. D felt L&C had a more hippie vibe and this is the main reason it was her #1. However, as beautiful as the campus is, she wasn't thrilled about not being able to walk anywhere (except my brother's house-he lives 1 mile down the road, LOL). DH didn't like the isolated campus either, and also didn't like that it is lacking in open spaces where kids can congregate. I agreed that it was the best fit for D socially, and Portland is definitely a better city than Salem. But it didn't seem as friendly and supportive as Willamette, and the teaching faculty didn't seem as well-recognized or as accessible as Willamette. D17 likes the fact that Salem Hospital borders Willamette and there are part-time job and internship opportunities there (she plans to go to medical school). She likes the fact that downtown Salem with its coffee shops, restaurants, and theater is just steps away from campus. Finally, without exception, EVERY applicant I know of who applied to both was awarded more merit aid at Willamette. And L&C will not negotiate its merit offers. In the end, this was the deciding factor for us. Since D only preferred it slightly over Willamette, she followed the money to Willamette. It was a very close call, though, and if the merit had been closer, she would have gone to L&C. I'm nervous about whether there will be enough hippies at Willamette, but they have a school forest, a good outdoors program, and the sites that rank how "liberal" a college is put them right up there with L&C (1 site even had them 1 rank ahead of L&C). Also, Willamette's motto is "Not unto ourselves are we born" and they really try to put this into action by encouraging students to do community service. Finally, I don't know about dance, but Willamette has a great theater program.

  • TwinglesTwingles Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I appreciate hearing about your search for the right fit for your daughter. I have two graduating in 2018 so I'm obsessing now to visit and research college choices.

    My D1, a junior in HS, would love to attend a more liberal college with a quirky atmosphere possibly to study Environmental Science. Her twin sister D2 wants a school with a strong MT or performing arts program.

    D1: 3.9 unweighted gpa, 1330 on first SAT, will take 5-6 AP classes, Latin and German languages, Girl Scout gold award, founder/president of drama club, Shakespeare intensives

    D2: 3.9 unweighted gpa, 1270 on first SAT, will take 3-4 AP classes. Dances three nights a week, acting lessons, private voice, lead in her HS musical junior year, choir officer, Girl Scout gold award.

    A few places we visited so far:

    Reed - So far this is D1's first choice. Quirky and intellectual. No sports or greek life. Small classes. You can spend a day taking classes there, eat lunch with students in the cafeteria, tour, etc. We went on Junior Visit Day so they had a student panel and breakout sessions on essay writing and financial aid. Top-notch admissions department. They take so few students that you can have the right stats and not get in so it is a reach school.

    Lewis & Clark - A close second for D1. Beautifully picturesque. More substantial ES program and ES dorm, etc. Big sports program but no greek life. Has an office for outdoor activities - hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing. Her gpa and test scores are right in there and she MAY qualify for merit aid. She interviewed with a ad rep coming through our city for a college fair which she thought went well.

    Denison - D1 visited and stayed over night with a friend's olde sister. Pretty school, preppy, sporty, greek. She sat in on classes in ES which she liked. It looks conservative but our tour guide said most students are politically liberal and conservative students tend to be in fraternities. She didn't connect to the college or vibe but won't rule it out. They are building a new Michael Eisner performing arts center so I may have D2 check it out, too.

    Kenyon - D1 visited with just a walk about. We want to go back to spend more time there. Their ES concentration is going to be a major now. Beautiful campus, hip kids, good vibe.

    Baldwin Wallace - D2 visited the conservatory of music. The conservatory is the best part of the campus. Lots of musical vibes but we hear it is very competitive among the students. The campus is flat and spread out - not super exciting but more like living in a small town interspersed with university buildings. Their published merit scholarship is very generous to above average students w/o stellar test scores.

    We want to visit Allegheny, U of Wash, Chatham U, Penn State, and Ohio State for D1 for ES.

    For D2, we are developing a list and plan to attend Chicago Unifieds next year. Beyond MT programs, we are looking for academically good schools that offer a MT or drama/dance if anyone has ideas for additional places to look.

    We probably fall into the donut hole of not qualifying for very much financial aid, if any. So merit scholarships would be very important.

    So I guess we are looking for quirky and artsy for both!
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 14,832 Senior Member
    I always thought of Earlham as hippy and Kalamazoo as hipster lol. Either is a great college and I imagine has a lot of cross-applications.
  • cellomom2cellomom2 Registered User Posts: 429 Member
    @Twingles If you look under the college majors forum there is a musical theater majors subforum that you could look through the threads and probably find alot of good info for your D2. Also, you might get more responses to your questions if you start a new thread instead of posting on an existing thread. It will just stand out more and allow you to know that people are responding directly to your questions.
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 2,018 Senior Member
    Check Muhlenberg that's known for merit and has theater and strong academics

    Other strong academics and theater schools -- more need-based than merit-based -- are Vassar and Wesleyan.

    SUNY Purchase too.

    Ithaca

    Hippy/Hipster with GREAT MERIT for a top student, is Hampshire. I've known a lot of successful Hampshire students in my day and currently a top student from one of NYC's most difficult public HSs got in with significant merit to attract her. She's found it a blessing in many ways. Part of the 5-college consortium so Hampshire students can take classes at Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, and UMass Amherst. some have done research published as undergrad that's made them eligible for top grad schools, like Yale working even with faculty at the consortium schools. There's free busing among the campuses that runs frequently. Northampton and surrounding community is vibrant and varied. Graduates I've known have gone on to be tops in their fields, often breaking the boundaries of what's expected. For the right person it can be a great place. If your child is not self-directed and clear, it can be less than optimal.

    For less hippy / hipster and merit for other daughter, maybe, look at Smtith and Mt. H. Both are quite different in vibe, strong academically, men do attend classes as the consortium makes that possible. Both schools have merit.

    https://www.smith.edu/theatre/

    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/theatre
  • woogzmamawoogzmama Registered User Posts: 3,723 Senior Member
    Re:#21 - Moravian has a pretty strong dance program, according to a dancer friend who went there (and still choreographs performances). Muhlenberg is also good for performing arts.
  • TwinglesTwingles Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    cellomom2 Thanks. I've spent a lot of time looking at the MT forum. I'm posting here because I've recently visited five LACs, some of which the OP was interested in and others that other posters have interest in. We are early in the process so I'm not ready to create my own post yet. Just putting my toes in the water at this point.
  • TwinglesTwingles Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thanks, I will check into your suggestions for D1 and D2. I was hoping to find some schools out of the box for D2 that she could have a solid education AND performing arts. In the MT forum, a lot of focus is on top MT programs, which are great but we should have some middle and safety schools, too, and the opportunity to study other subjects.
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