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Women's College Road Trip

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Replies to: Women's College Road Trip

  • AtyrauloveAtyraulove Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    We looked at Wellesley, Smith and Mount Holyoke in one trip last year. I'd pay extra and just get a car at the airport. Yes, Boston roads and traffic can be intimidating, but it's not impossible.

    There are distinct differences in the locations and feel of the three campuses that can only be experienced first hand and I'm glad you are visiting. I'd make sure you can do official school tours when there.

    In the end, my D was choosing between Smith and Wellesley, although all three are excellent schools. It came down to the vibe she felt and money (NPC was much different between the schools as they use different metrics).

    She chose Smith and will start in the fall.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 60,134 Senior Member
    Sorry...but I think Boston is a large metro area.

    When I think of smaller metro areas, I think of places like Pittsburgh.
  • MinnesotaDadof3MinnesotaDadof3 Registered User Posts: 159 Junior Member
    The financial strength of any prospective college is an important factor to look at. Do a financial-strength search for all colleges you consider, particularly for the lesser-know women's colleges.

    You mention Cedar Crest College in Penn., which Forbes rates as a 'C' in financial health (see: https://www.forbes.com/sites/schifrin/2015/07/29/private-college-financial-health-grades-2015-is-your-alma-mater-at-risk/#1569dda3392c ), while it rated Mills College a 'B' and yet Mills declared a Financial Emergency just two days ago, with a $9.2 million anticipated deficit this next year and layoffs of faculty/staff.

    Standard & Poor's gives Cedar Crest a 2014 bond rating of BB+, which is in junk-bond status. See: https://www.spratings.com/documents/20184/908554/US_PF_Event_Webcast_HEJuly2015_Article2.pdf/0be5c6b3-0656-45c6-89df-68cdb99623f2
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 11,794 Senior Member
    Boston is a large metro area, but a small walkable city.
  • Akqj10Akqj10 Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    To suggest Boston is small city and Northampton is small town is a matter of perspective. Having been to Colorado, I would describe Boston as a pretty big city. Worcester is a smaller city. I would describe Northampton as a very big town. Wellesley a decent sized town, South Hadley (Where Mount Holyoke is, a small, small town). Boston is liberal, Northampton is very liberal.

    Wellesley is a very nice town, it is an affluent suburb of Boston. The college kids blend in nice with the town as they are pretty serious and well behaved kids. They have many shops and restaurants if you can afford them. CVS and a grocery store are within walking distance. The town itself would not be considered liberal, I work in Wellesley one day week, it is one of the nicest town in Massachusetts.

    Northampton is a great college town, as is Amherst. I don't see it a a box store town as described earlier, in between Northampton and Amherst are all the box stores. They have many local businesses, and more affordable than the shops in Wellesley.

    Mount Holyoke is not in Holyoke, but South Hadley, MA. You will pass farms on your way depending on the route you take. It is more quiet, but they have a small shopping area that is very nice and adds just enough, small movie theater and a bookstore, to be able to do something off (on the edge of) campus.

    My daughter preferred Mount Holyoke as she is more inclined to enjoy nature and can go to Northampton and Amherst once a month to do other things.

    All three have good endowments and would be worth leaving Colorado to to go to college to. I would recommend interviewing at all three. My daughter preferred Mount Holyoke so didn't care when she was wait listed at Smith. Your parents should be comfortable dropping you off at any of the three, and they are safe areas to go to school at.

    Wellesley has cross registration with Olin and Babson, and a shuttle between the three. I think it more common for the students at Wellesley to go into Boston on the weekends and they have connections with MIT and Harvard.
    I went to U-Mass, which has cross registration with Amherst, Smith, Hampshire and Mount Holyoke. There is a bus (PVTA) that connects all five colleges. In my day we went to the other schools more for socializing than to take classes. At U-Mass I had many Smith Woman in my classes as the location made the commute easy. I think it was more common for the Woman to go off campus for a change of pace. My roommate took a class at Smith. The connection for the five schools makes it for a Woman at Smith or Mount Holyoke to be able to not feel like they are stuck somewhere.
  • byadg123byadg123 Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    I would absolutely skip Bryn Mawr if you aren't looking at other Philly-area schools. It's a hike and a half from Boston if you have limited time. As someone above suggested, apply and visit if accepted. It's how we're approaching Wesleyan.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 8,721 Senior Member
    Northampton is a great college town, as is Amherst. I don't see it a a box store town as described earlier, in between Northampton and Amherst are all the box stores. They have many local businesses, and more affordable than the shops in Wellesley.

    Mount Holyoke is not in Holyoke, but South Hadley, MA. You will pass farms on your way depending on the route you take. It is more quiet, but they have a small shopping area that is very nice and adds just enough, small movie theater and a bookstore, to be able to do something off (on the edge of) campus.

    Agree completely. Northampton is very hip, no chain store is in town at all that I've seen, lots of cool little shops and restaurants, a funky little mall built into an old mill building.

    Amherst is also cool and has SO MANY students because of UMass. Not a chain town either.

    South Hadley is tiny but that little complex with the movie theater, bookstore, restaurant is cute. And all of these towns are connected by bus service that is free for students.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 11,794 Senior Member
    I said there were the box chain stores on the highway between Northampton and Amherst so they are accessible if you have a desire to go to Barnes and Noble or Marshall's. I found Northampton to be very yuppie and boring (and I lived in Boulder for years, so I know my yuppie when I see it). I loved Amherst as it just felt more 'real people' to me.
  • Akqj10Akqj10 Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    Sorry if I misunderstood the Box store comment. How much time have you spent in Northampton? I've never heard of it being called yuppie. And if Northampton is boring what is South Hadley? I went to U-mass and never thought of the populations of those towns being any different, maybe something has changed? Does anybody else think Northampton is boring?
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 8,721 Senior Member
    I see more tattoos and colored hair in N-hampton than what I'd call yuppies, but there's room for interpretation I guess.
  • yankeeinGAyankeeinGA Registered User Posts: 213 Junior Member
    @beepmamoop, have you looked at Agnes Scott? It's in Decatur, a sort of hipster piece of outer Atlanta. It balances across big city/small town in many ways, plus they have a large endowment (read: lots of financial aid) and is featured in that "hidden gems" college handbook people are always referencing. Perhaps you've already looked into it, but I had to bring it up in case you hadn't. My daughter ultimately decided she wanted a coed school, but I never expected to find myself rooting for a women's college and I totally did, after our visit. It's a beautiful campus with a dedicated and diverse student body, and a really exceptional vibe.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 11,794 Senior Member
    I only spent a weekend there (my father and brother went to UMass so I have been in the area before but this time I was really looking at it, judging it). My daughter was on a visit and I dropped her off and drove around to the other colleges (ate pizza in South Hadley, and I don't think I saw one student on the little town square street, just locals). While the downtown of Amherst is small, it just seemed more alive than Northampton. I walked the streets of Northampton and since I'm not much of a shopper didn't find it interesting. There were boutiques, coffee shops, jewelry stores, but nothing I needed. Lots of dogs and babies in strollers, the farmer's market, but four years of that? Not for me.

    I admit that the more colleges I looked at, the more I knew *I* (not my kids) would go stir crazy at the smaller ones in smaller towns. Even some of the schools that were a little bigger (Elon) were still in towns that were so small that I'd feel trapped.

    I'm glad colleges and their towns come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 4,058 Senior Member
    I've never thought of N-hampton as yuppie either. It has a reputation as a lesbian Mecca and it has more head shops than wine bars.

    From Wikipedia:
    Northampton is known as an academic, artistic, musical, and countercultural hub. It features a large politically liberal community along with numerous alternative health and intellectual organizations.[13] Based on U.S. Census demographics, election returns, and other criteria, the website Epodunk rates Northampton as the most politically liberal medium-size city (population 25,000–99,000) in the United States.[14] The city has a high proportion of residents who identify as gay and lesbian[15][16] a high number of same-sex households,[17] and is a popular destination for the LGBT community.[18][19]
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 11,794 Senior Member
    Fine. I just found nothing to do in Northampton. I was not charmed by the small town shops or walking around streets.. Just didn't like it.
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