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Williams vs Bowdoin vs Amherst vs Dartmouth

mbkid12mbkid12 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
edited July 2014 in Amherst College
Hey guys! I am a rising senior in high school and am interested in the four following schools-- Williams College, Bowdoin College, Amherst College, and Dartmouth College. I am very interested in psychology (mainly) and education, as I want to work with special needs kids in an educational way when I grow up. I go to a very small private high school (300 kids) where there is an obvious community feeling, awesome teacher-student relationships, no bullying/cliques, everyone is accepting of each other-- we're pretty much one big family. I am not really a very social kid outside of school, as I am the kind who'd rather stay home in a comfortable setting than go out partying; have also never drunk nor smoked or done any drugs, so I wouldn't be really comfortable in a social climate where such behavior dominates.

Knowing this about me, I have a few questions--

1) How are the psychology and/or education departments at each school (versus the others)? In terms of professors, academics, post college-successes, etc.... strengths and weaknesses

2) How would you describe the social life? In terms of the people, dominant activities (drinking, extracurriculars, weekend stuff), etc.

3) Regarding the people, how would you describe them? Are they cliquey? Or are they accepting of one another, generally happy, care for one another, etc? What is the feeling you get when you walk through each campus?

4) In general, how are the professors? Are the professors willing to meet with you outside of class, answer questions readily, want to help you, care about your success, are knowledgeable in their respective fields, etc? Or the opposite?

5) Since I am pretty uncomfortable partying and doing a lot of social activities, how is the residential life? Is it beneficial in that you are able to make friends easily? Any good or bad experiences?

So I'm pretty much looking for pros and cons, similarities, differences, uniquenesses, etc. Anything else you want to add, please do! Thanks in advance!!

Replies to: Williams vs Bowdoin vs Amherst vs Dartmouth

  • PCVIRGINIABEACHPCVIRGINIABEACH Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    There are huge differences between Williams and Dartmouth.

    Dartmouth is much more likely to have professional professors who worked for long times in their fields, while Williams fosters academics. Both schools offer a great education.

    Williamstown is tiny. Hanover is much larger, and Dartmouth is about double the size. Both are rural.

    Dartmouth is much more diverse in terms of non traditional students. For example: Williams has not matriculated a single veteran from the armed forces since 9-11, while Dartmouth has matriculated over 100. Dartmouth also has a large graduate student population- so the age diversity is much greater. Williams students are almost all 17-23.

    Dartmouth has a big fraternity culture, and many students live in off campus housing in either frats or apartments after their freshman year. Williams requires that students live in dorms, and almost all do for all four years. The dorms are beautiful- Williams has amazing architecture.

    The Williams culture is incredibly insular and hyper elite. It is a massive jock school. Dartmouth is much more diverse in terms of socioeconomics and life experiences.

    Dartmouth is a school where you can no doubt "escape the school" much easier than you can at Williams.

    In short, if you want a lifestyle that revolves solely around the school you go to, and a hyper intense academic elite jock culture- Williams is probably for you. It is a great school and the facilities are incredible. If you want a more diverse experience and the ability to spread out a little bit after freshman year, and a much more diverse student body in terms of life experiences (Native Americans, veterans etc) then I would pick Dartmouth. Dartmouth community oriented- while Williams is the community.
  • EphmanEphman Registered User Posts: 449 Member
    Some of what has been said here is true, some is just untrue. The Williams culture is not "hyper elite", jock-dominated, or non-diverse, especially when compared to Dartmouth, which I would describe as more in that direction, generally-speaking. Those are old stereotypes that accurately described Williams in the 1980's, but not in present day. Williams features a significantly higher percentage of both black and Latino students than Dartmouth does. Dartmouth is a more conservative, frat-dominated culture, which tends to go hand-in-hand with elitism (Williams may enroll an elite student body, but students, at least the overwhelming majority, don't dress, act, or socialize in an elitist fashion, it's much more of a down-to-earth community-oriented vibe than that). Williams is also more economically diverse than Dartmouth, as 20 percent of Williams undergrads receive Pell Grants and Williams heavily emphasizes recruiting first-generation (aka, parents did not attend college) students in admissions, while 15 percent of Dartmouth students receive Pell Grants. Other than the (relatively small, in the grand scheme of things) special programs that Dartmouth has for veterans and Native Americans, Williams places more emphasis on diversity, both racial and socioeconomic, in admissions than Dartmouth does.

    In terms of "jock schools," all four of these colleges have very large and well-supported intercollegiate athletics programs relative to their size. But the best sports at Williams tend to be ones that don't really go hand-in-hand with a traditional "jock" culture -- they include tennis, swimming, cross country, track and field, and crew. You'd be hard pressed to pick the kids who play those sports on campus out of a lineup from any other student. Williams has, relative to its peers, actually deemphasized athletic recruiting over the past decade in the sports, like football, ice hockey, and lacrosse, that require the most admissions concessions and which are most closely associated with an overwhelming jock culture, including some of the negative connotations associated with that cuture.
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