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Bates college vs Trinity College 20k merit scholarship

ifaarb6ifaarb6 3 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
My son is choosing between Bates College, which seems to be his first choice, and Trinity college, which offered him a 20k merit scholarship. We live in CT so on the surface Trinity seems the obvious choice. That being said, we really liked the environment at Bates when we went there for admitted students day - no Greek life, committed student community and an overall positive vibe.

Out son will be a Chemistry major and also has keen interest in humanities including Economics, English and Political science too. We are torn between two excellent choices. Ultimately it will be his decision but we want to make sure that he makes a well informed decision. He will almost certainly go to Grad school, Med school or not, so we could use the money saved for that purpose.

Has anybody had a similar situation? How should one decide on one versus the other, keeping the financial piece in mind too. Is Bates so much better to consider paying 80k more over four years?
edited April 6
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Replies to: Bates college vs Trinity College 20k merit scholarship

  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2072 replies99 postsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    edited April 6
    Both are excellent choices! Both will be well-regarded by grad schools and have good alumni networks for jobs. They play in the same athletic league and have similar cachet- Bates admits a smaller percentage of applicants and ranks a little higher in magazines that rank, but that is not a reason for picking it above Trinity. So, in answer to your question, I would not say that Bates is “so much better” on any objective measure of educational quality or subsequent opportunities.

    The financial difference and lack of extreme quality difference between the colleges makes it worth your child’s considering Trinity very seriously, UNLESS your child prefers Bates for these very valid reasons:

    1. The biggest difference is the social milieu. IMO, Bates, which was founded on principles of welcoming diverse people and has no fraternities, has a very friendly, inclusive community. Trinity has heavy fraternity life and apparently a very different vibe from that of Bates.
    (Our family did not visit Trinity, just Bates, but that was exactly because the Trinity social vibe did not seem a “fit” for my kid from everything he read in guidebooks and online. And, like your son, mine loved Bates when he visited.)

    2. Some students might prefer the location of a town in Maine to a city in Connecticut (while some might choose the reverse and really welcome all the internship and service and city opportunities of Hartford— and economics and poli sci are two of his stated interests, so the government seat of Connecticut and insurance capital of the nation may hold some appeal), OR...

    3. Bates is a better match in terms of courses of interest to him in his potential major or in other aspects of the course catalog, programs, extracurricular opportunities (e.g., debate is great at Bates), or whatever else, OR...

    4. Bates just plain “feels” better to him.

    Your kid has to LIVE at college for four years. It better be somewhere he can see himself. It is worth the revisit to Trinity, since you live in Connecticut, for him to think it through and be sure. But if, after the visit, he truly prefers Bates, and the $20,000 difference will not make or break your family, then Bates it is!

    If I were you, and the $20,000 were not necessary for your family, I would make it clear to him that you want him to be happy and are fine with his going to Bates if he prefers it. Otherwise, he may try to be considerate of you and pick the less expensive college. If you don’t want that to be how he chooses, make sure he knows it.
    edited April 6
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4174 replies47 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Let me preface this by saying, I love Bates and I love Maine, and all things being equal would pick Bates in a second. But when 80k comes into play, that’s a different story. Academically there’s not going to be much if any difference and Trinity is strong in political science one of your S’s interests.
    The party thing gets thrown around here a lot, as it does for some other schools, but sometimes it seems as that reputation merely gets repeated and repeated without a lot of supporting evidence. There will be plenty of parties at Bates too. And fwiw, a parent who has kids at both Bates and Colgate (another school that gets labeled here ad nauseum as a party school) told me that from what he sees, there is more drinking at Bates! But Bates will have more diversity and more socio economic diversity and really is true to their inclusive mission.
    Tough choice, but congrats on having a good choice to make.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9017 replies489 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My D attends Bates and loves it. She was offered a large scholarship at a school that was a tier down from Trinity. We don’t regret letting her choose Bates. Trinity is a well respected school. It’s not so easy to turn down the money at what many would say is a peer institution. If he liked Trinity and thinks he’ll be happy there, he should go for it.

    A good friend's son did just that. He was accepted to Lafayette, no money, and Trinity, with a large scholarship. He chose Trinity and is very happy. I would note the caveat given by @TheGreyKing though. Most would agree that Trinity has a preppy vibe and Greek Life is big. I’m sure he will find his people at either school, but will he be comfortable at Trinity? That’s for him to decide.
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  • ifaarb6ifaarb6 3 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you all for sharing candid insights. We will visit Trinity again before deciding.
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  • merc81merc81 10164 replies151 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Is Bates so much better . . .?
    Academically, in majors in which Trinity is strong, it tends to be very strong, notably in disciplines related to history, government and economics. It also commonly graduates about 30 engineering majors annually. (However, it lacks a geosciences major/minor.) Chemistry would be similar to that at Bates. Architecturally, Long Walk compares well to the nicer elements of other beautiful colleges. Both Hartford and Lewiston may warrant discretion, particularly during certain hours.

    we really liked the environment at Bates
    This should not be under-regarded, of course.
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