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Just got back from admitted students day. The campus is beautiful, possibly the most beautiful of all the schools we have seen and the facilities are fantastic. I am also very impressed with the mini class we sat in on -- the teacher was engaging and the topic were fantastic. I am very comfortable with the quality of the academics. However, I have some concerns about fit for my kid.
First, academic fit. Outside of the engineering kids, the majority the kids that we came across seemed very focused on packaging themselves for finance, law, and other wall-street type jobs -- and it is clear to me that, if that's where you are headed, Bucknell is a really good place to be. However, my kid is not an engineering kid and, while the path is not yet clear, it is extremely unlikely my kid will head in the finance/law/wall street direction. Can anyone speak to what it is like at Bucknell for kids that are more focused on history/social sciences, languages, or other less pre-professional subjects?
Then there is social fit. Before visiting, I had read many times that the school is very rich/preppy, that there is a big party culture, and that is not diverse. I had thought that maybe that aspect of the school was exaggerated and emphasized. However, as my kid and I walked from campus down 7th street to the bookstore on Saturday afternoon, we encountered several loud, raucous house parties in a row. Now, I get it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and it is college, but even taking that into account the partying seemed a little extreme -- particularly for admitted students day. (Even my kid agreed). Was this an anomaly or is this just another Saturday afternoon at Bucknell? I know there are probably kids that aren't like this -- but is there a critical mass of non-extreme party-ers (or even non-party-ers?) so that kids aren't going to feel left out or isolated if they don't partake?
And the kids really did not seem very diverse, even compared to other east coast LAC's, which aren't the most diverse group to begin with. A lot of kids seemed to look alike. Even my kid, who is preppy but in a laid-back outdoorsy kind of way, felt a little out of place.
I'm trying to get a sense of whether we got an skewed impression of the school or if it is reflective of what Bucknell is like, and would appreciate any thoughts. We have been hoping that Bucknell would work out, since on many fronts it is the happy medium of our school choices, but we are afraid that the fit is not good.