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LACs - need to narrow the list

chica2collegechica2college Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
Would welcome any feedback on the following list. Need to cut a few out while maintaining a balanced list.

I am undecided on a major but will be leaning towards social sciences (sociology/anthro) & fine arts.

Here's what I am looking for:
Flexible on location
strong academics
Under 3,000 students
small classes
I like the idea of academic/social honor codes
diverse student body
no heavy emphasis on Greek life/no HUGE party schools

Fortunately, money is not a factor. I'm not going to list my stats because I am open to a range of suggestions.

Connecticut College
Franklin & Marshall

Any feedback/thoughts are appreciated! Thanks!
Post edited by chica2college on

Replies to: LACs - need to narrow the list

  • FrenchSilkPieFrenchSilkPie Registered User Posts: 368 Member
    I'm in the exact same boat as you are! I'll be keeping tabs on this post
  • momrathmomrath Registered User Posts: 5,668 Senior Member
    Among those on your list, I like the following best for fine arts -- Williams, Wesleyan, Skidmore, Oberlin, Conn College, Hamilton, Haverford I would also add Kenyon and Smith (not that you more!). I'm not so knowledgeable in sociology and anthropology, except I can tell you that Williams has a strong sociology department and Weslesyan has strong anthropology.

    These are all good schools with excellent academic reputations. None is especially known for its breadth of diversity, though Williams and Wesleyan have done well in attracting people from diverse backgrounds. If you yourself are an URM you will have an advantage.

    You may have to do some editing based on location and environment.

    If art is a serious interest be sure to submit an art portfolio, even if you do not ultimately intend to major in art. At least at the schools that I selected, it's a plus in admissions.
  • LonghaulLonghaul Registered User Posts: 2,501 Senior Member
    F & M is a great school, but the Greek life is pretty heavy and it is not known for its fine arts or Sociology. Also, to me the "vibe" is quite opposite Oberlin/Pitzer/Skidmore so it looks like an outlier on your list. F & M is khakis and popped collars.

    I'd cut it based upon your criteria and other choices.
  • chica2collegechica2college Registered User Posts: 12 New Member

    Any other feedback or suggestions for narrowing down my list? Thanks!!
  • MizzBeeMizzBee Registered User Posts: 4,576 Senior Member
    From what I can tell from looking at schools with S, Denison has a very active Greek life. It is a "preppy" culture and the 30% Greek life is very social. Have you considered Earlham?
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,551 Senior Member
    By honor code, do you mean the freedoms that come when a school has one- or the restrictions imposed by some detailed codes?
    We visited half your list and know current students at 9. Each school strives for diversity in multiple respects. The kids we know are all very happy. Have you looked at actual course offerings in school catalogs? It's a good way to see if you'd be academically satisfied. Some schools design classes to suit multiple majors. An anthro class, eg, might actually be taught by a gender studies prof who also teaches in the English dept. Worth checking.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,551 Senior Member
    Chica's list shows she's done her homework- now she wants something closer to an inside scoop. Many on her list do not have active threads on CC, with current students posting. If you google students review colleges - you'll see a website based on feedback. Not scientific. Worth looking at.
    Chica can PM me if she wants our impressions of schools on her list, including which our kids attend. (I just don't reveal much personal info here.)
    ps. diversity percentages don't give a full view. If this is a serious consideration, you want to learn how a school strives to make diversity work for enrolled students- of all identities.
  • glowormgloworm Registered User Posts: 2,383 Senior Member
    You might look at the school calendars also. Lawrence is tri-mester. Would you like that?

    If studying abroad is something you will want, some schools do it much better than others, and put few if any walls up for one to climb. Denison, for example, will not let one use any scholarship they award to be used for SA.
  • chica2collegechica2college Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    momrath - thank you for the insights on schools strong in the arts. I did visit Kenyon and Smith. Both are wonderfully academically but for whatever reason I just wasn't feeling "it" when I visited. I do plan to put together a portfolio. Gah - so many things to do!

    MizzBee - I did look at Earlham. Seems like a friendly place. I did find the facilities lacking relative to many of the other schools on my list. Not that it is the only criteria but since I'm looking to cut down my list, Earlham has already been culled.

    Lookingforward - Thank you for your insightful questions and comments. The honor code ala Haverford, Conn College and a few others appeals to me because of the environment it seems to instill - trust between students, faculty, flexible test scheduling, the type of student who is attracted to the school even. I take my academic integrity seriously and it would be welcoming to be in an environment that sets similar standards. I will take your suggestions and look more closely at course catalogs and the website you suggested.

    As far as diversity, most small liberal arts schools are super diverse racially but I like to see some effort at increasing that as well as signs of socioeconomic, geographical and cultural diversity.

    As lookingforward suggested, I would love any inside scoop!! Feel free to PM me if you are uncomfortable posting here.

    gloworm - Is there a downside to trimester that I am not considering? It's what I am used to in high school so perhaps there' something I'm missing. Thanks for the insight on Denison's study abroad limitations. I don't think I'll qualify for need-based aid but if I received merit based aid, that's good to know. Seems restrictive given that many other schools don't follow that policy. I definitely plan to study abroad.
  • glowormgloworm Registered User Posts: 2,383 Senior Member

    I don't know how your hs tri-mester works, but at Lawrence you would not be in school from Thanksgiving until just after 1/1.
  • chica2collegechica2college Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Actually, having a 5-6 week break over the holidays doesn't sound too bad. ;)
    Lots of cookie baking, time with family, perhaps a seasonal job at home.
    I've read that many college kids don't go home for Thanksgiving or they spend Christmas holidays studying for exams which doesn't sound too appealing.
  • glowormgloworm Registered User Posts: 2,383 Senior Member
    For many, the not going home at Thanksgiving is usually for one or two reasons-cost, or when only three weeks later one is home again on break-either or both of these.

    Most who go home in mid-December do not have exams when they return, if the school is on normal semesters.

    Getting home in early to mid-May is also nicer than June. Better chance at a summer job.
  • M's MomM's Mom Registered User Posts: 4,562 Senior Member
    Grinnell sounds like it would potentially be a good fit: See the 'why Grinnell' thread. It has the strong academics, 12% of the students are international, no Greek life, a policy of 'self-governance' which functions like the honor code at Haverford, and the smallest class sizes of any top LAC (no class bigger than 25, including the intro courses). There are also no distribution requirements and the faculty advising is, in part as a consequence, excellent.
  • ksanyeeksanyee Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    Hamilton College is an amazing place with an extremely strong community and very friendly, helpful, and effective administration (which is I think pretty important). Oh, and Hamilton has an Honor Code and all the professors heavily rely on it which is nice. Some profs even require you to sign a pledge on the first page of your exam, stating that you follow the rules of the Honor Code. This actually does discourage students from cheating, even when professors leave the classroom for the whole duration of the exam. In one of my classes here (I'm a current student at Hamilton) the professor actually let us decide whether we wanted him to stay in class during exams. Almost everyone voted for it to avoid possible cheating. This is a wonderful atmosphere where you can learn not only from professors but also from fellow students.
  • SDonCCSDonCC Registered User Posts: 2,373 Senior Member
    I disagree with momrath on the diversity. The LACs are never going to be as diverse as large unis, but from this pool several of them are in fact noted for their diversity within the small college context. I would add Grinnell to that list. Probably Macalester and Oberlin, too, but I am not as familiar with the actual class breakdown as I am with Grinnell.

    I think that if you take off the schools with a Greek / preppy presence (I think Dickinson also has frats, but not sure how influential it is on social life), you actually have a reasonable list. Absent seeing your stats, I guess I'd be concerned that you don't have one school below the levels of selectivity you've shown here. And, if you really do feel that you have some safeties here, you'd better be sure that you've shown interest in them by interviewing!!
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