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Which is your favorite liberal arts college and WHY?

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Replies to: Which is your favorite liberal arts college and WHY?

  • merc81merc81 10343 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    usage: "[Reed] is 44th" (#16).
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  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Williams - I went there & got less stupid.
    Amherst - Total Williams clone. Lovable goofballs.
    Swarthmore - I've always respected its nerdery. A sort of mini-UChicago.
    Pomona - Everyone I've ever known who went there was very happy.
    Deep Springs - I'm dangerously obsessed.
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  • marvin100marvin100 8568 replies1249 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Oh, and I'm a big fan of Smith and Barnard as well.
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  • happy1happy1 22863 replies2249 threadsVerified Member Senior Member
    Lafayette College because my daughter is there and it is everything a LAC should be -- she is getting a fantastic education with small classes all taught by professors, she is doing research work with professors, has wonderful friends, and she is involved in a variety of activities on campus.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'd have listed Mudd as my #1 favorite, but didn't want to trigger the "it's not really a LAC" discussion. :)
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  • ScaredNJDadScaredNJDad 224 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited October 2015
    The ones with a balance of academics, athletics and social life. So all the NESCAC schools, Bucknell, Colgate, Lafayette, Holy Cross from Patriot League. Dickinson and Gettysburg from Centennial and Kenyon.

    The last would be St. Anselm for being known as St. C. for its strict grading policy and being a nerve center for political discussion. Where else can you see actual candidates debate, real national debates.
    edited October 2015
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  • alum88alum88 127 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @blourring I think you've tapped into the things that caused Niche to rank Bowdoin as the #1 LAC. Good luck in your process. :\">
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12881 replies242 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Amherst: Top academics with access to a consortium. Area wide collegiate gender imbalance can distort social interactions.

    I assume you say this because of Holyoke and Smith being part of the consortium, but Amherst is one of very few LACs that actually has more men than women.
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  • par72par72 4207 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Holy Cross-mini Notre Dame. HC has DIV1 sports, nice campus(only 1 hour from Boston). Fantastic alumni network.
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  • Waiting2exhaleWaiting2exhale 2903 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    merc81: Why do you consider that the Swarthmore experience is one that offers less of the traditional college experience than its peers?
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  • am61517am61517 219 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Went to Swarthmore (enjoyed it and greatly appreciate its impact on me) but have always loved Williams as well. Taking my DD on college tours a year ago I found the Williams environment very stimulating. Beautiful surroundings combined with outstanding LAC academics which included tutorial and Oxford semester options.

    @merc81 may be referring to Swarthmore's intensely intellectual environment with a strong social activism component, and lesser focus on partying and athletics (not that they don't flourish there as well).

    The NESCAC schools tend to have a more "balanced" environment. For example Williams and Amherst are perennially among the tops D3 schools in many sports (whereas Swarthmore is competitive but usually only near the top in individual sports like tennis, and no longer has a football team).
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  • Waiting2exhaleWaiting2exhale 2903 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks, am61517. I like the way that sounds, so no problem. Will check with the chickadee.
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  • merc81merc81 10343 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    @Waiting2exhale: Ideally a student will decide which aspects of "traditional" are important to them -- and the concept itself can even be applied antithetically to schools which are different from the very traditional-in-some-ways Swarthmore -- but these are aspects I considered regarding Swat:

    1) Smaller student body than every school in the NESCAC.

    2) No intercollegiate football or hockey.

    3) No on-campus ice rink for recreational skating.

    4) Suburban campuses are less collegiate than either rural or urban ones.

    5) Temperate, mid-lattitude colleges are less collegiate than seasonably snow-bound northern ones.

    @am61517: Your key points were considered as well. Keep in mind that the post title refers to "favorite liberal arts colleges," and Swarthmore's differences as they relate to intellectualism are why it's easy to think of and include it in a topic like this.

    (Comments 4 and 5 would, without preventive suggestion, be likely to be quoted back. Consider them as not exactly fully sourced.)
    edited October 2015
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  • am61517am61517 219 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    ^ Agree with @merc81 points 1-3, although when I attended Swarthmore it never occurred to me I was missing a skating rink ;-) and I am not sure that the difference in size is particularly noticeable (400 students per class rather than 500). Having lived in Philadelphia, Cambridge and Cape Cod, the winter weather in Philadelphia and New England is not remarkably different. Where I would differ is on the collegiate nature of the campus. Swarthmore has an extremely beautiful self contained campus bordering a forested area overlooking Crum Creek and is also an arboretum with many varied plant species. And yet, it is only 25 minutes from central Philadelphia by train.
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  • merc81merc81 10343 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    @am61517: I expected what I wrote to be intelligently countered, that's why I felt comfortable posting it. Swarthmore's campus has a beautiful sweep down to its nearby town, and its slightly smaller student population in comparison to NESCAC schools -- some of which have grown too large -- can be seen as an advantage. Its proximity to Philadelphia is seen as another plus by many. In terms of snow, I didn't necessarily mean the noncommittal southern New England type (certain memorable years excepted), but maybe more the regularly skiable, Canton, NY type (post #13). As for the skating rink, I would have commented similarly regarding Haverford's lack of a pool.
    edited October 2015
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 2015
    One of the things I love about Wesleyan is that it combines so many aspects of other LACs into one, somewhat larger, package. It shares Swarthmore's strong social activism; has the same number of sports teams as Amherst; attracts more NSF funding per capita than Harvey Mudd and nearly as many Californians as Pomona.
    edited October 2015
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  • ScaredNJDadScaredNJDad 224 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited October 2015
    The definition of "well rounded" is sort of like the of definition pornography, you know it when you see it. It's not the same from school to school but its close. Having an ice rink is a small part.

    A better metric would be how many students watched the World Series game last night.

    This is an interesting thread, because the same people that condemn ratings are making there choices seemingly based on that.

    Some of comments about Swarthmore and Williams seem a bit emotional, crush-like. I would suggest to you that a Lehigh or Lafayette graduate would have a big edge over a Swarthmore graduate in the job market.


    edited October 2015
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  • merc81merc81 10343 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "I would suggest to you that a Lehigh or Lafayette graduate would have a big edge over a Swarthmore graduate in the job market." (38)

    Allowing this debatable proposition as the case for the moment, a certain fraction of Swarthmore students wouldn't care. That's one of the things that make it a good school.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I know it isn't the point of this thread, but Mudd gets a sugnificant amount of research funding from private corporations for ther clinic projects that most students participate in. This gives them some diversity of funding that is helpful in these times of tight government spending on research. So comparing the NSF funding isn't necessarily apples to apples. Mudd has been building this separate funding path up quite intentionally in recent years because of the uncertainty of NSF funding. When asked if they have any alternate funding sources at Swat, the answer is a blank look and nada (I asked at accepted student visits).
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