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Barnard or Vassar??

clovermistclovermist Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
I'm trying to decide between Barnard and Vassar for ED, and I feel like I like them both the same amount. I want a diverse student body and all diffferent kinds of people. I like the city, but it can be overwhelming; however, Vassar's area (Poughkeepsie) is really bland and boring. I love Vassar's campus, and the Barnard one is really small. I feel like Vassar students are a bit more pretentious as well, but the school has better acedemics (in terms of rankings) than Barnard. They're both kind of reach schools but in terms of standardized testing my ACT was above the average for Barnard and at the average for Vassar. Please help! I'm having such a hard time and am receiving conflicting answers from friends and family. The fact that Barnard is a women's only college doesn't bother me too much (since guys are right across the street), but I would probably prefer to have more men around in classes and such. Which one would you choose? Thanks so much!

Replies to: Barnard or Vassar??

  • clovermistclovermist Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    btw I was planning to do ED1 for Barnard and ED2 for Vassar but I'm having second thoughts. Barnard doesn't have an ED2 (wish they did)
  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 Registered User Posts: 3,422 Senior Member
    Are you ready to kick butt with plan b if those don't work out?

    Overwhelming vs pretentious - you don't seem thrilled with either "first" option....
  • clovermistclovermist Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Well those are just cons if I'm being nitpicky. I really do love both. Overwhelming could be a possibility just because it's the city, and pretentious is just what I've heard from one friend. I'm looking for people to tell me if those rumors/stereotypes are true or not.
  • clovermistclovermist Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    And as for a plan B, I'm applying to Wesleyan, WashU, Skidmore, Oberlin, Reed, BU, and UConn as well
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,428 Forum Champion
    Personal preference. IMO only you can answer this question. If you don't have a top choice at this point, you don't have to ED anywhere.
  • clovermistclovermist Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Haha I know I'm just having such a hard time! Pro and con lists are not very helpful. I might visit both again soon. Thanks anyways!
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,828 Senior Member
    There is no problem having classes at guys at Barnard- there is massive cross-registration with Columbia.

    As you mentioned diversity as being important to you, WashU has just discovered- and I am not making this up- that you can have diversity without lowering your academic standards (Provost Thorp, June 2015, St Louis Post-Dispatch). So, they are now working to improve their diversity- but so far it does not appear on a list of the 100 most ethnically diverse colleges or universities, and has a -2.1 College Access Index for economic diversity (by way of comparison, Vassar has a +3.1 and Barnard a +1.4).
  • CrewDadCrewDad Registered User Posts: 1,721 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    but the school [Vassar] has better academics (in terms of rankings) than Barnard.
    Vassar's academics are not better. Barnard's ranking is meaningless. US News doesn't factor in Columbia's vast resources. In a sense, if you believe US News, Barnard women also attend one of the top 5 universities in the country.
    I'm very familiar with Vassar. My daughter is an alumna. I also have friends who are Vassar alums. There are pretentious twits at every college. Vassar has fewer than most.

  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 4,316 Senior Member
    First, you have a decent list, as long as you like, and could afford, each of the schools you've listed.

    As for ED, if you have any doubts about your true #1, i would avoid it. If you must apply ED, do spend (more) time on each campus before choosing. Assuming roughly even fit levels elsewhere (academics -- available majors/classes, class sizes, grad requirements, etc.; environment/surroundings; social vibe; and cost, chief among them), shoot for the place that feels more like home according to your gut feeling.

    Barnard and Vassar both have fine reputations, but they are in very different settings, among other differences.
  • millie210millie210 Registered User Posts: 503 Member
    If you can visit both again, that would probably be helpful. Talk to students, sit in on a class or two, walk around the neighborhood, read the student newspapers, check out the bulletin boards, learn what you can about any extracurriculars you might be interested in. Hopefully, one will rise to the top.

    Does it help to try to imagine getting into Vassar early and not even having a chance to consider other schools and then doing the same with Barnard? Do you think"YAY!!!!" to either one?

    If you are really truly tied, love both equally, would be happy to commit to either one without seeing what happens with all the others, then my advice would be to be strategic. How much of a bump does ED seem to give at each school? Remember to pay attention to different admit rates for men and women at Vassar. I'd be inclined to tell you to apply ED to the one where your stats, their admissions rates and the ED bump give you the biggest chance of being admitted. The relief of it being December 15 and being DONE and knowing you're going to a school you're really excited about is very, very pleasant.

    I typed all that above and then remembered you talking about ED1 and ED2. If what you'd really like is to be able to apply ED1 to Vassar and ED2 to Barnard, I think that's probably a clue to your preference ranking.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,779 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    " Which one would you choose? "
    Vassar. FWIW.
    MY D2 attended Barnard, but she found she didn't like attending college in NYC. Virtually no campus. Felt to her just living in the city like the working people, hearing the garbage trucks picking up trash outside her dorm, etc . Her dorm-mates were always off heading to bars downtown on weekends, because there were not sufficient places to just hang out. She felt everything was very expensive there.
    And the lure of NYC was no big deal to her, she was already quite familiar with it.

    She decided she would prefer a campus-centered environment for her (remaining) college years. Was accepted for transfer to Vassar. Can't say for sure what that experience would have been like though, because she ultimately chose Cornell.

    So she would have chosen Vassar over Barnard.

    But that's her.

    Lots of people are very happy at Barnard. And do not share D2's experience/complaints in equal measures. And love being in NYC. And really avail themselves of Columbia's resources and extended course catalog. Probably there are people who get bored at Vassar, hate Poughkeepsie, or don't like it there for some other reason.

    It's sort of like would you choose peaches, or pears?

    There is no uniformly correct answer. there is only a correct answer for you. And you might get it wrong anyway, like D2 did.

    If the opportunity is available I suggest you do overnights at each campus. D2 didn't do that at Barnard, although it was offered, and she wished she had done it after the fact.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,779 Senior Member
    edited September 2016
    And, just to keep it real, when counting the proportion of pretentious types, or are otherwise just full of themselves, that you may encounter, you need to consider the entire relevant social cohort which includes the people across Broadway.
  • FireflyLightsFireflyLights Registered User Posts: 211 Junior Member
    I get that ED is nice because you get to hear earlier, but there is no reason you have to apply ED, especially if you really can't choose between them. You can submit your applications whenever you want and be done.

    That said, what @millie210 says is totally right. If you wanted to do ED1 for Vassar, that does give you a clue. I will point out that NYC is pretty accessible from Poughkeepsie, but won't be as much of a temptation during the school week. Then again, Barnard has access to Columbia's resources. Maybe think about what your top priorities are, then look at how well each school meets them. That might help you make better use of pro/con lists.
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