Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Post College Visit

Glorfindel1Glorfindel1 Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
I've just visited UChicago for the first time and really enjoyed it. Of course the campus is beautiful and I love the culture there as well. As a junior, my parents are pretty set on UChicago right now even though it's my first college visit besides out local public. However, even though it's pretty small, I'd like an even smaller school without, hopefully, losing great research opportunities. What other colleges are similar to the same intellectual culture and course difficulty but are a bit smaller? Swarthmore seems inviting but is quite liberal as I've heard for me and especially my parents tastes. Going into chemistry, Caltech seems great but has a lack of good classes outside of STEM and California is quite far. Are these assumptions correct for these schools? Anything else come into mind? Thanks

Replies to: Post College Visit

  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,956 Senior Member
    Grinnell, in Iowa, is a fabulous liberal arts college, under 2000 students, with strong science and strong undergraduate research opportunities. The school's very large endowment, for a school its size, allows Grinnell to fund a lot of programs. While "liberal" in the sense of tolerant, the student body reflects a broad spectrum of "types" of students. On our visits, we saw everything from Vineyard Vines and Ralph Lauren to blue hair and tattoos.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,973 Senior Member
    Since Chicago, Caltech and Swarthmore each appear below, you may want to consider the other schools included as well:


    Colleges with full sports programs (football, hockey . . .) may seem less liberal to you by feel than their academically equivalent counterparts.
  • lalalemmalalalemma Registered User Posts: 848 Member
    edited February 2017
    Reed College in Portland, OR is often described as having a similar intellectual culture to Swarthmore and U Chicago, though with a slightly more alternative bent (so many things you're looking for but you might also find it too liberal). Harvey Mudd might be of interest - it's another STEM-focused school, but it is extremely easy to take fantastic liberal arts classes at Pomona and the like via the Claremont Consortium. Also check out Carleton and Grinnell, and Bryn Mawr if you're female. For a safety, perhaps consider College of Wooster; it's known for its commitment to undergrad research and also makes Princeton Review's "Students Study the Most" list which tends to feature colleges with very intellectually-oriented cultures (might also be a good resource for you: https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=students-study-most).
  • nostalgicwisdomnostalgicwisdom Registered User Posts: 1,347 Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    Most U'Chicago undergrads are liberal, many very much so (see https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2016/9/14/class-2020-survey/). The students who attend Swarthmore are not that much different from those who attend U'Chicago (according to a friend who works at admissions, the #1 cross-admit loss to Swarthmore are students who pick U'Chicago instead).

    The suggestions above- Reed, Carleton, Grinnell, Claremont Colleges- are excellent. I would not recommend just looking at Harvey Mudd, but Pomona also, which has a more noticeably intellectual and well-rounded environment and an acclaimed chemistry department. Some others that you should look into are Wesleyan (outstanding research atmosphere, well-rounded), Williams (offers one-on-one tutorials, very rigorous academically, great research offerings), Haverford, Macalester, and Oberlin. Just keep in mind that all of these colleges draw predominantly liberal students. Rice is a smaller university than U'Chicago with an excellent chemistry department and a residential college system, and their humanities offerings are solid.
  • ThankYouforHelpThankYouforHelp Registered User Posts: 1,295 Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    The research opportunities at LACs will not be as cutting edge as those of UChicago, but the trade off is that undergrads get all the research opportunities because there are no graduate students to do it. All of the top LACs will have an intellectual atmosphere and abundant research oportunities, although none probably are quite as relentlessly intense as Chicago, not even Swarthmore. If admission to Chicago was a realistic option for you, I first would look in particular at Amherst, Williams, Swarthmore, Pomona and (if you are a woman) Wellesley. All five of them will give you a great education and tremendous opportunities in a smaller setting. Also very good, but slightly easier to gain admission would be Carleton, Reed, Wesleyan, Haverford, Bowdoin, and others mentioned above.

    Rice and Tufts are also excellent schools that are bigger than LACs but smaller than UChicago.

    I also wouldn't assume that Chicago would be too big for you to handle. With the house system they use there, it is difficult to get lost in the crowd.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 1,673 Senior Member
    Rice, Wash U, Tufts, Wake Forest, Dartmouth
  • vegucated26vegucated26 Registered User Posts: 255 Junior Member
    Maybe Carnegie Mellon
This discussion has been closed.