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In desperate need of help- Trinity or Bates????

aneranhaneranh Registered User Posts: 5 New Member

I am an international student deciding between Trinity College (CT) and Bates College (Maine).
I have seen lots of really horrible negative remarks about Trinity's social life (I am one of the 'care-about-the-world' 'partying-is-not-everything' kind of person) but the location and Community gateway programme sound great, plus getting in as a Global Scholar is a perk apparently. I've also heard that the Career Counseling Department isn't really good.
I have seen comments about the 'horrible' location of Bates College and that there is a divide between the low-income and high income students and the international vs. the American ones. The sustainability and food sound great. Apparently, Lewiston is also not very safe.

I want to study something along the lines of Global Politics, International Studies/relations, etc.
Both colleges give me a similar financial aid package.

I have no idea which one to choose! Please help me, I need to make a decision very soon.
The social life (in terms of motivated people, if not great now, then at least with a potential to make change) and the academics (especially the political science departments) and the relationships with the professors matter a lot.

Thank you in advance.

A very confused, anxious and distressed student!

Replies to: In desperate need of help- Trinity or Bates????

  • DontskipthemooseDontskipthemoose Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    edited April 20
    Bates has great academic programs and the students seem to love it there despite the crappy location.
  • ChembiodadChembiodad Registered User Posts: 1,846 Senior Member
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 7,308 Senior Member
    With respect to Trinity, a strong case can be made for their political science offerings, particularly those in American government and politics. I'd note as well that, in terms of campus aesthetics, Long Walk makes for a nice feature.

    However, the somewhat more selective Bates may offer you more of the overall intellectual atmosphere you are seeking, and could be a good choice as well. Actually, from the way you describe yourself, Bates would seem to be your better fit.
  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Registered User Posts: 934 Member
    Both will provide excellent educations, active class discussions in small classes, and close relationships with professors.

    Lewiston would not be considered less safe than Hartford. It is a town with some poor areas and Hartford is a city with some poor areas.

    Trinity: heavy fraternity culture, in civilization in a mid sized city with NYC nearby, Hartford famous for local government and insurance industry opportunities. Preppy feel.

    Bates: no fraternities, inclusive environment, surrounded by rural Maine with nice outdoor activities. More of a mixed culture on campus-- preppy athletes mix with more artsy/granola kids; the second category exists at Trinity but is a smaller percentage than at Bates.

    Based on your stated interests, you can help local Somali refugees and avoid frat culture at Bates.

    I never heard about the social divisions you described at Bates. Let's appeal to @Lindagaf and other people who know Bates well to weigh in.

    Two great choices! Congratulations and good luck.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,670 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    I vote Bates. Sounds like the social environment is more like what you are looking for.

    Lewiston isn't dangerous. Parts are a little run down. Like many New England former mill towns, it's seen better days but it isn't a horrible place and I'd argue it is safer/nicer than Hartford. Additionally, Portland is about 40 minutes away and is a great smaller American city with great music venues and a wonderful dining scene. Bates also allows for easy access to both the ocean and mountains for outdoors pursuits.

    I admit to a bias. I know quite a few students at both places. Without a fault, every student I personally know at Bates is a really good, kind young person. I really can't say the same for Trinity at all.

    One person close to me is a current student at Bates whose 2 best friends are international students. I've never heard of a divide on campus between domestic and international students.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,997 Senior Member
    edited April 21
    Lewiston is a working class town and not at all dangerous. I am frankly a little shocked that such a perception exists. Since when did not rich mean the same as unsafe?

    @TheGreyKing gives a good assessment. I am biased, but if you are a more intellectual person, Bates should be your choice. Bates is certainly a better blend of students, IMO. There is a noticeable contingent of outdoorsy hippy types and in fact, there's an eco-justice residence on campus. Trinity has more jocks and preppy kids. Bates has a great career center and the purposeful work initiative is getting good results.

    I am also really unsure what reviews you have read about international kids versus American kids. That's simply not true. My D is american. Her best friends are from Morocco, Kazakhstan and the Phillipines. One of her American friends is dating a Vietnamese guy. In fact Bates is known for being friendly and the international kids host very popular parties.

    There will be rich kids at both schools, easily. I wouldn't say one will have more than the other, and I dont know Trinity well enough, but I don't think it's hurting for cash. I can tell you that, at least last year, about 8% of the incoming class were first generation to college, and Bates makes an effort to bring such students to campus.

    No idea about partying at Trinity, but with frats, it would be normal to assume there are parties. There are parties at Bates, and at every school. My D and her friends are not partiers. There is no pressure to party. Studying is,taken seriously. Bates is number 5 in producing Fulbright Scholars so there are plenty of serious students and the professors are excellent. You will get an excellent education.
  • aneranhaneranh Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @Dontskipthemoose @merc81 @Chembiodad @TheGreyKing @gardenstategal @doschicos @Lindagaf
    Thank you so very much for your helpful and well informed answers.
    A little update- After some research and some talk with the colleges, I have found that at Trinity, after student employment, my family's contribution will be close to nothing. At Bates however, even after working for about 10 hours a week there will be comparatively a significant family contribution.
    This is something that really matters, but I am now all panicky and anxious and never having visited the US, it doesn't make things any better...

    Do you have any thoughts on this ??
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,670 Senior Member
    Go with what is most affordable. At either school you can get a great education, find friends and have a happy 4 years. The differences between the two aren't significant enough in my opinion to warrant financial pressure on your family. Go to Trinity if it save you $$$.
  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 3,040 Senior Member
    Both are excellent schools and you will get a great education at either.
    A couple points I'll throw out there. Trinity has a beautiful campus, with Gothic architecture that make it look like the picture perfect New England college campus. The area directly surrounding the school is not a good area, but the school works very hard to maintain safety on campus. But other areas of Hartford are very nice and give students opportunities for internships, cultural activities, art, dining, shopping etc. The schools incorporates Hartford as an extension of the classroom with service and learning opportunities. Hartford is the capital of CT. Trinity has a newish president - the first African American woman to head the college and is working hard to increase diversity in both the student population and the programming. She came from Tufts. People seem to like her very much. Yes - Trinity has a 'social' reputation, but frats do not dominate. They do have a fair amount of kids who come from 'prep' schools. But the academic experience is very strong.
    Regarding Bates - I agree with the other posters who say Lewiston is safe. It is not the most beautiful town, it is perhaps economically depressed, but it is not a high crime town. You can easily walk from campus to shops/restaurants etc. It is fairly close to Portland and Freeport, two towns with lots going on. Lots of outdoor activities and you will find lots of kids who enjoy the outdoors, skiing hiking etc. You will also find smart. focused kids and a strong community feel. Bates is a bit more highly regarded than Trinity for academics, but you will get a strong education at either.
    Biggest difference is the locale.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,997 Senior Member
    Yes, I agree with doschicos. Not worth going into debt for either.
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 3,179 Senior Member
    How lucky - the difficult decision has been made for you!! To get that quality of an education for next to nothing is a blessing!
  • Nickaroo22Nickaroo22 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    Bates College '16 Graduate here...

    I would hands down go with Bates. Although I am definitely very biased, it seems to be the best option given your interests. During my time there, I never witnessed the divisions you are speaking of between international and non-international students. Bates is one of the most welcoming and supportive communities I have ever been a part of. Bates Campus is absolutely beautiful and the surrounding community is very vibrant and diverse. In fact, Bates being not one of the most affluent communities actually draws students for the level of community engagement that it offers. Roughly 50% of classes have a community engagement component, and each year students contribute. In terms of job prospects, people have been very enthusiastic about me having gone to Bates College - a school that is very sound in its values and teaches the individual to think critically, analytically, and to challenge assumption more than anything else. Yes, I may not have a degree that points me in the direction of a specific career, but the level of intellectual development I've undergone during my time at Bates arguably lends itself better to any career than a specific degree does.

    In terms of my relationships with professors, they have been amazing. I still talk to my thesis advisor today, which is another way for you to form strong relationships with your professors. They are super supportive and welcome any opportunity to meet academically or personally to help you reach your goals both inside and outside of schools. Many of my professors I referred to on a first-name basis.

    Also, both schools obviously have parties, but Trinity's party culture seems to be more of one an individual like you would like to stray away from.

    Sorry for my whole blurb, I used to work in admissions.
  • MinnesotaDadof3MinnesotaDadof3 Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    Removing any consideration of cost, I'd opt for Bates. I have no vested interest in either Trinity or Bates. Some posters don't like the town of Lewiston, but keep in mind that the City of Hartford is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,997 Senior Member
    @aneranh , have you contacted Bates Financial Aid office? They might be willing to give you a little more aid if you ask. Let them know what Trinity if offering, maybe then you could afford Bates more easily. In your shoes, if it was only a little more expesnive, I think it might be woth it to go to Bates, in terms of both future prospects and being in a place you might find more to your liking. But debt isn't good. Good luck!
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