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Schools like W&M?

lexira414lexira414 5 replies3 threads New Member

I just finished junior year and am trying to finalize a college list. I really realllyyyy love William and Mary. I want to study American history and I love the historical setting/ background, the size, and the fact that its not super big on Greek life/the party scene.

However, I've heard a LOT about how stressed everybody is and I am a very high strung person and a perfectionist.. not sure I could handle a bunch of similar people in one space. I don't want to be overly stressed. was wondering if anybody had any suggestions as to schools that may have similar characteristics but more relaxed for a history major? (Just to give more of an idea of what I'm looking for-- I also love brown but its obviously super hard to get into)

thanks in advance for responses!
12 replies
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Replies to: Schools like W&M?

  • merc81merc81 11902 replies203 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Tulane? Georgetown? You might also consider LACs such as Bowdoin, Hamilton, Grinnell, Kenyon, Oberlin and Haverford for their strong history programs and for the historical feel -- at least of their campuses -- that you've indicated as important to you. Of these, Grinnell and Hamilton offer flexible curricula similar to that of Brown. Along these lines, Wesleyan and Brown tend to be strong overlap schools, so Wesleyan would seem to be worth looking into as well.
    edited June 2018
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  • PublisherPublisher 11613 replies155 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    Vassar & Skidmore have relaxed atmospheres & do not offer Greek organization membership, but I am not sure about American History major. Connecticut College also is Greek life free.

    For an alternative college experience, you may find Colorado College & the University of the Redlands to have very low stress level environments.

    UNC-Chapel Hill is a great option if you are a North Carolina resident.
    edited June 2018
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  • moooopmoooop 2204 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Anything in the Boston or Philadelphia areas would give you access to lots of history. Also Gettysburg College.
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  • shawnspencershawnspencer 3121 replies12 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    I attended William & Mary. If you really like the school, I would highly encourage that you apply. It sounds perfect for your interests and the history program is exceptionally good. It has specific programs such as NIAHD (National Institute of American History & Democracy) that students come from across the country to participate in and is constantly engaging in interesting research -- they recently found bullets from the Civil War era and an underground tavern that dates back to Thomas Jefferson's era on campus. There's this one course where a well-known and fun loving William & Mary professor, Jim Whittenburg, takes his students on Field trips to major historical sites across the state, buys them all lunch, and engages in discussions.

    As I am sure you know, William & Mary is very well known for its history -- whether it is for producing multiple founding fathers, signers of the declaration of the independence, leaders like Henry Clay and Robert Gates, and even several people that still make a difference today. There are a bunch of interesting things to explore -- whether it be secret tunnels that connect the campus, secret societies that go back to the college's founding, and even the college's own very rich history that they are only beginning to uncap.

    There will be some people that are perfectionists and stress themselves out about grades, but honestly I think they are in the minority. I would say that most William & Mary students are passionate and although they care greatly about grades -- I would say they care also more about the world, their communities, and each other more than the average student. I would also say that William & Mary is a very collaborative community that tries to support eachother and you'll often find students working together and professors are very understanding.

    I would say that here more students may have grown out of perfectionism and left similar styles of thinking from high school, where I personally found it more prominent. Here I think there is a big emphasis on vulnerability -- being able to form relationships with one another and share your experiences in order to create greater movements of human connection. I think some of the biggest examples of that are things like MOVEMENTS, the open mic nights that often happen on campus, and groups like Humans of William & Mary that are popular.

    As for me, I think it was a time where I really built up my experiences by learning about the world -- mostly outside of classes by learning about other people, which was really easy to do given the size and the people that go there. I had plenty of fun and built friendships that I treasure because of the quality of the people. In my own personal experience, I did not find the academics particularly stressful -- the exceptions are when I tried to take on too much at once... or when I procrastinated hahaha which was frequent, but if you have good time management skills I think it is perfectly manageable -- just know that there are many equally smart and talented students, and as long as you don't view it as a competition (it isn't, most classes don't have those rigid curves that promote a competitive culture) you should be fine.

    So in essence, I think it is good that you are recognizing that about yourself, the person you'd eventually like to be, and the environments that you might work best in. But if I am going to be completely honest, I feel like a certain portion of that is internal and college is all about the mindset that you put yourself in that will shape your experience. In part you will have the college experience that you let yourself have or the path that you make for yourself. Anyways don't let that discourage you from applying, and feel free to talk to more students, post in the William & Mary forum, or reach out to me or TTG (also a current student) if you have any questions.
    edited June 2018
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  • ninakatarinaninakatarina 1619 replies44 threads Senior Member
    Try Gettysburg if you would be interested in a slightly later time period. They have a great history department although they do (understandably) focus on the Civil War. Easier to get into than W&M, great local small town, plenty of traditions and ghosts to encounter.

    It does have a strong party culture but I am assured that you can avoid the partying fairly easily if that's not your bag.
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  • iwantalltheinfoiwantalltheinfo 53 replies2 threads Junior Member
    W&M is a great choice for history. You could also look at Christopher Newport--similar college in the same geographical area. Perhaps check out the history dept there and see what they offer. Another choice could be St Mary's College of Maryland, which is much smaller and in a more remote (but beautiful) location. HIstoric St Mary's city is actually part of the campus there, so there are opportunities for hands-on work for that period of history, at least. I'm sure there are many other options (Gettysburg, as mentioned above, is one) but I thought I"d throw out a few that are close by so you can have more options to explore. Good luck!
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  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member
    ^^ I was just about to suggest Gettysburg College, too.
    Georgetown is another interesting suggestion, but may be moving in the wrong direction if you want less stress and easier admission than W&M.

    Both Gettysburg and St. Mary's MD are smaller than W&M. Like W&M, they are in more-or-less outlying areas (SMCoM more so than Gettysburg). Keep that in mind in considering what they have to offer compared to a larger campus or one closer to major urban centers.

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  • lexira414lexira414 5 replies3 threads New Member
    Thanks so much for all the responses! This was super helpful
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  • houndmomhoundmom 341 replies12 threads Member
    If you like the age and history of W&M, look at other Colonial era colleges.

    Dickinson College was founded by Benjamin Rush, a signer of Declaration of Independence, and seemed very proud of it's traditions and history. It's not too far from Gettysburg.

    You might like College of Charleston ... hard to beat Charleston for history.

    People forget University of Delaware was also founded in 1700's. I believe it offers strong History department as well as Historic Preservation and maybe museum studies.
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  • TTGTTG 1663 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Yes, I'd especially second Dickinson, though other recommendations are good as well.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11613 replies155 threads Senior Member
    OP: If you don't want or like "Greek life/the party scene", then you may be uncomfortable at Gettysburg College.
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