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Info on these 4 schools

TribeachTribeach 4 replies1 threads New Member
My daughter, class of 2021, has been researching lots of schools and has shortened her list. The four she likes now are Amherst, Haverford, Hamilton and Washington and Lee. Since we can't tour at the moment, we would love any insight on these schools and the campus life. My daughter is very academic, athletic (plans to continue her sport in college), and leans conservative but I would say moderate. She already knows she wants a small college. We are from the south but schools northeast are fine. She plans to major in science and is thinking of double majoring in science and math. Thanks for any info!
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Replies to: Info on these 4 schools

  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    Wash & Lee is dominated by Greek life. Almost every student joins a fraternity or sorority. In the case of W&L, I view this as a positive since there seems to be room for all students in the Greek system.

    Wash & Lee is the best at what it offers, in my opinion.

    (Great school for tennis players.)
    edited March 31
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 4922 replies86 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    Does she want to be recruited as an athlete? Has she reached out to coaches yet?

    All 4 of those schools will be reaches...so she will have to identify some match schools, and at least one affordable safety.

    Some thoughts to your wide open question....

    Haverford is the least isolated of the 4 schools and depending on where you live, likely the easiest to get to.

    Hamilton and Amherst have fairly open curriculums...has she looked at the gen ed requirements of each of the 4? Range of classes in her possible majors? Research focus of profs in her majors?

    Amherst and Haverford are part of consortiums

    W&L the most conservative, but a moderate should be fine at all

    What can you pay per year for school? Have you run each school's net price calculator (NPC) to get estimated COA? (the npcs won't be exact right now because 2020 tuition is loaded, but they should be in the ball park)

    edited March 31
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  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    In my impression, Haverford likes to be "politically correct" while at Wash & Lee either a student fits into the campus culture or the student doesn't.

    Amherst is located among a consortium of liberal schools.

    Hamilton College seems moderate.

    Based on her academic interests of science & math, Amherst College should definitely be among her target schools. Hamilton College & Haverford as well.
    edited March 31
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    edited March 31
    Notwithstanding the above, there is no "political correctness"-whatever that is-at Haverford. It does have an Honor Code, but that's something that it's had during the course of its history. It has rigorous academics in a collegial and welcoming atmosphere, and is part of a consortium that includes Penn, Swarthmore, and Bryn Mawr.

    It also has an established history of respecting athletics as part of its interest in educating the whole student. If your daughter wants to have the opportunity to explore a wealth of academic options and play a sport at the college level, Haverford is a great choice.

    And it has dynamite science and math departments, and an almost limitless number of courses are offered through the consortium. Haverford is a nice small town, and Philadelphia is a very short train ride away.
    edited March 31
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  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited March 31
    Another poster wrote:

    "there is no "political correctness"-whatever that is-at Haverford."

    Hmmm.

    edited March 31
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    edited March 31
    And another poster does impressions, not actually knowing any students at Haverford or even having visited the college. The internet is great, but it's even better to know students/alums of a college.
    And please, define "political correctness" and explain how that applies to Haverford. Based on your personal experience, of course.
    edited March 31
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  • momrathmomrath 6014 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @Tribeach, My son looked at Amherst, Hamilton & Haverford. I don't know much about W&L and so I won't comment on how it compares.

    The academic rigor is excellent at all three with similar nurturing professors and lots of personal attention.

    All northeastern LACs lean left, but I would consider Haverford the most liberal, then Amherst, then Hamilton.

    Amherst and Haverford are part of larger consortiums with other nearby colleges (though my son didn't see this as a particular benefit). The town of Amherst is a lively college town. Haverford is in an upscale suburb of Philly.

    Hamilton's campus is rural. It's not too far to the charming town of Clinton, but it's still a good hike, especially in winter. To my son, who enjoys outdoorsy activities including snow sports Hamilton's scenic rural location was a plus, but your daughter's preferences may be different.

    To my mind Amherst and Hamilton are the most alike in culture and personality. I would put Williams and Bowdoin in the same general category. I see Haverford more similar to Swarthmore and Wesleyan.

    My son ended up at Williams but had that not worked out Hamilton would have been one of his top choices. For superb math and sciences plus an active, sporty, energetic student body, I'd suggest that your daughter take a look at Williams. Double majoring is common.

    If W&L's Greek system is appealing she might also consider Dartmouth or Colgate.
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  • TribeachTribeach 4 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks to everyone for their replies so far! I appreciate it! 😊 It is nice to get personal information about schools and culture that are hard to get a feeling for without visiting!

    @Publisher The Greek life is one think my D isn't so sure about with W & L. She is trying to keep an open mind but isn't really interested in a big party scene. I keep hearing that there are a wide variety of sororities on campus. The sports facilities do seem very nice. This is the one school we have already toured.

    @Mwfan1921 Thanks for all the info! She does want to be a recruited athlete and has been taking to coaches. I'm still trying to learn all of this but it sounds like the coaches will want recruited athletes to apply ED. I think the idea for her is get closer to picking a school for ED and then if that doesn't work out we will have to figure out which schools to RD. I'm not sure she can really tell until she can visit and/or have overnights, but hopefully she can have some good choices and be ready once we can visit again!

    @oldlaw Thanks for the Haverford info. I think they are one of the schools that doesn't have any classes during certain hours so teams can train! The town does seem nice!

    @momrath Thanks! I really appreciate the info! I'm not sure why Williams isn't on her list yet, but we are both researching it more today. It looks like a lovely school!!

    Thanks @merc81 for posting the math info! 😊
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  • merc81merc81 11654 replies199 threads Senior Member
    With respect to your research on Williams, you can see its number of recent math major graduates (23) through the same source referenced in reply #5: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Williams&s=all&id=168342#programs.
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    It's worth noting that Haverford embraces an impressive balance of the student as scholar and athlete. Not sure what sport your daughter plays, but she ought to contact the coach ASAP(at all the schools as well) to express interest, and to ask to speak with current athletes in her sport; she can learn a lot that way about not only the coaching but also the school and her fellow student athletes.
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  • momrathmomrath 6014 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @merc81 Not sure how the IPEDS figures were compiled, but Williams website shows the "four-year average distribution of majors, 2016-2019" as
    64 Math
    17 Statistics
    https://communications.williams.edu/media-relations/fast-facts/

    About 40% of Williams students double major which is why the major totals are greater than size of the student body. Perhaps IPEDS only counts one major per student?

    Aside from Harvey Mudd, I would say that Williams is among the top LAC destinations for math.
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  • merc81merc81 11654 replies199 threads Senior Member
    @momrath: IPEDS posts a sample for one year at a time only and, as you suggested, states "Data shown are for first majors" (and therefore the source may deflate the figures for all schools). Note that both Williams and Harvey Mudd appear in a Princeton Review sampling, "Great Schools for Mathematics Majors."
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  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    Haverford College has a small enrollment of approximately 1,300 students.

    Haverford academics are demanding. Beautiful campus.

    I encourage all to utilize as many published resources as possible concerning colleges & universities since visiting is not an option for most at this time.

    One such resource is the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 which awards Haverford College its highest ratings for academics and for quality of life, but--in large bold, black print--cautions "Sometimes you feel like you are walking on eggshells to avoid offending anyone."

    Additionally, the smallness leads to a social scene that is described in the Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 as "tiresome".

    If you can tolerate the campus culture of political correctness and the "tiresome" social scene, then Haverford College offers an academically challenging education in a beautiful setting.
    edited April 2
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3723 replies181 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    ^Cherry picking quotes from a source after recommending the poster read it for themselves is kind of weird.

    Another point: "Political correctness" is often a surrogate marker for how much a college is growing in socio-economic, racial and religious diversity. As the student body begins to reflect recruitment efforts that bring people from different parts of the country and stations in life together in small communities, frictions develop, accomodations are made. It's a natural progression. Of the four LACs mentioned, only one has had to change its athletic mascot in recent years in response to student protests.

    One thing I have noticed is that the presence of Division I sports on a campus does seem to help bring kids together.
    edited April 2
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  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    Haverford College reminds me of an elite prep boarding school. St. Andrew's School in Delaware comes to mind.

    The political correctness of Haverford College is borne out of its primary mission guided by Quaker principles.
    edited April 2
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  • PublisherPublisher 11124 replies145 threads Senior Member
    OP: Among Amherst, Haverford, Hamilton, and Wash & Lee, I find Haverford and Wash & Lee to have the strongest "personalities".

    Amherst is an interesting option which would be difficult to turn down if offered admission & affordable. Outstanding academics & no core curriculum with a location in a vibrant college community, Amherst College seemingly offers everything that one might seek in a small LAC.
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    Calling an entire campus PC is a patently uninformed critique, clearly issued by someone who has never visited the school .

    And using buzzwords like "PC" also reflects the fact that the poster has zero personal knowledge of Haverford, its students, and its graduates. Having met dozens of Haverford grads, student athletes all, the amazing array of work and graduate school experience they possess does their school proud-and would be noteworthy for any college.

    The Haverford graduate school experience trends toward science/medical/health.
    https://www.haverford.edu/outcomes-graduate-study

    Haverford also has a freshmen retention rate of 97%-one of the best in the US. So students who matriculate decide they like Haverford, their classmates and professors, and decide to stay.
    https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/national-liberal-arts-colleges/freshmen-least-most-likely-return

    For a small college, Haverford has a remarkably diverse student population.
    https://www.haverford.edu/why-haverford
    Although it's clear that one way to attack diversity is to call it "PC" so it's not for everyone.

    And it values its student athletes-34% of students play an intercollegiate sport. What other college can match that?


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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3723 replies181 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2
    ^Amherst is a college of ~1700 students with an estimable reputation - just like 20 other colleges with similar histories and trajectories.

    Haverford is similar in size and reputation. The only difference visible from the outside is that it has its own railroad stop that connects to a major American city (Swarthmore, its neighbor, has a similar setup.)[CORRECTION: The station is probably more like a 10 minute walk according to their website.]

    W&L - Probably the least like the other three in terms of atmosphere (way more Greek.)
    edited April 2
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  • oldlawoldlaw 324 replies14 threads Member
    Wow, just wow-if the values the Quakers have espoused for centuries-equality, integrity, charity toward your fellow human beings, stewardship of and peace on Earth-are now "PC" then the Earth could do with a little more PC.

    And it should be noted that Haverford no longer has a formal religious affiliation, and students of all races and creeds enroll.

    It does have an Honor Code; each applicant can decide if that works for them. It's clear that the Honor Code and the values listed above don't work for #16.

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