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Mid-size Univ vs Small LAC?

MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
Does anyone have experience with a child studying Cognitive Science anywhere? Trying to asses the differences in academics and research options in mid-size universities vs small LACs
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Replies to: Mid-size Univ vs Small LAC?

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7874 replies83 threads Senior Member
    Too broad a question: which mid-size university / which small LAC matters a lot. Some small LACs have a strong CogSci program, with lots of research opps for students- others, not so much. Some mid-size universities actively engage undergrads in research right from the beginning, others not until they are declared majors. Etc.

    If grad school is at all likely, doing some off-site summer research (at other unis/research centers) is good for broadening the understanding of the field and for getting outside LoRs- and that is just as easy from an LAC as a mid-size uni.

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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    edited May 29
    Thank you
    edited May 29
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  • happy1happy1 23961 replies2403 threads Super Moderator
    Both a mid-sized university and a LAC can offer excellent educations with research opportunities. It really is personal preference. FWIW my S felt that LACs were too small and loved his mid-sized university while my D thrived in the close-knit community of her LAC.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    Location is another factor. My DD is at a mid size Ivy university. She is doing research but it’s in the summer. Not a problem because she lives nearby. Otherwise she’d have to be dealing with housing issues and whether she wants to be away from home additional months of the year.

    So, you have to be ready to take advantage of opportunities when you get them, and they’re not always at your convenience.
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    That’s the issue here. Wanting that close/knit community but not giving up great research. Thank you!
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Great point. It’s a choice between Brown which we live close to, and Pomona.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7874 replies83 threads Senior Member
    Neither academics nor research opps can be the tie-breaker between those two!

    I get your point about being 'near' @Bill Marsh- but unless you live commuting distance summer internships will always have some housing element. One of mine learned so much from spending summers in 3 different cities - about the grad school programs at those unis, about her field and the people in it, about where she would prefer to live (or not!!). I missed her, and she missed us, but they were fantastic experiences.

    And, OP, as all of the above comments indicate, it's really about what suits the student. Once all the major 'objective' criteria have been checked, it comes down to where will your kid flourish- and for that, in most cases, the kid's gut really is the best metric. Scary as that is!
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    So true! Trouble is with knowing his gut so trying to guide him ; )
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83289 replies740 threads Senior Member
    edited May 29
    For "differences in academics", you can check the cognitive science major requirements at each:
    https://nextbulletin.brown.edu/the-college/concentrations/cogs/
    http://catalog.pomona.edu/preview_entity.php?catoid=33&ent_oid=1844

    Of course, you can also check catalogs and schedules to see what elective courses in or out of the major exist.

    Note also that Pomona has various general education requirements, while Brown's are limited to two writing courses:
    http://catalog.pomona.edu/content.php?catoid=33&navoid=6638#General_Education_Requirements
    https://www.brown.edu/academics/college/degree/curriculum/writing-requirement

    Also, are both affordable and similar in net price?
    edited May 29
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Yes, Cost is similar. he actually knows these requirements well. He just completed his freshman year at Brown after having made a difficult choice to go there instead of Pomona. Reapplied to Pomona as a transfer because he just wasn’t feeling the fit at Brown. Really liked the community feeling at Pomona but the more expansive nature of the cognitive science department at Brown. Doesn’t want to give up great opportunities in the cognitive science realm to gain a feeling of belonging.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7874 replies83 threads Senior Member
    Go to Pomona for the school year, do summer internships on the East Coast. Best of both worlds :smile:
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Great idea! Lol
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83289 replies740 threads Senior Member
    Moezee wrote: »
    Yes, Cost is similar. he actually knows these requirements well. He just completed his freshman year at Brown after having made a difficult choice to go there instead of Pomona. Reapplied to Pomona as a transfer because he just wasn’t feeling the fit at Brown. Really liked the community feeling at Pomona but the more expansive nature of the cognitive science department at Brown. Doesn’t want to give up great opportunities in the cognitive science realm to gain a feeling of belonging.

    What in particular ("lack of belonging" means?) is not a good fit at Brown? One of the major fit factors (cost) is similar, and it looks like another major fit factor (cognitive science major) is in Brown's favor.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    edited May 29
    Neither academics nor research opps can be the tie-breaker between those two!

    I get your point about being 'near' @Bill Marsh- but unless you live commuting distance summer internships will always have some housing element. One of mine learned so much from spending summers in 3 different cities - about the grad school programs at those unis, about her field and the people in it, about where she would prefer to live (or not!!). I missed her, and she missed us, but they were fantastic experiences.

    I agree, and your point is well taken. I didn’t mean to imply that heshould be staying close to home. I have another DD at a college 1900 miles away from home, so I also see both sides.

    I mentioned the distance issue because I don’t know if people factor that in when they make decisions based on research opportunities at the college. I didn’t want to take it for granted that they understood. I thought you put it well when you said that summer opportunities always have some housing element. Spoken like the voice of experience. 😉
    edited May 29
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    Moezee wrote: »
    Yes, Cost is similar. he actually knows these requirements well. He just completed his freshman year at Brown after having made a difficult choice to go there instead of Pomona. Reapplied to Pomona as a transfer because he just wasn’t feeling the fit at Brown. Really liked the community feeling at Pomona but the more expansive nature of the cognitive science department at Brown. Doesn’t want to give up great opportunities in the cognitive science realm to gain a feeling of belonging.

    What in particular ("lack of belonging" means?) is not a good fit at Brown? One of the major fit factors (cost) is similar, and it looks like another major fit factor (cognitive science major) is in Brown's favor.

    Brown’s Cognitive Science Department is likely a little better, but from what I read, Pomona’s is also highly regarded. And a Pomona student can supplement their offerings with Claremont McKenna’s also highly regarded opportunities in this area as well as anything else at the other 3 colleges.

    Does Brown really offer a significant advantage in this regard?
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    He felt there are lots of smart kids but could not find the intellectuals. No effort was made by the school to build community. Everyone is on their own whereas Pomona does provide more structured opportunities
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  • MoezeeMoezee 40 replies7 threads Junior Member
    edited May 29
    We honestly don’t know. The CogSci dept itself at Pomona is much smaller (2 ft profs) but the majors take required courses across the 5cs so it may not be fair to compare. Their Psych dept. is much larger and many of the required CogSci courses come from there. I guess the cohesiveness of the Brown dept is appealing and somehow seems more “legitimate.” Also Brown being a research Univ. would likely have more research available although CMC has lots of Psych research labs too. Tough one
    edited May 29
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  • merc81merc81 11782 replies201 threads Senior Member
    In considering this concept in general, note that it was an LAC, Vassar, that developed the first undergraduate program in cognitive science in the world.

    https://cogsci.vassar.edu/students/
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  • merc81merc81 11782 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited May 30
    Congratulations to your son on his decision and best of luck to him at Pomona!
    edited May 30
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