right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMALehigh is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, majoring in Finance. He answers questions about academics, networking, finance, Greek life, or Lehigh in general. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Grouping LACs by vibe

Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
My S21 is interested in LACs, but we may not visit any campuses before application time, and I'm scratching my head trying to help him put a list together.

Occasionally on a thread, I'll see someone group LACs, with various selectivities, by vibe, student body similarity, campus feel, or something. For example, Middlebury/Bates/St. Lawrence was one I saw, if I recall correctly.

Are there threads where people have shared their experiences, coming up with these sorts of lists? The Fiske guide is helpful, but not as much across selectivity levels.
72 replies
· Reply · Share
«134

Replies to: Grouping LACs by vibe

  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    I don't know about lists on other threads, but you can generate your own lists in this thread by specifying what type of vibe you think that your son would like.
    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited June 3
    Thanks, @Publisher, I was probably approaching this backwards. I'm not entirely sure about vibe. His list of favorite schools is somewhat varied. Perhaps I should describe him.

    He's an earnest, introverted, and intellectual kid. Loves the outdoors. Liberal leaning, but likes to hear variety of views. He likes small, collaborative communities. Not a big parter. Not hugely interested in sports centric schools. Loves to try new things. Wants to be somewhere green. Preferably near water he can't see across.

    Math, maybe computer science focus, or maybe a hard science, but not engineering. Loves learning new languages. Plans to study abroad. Likes small little college towns a lot. Needs good options for doing research. And good higher level math, as he finished up multivariable Calc his junior year.

    edited June 3
    · Reply · Share
  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10231 replies176 threads Super Moderator
    edited June 4
    It'll be tough to meet all of his criteria, I think. The list of powerhouses in math is relatively short, and several are not near the ocean.

    The College of William & Mary (technically a small university) came to mind first, but financial aid for out-of-state students is iffy.

    Swarthmore and Haverford are well worth a look given his interests, I think.

    FWIW, about a year ago I compiled a list of the 20 LACs that have produced the most PhDs in math over the last 20 years.

    95 Harvey Mudd
    71 St. Olaf
    63 Williams
    58 Carleton
    52 Swarthmore
    51 Pomona
    50 Oberlin / Reed
    34 Grinnell
    29 Haverford
    28 Amherst
    27 Furman / Whitman
    26 Wheaton (IL)
    25 Bryn Mawr / Wellesley
    23 U Puget Sound / Wesleyan
    21 Davidson / Lafayette

    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • tkoparenttkoparent 435 replies10 threads Member
    I'll start from "Close to water you can't see across", which is an interesting challenge but one I can sympathize with. Maybe Connecticut College, which is on Long Island Sound. Davidson might also fit, as it is very near Lake Norman and has a Lake Campus. In Maine, Bowdoin is very near the ocean and Bates just a bit further inland. All of these schools would also seem to be a good fit with some of your other criteria. (There are also schools close to water that I am less familiar with - Puget Sound and Eckerd, for example, and if you google "small colleges near water" you'll find a bunch more.) If your son wants to avoid an overly sports-centric kind of environment, take a look at the percentage of varsity athletes within the student body - it can be 50% or higher at some LACs.

    I don't think it's crazy to look at criteria like these in the early stages of the search. I think we started by searching on something like "colleges with beautiful campuses near cities." It opened our eyes to a lot of schools we'd never heard of, areas we'd never considered, etc., pushed us to broaden our thinking generally. The people on CC can do that as well - if you are able to share your S21's stats, I'm sure people will have lots of good suggestions.
    · Reply · Share
  • merc81merc81 11806 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited June 4
    And good higher level math . . . .

    The Princeton Review's college guide offers a sampling, "Great Schools for Mathematics Majors," that includes recommendations such as Hamilton, Bowdoin, Amherst, Williams, Haverford, Harvey Mudd, Pomona, Reed, Carleton and Grinnell. You can access the guide's print edition for the full list, though these represent the most selective LAC suggestions.
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • wisteria100wisteria100 4486 replies49 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps take a look at the college guide book The Hidden Ivy’s. The school descriptions in there are more comprehensive and nuanced than Fiske.
    And fwiw - Can’t beat Bowdoin or Amherst for a good college town.
    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks, @wisteria100. He really liked Amherst when we looked at it online. Bowdoin, not at all. I guess website design is as a good a criteria as any for narrowing a list... Will check out that book.

    @merc81 yes, half of those schools are on his radar. But agree, all very selective, which is the challenge.

    @warblersrule That's a good list, with a few we hadn't considered. I don't think he knows what kind of math interests him most. It might edge more toward applied math.

    @tkoparent I think he's turned off by big rah rah sports schools, which might not apply to LACs. He's a club sport, 4 year Varsity athlete himself, but without stats or desire to play in college beyond club or intramural. But perhaps there are less options for this at a school with lots of Varsity athletes?

    So he tells me, green is non-negotiable, water he can't see across, less so. Preferably within a couple of hours. Yes, a large enough lake might count

    Stats might be useful here:

    36C ACT, 4.0 UW for now, small independent school, no APs offered. Varied ECs including research, prestigious summer program. He has varied and well developed hobbies/interests. Stellar programming skills. Minimal volunteering.

    We can pay up to about 35-40K preferably less, preferably without loans. NPCs tend to reflect this.

    We are also looking at larger schools with residential college systems, or honors colleges that would "shrink" a campus.

    We live in a place kind of stuck in a time warp, in good and bad ways. But the kids here are mostly nice, open minded, and truly grounded. I think that's important to him.
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited June 4
    Haverford College in Pennsylvania (Haverford, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr consortium & UPenn but a bit far). Unfortunately, Haverford College does not have the water feature that your son is seeking.

    P.S. Are you willing to share your state of residency ?

    I ask for public options & agreement among several states that reduce tuition.

    P.P.S. Also, Davidson College in North Carolina & College of William & Mary in Virginia might be of interest. Not sure about the math major, however.

    Northwestern University is on the shores of Lake Michigan, but it is not an LAC and NU does not offer merit money.

    UC-San Diego. UC-Santa Barbara has a small college within the university. Has water too.
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited June 4
    It would help to know why your son disliked Bowdoin College.

    Univ. of Puget Sound, Western Washington University & the Univ. of Washington in Seattle. Not small, but your son would fit in.
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited June 4
    Apply to the computer science major at the University of Washington. Among the best CS programs in the world. He will fit in. Not a party school. Lush greenery everywhere. Lots of nature. Lots of introverts. Coffee shop type socialization. Incredible job placement. Should receive scholarship money.

    Very strong, world class academics & research. Huge research expenditures each year. Almost always among the top 5 for research expenditures. Lots of Federal Government funding for research.

    Superb education.

    The University of Washington at Seattle has a subdued, nature loving, academic feel. Folks like their privacy. Lots of intellectuals. Lots of lucrative internships & job/career options/opportunities.

    Hiking, boating, kayaking, wind surfing, etc. Take a ferry to Victoria, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Breathtakingly beautiful.
    Most beautiful open air outdoor concert venue in the country--nicer than Red Rocks in Colorado.

    Easy to get to Portland, Oregon via Amtrak or driving. Columbia River Gorge is a long but doable in a day drive.

    Fresh fish available everywhere.

    Many take boat or driving trips to Alaska.

    Washington coastline, Oregon coast, Idaho lakes, rivers & waterfalls.

    The Univ. of Vermont Honors College. Lake Champlain. Scholarship awards. Not sure about math.
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Publisher we are a WUE state. The state flagship is a financial safety, but S21 would rather go elsewhere.

    I think the UC schools are out of our budget, unfortunately.

    Given past state cutoffs, he will be a NMSF.

    There was something about Bowdoin's online tour that didn't jive. It came across as STEM weak to him? They did focus on STEM a bit, but more a focus on collaboration with humanities majors. I don't know if I'm being clear, but I think he was concerned about his academic interests being supported. I think they would be. Probably worth another look.

    He loved Middlebury's online tour, for perspective. Beautiful setting. Bowdoin's might be as well, just couldn't tell.

    Online tours are frustrating. We looked at my alma mater and he nixed it based on the web design alone. Not the best fit for him or for our budget anyway, so I didn't pursue it.
    · Reply · Share
  • tkoparenttkoparent 435 replies10 threads Member
    I agree, if your son is an athlete and is just the rah-rah that is the problem, LACs are probably OK, even those with lots of varsity athletes. Club programs can also be very strong at these schools. If Bowdoin is an option financially, you might want to take another look. Bowdoin is academically intensive but pretty laid-back otherwise and in one of the best small college towns we saw. It's also close to the water and just a half hour from Portland. Like many of the NESCAC schools, however, Bowdoin does not offer any merit aid, so unless you qualify for financial aid, it may not work for you. Among the schools I mentioned, Davidson does offer merit, as does Connecticut College.
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Are you in the state of Washington ?

    If so, what is your son's impression of Western Washington University's setting, Univ. of Puget Sound's setting ?

    Any thoughts about the University of Washington ?
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 26667 replies268 threads Senior Member
    tkoparent wrote: »
    If your son wants to avoid an overly sports-centric kind of environment, take a look at the percentage of varsity athletes within the student body - it can be 50% or higher at some LACs.


    I don't think that is always a good indicator. example: A smaller LAC like Haverford will have a high percentage but sports don't dominate the campus culture at all.

    Zinnia203 wrote: »
    I guess website design is as a good a criteria as any for narrowing a list...

    No offense intended but I think that is a very poor criteria to judge on. :)
    · Reply · Share
  • 1NJParent1NJParent 2438 replies37 threads Senior Member
    Zinnia203 wrote: »
    He's an earnest, introverted, and intellectual kid. Loves the outdoors. Liberal leaning, but likes to hear variety of views. He likes small, collaborative communities. Not a big parter. Not hugely interested in sports centric schools. Loves to try new things. Wants to be somewhere green. Preferably near water he can't see across.

    Math, maybe computer science focus, or maybe a hard science, but not engineering. Loves learning new languages. Plans to study abroad. Likes small little college towns a lot. Needs good options for doing research. And good higher level math, as he finished up multivariable Calc his junior year.

    Given his interests, Caltech may be worth a try. It's not an LAC, but it seems to meet all your criteria.
    · Reply · Share
  • 57special57special 703 replies16 threads Member
    Except for the large body of water, Carleton sounds perfect. It does have an arboretum and little lake right on campus, though. I would say that it more "mathy" than Middlebury, and definitely less athletic. Mid is a better place to go if you want to get a job in Wall Street.
    Carleton is in a smaller college town. Is Liberal, but not rabidly so. Is known to be more collaborative than than competitive, at least compared to some schools like Swat.



    My eldest visited all of the schools above.
    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited June 4
    @doschicos Yes, I agree that website design is a very poor criteria! Isn't there a whole thread about stupid reasons kids eliminate schools from their lists?

    @INJParent Caltech might suit. Doesn't seem a particularly balanced place, which concerns me.

    @Publisher Not in WA unfortunately, but he loved the locale when we were there two years ago. We drove around U of W. He was a bit overwhelmed by the size. He has a friend there this year, so I'll nudge him again to get in contact and see how the friend likes it. Unfortunately, not a WUE school. I'll take another look at U of Puget Sound. Don't know much about the school, but we get a lot of mailings. Ditto for Western WA.

    @tkoparent Having no merit aid is not a problem perhaps. It may be a wash. HHI 150K, so eligible for financial aid at most schools. But who knows about next year. NPCs gives numbers much the same as a half tuition merit scholarship might. Now schools that stack, that would be nice...
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited June 4
    Oh, and having an outdoor/outings club is a preference, more so than near water, at a guess.
    edited June 4
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Any career plans ?

    Which languages ?

    With a 36 ACT and a perfect 4.0 GPA, your son can go to college for free.

    Consider Southern public university honors colleges at Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, & Mississippi. While not quite LACs with a spectacular water view, he can attend free & probably get free foreign travel as well.

    LACs are an option because you may qualify for financial aid. Your son may fit in at Haverford College or Swarthmore College (math & CS).

    But, with his numbers, why not apply for the big scholarships at the University of Virginia, Univ. of North Carolina, Duke University, Univ. of Georgia, Washington & Lee University, etc.

    Again, which languages is he interested in learning or has he already studied ?

    Any careers in mind ?

    The last two are important questions regarding significant scholarships.

    But, it would be foolish for one interested in CS to not apply to UW-Seattle as a CS major & attend if admitted.

    · Reply · Share
  • Zinnia203Zinnia203 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Publisher Computer languages or foreign languages? Not sure on the first, but he's currently tackling a shader language to rework some programming he did last summer. He's very interested in studying abroad, so would pick up whatever new one he needs, in addition to the Spanish he studies currently.

    He talks about going on to graduate school. No clear focus or career field yet. He likes it all.

    I had assumed those big cohort scholarships focus on volunteer service as well? He doesn't have much.

    Of those southern schools, are there any particularly STEM focused? We have looked at U of SC and U of A and he was open to them. The class sizes in the Honors colleges were a huge plus. Campus culture? They wouldn't be his first pick. But free or cheap is good.

    As to U of W, I'd have to look at finances to see what OOS tuition is, unless there are merit awards. I don't know how focused he is on computer science as a major. He likes the idea of applying it to harder problems in science, but he's really still undecided. I assume he'd have to declare a major and apply directly to that program at U of W.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity