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William and Mary vs. Holy Cross

tlclsb123tlclsb123 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Both being liberal arts colleges and similarly ranked, I’m looking for some opinions on the better overall experience. Holy Cross gave me more money and that is not a deciding factor but I’m looking for something to convince me William and Mary is worth the money. I’ve heard some horror stories about the social life in particular at W&M while Holy Cross seems to have a more active party scene despite not having Greek life. Are there parties outside of frats and sororities at W&M, and how is the bar scene, if there is any? Is the campus strict on areas related to drinking and partying, possibly too strict? Academically, how much more respected and sought after are W&M graduates? Are the job prospects for W&M students a level above LAC’s? I plan on studying computer science and am not sure how well these schools prepare for a career and connect with potential jobs considering the tendency of non-engineering focused schools to have a small amount of computer science graduates. To my understanding, W&M is superior academically and in reputation, but has a reputation for being no fun and all work. Obviously the aim of college is to learn and use your money to the best value possible, but if the rumors of night life being restricted to Greek life are true, I’d likely choose Holy Cross.

Replies to: William and Mary vs. Holy Cross

  • IzzoOneIzzoOne Registered User Posts: 358 Member
    edited April 27
    If money is not an issue, I think it should come down to fit. They are both excellent choices.

    My view is W&M is a pretty friendly and social school, with a strong sense of community, but it isn't a huge party school. Of note, I have seen it ranked very high for student satisfaction (see Princeton Review surveys) and a high retention rate. There are a few bars (the delis) right across the street from the campus and a few other spots in Williamsburg that are further away. About 1/3rd or so are Greek, but I don't think it is a big deal if you don't join. There is a lot of activity around residence life, clubs, and organizations.

    Holy Cross also is known for having a tight community. Worcester is considerably bigger than Williamsburg, and isn't too far from Boston, which has a lot to offer, although you should probably check the travel times. Williamsburg is a similar distance to Richmond, which is becoming a trendy city, but Richmond isn't Boston. I have heard that Holy Cross is also quite demanding. I think Holy Cross also has one of the highest percentage of Catholic students in the country. In that sense, it may be a bit more homogeneous than W&M.

    As for computer science, you are right that many of the programs that get more notice are at the larger schools (Berkeley, Washington, Texas, Illinois) or at the technically-focused schools (CMU, GT, MIT, etc.). But the flip side of that I have seen is that they can be overrun with students and competitive in some cases, or limit the number of students in specific tracks. That probably won't be the case at either Holy Cross or W&M, and you may have better access to teachers.

    Good luck.
  • HCPP20HCPP20 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Both schools are ranked almost identically in their respective categories: W&M #32 National university and HC #33 National LAC. Neither could be considered “superior academically or in reputation”.
  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 3,633 Senior Member
    Congrats on two great choices. Holy Cross and William & Mary were my D's 2 favorites and she had a hard time deciding which would get her ED application, so I can see how you would love both. Regarding computer science, while I agree with @IzzoOne that the larger schools are more known for this major, I have heard the math department chair at HC speak about how the size and breadth of the computer science program is actually big for a school of its size and that it is growing every year. The alumni network at HC is also quite strong, one of the strongest out there.
  • prodesseprodesse Registered User Posts: 1,280 Senior Member
    I would say that BOTH are superior schools. My kid just chose W&M and we are very pleased.
  • xhaavicxhaavic Registered User Posts: 113 Junior Member
    Two great schools - congratulations! Dissecting academic difference between would be like splitting hairs, IMO. I suspect you'd find more spirit, active social life (as you cite) and sense of community at HC. I'd say this is a case where you need to go with your gut. You have a bright path ahead of you with either one. Don't over think it.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 1,367 Senior Member
    I know WM very well and HC well. Two great, great choices, academically and otherwise. I think social life is way better than you suggest at WM, and overall I doubt that someone of any given social bent would not find their social experience all that different at either school. WM has a lot more walkable places, and the weather is much, much nicer. Worcester offers a little more overall in terms of nightlife, and Boston is doable by commuter rail. Good luck with your decision--make it, have a great four years, and don't look back. Good luck!
  • HCPP20HCPP20 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    @prodesse. Yes, I agree with you.
    I should have finished my sentence - Neither could be considered “superior academically or in reputation” over the other. (Replying to OP’s assertion)

    Both are fantastic schools. ( And I should not reply to posts early in the morning)!
  • IzzoOneIzzoOne Registered User Posts: 358 Member
    TTG said it well.
  • prodesseprodesse Registered User Posts: 1,280 Senior Member
    edited April 28
    @HCPP20 Thanks for the clarification. I was quite shocked by what I thought you were saying!

    Williamsburg doesn't have much nightlife, but Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Richmond are reachable by car.
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