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Input on college decision.

Ideal_LifeIdeal_Life Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited June 2008 in Colorado College
As the May 1st deadline to commit to a school is coming soon, I am struggling with my decision.

After much deliberation, I have decided between Colorado College and Middlebury College. However, I am very split between the two schools. I've visited Colorado College twice, and fell in love with its idealism, environment, and the block plan (of course). I just came back from Middlebury's campus preview for accepted students and didn't fall in love with the campus, but rather the academics and professors. The campus felt uncomfortable to me, and the students felt so plain and general. It's worth noting that I want to involve environmental studies in my curriculum; however, desire to connect sociology, economics, and philosophy.

I know for a fact that this is doable at CC, but do not think so much with Middlebury. However, the academics at Middlebury are considered superb and worthwhile. The particular reason I applied to Middlebury was to be able to work with a well-known scholar in residence in environmentalism writing, and work with a professor who specializes in environmental economics. Students have done remarkable things in being agents of change when it comes to sustainability. I'm also afraid of the workload at Middlebury, which would not allow me to pursue volunteering projects, but for me, I believe the workload at CC will be manageable especially with the block plan.

At CC, I am friends with a couple of current students and feel that their presence is what made CC so great for me. While at Middlebury, I knew no one and was really nervous, and perhaps this hindered my experience while I was in Vermont.

Also worth noting, financially my parents contribution would be similar. I received merit and need-based aid from CC, and my parents would roughly pay close to nothing. At Middlebury, their financial aid packet was very VERY generous, with a family contribution of only 3thousand dollars more. As money is not an issue, my parents are letting me choose where I go this fall. I know that ranking-wise Middlebury is by far a better school than CC, but feel that CC is remarkable in different aspects than just academics alone. I don't want to choose a school based off prestige, but purely what will be best for me as an individual who will learn and flourish in an environment that will help form me as a person who wants to be a "catalyst for change".

Any comments, or remarks would be very appreciated.
Post edited by Ideal_Life on
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Replies to: Input on college decision.

  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Hi Ideal_Life,

    I'm sure you realize how blessed you are to have such great choices.......and I can also see why the decision seems so hard. Your list of pros and cons is equal and yet so different.

    You can't make a wrong choice here. Go with your gut. You will be happy.
  • andre2000andre2000 Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Agreed.
    Go where your heart tells you to go, don't let "academic prestige" and USNWR rankings dictate the next 4 years of your life. Sacrificing happiness to be with a well-known professor would not be advisable. If you feel that you can accomplish your goals and be happier at CC, then go for it!
  • mwgdcmwgdc Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    I just saw your same post on the Middlebury site and responded there. It's funny, everyone said the same thing I said on the other site. I agree completely with the above responses. Don't let rankings from some magazine influence your decision.
  • arcadiaarcadia Registered User Posts: 2,527 Senior Member
    Sounds like you'll be happier at CC.
  • Ideal_LifeIdeal_Life Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Is it a possibility that my friends are my 'safety blanket' thus leading me to believe that I would be happier here?
  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Sure it is possible.......or maybe not.

    About the people that you want to work with at Middlebury......did you meet them and you are excited at the prospect of working personally with them, you feel you click with them, or do you just know them by reputation?
  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    I just read your post on the Midd thread and I really empathize with you. However, again, I say go with your gut. And certainly don't worry about disappointing this professor.

    This is just me, but I think there is so much more to college than the academics. I believe that ideally your experience should both be fun and also help you stretch into new experiences and ways of looking at things. Which school do you think would be best for this?

    You sound like the kind of serious student who will go to grad school. My experience is that in grad school, I went purely for the academics and to work with a particular professor. If you have that kind of focus and drive already, more power to you. Just don't sacrifice balance.
  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Two more things and then I'll shut up:

    At CC, you are likely to have way more field work than at Midd. This has up and down sides. A geology professor at another school told me that the CC kids he knew had the best practical skills but not the best training in theory of the kids he worked with on a summer program. Both are necessary and the balance is up to you.

    Re your discomfort at Midd: On the other thread, you said you are from Oklahoma. Probably a large proportion of the Midd kids are from N.E. I know that many western kids have to go through a real adjustment when the go to a NE school. We are used to a more relaxed culture. So, this may be a stretch for you that you find a positive challenge.........or an encumbrance when you could be using your energy in another way.
  • Ideal_LifeIdeal_Life Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thank you so much Canadianmom! Your input is great.

    At Midd, everyone has the mindset of "work hard, play hard". Could it have been because I stayed with my particular host that led me to believe that Midd wasn't fantastic?

    However at CC, all of the current students were so welcoming and really determined to persuade the prospective students to come in the fall. This wasn't the case at Middlebury; it felt that the students were there to tell you how it was and wanted me to figure it out on my own.
  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Well, that sure tells you something about the campus cultures. Am I right in feeling that you liked the Midd students' attitude?

    I'm glad to hear what you said about the CC students. We visited when my S was a junior. He got in ED (a thrill and a relief) but we missed the fun of seeing how students treat prospies on accepted students' weekends. I like the CC attitude for my son.
  • arcadiaarcadia Registered User Posts: 2,527 Senior Member
    Probably a large proportion of the Midd kids are from N.E.

    Many people are surprised to learn that 76% of Middlebury students come from outside New England, and 11% are international.
  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    Are a large percentage from outside the north east? (I'm including the mid-atlantic states)
  • arcadiaarcadia Registered User Posts: 2,527 Senior Member
    Yes, New York and New Jersey are very well represented (as they are at most colleges). I think the 5th most represented state is Calif.
  • CanadianmomCanadianmom Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    My comment about Midd was not specific to New England. We visited several schools in the north east, several in the north west, one in TX, and CC.

    I don't think my S realized how "western" he is until these visits (nor would he necessarily identify it this way). He liked the NE schools, had GREAT visits, welcoming hosts & interesting classes, and lots of partying. But in the end, he recognized a vague discomfort there that he couldn't really explain.......and more important, a feeling of total fit and flow with 2 western schools.

    I've lived extensively in the 4 corners of the US, and to me it just comes down to subtleties of culture. Simply depends on what we want.

    When I was 18, I could hardly wait to get out of the south and go to school in MA. Others prefer a feeling of familiarity.
  • PeaceOut007PeaceOut007 Registered User Posts: 131 Junior Member
    Wow, talk about two amazing choices! Canadianmom is definitely right in that the northeastern schools have a very different feel from the western ones. I have lived in Connecticut my entire life and couldn't wait to get out of New England for college. Not knocking New England at all, it's just not for me and after having spent 18 years there, I knew I'd be happier out west. As I come to the end of my freshman year at CC, I just figure I should say that it has been by far the best experience of my life. I've been so happy since day one. I feel I've been challenged academically and have definitely come out of my shell.

    I really think that the student body at CC is on the whole much more laid back and friendly than most northeast colleges. Think about it. A school like Middlebury is more likely to attract kids that are looking for prestige and may be slightly competitive. CC students attend CC because the school is a good fit for them, not because of its reputation. The fact that we are a top LAC that no one knows about is really a blessing in disguise. It used to frustrate me when I got blank stares or rude comments such as "why would you go so far away to a school no one's ever heard of?" when I said I was going to Colorado College, but now I realize that these people don't matter. Those that do matter will always support my decision. I've spent the past eight months of my life here and have absolutely no regrets. CC has been the best thing for me and I really hope you choose to come here, but if you do choose Middlebury, I'm sure you will find your niche and be happy whatever the circumstances. Middlebury is a great place and so is CC. Best of luck with the decision! I hope it all works out for you wherever you end up!
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