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Dickinson, Muhlenberg or Wheaton for NYC hipster girl

nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
edited May 2009 in Dickinson College
All three were suggeted as academic "match" schools, but I'm not sure about the social fit. Would a NYC hipster girl find other like-minded students at any or all three schools? Or is one (or more) of the schools likely to be too conservative socially?

Thanks.
Post edited by nyc on
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Replies to: Dickinson, Muhlenberg or Wheaton for NYC hipster girl

  • Juniper18Juniper18 Registered User Posts: 32 New Member
    Hard to say, but I would think Wheaton is a definite no. One of my D's HS classmates is transferring out, for many reasons, but one is that she feels it is mostly a commuter school. Are you into theater? Muhlenberg has a great department. My NYC D is at Dickinson, and loves it. She was originally concerned that the vibe there would be too preppy for her taste, but she has found that there are all sorts of people, even in a small school.
    Are you considering places like Bennington, Bard or Sarah Lawrence? They have a definite "hipster" vibe.
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    I assume that all three schools - - Muhlenberg, Dickinson and Wheaton - - have "all sorts of people" but probably in different concencentrations, so that the schools have different "feels" or "vibes." D is already several schools where she is unlikely to encourter no more than a handful of students "like her." We are now seeking to add "match" schools with a critical mass of hipster/indie students - - beyond those into theater (D has no interest in theater and the theater kids tend to stick together).

    Other than the fact that many students leave on the weekend, what were the issues with Wheaton?

    As for the schools you suggested, D has or is considering each them, but noone of them really fits the bill.

    - Bennington: very small and remote.

    - Bard: rural/remote and more of a "reach" than a "match."

    - Sarah Lawrence: again more of a "reach" (and while not your typical "suitcase school," students often leave campus and head for the city).

    Any ideas beyond "the usual suspects?" (D wants to stay fairly close to home - - no farther away than Ohio or South Carolina.)
  • dadx3dadx3 Registered User Posts: 1,559 Senior Member
    Have you considered Goucher? If Dickinson et. al. are matches, Goucher should be a match or even safety-ish.
  • PeabodiePeabodie Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    my D (now attending Dickinson) loved Goucher; the campus and programs are great, and the location is terrific. Lots of things close by, and easy to get to Baltimore and other big cities
  • SLUMOMSLUMOM Registered User Posts: 3,610 Senior Member
    Wheaton does have that "Suitcase" reputation now. What about Hampshire (MA) or maybe Dennison (OH) ?
  • hudsonvalley51hudsonvalley51 Registered User Posts: 2,474 Senior Member
    Where did this "suitcase school" rep development. I first read this in the Princeton Review's description of the college. It seems odd to me that a college where only 33% of the students are Massachusetts residents and where 91% of the kids live on-campus would be a "suitcase school." These are usually colleges with overwhelming in-state enrollment and a large commuter population.

    I have observed when I have been in Boston over the weekend that a lot of kids wearing "Wheaton College" gear can always be found on the T. So do Wheaton students spend a lot of down time visiting Boston? I also noticed on the web-site that the college only offers about 50 clubs and organizations, which seems to be a low number for a school of 1,550 students. Is there a perceived lack of things to do on campus? Of course, hipsters would probably enjoy hanging out in Boston, or at least certain parts of Boston.
  • hudsonvalley51hudsonvalley51 Registered User Posts: 2,474 Senior Member
    FWIW I agree with Bennington, Bard and Sarah Lawrence. Other possibilities might be Emerson, Vassar and Skidmore. Of those the OP listed Muhlenburg is probably the one with the most "critical mass" of kindred spirits, but these are mainly theater kids.
  • jusayswhatjusayswhat Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    Dickinson all the way. I've seen a bunch of "indie hipsters" in the 2013 facebook group. Bard is nice, but is very very eccentric with a large drug scene in my experience.
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Thanks for your insights - - especially with respect to Wheaton. We visited with D1 on a Friday and didn't see many students; we chalked it up to bad timing, but the "suitcase school" comments suggest otherwise. Also interesting that although I posted on the boards of all three schools, the Dickinson thread is the only one that has generted any responses.

    D is already considering most of the schools suggested (except for Vassar and Bard which are too "reachy" and Emerson which doesn't offer the residential campus experience D is seeking); it's good to see that we are on the right track and haven't overlooked any of the obvious choices Sadly, the schools w/ the highest hippie quotient also tend to lead PR's list of "reefer madness" schools (Hampshire, Bard, SLC, etc.). The Goucher vibe is perfect, proximity to Baltimore is a plus and the school is definitely a match/safety - - but sooooo many requirements (11 different categories, I believe). And on paper, Dennison looks very similar to Muhlenber and Dickinson - - only in Ohio instead of PA (and maybe more of a frat culture). Beloit (not suggested but on D's list) looks good, but it's a bit farther from home than D would like to be.

    Clearly, our family will have to compromise; either D will have to be satisfied with a school a smaller than optimal hippie population or DH and I will have to go outside out comfort zone in terms of campus drug culture or D will have to accept more geneds thans she would like. Not an easy task - - especially since some of our visits will have to be during the summer (unlike unis, LACs rarely offer summer sessions so LAC campuses tend to be deserted in the summer) and even with that, we may not get to visit all of the schools before D applies.

    Peabodie - - what made your D choose Dickinson over Goucher?
  • PeabodiePeabodie Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    Ooops. I just typed in a long reply to you, nyc. but it didn't post. I think I might have accidentally hit "report problem" instead of "reply" so if a moderator gets that message, I'm sorry. I must need more coffee.

    Anyway, I'll try that again. I think I typed something along the lines of:

    My daughter is very interested in study abroad, and preferred the way the programs are set up at Dickinson. But the Goucher programs are also nice, and Goucher does offer a stipend for study abroad.

    She enjoys taking dance classes, but is not interested in a dance major. The vibe at Dickinson was better for people who just want to take classes for fun. Most of them also count toward PE and/or general ed requirements.

    She has not been overwhelmed by the general ed requirements. By the end of her third semester, she will have completed all but two of those requirements and more than half of her major requirements, as well as almost all of two minors. And courses in her major/minors will likely complete the last two general ed requirements. She still will be able to study in Spain her entire junior year and also have room left for some "fun" classes during her senior year.

    She has made a lot of friends, and they come from all areas of the country, with very different interests and backgrounds.
    The campus/surrounding town is large enough to have plenty of stuff to do, especially for someone without a car. She liked Goucher's location and campus, too, though.
    Goucher was also her "first" acceptance, so it will always have a special place in our hearts. Both schools will probably be on my D2's list. She really liked them both, too.
  • Juniper18Juniper18 Registered User Posts: 32 New Member
    Did you consider Earlham? It was the first school we visited with D, and although she ultimately did not apply (the buildings are a little dated and the city somewhat sad) there was a real energy there, and lots of hipster kids. It is a safety, not match school for your D, but has an intellectually challenging curriculum, and a lovely Quaker tradition of egalitarianism that is palpable.
  • Harry BalzakHarry Balzak - Posts: 126 Junior Member
    I would go to a local community college until you mature a little bit.
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Juniper18, yes, Earlham is on D's list. Other schools not previously mentioned that she is also considering include: UVM, UNC-Asheville and Lawrence (may be too far).
  • yabeyabe2yabeyabe2 Registered User Posts: 2,454 Senior Member
    NYC, I would like to help, but do not find it clear what you mean by "hipster", especially since you also use "hippie", which means something different to me, at least (hipster connotes dance clubs and trendy clothes; hippie, folk music and jeans). Also, what does she want to study?

    I think the suggestions you are receiving reflect the same confusion, with hipster suggestions being near big cities and hippie suggestions being the countercultural places--with the drug scenes you find a poor match.

    Of the 3 original matches, I do not think of any of them as hippie places. All are good schools. Dickinmson has done a fine job of promoting its international studies as a counterpoint to those who find it too isolated; Muhlenberg touts its pre-med, arts and NYC/Philly opportunities; and Wheaton its proximity to Boston. I thought Goucher and Skidmore were excellent suggestions and Union, Colgate and Ursinus are possibles.
  • nycnyc Registered User Posts: 1,355 Senior Member
    Point well taken, Yabeyabe2. I think jusayswhat hit the nail on the head with "indie hipster" (pink hair, piercings) and D felt that Hampshire was filled w/ kids like her, but she would prefer a school with all one type of student.

    D's current (though yet untested) intersts are psych and possibly education; preferable venue LAC or small uni. She is untroubled by the presences of frats and sororities, but I fear her feelings will change once on campus, especially is she is not invited to join the sororoity of her choice.

    Other schools on her list: Eckerd, Guilford, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Purchase and UNC-Wilmington - - so she's got 10-12 schools in play. We visited Union and Colgate w/ D1; D2 didn't care for either (too "straight"). We've been toying with the idea of Ursinus (too straight?) or Skidmore (2yr foreign lang study?).

    As I said, she's got a lot on her list and will have to compromise on something.
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