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MHC Senior Taking Questions

DrlieberDrlieber 5 replies2 threads New Member
edited May 2006 in Mount Holyoke College
Hi Ladies,

I'll be graduating from MHC this May and thought I'd post for those of you who might have questions or concerns about the school. If you do, please don't hesitate to email or post! Good luck with the rest of your decisions!
edited May 2006
30 replies
Post edited by Drlieber on
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Replies to: MHC Senior Taking Questions

  • bumblebeerainbowbumblebeerainbow 4 replies0 threads New Member
    why, how nice of you to answer questions for us confused and bewildered college applicants :)!
    ok, so whats it like being a freshman? i'm under the impression that the atmosphere at mhc is really warm and friendly and that there's never a question of 'fitting in'. does this match up to your experience?
    i go to an international school, and i feel that the people i have met and the friends i have made, ranging from all kinds of different cultures, have given me a learning experience vital to my academic surroundings and overall learning experience. i see social/cultural diversity and academics as an important combination. that is, in part, why i have applied to mhc, as it is known for homing a variety of peoples from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. my question is, then, do you see the diversity at mhc as an important quality? do feel such surroundings have given a greater depth to your education? is that in itself a reason for, if accepted, saying yes to mhc?
    sorry if this was a bit long! thank you!
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  • DrlieberDrlieber 5 replies2 threads New Member
    My first year of college at MHC was indeed very "warm and fuzzy." Wherever you end up living, the school (SAs, and other classes) really works hard to make first years feel comfortable and included in a number of ways. I would say that the dorm community is perhaps one of the most important aspects of being a first year student at MHC, and I recommend really trying to get to know the other first years on your floor (if you do decide to attend!). In my experience, there were about 12 or so of us first years on the same floor and we all ended up hanging out CONSTANTLY after the initial orientation etc. This was really nice because before you even started classes etc, you already had a group of people with whom you could eat dinner, watch movies and whatnot. Even now as a senior many of us from the floor are still close friends.

    As for your question about fitting in, I think in many ways it is true that most people feel that when they get to MHC it is impossible not to find your niche. I realize of course that MHC sort of touts this in its admissions information as well, and while I'm not about to tell you that it's wrong, I do warn that it isn't all they make it out to be. (In fact many things they advertise can be misleading) I've spoken to many people who do not feel they fit in at MHC, some of them leave, some don't. I would say that the majority of people have found groups to be a part of and friends with similar interests, but it is not uncommon to find people who are not very happy (as I imagine the case to be at almost any school).

    Diversity, another MHC powerword =) One of the reasons that I chose MHC was for its diverse student population not only with respect to minorities but more importantly for international students. I'm from a predominantly white suburb in CT, so you can imagine how many international and minority students I had the chance to meet and interact with throughout my life prior to college. I would say that yes, the diverse population has definitely added to my educational experience. For example, my roommate first year was an international student from Botswana, we have become best friends over the course of these four years and meeting her other African friends led me to take this course at Smith on Central Africa my sophomore year. Long story short (this post is long enough as it is!) I ended up changing my major from chemistry to Politics with a focus on Central Africa and I'm planning to work and volunteer over there as soon as I am able. Without having that initial spark created by my roommate and her friends I can confidently say that I never would have ended up where I am now.

    Do I think that you should attend MHC SOLELY because of its diversity? No, I don't. I mean that in the sense that if you have been accepted to Amherst or Williams etc. I would choose the academically higher ranked school (which also have impressive diversity stats) over MHC. I think, however, if you are choosing between a similar school like Hamilton or Lafayette which do not have the same mix of students, I would definitely take MHC. This of course is my opinion, because at any really good LAC you're going to have a reasonable level of diversity so I would choose the school that is more well known assuming you would be happy there. I hope this makes sense?

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope I've been able to shed some light on these issues for you! If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask, and good luck.
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  • bumblebeerainbowbumblebeerainbow 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Wow, you were both concise and encompassing at the same time.. and I guess this prompts me to ask.. how are the academics at MHC? Your entry, if I was to compare it to an essay, was structured, creative and well-written.. and I guess learning to organize and analyse is the key feat of most colleges! You mentioned that a school higher ranked in academics would be a better bet than MHC.. Did you mean to imply that MHC does not comply with an academic standard that would make it, paired with its diversity, a best-bet school?

    Please don't say you're sorry for that long reply. It was very nice of you to give me such a long and detailed answer! I enjoyed reading it :D
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  • DrlieberDrlieber 5 replies2 threads New Member
    The timing of your questions is sort of funny because just last night my parents (I'm home for Spring break) were asking if I felt MHC was worth the money etc. I have to be honest and say that I was never 100% happy at MHC mainly for social reasons. I came very close to transferring my sophomore year but ultimately I decided to stay for a few reasons, the main reason being that despite everything I knew I was getting an excellent education. Despite a few lousy classes here and there (mostly in the sciences =p) I really had a wonderful experience in terms of having professors who were enthusiastic about the material and inspired the class to get involved and actually think about, interpret and reflect upon the material. The workload is not easy by any means, but professors really do bend over backwards to make sure that their students are succeeding. For instance one of my current professors has 4 papers scheduled for the semester, and told us this past week as we handed the first one in that if we didn't do well he'd knock off the next paper and help us with rewrites of the first instead. Another professor has a rule where if you bomb the midterm but improve and do well on the final he'll only count the final towards your grade. Surely professors giving a break to students isn't really academic excellence, but the fact of the matter is that when professors show that they care about the person and not just the grade, students are generally more focused, excited about the material, and participate more in class -- which to me IS a form of academic excellence.

    In my last post I didn't mean to imply that MHC should not be considered a high end education, it certainly does live up to its prestige. However, if you have been accepted but don't know if/think you want to go to a women's college, and have the opportunity to attend a school that is more well known (MHC is not as well known outside the Northeast compared to Williams, Amherst, Weslyan etc.) and fits you better, you should not feel that by not attending MHC you will not find the same level of diversity elsewhere. Don't let the number of international and minority students determine whether or not you will attend MHC, if you think MHC might not the best choice for you but still want a high level of diversity in college. On the flip side, if you know you would do well (socially) going to a women's college I would easily take MHC, paired with its diversity, over a school such as Lafayette, Hamilton, Bucknell and other LACs that are less diverse but perhaps more well known. Once again, I hope this makes some sense!
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  • mashamasha 776 replies211 threads Member
    so MHC is not very well known at all. When I tell people I applied there they always just give me a strange look and ask " what's that?!". Do have to deal with that even now? Does it get really annoying havign to always explain to people where you go to college?

    Also, now that you're graduating I assume you'll be lookign for employment in the near future. Do you think the fact that most people don't know about MHC will be a hinderance in your future job search?
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  • AdelineAdeline 40 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Masha,

    In my experience the people who need to know MHC (employers, grad schools as well as the majority of physicians, optometrists, dentists and surgeons I've ever met.) are very much aware of the school and it's wonderful opportunities. The thing to keep in mind is this: unless it's Harvard, Princeton, Yale, most people (the average joe schmoe on the street) is not going to know of it. For the same reason, the average person on the east coast hasn't heard of Pomona or Whitman, it's all about what you're exposed to regionally. I had a friend who went to University of Chicago (she was from Virginia) and people assumed she was going to a state university. Another friend from Florida went to Middleburry and constantly complained that nobody back home had ever heard of the school :(
    When I tell people that I graduated from MHC those who are familiar with top tier liberal arts schools are very much impressed. On the other, sometimes I mention that I went to MHC and they say "where?" at which point I usually say that it's near Amherst College and Smith College. Typically, people who don't know about MHC haven't heard of Smith or Amherst either. They know UMAss-Amherst for the simple reason that it's the big flagship school of the state.
    Like I said before, MHC carries far more prestige than many liberal arts colleges based on it's continued tradition of excellence and leadership. Don't get too worried about the "name" issue, like the bumper sticker says "Mount Holyoke College: Smart Women Know It"
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  • Paris87Paris87 153 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Is mount holyoke geared to one specific area? I know wellesley favors strong science applicants, but does MHC have any area it espically likes? I had an interview there and I sent in a cd of my violin playing
    ( i have been playing for about 11 years) and resume. If MHC thinks that I am a "border applicant" will the interview and CD help to push me over to the acceptance side?
    thank you!
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  • swetasweta 335 replies12 threads Member
    thank you for creating this post... it's really help ful for students like me who are oceans apart from mhc and even for those who are near it but not quite "into" it...
    i got all... but i want to know more about social life... i have never been to a girls only school... and i wonder how parties or events at mhc are... <hope i am not wrongly interpreted here >
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  • DrlieberDrlieber 5 replies2 threads New Member
    Masha,

    I pretty much agree with Adeline 100% here: the people who need to know of MHC (employers and grad schools) are already quite familiar with the school's reputation. I wouldn't worry about not being able to get a jon because MHC doesn't have a big name, but the point I was trying to make was merely that one shouldn't attend MHC just for its diversity if they have an opportunity to go to one of those big name schools that would make them just as happy. Once again that's just my opinion. Being at a women's college brings its own set of positives and negatives, so it should really be a well thought out decision and not based on just one aspect.

    Paris,

    I'm not under the impression that admissions is looking for a certain "type" of applicant. Students come from all different backgrounds with varying interests and while I can't speak with certainty since I'm not in on the process...I would imagine that admissions is looking to preserve that diversity with each incoming class. The violin will certainly help you no matter what because it shows them more of who you are and not just stats or words on a page. Good luck!


    Sweta,

    As they all say, the social life at MHC is really what you make of it. If you like to go out and drink etc, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. The bars in Amherst are very popular (Springfield too in some cases), and there are always parties at Amherst and Umass. As for on campus parties, there are usually some going on most weekends but the ones that I have been to were just OK. There are usually decent parties after campus-wide events or just for the hell of it (after J-show, Hawaii nights etc.) in the great room that tend to bring more guys onto campus as well. If you have any more questions please feel free to post or PM me.
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  • KithburdKithburd 25 replies2 threads New Member
    How do you feel about math and science at Mt. Holyoke? I can't remember if it was one of the places where the tour guide assured everyone that "you don't have to take math/hard math/anything remotely resembling math!" I don't think so, but I thought I'd double check.

    I'm not trying to force anyone else into math, but I am curious if there is a substantial minority of students who like it, and if that ends up providing enough course offerings for someone who... well, I guess I'll turn this personal: wants to be a mechanical engineer.

    I'm not entirely sure why I applied, now, except that my interviewer was really nice, I liked the campus, and was in something of a college-overload daze. Eep. :/ Maybe I'm misinterpreting these answers.
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  • bumblebeerainbowbumblebeerainbow 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Drlieber and Adeline,
    I have read some places that in order to 'fit in' at Mount Holyoke, you have to adapt to become a certain 'type', the type being described as 'snobby' and 'arrogant'.
    Now, I am wondering if the people who post such messages have grudges against what they refer to as 'snobby' and 'arrogant' girls because they feel intimidated by the hard-working, curious, and intellectual females present at MHC? This is my suspicion since the girls who posted the comments most often added that the social life 'sucked'; few parties, no boys... revealing that these things might be their prime interests.
    In any case, is there some truth to this 'conformist culture' at MHC?
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  • comfortably-numbcomfortably-numb 57 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Can you tell me more about train and bus routes which we could use to get to boston, Hartford etc? Is public trasnportation available in South Hadley?
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  • AdelineAdeline 40 replies0 threads Junior Member
    There are a lot of ways I would describe the students at MHC. Conformist is most definitely, not one of them. The cool thing about a school like Mount Holyoke is there’s everyone from the high school prom queen, who pops her collar and wears pearls to the hardcore environmentalist who goes grunge and is into political protests.
    What’s even better is, at Mount Holyoke, that these two (admittedly broadly stereotyped personas) can be great friends. Now, this isn’t to say that everyone is always best friends with the opposite type of person or that the girls wearing pearls are protesting, by not showering :-p But rather that the friendships you make at MHC are bound by more intrinsic qualities: sense of humor, compassion, intellectual curiosity etc. Some of my best friends from college were women who I would never have anticipated forming friendships with based on their “type.” I hope this helps!
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  • aimzndreamzaimzndreamz 6 replies3 threads New Member
    Drielber, you seem to have switched from chemistry to politics. Was the switch because of your friends or because the chemistry classes were not that great? I was thinking of doing a chemistry major myself, hence the concern. And would you have any idea what kind of jobs one gets after doing a chemistry major? How does Bryn Mawr compare with MHC? You mentioned that other colleges known for their academics would be a better bet. In this regard, would it be wiser to choose UWisc Madion or UT Austin?
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  • aimzndreamzaimzndreamz 6 replies3 threads New Member
    sorry about the wrong spelling of your id!!
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  • DrlieberDrlieber 5 replies2 threads New Member
    Bumble:

    I agree with Adeline, I really disagree with the notion that to fit in at MHC you have to conform to a certain style or personality. There are different groups with varying interests all over campus, but as Adeline said one thing that you will always tend to see on campus is that these groups interact all the time. This isn't to say that some people don't try to change to fit in with a certain clique, but you find that anywhere. One of the things that makes MHC so great is that you can be who you are and all the rest will fall into place naturally just because of all the different types of women that come to the school.

    Comfortably:

    There is free public transportation (the PVTA) that runs through to all the 5 colleges 7 days a week. To get to airports or the store, or even to NYC or something for an interview/fun weekend away there are always students offering rides (almost always in exchange for a reasonable fee) on MHC campus forums. Also, the schools has a shuttle that runs to the mall twice a week I think it is now, for $1. There is also a Peter Pan/Greyhound bus that runs in the area to Springfield, Boston, NYC and other areas. The main point is that you will almost always be able to find a ride to the store/airport/train station when you need one, and usually for decent prices.

    Last but not least! Aimz:

    I did indeed switch my sophomore year from chemistry to politics, and I did so for a few reasons. First and most importantly, I was not enjoying the classes I had to take as part of the chem major, but I have never been a very strong math student which was part of the problem. I realized that I was miserable and not getting good grades -- which is not unusual in the sciences -- was starting to worry me. I was taking a politics course the same semester as Organic chem (I was planning to minor in politics because I've always enjoyed learning about IR/politics) and one day in class I was just sort of like...why the hell am I putting myself through a chemistry degree if I'm not happy? I wanted to enjoy my 4 years of college and not have to struggle just to get by, so I switched. I think what also sealed the deal was the fact that my chemistry advisor (also my orgo professor) didn't really seem to care either way and just about told me I should quit if I'm not "up to it," which turned me off further.

    This of course is my own personal experience -- I have many friends who are in the sciences at MHC and love it, and are okay with not getting 4.0s when they graduate. As for the chemistry classes themselves, they were not bad. My physics professor was really great too, I just wasn't cut out for physics! On another note, the science facilities are really nice, especially the chem labs and equipment available to students for research etc.

    In response your question about other schools, I really can't answer that for you. Choosing a college is a very personal decision. I CAN tell you that the sciences are one of the strongest disciplines at MHC, and from an employment POV a woman with a degree in chemistry from a top liberal arts college will be highly sought after. There are not many women (comparatively speaking) in chemistry, so it is definitely not going to hurt you in your search for work. At the time I wanted to work in forensics or in the pharmaceutical industry, for instance. On a somewhat interesting note, UWisc was one of my top choice schools (and where I am thinking about attending law school), and I hear that Madison is perhaps one of the most enjoyable college towns in the US. UWisc and UT are big schools, which is pretty opposite of what MHC is, so I guess my only comment would be to really think about whether or not you would be happier/unhappy at a large university or a small college. In any case good luck with whatever you decide =)
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  • chibiajiajinchibiajiajin 796 replies17 threads Member
    Hi ~!
    i just stumbled upon this thread and i wanted to ask: how are the foreign language classes at MHC? i'm thinking about double majoring in Asian Studies and Romance Languages. do you think the classes are challenging but fun? and do you feel like you really learn a lot about the language and the culture associated with it? thanx for any and all help!
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  • gonzo luxgonzo lux 421 replies45 threads Member
    can you tell me what makes MHC better than other women's colleges? i have a hard time determining which one is really for me.
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  • emmared718emmared718 317 replies19 threads Member
    I'm not a current senior... I'm a prospie like the rest of you, but I can tell you that only you can really figure out whether or not Mount Holyoke is better than the other womens colleges. I, personally, fell in love with Mount Holyoke via the viewbook. I went, was stuck with a not-so-great host, was sort of dissatisfied. After roaming the campus, meeting the other students, talking to staff members, listening to the acapella group, sitting in on a class, I realized it was the school for me. I don't care to compare it to any other school, because it's the right fit. If it doesn't work for you, then just forget about it. I highly suggest you visit if you haven't yet. The campus is AMAZING.
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  • melissarahmanmelissarahman 121 replies2 threads Junior Member
    wow...Drlieber...its really nice of you to be doing this...
    i got waitlisted as mount holyoke and the letter i got could get the world's most obscure letter of all time award...i mailed and that didnt work either...
    so i am asking you-- could you please get some stats for me? relating to waitlisted students, as in, how many are waitlisted this yr, how many frm waitlist got in the previous year?? i am supposed to hear back mid-may...but im already in a panic attack...i might die...give a girl her last dying wish plz!
    thnx.
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