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Mount Holyoke vs Bryn Mawr: What are the big discrepancies? Where will more boys be?

ConfusedHSSeniorConfusedHSSenior 26 replies16 threads Junior Member
Hi, I am curious in these two colleges but would like to know more about the campus vibe. Which one is friendlier, which is more cutthroat, which has a better travel abroad program, where is the food better, and whatever else you could add. Also I know that at Bryn Mawr you have Haverford College just a mile away, so it'd be easy to talk to boys. How large is the absence of boys at both schools? (Would I be less likely to meet boys at MoHo?). Also which school has a larger lesbian/ feminist presence? I am straight so I would rather not feel isolated/ left out due to my orientation. Thank you.
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Replies to: Mount Holyoke vs Bryn Mawr: What are the big discrepancies? Where will more boys be?

  • photodadphotodad 456 replies1 threads Member
    I suggest you try to visit these schools and stay overnight. Many students who do so at women's colleges find that they're a lot different than they expected. All of the 7 sisters have a feminist and lesbian presence. There isn't some kind of separate lesbian community at these schools that excludes and isolates straight students. My daughter is a straight student at Smith, reputedly the most LGBT of the 7 sisters; it's a very welcoming and inclusive enviroment for everyone, and I doubt that these two schools are much different. Even at Smith, straight students are in the majority.

    There is extensive information about study abroad on the schools' web sites. It's worth looking at closely since policies and programs can vary dramatically in costs, whether scholarships and financial aid transfer, eligibility, etc. MHC seems to have a stronger program since it runs some of its own programs, whereas BMC has more restrictions on when students can go abroad and on whether non-foreign-language-majors can go abroad for a full year, etc.
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  • ConfusedHSSeniorConfusedHSSenior 26 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Thank you!
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  • tenstudenttenstudent 123 replies28 threads Junior Member
    edited October 2014

    I visited both schools within this year. Here is my feedback of the two.

    The food is amazing! My Dad and I ate there and it seriously was like eating in a gourmet restaurant. It has a wonderful study abroad program and very nice dorms. The cons though is unlike BMC, it feels in the middle of nowhere. Also, when I was there the campus was pitch quiet and most of all the student were on there cell phones. That contributed to my feeling of isolation. I am not saying that it is always like that but that was my experience.

    I have also heard the food is amazing! I cannot verify that for you but based on what I have heard this is true. It is also a lot more academically focused (ex. when I was touring the BMC student said a five page paper is an average homework assignment). The study abroad program is also great so I think I would say the two are equal. I know a girl from my school who is at BMC this year and she is very openly lesbian and also very 'direct'. There is a tradition at BMC where everyone strips naked in the courtyard they have every so often. That was a turn off for me when touring the school but I could see why people would like it for unity sake.

    Please let me know if you have any more questions and again these are my own views so beware of my own biases
    Good luck with your search! :)
    edited October 2014
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  • intparentintparent 36292 replies644 threads Senior Member
    I don't agree that BMC is more academically focused. My kids attended classes on campus at MHC, and were very favorably impressed (one was a NMF, and the other graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the college she ended up attending, so neither is an academic slacker -- just pointing out so you have some idea that academic rigor was important to them). You probably would meet more boys on a regular basis at BMC, but I also think BMC falls on the edgier side in terms of the lesbian scale -- but I don't think you would feel isolated because you are straight. You should visit both yourself and see what you think.
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    edited October 2014
    I agree- you should definitely visit both. My D liked them both equally "on paper" but she had a definite preference after visiting.

    I also agree with intparent that BMC is probably not any more academically focused. My D (at MHC) says she and her friends have at least 6 hours of homework daily, and most of that is papers. When we visited for parents' weekend last week, my husband and I were in the library at about 9:30 am on a Sunday, and it quickly filled with students coming in to do work.

    I have spent a lot more time at MHC so I can't comment specifically on the differences between it and BMC, but I will say that one of the things we noticed right away -and that we heard lots of other families commenting on- is the strong sense of community, of a very open, friendly and welcoming and collaborative community, at MHC. My D was comparing it to Wellesley and she felt that the atmosphere at Wellesley was much more cutthroat and competitive, while at MHC it was collaborative.

    I believe there will be a strong LGBTQ community at all these schools... however my D was commenting that at MHC it is generally not as strident as at some other schools. In other words they take LGBTQ rights and issues seriously but they are also able to laugh at themselves for it. It's not like everyone is constantly scared they are going to say the wrong thing and be looked down upon.

    MHC has amazing food - I think I commented on this just a couple of days ago in another thread- and my daughter's dorm is palatial with a window seat and water view. I also recounted some academic stuff in another thread recently... I don't want to keep repeating myself over and over, though, so I'll just find the link and post it for you.

    You definitely will not feel left out or isolated due to your sexual orientation. The majority of my D's friends are straight and they have been dating Amherst / UMass boys. I'll go find the links to those other threads now for you if you want to read more...

    Okay, here are some links to remarks I posted about our experience with MHC, perhaps these will be helpful:

    Food: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/17690129/#Comment_17690129

    Professors: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/17608017/#Comment_17608017

    More: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/17580923/#Comment_17580923
    edited October 2014
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  • lyondadlyondad 3 replies0 threads New Member
    I have a D who is a first year at MHC and she loves it. The course work is challenging. The students and faculty are very supportive, and in a short period time she has made six or seven really good friends. The MHC students have access to the Pioneer Valley bus system for free and it takes them between all five colleges. She has already met plenty of boys from Amherst College, so meeting the opposite sex is not a problem. I do recommend that you visit during the school year, because as others have said. each school has a different feel to it. Good luck in with your search.
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  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl 2845 replies106 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for that detailed information about MHC. It is a top contender on my daughter's list. D would prefer a co-ed school but her list has several all girls colleges on it because they fit her needs/choices. In the end, all things being equal (especially $$) she'll go co-ed but I love the five school consortium that Smith and MHC belong to.
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  • momneeds2nomomneeds2no 779 replies4 threads Member
    NEPats, Sine you live in Mass, you D will probably have pals at UMass. Which opens the door to more "boy related social engagement" at UMass. According to my D the girls who live locally (mass ct) have friends who come visit for the weekend. Since you're local, she can make some more visits to the 5-college area --even informally, maybe with another friend from high school. have lunch in North hampton, ride the bus. wander around the MHC campus, see a horse show. Maybe check out some other sporting or cultural events at MHC or Smith. Get a better feel for the vibe. Try chatting with differnt girls she meets. If accepted, definitely overnight. Women's colleges are very different and do take some adjustment. IMO, the education and preparation is stellar. Good luck.
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  • mom4artmom4art 247 replies6 threads Junior Member
    OP if you want a BMC perspective, you may want to further this discussion on their CC page.
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  • ricck1ricck1 207 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Bryn Mawr has Haverford across the street that has joint registration. It also cross registers with Swathmore and Penn. You will find significantly less males at MHC and Smith then Bryn Mawr whre the consortium schools are very far away.
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  • HuskyLawyerHuskyLawyer 68 replies7 threads Junior Member
    so the five page paper comment led you to believe that BMC is "more academically focused" than MHC? and what does "more academically focused" mean? focused on what? do you mean more rigorous?

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  • DrPepper777DrPepper777 2 replies0 threads New Member
    So, i think this con is dead, but I wanted to address the 5 page paper/academically focused question as a BMC alum.

    One strength/weakness of BMC now (not sure about in earlier years) is that a lot of the departments seem to ultimately try and prepare students for PhD programs and not for entering the work force. I always felt that the "academically" of academically focused was specifically referring to academia instead of just academics. This is slowly changing, especially in STEM departments.

    There is also a significant absence of competition in the BMC academic culture, which can be good for people who are very self-motivated or who want to study for the sake of studying, but it is not for everyone.

    As for guys, there are plenty of guys around at BMC (funny/hot older grad students, or you can decide to major at haverford AND live in their dorms) but it is definitely still a girls college. My friends jokingly referred to it as one massive sorority/cult.
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  • MiddleburyDad2MiddleburyDad2 712 replies6 threads Member
    edited May 2016
    This thread is old but in case it's still relevant to anyone ... I can't comment on which one is more rigorous. Probably a hair splitting distinction even if we could study and determine it.

    Boys ... No question BMC. Visit and you'll understand why. MHC is rural and relatively isolated and BMC is in a busy Philly burb right on the Maine Line and within a short jog of Haveford and Division 1 Villanova. Seat is a little further away but a shirt shuttle ride away.

    There are men in the BMC campus because the consortium is real on the order of the Claremont schools. People really use it and there are Hav and Swat kids on the BMC campus all day.

    Half the current girls soccer roster has a boyfriend at Haverford.

    On that one point at least it is a different thing at MHC.

    edited May 2016
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