Amherst vs Pomona vs Williams vs Swat etc....

<p>Wanted: LAC that is quirky and intellectual yet fun. Not an overbearing drinking culture. STRONG IN PHYSICS & BIOLOGY, good opps for research. I <em>think</em> I prefer warm, but then again have lived with 4 seasons all my life so maybe would miss it. Isolation ok only as long as the town is nice, stuff to do - at the very minimum has places to get basic supplies that aren't tremendously overpriced. Homogenous preppiness not so good.</p>

<p>How do these schools compare..


<p>Williams is very isolated with an almost nonexistent town, but basic supplies are acquirable if you have a car to drive 15 minutes. Drinking is a part of the campus culture at Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Bowdoin; perhaps slightly less but still a problem at Carleton and Pomona. Swat is known for more of a geeky/quirky culture that places less emphasis on alcohol, but the frats still have it, no mistake.</p>

<p>Quirky and intellectual makes me think Carleton and Swat are the best fits on your list.</p>

<p>I feel Pomona best fits the description, followed by Swarthmore, if not tied with swarthmore.</p>

<p>Williams would fall closer to the bottom of your list. I can't really comment on the others. Have you considered Reed? It seems like your list is only made up of top 10 schools, when Reed I feel would match with Pomona and Swarthmore</p>

<p>If you like warm climate, how about Davidson in NC?</p>

<p>or Haverford?</p>

<p>Thanks for the responses so far... a lot to think about.</p>

<p>I'll look into Reed, Davidson, Haverford but I have nitpicky things about all of them that are kind of turn offs.</p>

<p>Haverford: Visited and somehow felt too small/isolated - even though it's near philly its immediate surroundings are...sparse. Tour guide was obsessed with honor code...</p>

<p>Reed: Have heard good things, but have also heard about insanely intense workload that leads many students to hard drugs, suicide. True?</p>

<p>Davidson: All that comes to mind is the stereotype of Southern hospitality and beauty pageants. I'm sure that's not all true but just how southern is the feel of the school?</p>

<p>Oh, and add Bates and Macalester to the list. Could someone rank them in terms of fit for me, by any chance?</p>

Williams is very isolated with an almost nonexistent town, but basic supplies are acquirable if you have a car to drive 15 minutes.


Not so. Williamstown which IS the Williams campus has everything you need (maybe not everything you want). I.e, several "student priced" restaurants, one "parents priced" restaurant, a few coffee places, a movie theater, a bar, a pharmacy, a dry cleaner, a book store, a jewelry watch repair, a stationery, a convenience store, a barber and beauty parlor and plenty of odds and ends like antique stores and galleries. It is really more like a village than a town but it offers adequate services. </p>

<p>Now, if you're hooked on malls or franchises like Gap, Star Bucks, A&F, Barnes & Noble, Pottery Barn -- then you're going to have to drive. Williamstown deliberately kept the chains out of town (except for Subway which snuck in when someone was sleeping). Same for WalMart. That's a 15 minute drive.</p>

<p>"Stuff to do" is generated by the college not the town. There are tons of events to keep you busy -- sports, arts, outdoorsy activities, performances, parties. </p>

<p>The Berkshires actually have a very sophisticated arts scene and Williams specifically has three worldclass museums on or near campus, several performing arts venue, a highly respected repertory theater and many artists, architects, writers, musicians, dancers in residence.</p>

<p>For sure Williams is "STRONG IN PHYSICS & BIOLOGY, good opps for research" moreso, I believe than many of the others on your list. </p>

<p>"Quirky and intellectual yet fun" would describe my son and his friends (2007 graduates) to a T. These are active, multifaceted, happy kids who are also exploding with intellectual curiosity. They are also either non-drinkers or light drinkers. Kids do drink at Williams (and at Pomona, Bowdoin, Amherst and plenty of others) probably moreso than at Swarthmore, but I wouldn't characterize Williams as "an overbearing drinking culture." This aspect of the culture is much exaggerated.</p>

<p>Warm (climate-wise) it is not.</p>

<p>Intellectualism, less drinking, research, and a nice town?</p>

<p>I would recommend Swarthmore. Meets all of your criteria.</p>

<p>The intense workload at Swarthmore I imagine is comparible to that of Reed. i dont think just because of the workload it leads people to do drugs, etc. I for one have been around weed all my life, and have never even once have had the desire to smoke it even though basically everyone does it, and that's that weed isn't a hard drug. If you dont have the self control, then you should probably aim for a BYU.
i just think alot of the kids who usually end up going to reed already have the habit of using drugs, or are not closed to the idea of it. But even then, you'll always find groups of people at any school doing "hard drugs" with the majority I imagine smoking weed.</p>

<p>PS University of Chicago should go on your list.</p>

<p>We visited Swarthmore this past summer. To me, it felt very isolated, although the campus is stunningly beautiful. The town did not look like it had much to do, very small, but hopefully you can get all basic supplies there (we didn't really go into town). There is a train station on campus that can get you to Philly in 20 min, so it's a major plus. Otherwise, it has everything you're looking for - very intellectual, not much drinking, strong sciences, non homogenous, etc. With LACs, I think you really need to visit if you can, as each has its own character. It is also one of smallest LACs on your list (probably too small for my taste). Even though it is part of 3 school consortium (with Haverford and Bryn Mawr), it's located further away from the other two schools, and in reality, fewer kids from Swarthmore take classes at the other two colleges - there is more cross registration between Haverford and Bryn Mawr students.</p>

<p>Since you're female, already interested in Amherst, and want strong sciences, I'd suggest looking into Smith and Mt. Holyoke.</p>

<li>Unassuming/non-competitve/non-preppy student body</li>
<li>Unusually strong in sciences</li>
<li>Beautiful campus in great small town with easy access to nearby major city </li>
<li>Alcohol happens but doesn't dominate campus, lots of sub-free choices</li>
<li>Warm climate</li>

<p>Okay, no school will fit your criteria perfectly, but # 1-7 above are almost a textbook description of Carleton. It's pretty unusual to see a school successful marry so much academic rigor with so much fun. It's even earned a Newsweek "Most Fun-Loving" designation a few years ago:
THE</a> CLASS OF 2004: 12 HOT SCHOOLS | Newsweek Inmagic.Archive |
For a more specific run down of examples of Carleton's culture of "quirky/fun/unique" you can check this prior post:
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>You've put together a list of great colleges. Like Carleton, none will fit your bill perfectly. I'd suggest that those otherwise coming closest include Pomona (uniquely on your list gets points for warm, fewer points for quirk, don't know how you'd feel about Claremont/LA), Williams (less quirk, more alcohol), and Swarthmore (less "fun-loving," more seriousness of purpose). </p>

<p>Again, all great schools. Good luck.</p>

<p>Agreed that Carleton seems to fit the bill, with the exception of the "warm climate" issue -- particularly with the very strong science focus. The other school I haven't seen mentioned that seems to mesh with some of your desires is Oberlin. (Quirky, intellectual -- perhaps with a more "fun" and less intense reputation than Swat or Reed -- and not preppy. And, since you seem to be open to other midwest schools on your list, perhaps Oberlin is worth at least a look?)</p>

<p>Also agree that Smith may be a terrific choice if you're willing to consider an all-female school with the advantage of the 5-college consortium (including Amherst and Mt. Holyoke) and the advantage of Northhampton location.</p>

<p>I also might add wesleyan to your list</p>

<p>There seems to be this misconception that Carleton is located in Siberia. In fact, the first trimester (sept - thanksgiving) is autumn. Cold weather clothes are needed when students return in January for the 2nd trimester. The 3rd trimester begins at the end of March, when spring is springing. Having lived on the east coast, west coast and in the midwest, the weather is going to be similar to that at Williams, Middlebury and all the NE LACs .</p>

<p>momrath, maybe I missed something, but when I visited Williamstown, I found it overwhelmingly tiny--and I like rural small-town settings. Spring Street is half of two blocks (since it doesn't extend down side streets or around the block, just one straightaway) and I didn't see much market competition for basics that would result in not "tremendously overpriced." In terms of food, we found only sandwich shops/deli and an expensive Thai-Japanese restaurant. Cheap Chinese and the like are within reasonable driving distance, but not really in town.</p>

<p>Williams definitely has an artsy side, but that isn't necessarily equivalent to quirky or intellectual as defined by Swat/Reed/UChicago. It is, however, known for the sciences among LACs, as is Carleton. And the drinking is something you should investigate firsthand, but you also need to be aware of the stereotype. All stereotypes grow from truth.</p>

<p>Keil, Spring Street does extend to Water Street, so it seems you did miss something. Look, Williamstown is not New York, Chicago or even Amherst. It's a New England village with basic services. If you need a super market or a Wal-Mart or a Starbucks or a Gap 24/7 then this is not the place for you.</p>

<p>Williams recognizes the need for meal choices and has five dining halls (or maybe it's six) which is unique among LACs of its size.</p>

<p>The definition of "quirky and intellectual" can be argued until the cows [purple and otherwise] come home, but I am confident that my son and his friends are as quirky and intellectual as anyone we know at Swarthmore/Reed/Chicago. The difference, I think, is what students tend to do in their free, non-academic, time. At Williams they're likely to be doing something active: playing broomball, hiking, performing music, dancing, skiing, painting, running, acting -- and yes hanging out with friends and partying. That may not be the case at the so-called intellectual schools.</p>

<p>As for the drinking thing, I'll just paraphrase TheDad (this was actually in the context of lesbianism at Smith). We know, he doesn't, it's okay.</p>

<p>All the kids I know at Williams are quirky and intellectual and humorous. The humor is probably the salient trait. The intellectualism is more of the variety of, "Hey, House used a Shroedinger's cat reference," and then a bantering discussion of physics that soulful chats about the state of the world.</p>

<p>Both good. A difference in taste. I would say Williams is a place of gentle irony. </p>

<p>As for the town, it is teeny tiny but it is more than that section of Spring St. There is another street around the corner with more "town." Still tiny. No argument there.</p>

<p>My D, who attends Barnard, turned green when she saw that her brother preferred it to Hanover, also tiny but slightly bigger and more upscale, so I know what you mean. But she turned green at Providence, too, so people are really different.</p>

<p>I know my quirky S wouldn't choose to be anyplace but Williams, but obviously, many feel differently, as it should be.</p>

<p>momrath -- we cross-posted!</p>