Best LAC for introverts

My daughter has narrowed down her choice for ED application to Middlebury and Williams. Is one better than the other for introverts?

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D20 is an introvert, so I understand the difference between wanting to be in smaller/quieter groups versus the need to recharge alone. That being said, are you asking about which will allow her to find quiet, alone time? Or are you asking which may be less demanding in terms of social expectations? If she is shy, are you looking for an environment that will draw her out or allow her to be a bit more anonymous? They are all subtle differences so I am just trying to clarify what you are asking because the answer may be different.

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@helpingmom40 hit the nail on the head!

Both have plenty of room for an introvert.

Has she visited both places? if so she should trust her instincts. If not, is there anyway to make that happen?

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I have to agree with @helpingmom40. At first blush, Midd and Williams strike me as odd choices for the shy and introverted. Being small and isolated does not necessarily translate as a place for shrinking violets; on the contrary, every description I’ve ever read about the northern New England colleges (ever heard of Dartmouth?) emphasizes their attraction for outdoor activity lovers. That means hiking, skiing, snowball fights - that sort of thing. The last thing you want is for your kid to wander off by themselves in the middle of a Vermont snow storm.

I’d take a look at a place like Hamilton. Small, unassuming place; not a lot of foot traffic during the day or night. There’s a lovely wooded area for long walks.

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As a suggestion, look into which of these schools offer more dining options, as in those that are spatially and atmospherically distinct from each other. This availability wouldn’t mean that your daughter always would need to seek out other introverts, but it would offer her the option of a social variety of her choosing as part of her daily routine.

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@Momof3reds it would help if you could expand on what your D wants out of the school. I can guess based on my own introvert and myself but I might be completely off base.

My daughter is an introvert but that doesn’t mean she’s shy. She’s not at all. She likes hanging out with her kind of people but she has limited stamina for hanging out with just everybody. She is actually good friends with an extrovert who will be friends with anyone and everyone — pretty much doesnt matter who. My D is much pickier and does not suffer fools gladly. My D felt like she saw her kind of people on a recent college visit (to Warren Wilson, so not on your list) and felt like she would fit right in, so I would highly recommend visiting both campuses and checking out the vibes in person if that is feasible for you.

My D, the introvert, does not need a quiet campus and I was actually a little surprised she was so enthusiastic about WWC since it is tucked away and not in a city. One of her early criteria was having a main drag college street nearby where she could go to coffee shops and get bubble tea. She loves to go study in coffee shops and I love for her to because she is much more focused there than at home. She did a camp this summer at another LAC and found that they had lots of options for different places to study on campus including a coffee shop so that helped relieve her of the need for a busier location. I actually thought she might go for a fully urban campus. A lot of times for introverts who just need a break from people, it’s easier to get lost in a crowd than it is to be in that small town atmosphere where you have to say hi to everyone.

Is your D shy in addition to being an introvert?

Are you looking for a friendly campus?

Are you looking for a campus where she can find quiet nooks?

Does she like to study in her room or would campus coffee shops and the like be more conducive to her study habits?

I hope that helped with focusing your question. I am not super familiar with either of the schools you are asking about, but at one point thought Middlebury might make it on my D22’s list as a reach. If it is possible to visit in person I would definitely try to do that but if not watch lots of videos and do the virtual sessions. She’ll probably get a vibe for one over the other. If not go for whichever is better for her major.

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My self-described introvert D just started at Williams and was strongly considering Middlebury. One big plus in favor of Williams is that around 60% of first-year housing are singles. Her dorm is almost entirely singles. She loves having her own space to decompress and recharge.

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Yes! My D really liked that about Williams as well. Being an introvert myself, I know I would love a single so I wouldn’t feel the need to be “on” all of the time.

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That’s a great idea. They are both similar I believe. She also looked at Amherst and they only have one dining hall which I think can be a plus and minus.

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Great questions. Thank you. She is on the shy side as well. She is not looking for an environment where she will be anonymous, but looking for an environment with like-minded people that will draw her out more without the huge demands of social expectations in the form of parties. She is not a partier. She will be coming from a small high school and she is anxious to get to college and find her people. She is looking for a place with a good balance of extroverts and introverts. She is a driven, dedicated student and wants to do well.

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Amherst came off my D’s list after touring, she just didn’t click with it and didn’t need another reach. It’s still early days at Williams, but I think my D is finding her way. FWIW my D applied ED1 to Midd was deferred then accepted RD, but once she got into Williams RD, she decided she preferred it.

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Yes. We have visited them both twice. She’s just having a tough time deciding between which one to apply ED to.

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Same here about Amherst. Thank you. Good to hear your D is finding her way. :slight_smile:

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Thank you. All great questions and great info. My D sounds very similar to yours. Coffee shop near by that she can walk to is important to her. At first my D thought she wanted to go to a big city so we visited some and she realized that maybe that would be better for her for grad school, not undergrad. She goes to a very small high school and she/we thought she would feel too overwhelmed at big schools so we’ve been focusing mostly on smaller LAC schools now. We’ve been able to visit all the schools that she has been interested in but it’s been hard visiting without students on campus. Maybe we should look at them again now that kids are on campus and get a better feel.

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I wouldn’t describe her as a shrinking violet, more as a blossoming rose. :wink: She is coming into who she is, which is an academically focused, driven girl who loves New England winters. We live in Maine so she might have a leg up over some with her snowball aim!

I loved Hamilton, my D, not as much. Not sure why, just didn’t click with her.

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As you know, they’re both potentially great fits, but of the two, I view Williams as a little more of a party place. Maybe some Middlebury students can weigh in if they disagree.

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Oh, and Bowdoin is too close to home. I see. As between Midd and Williams, it’s the proverbial, “You can’t go wrong at either one.”

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Funny my D and I had the opposite impression, but I suspect that they’re probably pretty similar.

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I’d argue that most LACs are good for introverts.

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Yeah, I agree with that. This reminds me of the thread last summer where a mom asked for suggestions for her lesbian daughter then spent the entire thread explaining how her daughter was no different than any other first-year college student. “Shy and introverted” covers a lot of territory.

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