Brandeis V. William and Mary

<p>I LOVE William and Mary, but I was recently taken off the waitlist at Brandeis and they are giving me a significantly better financial aid package.</p>

<p>Is William and Mary worth $10,000 a year more than Brandeis?</p>

<p>Save $40K and go to Brandeis.</p>

<p>You’ve likely already decided, but I’m wondering if you’re Jewish? Only about half of Brandeis students are practicing Jews, but the school is very culturally Jewish - if you’re looking for more diversity, W&M is likely a better fit. That said, $40,000 is a significant amount of money…</p>

<p>I go to W&M and my best friend goes to Brandeis, and I’m sure you’ll have a good experience if you’re committed to making the most of whatever situation - good luck!</p>

<p>In fact Brandeis is likely more diverse than William and Mary. To begin with, W&M is a state school with the vast majority of its students coming from Virginia, plus it’s located in charming but secluded Williamsburg. In contrast, the Brandeis culture is quite diverse. First, it is completely secular with students hailing from all over the USA and with a strong international flavor (116 countries and 17 different religions represented; about 40% identify as Jewish among the 5000 undergrads and grads–similar to, say, Barnard, --so not an overt “Jewish culture”). </p>

<p>The culture of Brandeis, in my opinion, grows out of its intimate, “research college” structure. Brandeis truly is an amazing school. Its small student body- the smallest I believe (about 800 in a class) of any top tier national research university–is matched with high-powered professors who actually teach in small classes. So, the research opportunities are tremendous. Plus, as you know it’s very close to Boston, the world’s greatest college town, but on its own suburban campus with a cohesive community–really the best of both worlds.</p>

<p>Its intellectual environment is comparable in many ways to its University Athletic Association sister school, U Chicago (perhaps no coincidence that the President of U Chicago is a Brandeis alum). Yet its students are down-to-earth, friendly and non-competitive with one another. </p>

<p>Unlike some preppy place or frat-oriented environments where social interraction is based on the “exclusivity” of the frat system, Brandeis has a welcoming, relatively-nonjudgmental environment–yet there are some off-campus frats for those who like what they have to offer. There is no pressure to party, but parties are there if you want them. Often social interaction centers around the numerous clubs and other terrific extracuriculars like music and theater–if you’re into theater/music/art, there’s a ton of high quality opportunities and it’s a very exciting place to be.</p>

<p>Good luck with your decision!</p>

<p>I’m gonna have to disagree with B77 and anyone who would suggest Brandeis over William and Mary. “the vast majority of students coming from Virginia” is a bit of an overstatement: it’s 65% in state. Also, Virginia is a very large diverse state in its own right. Someone coming from Roanoke will see their fellow classmates from NoVA, Richmond, and Virginia Beach all as new cultural experiences. Not the same as an international student of course, but as differently as someone from Massachusetts might see a Virginian. </p>

<p>While the city of Williamsburg isn’t at all like the city of Boston in terms of a thriving college town, it helps to add a very campus-centered culture which helps strengthen the community. </p>

<p>Small classes at a top-tier national research university could just as easily describe William and Mary. </p>

<p>Third paragraph is interesting for two reasons: first, the UChigago academic culture is often lightly referred to as “the place fun goes to die.” I have a friend there who loves it, so I’m not putting down either Brandeis or Chicago for the comparison but I’m not sure if that’s what you’re looking for. WM students are also fun, down-to-earth, etc, and truly, you’ll find good people at any school you’re looking for. </p>

<p>Fourth paragraph is also a wash. If this is implicitly calling WM an ‘exclusive frat-oriented’ culture then it’s way off the mark. You’ll find a great social scene in whatever you’re looking for. </p>

<p>Main point: you’ll find the people and social scene you’re looking for at either school. Both are tremendous schools and if you set yourself up right, you’ll do well. If money is an issue, go to the least expensive school. I was faced with a similar decision last year and chose William and Mary despite the steeper costs. I’ve found my dream school here, and can easily say that the happiness I’ve experienced is worth well more than 10k a year. So, basically, if you can afford it, and know one is a better fit than the other go for it. If they’re effectively equal, go for the cheaper choice. Just don’t make your decision believing in false differences between the two schools</p>

<p>I decided on W&M and unfortunately B77 was right on all counts. I am transferring …</p>

<p>If you’re truly unhappy, you should of course consider transferring. Brandeis is a great school, but it’s not quite as B77 describes. The data are here – not 40 percent identifying as Jewish, but 55 percent:
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That does have an effect on the culture of the school, just as the fact that roughly 60 percent of the freshman class is Catholic has an effect on the culture of Boston College. </p>

<p>If you’re considering transferring, I’d also recommend looking at more than one other school… Make sure you’re not fixing the problems you see at W&M only to encounter different problems at another school, simply because those aren’t problems you experienced at W&M. Make sure you also think about what you like at W&M and how best to replicate that elsewhere.</p>

<p>My daughter is looking seriously at W&M. When you have a chance, I’d be interested in your perspective on why it’s not working out for you.</p>

<p>Best of luck in your continuing search!</p>

<p>I am in fact applying for a transfer to many schools with the understanding that no college is perfect. </p>

<p>I really like the professors at the college. While they cannot be replicated, they do take a real interest in seeing you succeed. This is not to say that they will not give you a failing grade, but for those who want/need help, the professors are always available. The classes are challenging, but if you were accepted, you can handle it and be successful if you try.</p>

<p>My true issues with the college are primarily with the student body and the location. While I have met some wonderful people, I feel like there is more drama than there was at my high school. I do not feel connected to my peers outside of the classroom. Additionally, I dislike the college’s drinking culture as well as the sexual assault culture. Many of the students get sloppy drunk at fraternity parties. Girls get raped and are too afraid to say anything to the administration or to the police because they will be stigmatized. Also, there is not a significant amount of things on or near campus besides fraternity parties, and the town closes up around 10PM so there are very few options for the college students who would like to go roller blading or go out to do other things. </p>

<p>The college is also not diverse. While someone pointed out that it is “only 65% Virginia residents” they are the majority and it is certainly felt on campus. I am incredibly socially liberal and very open with my opinions. I feel like coming from the north east to a sleepy Virginia town where many of the students are not used to someone just not caring what anyone has to say or following religious doctrines startled them. This is not to say that the entire student body thinks this way, but I have experienced so much bigotry, sexism, and hatred against anything that challenges the socially excepted behavior.</p>

<p>Ultimately, I felt lied to coming to a college that prides itself on the “Tribe” mentality, immensely diverse student body, and little drinking culture only to get here and see that the things I valued the most were just admission ploys. I would not recommend William and Mary to anyone unless they fully understand what the college is really like and still want to go.</p>

<p>So you were at William & Mary one semester? I am trying to figure out how long you have been a student there. How did the atmosphere at W&M change your opinion from “I LOVE William and Mary” to “I loathe it” in such a short period of time? You cannot rollerblade? Isn’t the campus expansive?</p>

<p>lexieam, I’m sorry to read that your impression of W&M is so negative, and that you have been so unhappy there. I hope your transfer plans go well.</p>

<p>When current students criticize W&M (or any school) on CC, so often they seem to be venting or complaining about poor academic performance instead of taking responsibility for their negative experiences on campus. However, you are obviously a mature, articulate poster, and your perspective deserves to be taken seriously. I hope you’ll find a tribe at your new school that is more accepting.</p>

<p>I am troubled by your comments about “the sexual assault culture” on campus. I have two daughters who graduated from the school, one of whom is still on campus for a master’s degree. We have discussed alcohol and date rape issues extensively, both as they relate to W&M and to undergrad education in general. I don’t know if your implication in citing a sexual assault culture on campus is that it is pervasive; if so, my daughters would certainly disagree. </p>

<p>The topic of sexual abuse/assault is a very troubling one at every school. I am not on campus, and you are. There seem to be many resources in place, both to prevent this crime and for students who experience sexual assault: a prevention website and coordinator, student activist groups, a sexual assault educator, etc. I don’t know what more the school can do than to have these programs in place. Their existence seems to imply, to me, that victims will not be stigmatized by authorities.</p>

<p>Finally, I would say that I don’t agree that “the “Tribe” mentality, immensely diverse student body, and little drinking culture” are merely admission ploys, since there are certainly students at the college who find these things there. I do not question your statement that you did not find them; just want to suggest to future readers that many students do.</p>

<p>I’m sorry you didn’t meet my youngest daughter while you were there. She too is socially liberal and open in her opinions; you probably would have been friends. I truly wish you luck in finding happiness at your transfer school.</p>

<p>Thank you frazzled1 for all the “parental perspective” and addressing the “sexual assault” issue.</p>