Carleton or Wesleyan (happy sad)

<p>I applied ED to Carleton with the notion that I would likely be deferred. My 3.27 GPA (putting me, by some ridiculous methodology, in the bottom half of my class. Anyways, that's a pretty high GPA for a median. It should have been more like 2.7.) and 2310 SAT made me look kinda lazy. At the time I was choosing between Wesleyan and Carleton to throw up what seemed like a crap shot. I chose Carleton because it seemed like it would be easier to get into and less affected, lacking pretense. Miraculously I got in. But I now question the implications of my choice. In an impossible reflection on the objective excellence of each school, I now wonder if I chose the academically lesser school (I understand there is no objective measure of excellence). Is one less prestigious than the other (a mild assault on my vanity)? Buyers remorse be damned! I guess I was just looking for non-biased thoughts on the qualities of each school as a means of comparison, or better yet, an actual comparison. Thanks.</p>

<p>CarlosCarlos: I’m a Wesleyan student (applied ED, it was my first choice), but I’m also a big Carleton fan, and my best friend goes there, so hopefully I can give you some useful thoughts.</p>

<p>A) You did NOT choose the academically lesser school. If anything, some would argue that Carleton is better (it is ranked higher, and I believe a higher percentage of the student body goes on to get PhDs). I’d, of course, respectfully disagree, but without a doubt they are academic peers. Except for a few specific majors, I don’t think you can lose either way. Both are top notch.</p>

<p>B) Prestige wise, my guess is that more people have heard of Wesleyan because of general east cost bias (this might be less true in the Midwest, I don’t know). However, those in the know are impressed by both schools, and, again, Carleton is ranked higher in the US News rankings. And the normal man on the street probably wouldn’t know either, anyway.</p>

<p>So, really, it comes down to atmosphere. So, how does that compare? My sense, from having looked at Carleton a lot, and from having talked to my friend about it a TON, is the following. </p>

<p>By not coming to Wesleyan you lose: An artsy-er, liberal-er, edgier, weirder, more activist student body. A larger student body. The ability to go into New York and Boston fairly easily. Weather that isn’t quite so cold. Senior house parties and more of a frat scene (though that is still very small). Insane numbers of program houses, and generally more variety in housing options. One of the best film series in the best theaters a college could have. </p>

<p>OTOH, what you gain by going to Carleton is: A smaller, closer knit community. A more down to earth and still quirky student body. A nicer town. Less over-the-top PCness. Easier access to a city. Even more small classes and close student/professor relationships. Nicer winter days (they’re colder and snowier, but not so much of the yucky New England hail then snow then rain then slush weather). More people playing ultimate Frisbee! Cookie making! </p>

<p>In the end, they are both fabulous, fun, and friendly places. Wes is, in an odd way, both weirder and hipper, while Carleton, as you said, is less pretentious (not that I think Wes is particularly so, but Carlton students seem really down to earth). I bet you will love Carleton!</p>