Carleton vs haverford

Hey guys,
I have been looking at these two colleges for quite some time and cannot figure which will be a better fit.
Which one in your opinion will be the best fit for a physics major.

Carleton seems like it will be great college but Haverford seems to have a better location.
How big of a factor should location be?

Will Carleton have less job interviews/ research opportunities because of rural setting?

Carleton is 40 minutes by car from Minneapolis/St Paul, which together have a population of more than 3 million people, so it’s only technically “rural”. Its reputation in the Midwest is such that job interviews and research opportunities in the Chicago area and the rest of the Midwest will abound.

However, I think that Haverford may have an edge in physics (Carleton has an edge in math). However, the difference is small enough that fit is far more important. You really cannot go wrong with either - visit and see which one feels better for you.

Thanks a ton for your reply. It has cleared up a lot of doubts I had. Really appreciate it.

Hand on heart, visit both and pick where you think you fit best. The differences in your outcomes will be much, much, MUCH more influenced by what you do in college than which of two really strong LAC names is on your diploma. Both will give you everything you need to get into grad school (which is the main outcome of a physics major).

Bryn Mawr recently produced an Apker finalist, a good sign for the Bi-College physics departments.

Carleton and Haverford are both great. Don’t overthink this. They are peer institutions. Carleton is higher on that silly US News thingie, but Haverford is probably a touch better known because it’s an eastern LAC. In my mind, I don’t think of one being better or than the other.

Instead, visit these schools. In the meantime, read what you can (I like the Fiske Guide), and watch YouTube videos. There are several nice Carleton ones that will give you aa sense of what Carleton is like. There are Haverford ones, too, but they’re often produced by the college. They’re still useful, as you’ll learn about the honor code and how H’s Quaker roots establish the school’s general ethos.

Again, don’t make this more difficult than it needs to be, and don’t be afraid to look at other schools. Who knows? Maybe another LAC is truly your place. Go find it.

Yeah, go with fit. I’m a big Carleton promoter, but if Haverford speaks to you when you visit, then go there. One downside to Carleton is that they have a funky schedule, which means you don’t get out of school till mid June( I think, better check that out yourself). Many schools get out as early as late April, giving those students a headstart in the job market.

Both schools are offer great academic environments.

The Fiske Guide To Colleges 2020 suggests that Haverford College is a bit over-run with political correctness, but points out that Haverford has the best varsity college cricket team in the country.

Carleton has demanding academics and a rural location. Although one post noted that Carleton College is only a 40 minute car ride from the Twin Cities, the more relevant time & distance relationship should be measured in terms of travel via dog sled.

Well, it’s only about 10 miles from the southernmost suburbs of the Twin Cities, so that would be an hour by dogsled, and then about half an hour to Minneapolis…

Thanks for the reply. I’ll try to visit them both.

Carleton offers, IMO, a more varied campus experience, mostly because it’s considerably bigger, with 2000 students. Haverford has about 1200 students. The schools are equally excellent academically. Carleton is not remote. Haverford is beautiful and has the consortium of Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and Penn.

The trimester system at Carleton is not for everyone. It’s very intense and has a more serious student vibe, while managing to maintain a casual Midwest feel. Haverford prides itself on its honor system and is friendly, but IMO, feels a little overnice. No doubt others will totally disagree with that.

You won’t go wrong with either school. Both will do a great job with physics. Both will offer a wonderful experience.

Very cold winters, the senior capstone project (“comps”), and the trimester schedule perhaps make Carleton a bit more demanding. Climate and the consortium relationships are Haverford’s two big advantages, IMO.

I view them as peer institutions. Agree with fit being the priority.

I would take the time to look at the physics classes offered and the physics professors on staff at both colleges which you should be able to find from the school websites, online course catalogues etc…

Same conundrum here…except for an intended Biochemistry student planning to do a PhD. Have racked my brains over it and still can’t decide - Haverford or Carleton for Biology/Chemistry/Biochemistry. Here’s my summary:

  1. Faculty: Both have more or less the same number of Bio+Chem faculty adjusted for their size difference. Quality of the faculty is just as good at both…lots of varied research interests.

  2. Both of excellent PhD placements, though Carleton may have a slight edge here. They place more students in the midwest and west, whereas Haverford places more in the east. Hard to decide based on this metric. Students preferring east coast colleges for their PhD might want to go with Haverford due to its proximity. But ALL grad programs know of both schools and one can go anywhere from either school.

  3. Student Culture: More laid back at Carleton, a little more preppy at Haverford. Both academically intense. Suspect more “rich” kids at Haverford but everyone is serious about academics. I’ve heard there are lots of professor’s kids at Carleton. Both places have very friendly kids.

  4. Location - Here Philly definitely beats all other LACs except Pomona as it is the southernmost of the top 5 STEM/research heavy LACs…Pomona, Swarthmore, Grinnell, Carleton and Haverford. Four clear seasons and easy access to Philly and NYC. Here again someone from the midwest will not care for the location as they’re fine being a stone’s throw away from MSP at Carleton.

  5. Both offer Biochem minors/concentrations - so a tie here.

  6. Bi-Co: This could be a real advantage at Haverford as the 22 Bio+Chem professors added to Bryn Mawr’s 20 or so definetely outnumber Carleton’s 30 professors in sheer numbers. Might be a consideration for some students.

  7. Trimester vs Semester: This also could be a deciding factor. 10 intense weeks for 3 courses at Carleton vs 14 weeks for 4 courses at Haverford. Have to start strong right off the block at Carleton, can’t afford to fall sick and miss 3 days of class, intense 10 weeks. Haverford has 14 week semesters with 4 classes…more time to ease into the class I suspect. But the flip side is that the winter break at Carleton is from Nov 25 to Jan 5. And at Haverford from Dec 18 to Jan 15.

  8. Summer research opportunities - Any inputs on this one? It is harder/more competetive at Carleton or Haverford? Just as easy? Anyone who knows about this, please give us your inputs.

We live south of the twin cities and have visited Carleton for the arboretum a few times. It’s a beautiful, beautiful campus, and it’s in a lovely small town… but it’s absolutely in no way convenient to the cities at all. Not even by car imo. I don’t know how that would affect anything during college (probably not as much as you’d think), but my daughter at Haverford has hopped on the train a bunch (precovid) and was in Philly in a snap. It’s good you’re visiting them, as they do seem to have different feels and one is likely to pull at you more than the other.