College types and fits- suggestions needed

So I am looking into the female colleges including Barnard, Wellesley, Smith, Scripps, MHC. BMC isn’t yet test optional for international students so it is not within my considerations.
I am a bisexual cellist (really really into music )who also speaks Chinese, Japanese and quite a bit of French; also an active scientist and animal rights fighter. I am looking for somewhere super liberal, (people agree I am quirky and very unique) with good counselling services (I have depression). I care about my academics a lot and may consider going into finance? Or just stay in the academic area, but I need good resources for potential internships(I heard Scripps isn’t good for that). I like healthy competition and care lots about feminism, but I think it is important to not be overly addressing it everyday.
I take Eng Lit, Physics and Music for my ib HL so you can see how widespread my interests are. My grades were outstanding before I got depression, but now it has dropped a lot and went back to around 36-38/42 (though I will possibly get 3 extra bonus points) and my school is super conservative in terms of giving predictions. I went for the most difficult course combination for myself, challenging French B whilst I could have just taken English B and Chinese as first language; English Lit instead of Langlit which is considered more rigourous. I also went for maths AA instead of AI which is a lot easier, for a music students (My concentration in the UK is music, and aiming for Oxford as they don’t ask for as high grades as Cambridge, plus I live near Oxon).

I was very suppressed back in a girl’s boarding school that strongly emphasise on “extreme feminism” and unnecessary bondings (I feel very happy alone, as an INTP; only friends who are compatible intellectually, weird in their own way, have big personality, not following the crowds and are ambitious can get along with me). I have lots of extra-curricular activities and do very well in college essay writing,

I have also been looking into some other LACs, like
Colby, Grinnell( Had an amazing interview with my AO, suggested me to ED?), Oberlin, Bates, Wesleyan, Middlebury, Hamilton…
as well as unis like
NYU-AD or CAS or Gallatin, WFU, Brown (maybe? But I don’t think I am academically good enough, well in fact at the moment most schools sounds like reach for me)

Please give suggestions on what might be a good fit for me? I think maybe applying to ALL the sisters colleges might be too much!


Also I have a very diverse background geographically and demographically , despite coming from the large Chinese pool, I go to school in the UK and lived in various continents; my ancestors come from Siberia, China and Korea so I grew up in a very multicultural setting. I also play in the national orchestra and sing at a professional level, but NOT considering conservatoires.

Just a thought… if you suffer from depression, all those far north, isolated schools might be a challenge. Limited daylight and very cold in the winter could be really tough.

Barnard sounds like the best fit. Too bad about BMC, because that too sounds good. Oberlin sounds like it could work as well as Grinnell, but it too is isolated.

I might look at Tufts. You would have a lot of freedom to pick and choose what you wanted from what they offered and feel less pressure to be part of the community.

Not on your list but another school that may be a match for both your interests and academics is Case Western. Urban setting, strong music scene, quirky students, and adjacent to world class health care.

I think both MHC and Smith sound good for you for women’s colleges. They are part of a consortium along with Amherst, Hampshire and U Mass Amherst, a big state U. I don’t know much about Scripps, but it’s part of an excellent consortium of top colleges, so that’s something of a bonus. Consortiums are helpful because you have a bigger pool of potential classes and students.

Oberlin sounds great for your interests. Especially with their conservatory, I think you might get all you are looking for there. Wesleyan and Grinnell also sound pretty good for you. Re the AO telling you to apply ED, well, he or she acts as a part time salesman too, so take that with a grain of salt.

Brown, sure, but good luck getting in.

NYU is the odd man out on your list in many ways. It’s going to have the least traditional college experience, as it’s in the city. Your experience is going to be very different than at all the others. Your classes will be larger and you are not going to get much of the more intimate experience you seem to be leaning towards. Because it’s much bigger than all the others, you might find that internships are much more competitive. As you are almost exclusively interested in LACs, I’m surprised it’s on your list.

I think you could find your people at Bates, Colby and Midd because they are all excellent schools with friendly and accepting students. As I know about Bates, I can tell you that the counseling center is very good. There is an active orchestra and smaller ensembles. Students are very liberal. Bates is in a large town/small city and the other two are in more rural locations. Those three colleges aren’t known for being super politically active or social-justice-y, but they will happily support your causes.

IMO, it’s pretty easy to get internships and jobs set up through most of the small colleges you are considering. They have involved alumni networks and engaged career centers who want you to succeed.

From what you describe about yourself, I honestly can’t see Wellesley, Wake, or Hamilton being great fits for you. I would take them off your list.

As far as weather, nearly all colleges you mention are in cold places, except for Wake and Scripps. In Maine and Vermont, winter will be colder.

Oh thanks a lot, but I though Tufts is very difficult to get in cause lots of people like to transfer to top Boston schools from there? Yeah I am planning to ED Barnard lol; my depression, tbh I am quite introverted as long as the school is liberal I don’t care about party/social as long as it is quiet. I want INNER PEACE:)

Oh thanks a lot, but I though Tufts is very difficult to get in cause lots of people like to transfer to top Boston schools from there? Yeah I am planning to ED Barnard lol; my depression, tbh I am quite introverted as long as the school is liberal I don’t care about party/social as long as it is quiet. I want INNER PEACE:)

Oh my Asian parents care deadly about the rankings, like they won’t let me consider anything after top 30 LAC/Uni; I’ll have to stay in England for like Edinburgh or King’s College if compared to Case Western. Thanks lots though

Oh thanks so much, I wonder if I can talk to you a bit in more depth? I have been struggling with my long college list lmao!!! This is so helpful

Sure, ask away.

Re wanting a quiet place, you might want to ask for themed housing, as sometimes those dorms can be a little quieter. NYU isn’t going to be particularly quiet, because of its location. And all of those colleges might have a party dorm, so maybe when you choose housing, you can request a quieter dorm. But first things first…

Thanks lots; I can see why you said Wellesley isn’t a fit for me and that’s what my parents+friend and counsellors have been saying. I don’t know what aspects of Wake (My dad likes it so much) and Hamilton are concerning you?

Regarding NYU, again it is a parent’s idea cause it’s famous, he wants me to transfer to Stern (no way) and lots of Chinese alum and widely recognised around the world. I would probably prefer NYUAD tbh…

I have considered Vassar and Wesly and I found no … just nope…

Looked into Haverford and Davidson recently??? Idk…

Do you have any suggestions? thanks so much.

Plus I don’t really know how to message you privately… Maybe reply me privately plz? I am so sorry about that~

I was going to suggest Vassar because it’s got a gorgeous campus, music, and the dorm called Strong is quiet and pleasant, studious and supportive, harking back to its all-girls roots. It’s also on the train line to NYC, easy for a day trip into and out of the City. You might want to reconsider Vassar. The student body is lively but also studious.

I echo Scripps for you. It’s both part of a consortium and is in sunny southern California.

I would scratch the Maine colleges from your list. I love Maine, personally, and have spent a lot of time there. Come March everyone is depressed and needs a vacation for two weeks in the sun. Again, this comes from someone who loves Maine. It’s a serious winter. Ditto with Middlebury and other schools like that in the woods … so depressing come March.

I would not suggest Oberlin for you–tiny town fraught with politics in the middle of Ohio–flat and dreary. See the Oberlin thread for more info.

Mt. Holyoke has many dorms that have sunrooms, so that even if it’s wintery, you can get sun. Plus it’s part of a consortium.

BMC is known for being accommodating for students who seek the learning experience they offer. They truly do have holistic admissions and it’s such a strong school, offering so much of what you’re looking for, that I suggest starting a dialogue with the admissions office about perhaps what else you can submit for their evaluation. They truly are holistic. BMC seeks students who want to create and add to their unique community. This community is truly interested in learning more than it’s interested in grades. Of course grades are important, and the education is very good as evidenced by the number of women who graduate from BMC and enter their fields at high levels. The impulse to learn, though, is at the heart of what they do, not just grade-seeking or degree-seeking or system-gaming to get a grade or a degree as some sort of signaling device. It’s not a compete-compete-compete community. It’s a supportive, scholarly community for strong, brainy women.

NYU is indeed as it’s been described above: a large school with less of a community feel, but it’s a great school in a great City. You would learn so much from being in the NYC community and culture. For NYC schools the City is your campus. You get the some of the world’s greatest museums, music, art. It would be a different experience but it’s a wonderful experience. NYC is a different sort of place, where people are about innovation and risk-taking, striving, straight-talk, in order to create something new and different. Columbia is more staid in its approach by comparison, and Barnard is part of Columbia. CU gives cheap tickets and free tickets to students for stuff in the city, like the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and Broadway and Opera etc. If you want to do the arts and be in the arts, NYC cannot be ignored. All other places in the USA want to expose their students to what NYC offers. Like Skidmore, a very nice school, but as part of their pitch to prospective students, they say “We even take our students to NYC.” Sarah Lawrence: “We’re 20 minutes from NYC!” Other schools: “We have
NYC summer program!” That’s deemed a draw. So, if you’re truly interested in the arts, look closely at NYC schools. All of them.

I would skip Hamilton, Grinnell and any other small LAC that’s NOT part of a consortium. Hamilton is way off in the woods and it’s so dreary that I’ve known two students who transferred out. Tufts is a fine school and has many programs, but it’s sort of boring to my mind, ill defined and – think of what you said about the transfers out! People don’t choose it as first choice! Probably for a reason. I personally would never choose Boston over NYC. Boston is a fine city in many ways, but it lacks vibrancy and daring. Just my two cents.

I personally would choose a school that people choose as their Number One. That might be Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Scripps – schools that people feel so passionately about that they truly want to be there. That’s going to create for you a more vibrant community spirit.

You didn’t mention finances at all so I think everyone is assuming money is no object, and your family is willing to pay for a T30 school regardless of its cost. Is this a correct assumption?

Thanks so much for your opinions; perhaps Haverford? BMC isn’t test optional yet so I cannot consider it.
Do you have further suggestions for me within top 30LAC/Uni? I’ve got Asian parents and they won’t let me go unless it’s highly ranked…

@Dustyfeathers, I actually grew up around Siberia so cold long winters are fine, like it’s just lack of sunshine in UK drives me mad. Tufts isn’t my idea someone suggested but Im really not interested in it thx

@Dustyfeathers , MANY students choose Tufts, Hamilton, Grinnell, Middlebury, Bates, and Colby as their first choices and they all have very high freshman retention rates. Students are happy. However, kids transfer out of every school in this thread. I think the first year retention rates and four year graduation rates speak for themselves. In fact, Hamilton has a four year graduation rate of 89%. Bryn Mawr’s four year grad rate is 79%. Scripps first year retention rate is 92%, Grinnell’s is 94%. That said, I still think MHC and BMC seem like the best bets for OP.

My D attended college in Maine and loved every minute of it, even in the winter. Whether they are in Pennsylvania, NY, or anywhere else in the Northeast, MidAtlantic, or Midwest, winter is going to be cold. I love Boston and think it’s a thousand times better than NYC. To each his own I guess.

OP, you describe yourself as:
-active scientist and animal rights fighter. I am looking for somewhere super liberal
-very multicultural
-liberal (again)
-very diverse background geographically and demographically, I go to school in the UK and lived in various continents
-like healthy competition and care lots about feminism, but I think it is important to not be overly addressing it everyday.

Wake has a lot of Greek life and is on the preppy and conservative side. It just doesn’t sound like how you describe yourself. At all. Ditto for Davidson, even more so. Hamilton is a great school, but I don’t think it has quite what you are looking for. I think the academics are perhaps a little more intense than you might want, and it’s perhaps not quite as liberal as you would like, though it is liberal.

I’m surprised you don’t like Vassar. Seems like a good fit. And did you mean you have discounted Wesleyan? Wellesley, no, but
I think Wesleyan would be great for you. If you don’t like Vassar I think you might also want to forget about the Maine colleges.

Honestly, I think your list should include Barnard, Grinnell, Oberlin, MHC, Brown, Wesleyan and Tufts, because it’s big enough for you to find your people. (Maybe Scripps, but I don’t know enough about it.) And do a little more investigating on Bates, Colby, Haverford. Haverford is a neat place, but my concern for you is that it is tiny, with 1200 students. Just not sure you will find what you like there. You can keep NYU on the list, but you won’t get a “traditional” college experience there.

You have a nice list of reach schools. Pick your favorites from the group. Then look at some schools that will definitely take you and spend the same amount of time mulling over them, because those picks will be near 100% that you can go there

With these schools, you have to get in. It seems to me a smaller, more liberal school would be good picks for you. You have a good list of them. You need some site things.

@AliciaSmith Haverford is small (1300 students these days), but you’re really part of a community of around 2600 students because of the proximity of Bryn Mawr. Many Haverford students not only take classes at Bryn Mawr, they major at Bryn Mawr, eat meals at BMC, and share many extracurriculars. The free shuttle that goes between the campuses runs every 15 minutes from around 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.
You can read more about this cooperative arrangement here:

Thanks so much, I might just add Middlebury onto my list as I think it sounds fun; and tbh I am quite academically intense as my depression has started recovering in a happier school

This sounds very appealing thanks so much!