Comparing campus community

<p>Living in AZ, we may not be able to travel to all of the LAC's on my daughter's list. We visited one LAC and my D's was appauled by the blatant consumption of alcohol during her overnight stay. On the other hand, she considers herself liberal and would like a tolerant, slightly-to-the left kind of school. She is a hardworking student who likes to have fun, but is not into the frat or party scene. She wants to be around other highly motivated students.</p>

<p>We visited Whitman and absolutely loved it; realistically, though, her stats are probably a little low for acceptance. GPA 3.8, a couple of AP's and several Honors classes, SAT about 1220, lots of wonderful experiences and Extra Curriculars. We are considering Early Decision, but not sure we can swing the tuition. [ We have eliminated all schools that require SATII -- she doesn't test well. Did not take ACT either.]</p>

<p>She is undecided about majors, though seems to be leaning towards the humanities/creative writing. Music is important, though she does not want to major. She wants to play in a quality orchestra/wind ensemble/jazz group.</p>

<p>We are also looking at Knox and Lawrence, Occidental and possibly University of Rochester. She does not want any religiously affiliated school.</p>

<p>Can anyone comment about these schools in terms of the social scene, alcohol, campus safety? </p>

<p>We plan to order the video tapes we read about in this forum...but would sure appreciate feedback from other parents who visited these schools. Thanks!</p>

<p>Friend's daughter--whom I know well--is at Whitman and very happy there. Other students whom I know less well have also been happy there. Former students who have graduated are gainfully employed. Friend's D got a merit scholarship when she applied ED.</p>

<p>Your Ds stats are not any lower than 3 of the 6 students I know.</p>

<p>Out here, Whitman has a great reputation! (when I tell people I went to Williams, they think I said Whitman, and are impressed!) Lots of good jazz out of Whitman as well (Craig Hoyer, perhaps the leading jazz pianist around here, is a Whitman grad.)</p>

<p>I think the world of Occidental, as well - though it's different of course - urban vs. rural, and lots of service learning activities and the like. You'd likely find Whitman more "preppy", though in a northwest sort of way.</p>

<p>Which LAC turned your d. off? (no sense in recommending schools that might be similar!) </p>

<p>Earlham, of course, is officially "dry", and has lots of motivated students, and, for its size, large student orchestra. There's little emphasis on test scores. </p>

<p>Rochester is too cold for my blood!</p>

<p>Oh, mini, care to describe more about Occidental? I posted in the Occidental subforum but there are no replies yet</p>

<p>There are many colleges with religious affiliation that are no different from a nonsectarian college. Wheaton, BYU et al have strict codes that would make them unsuitable for many students. However a non-Catholic at Notre Dame or a non-Presbyterian at Wooster would have no problem in my opinion.</p>

<p>mini -- Puget Sound was the school that left her a bit shell-shocked, although we thought the school was pretty good. Many students are involved in music.</p>

<p>dmd77 - Glad to hear the students get into Whitman with her stats. My impression was that they are becoming more selective every year. I really liked their emphasis on character and overall interests and creativity.</p>

<p>Regarding Knox, I know it is not as selective as Lawrence or Whitman. Can any of you comment on the academic drive of the students? My D wants to be around other motivated kids. I don't know anyone who attended Knox. Also, does anyone have info on the quality of their music program and musical ensembles? </p>

<p>originaloog -- The only reason we rejected colleges with religious affiliations was because we assumed (incorrectly?) that they would be more on the conservative side. She is wanting a liberal scene, though not as far to the left as Reed.</p>

<p>Hey Mini:</p>

<p>You are the Quaker historian in the crowd. Was Earlham founded by Levi Coffin and his enclave of Indiana Quakers?</p>

<p>I believe that he was a cousin of Lucretia Coffin Mott, one of Swarthmore's founders. She left the family home in Nantucket and moved to Philadelphia with her husband. I believe that both Levi and Lucretia were "Hicksites" and I think that Lucretia and her husband were heavily involved in the underground railroad as well. </p>

<p>The whole kit and kaboodle of the Coffin clan originally settled in Salisbury, MA just a hop skip and a jump from here. They later moved to Nantucket. I haven't been able to track it down completely, but I believe they were also instrumental in founding the Penn Center slave school outside Beaufort, SC. which later served as a Martin Luther King's retreat while planning March on Washington (and for liasons with his mistress, according to local SC gossip). There is a Coffin Plantation near the Penn Center and the plantation house was designed by a Phila Quaker architect. How many Phila Quaker Coffins could there have been in the mid-1800s?</p>

<p>Earlham was not founded by Levi Coffin, though it grew out of the same community. Some 20,000 people, most of them Quakers, moved in two waves - one around 1805, the other around 1820 - from North Carolina (mostly near Greensboro), taking their slaves with them, and freeing them in southern Ohio and Indiana so they could make their way to Canada. (Folks are often unaware, but prior to the American Revolution, the percentage of Friends in NC and in Rhode Island was higher than in Pennsylvania.) Friends had freed all of their slaves prior to the American Revolution (which is quite a story, because Rhode Island Quakers were the majority of the slaveship captains, and their slave profits went to found Brown Univesity), except in North Carolina (and in Eastern Shore Maryland). The laws in NC were such that if a slave was freed, he could be taken in by another master. Friends tried all kinds of stuff - putting them in the name of the Meeting -- which freed them, except they could only go from one Friends' habitation to another, or in the names of northern Meetings. Finally, they just picked up and moved. A small remnant was left (in the area around what is now Guilford College). They were beset on both sides during the Civil War - they wouldn't fight for the South, and they wouldn't fight for the North. We know them best today by the song (the "Quaker Hymn") "How Can I Keep from Singing."</p>

<p>I actually know a bunch of Coffins today, on both sides of the Atlantic. They settled in Nantucket (after Salisbury), and spread from there. Levi Coffin's family moved to NC. Oddly enough, I discovered that when the Friends left NC, a branch of the family went back to England.</p>

<p>Lucretia was a "Hicksite". I don't know about Levi, but I rather doubt it. He would more likely have been part of a 3rd branch, the "conservatives" (liberal/radical on social justice issues, conservative theologically.) </p>

<p>We remember Levi Coffin as the father of the Underground Railroad. Actually, though, his more relevant contribution was in the creation of the Cincinnati Free Store - basically a mail order service whereby people could purchase goods that had no taint of slave labor. In fact, at one point Coffin spent $300 to purchase a cotton gin and smuggled it south to a plantation of free Blacks in rural Mississippi, to produce "slave-free" cotton. The precursor of "fair trade coffee'"!</p>

<p>Bunches of colleges were formed from abolitionist sentiments. Berea, until 1911, was 50% Black (part of their charter) until a Supremee Court decision upheld a Kentucky law banning mixed race education. Antioch was founded by the "Christian Connection", also with abolitionist sentiments.</p>

<p>why was UPS so shocking? We were going to look at it for younger daughter.
Didn't look at Whitman even though perfect match for older. She studied the Whitmans so much in middle school she said she didn't want to hear their name ever again!
occidental is supposed to be great school, urban and very diverse.</p>

<p>I would also look at Lewis and Clark if she likes the northwest.</p>

<p>When you check out Occidental why not stop in at Univ of Redlands. They have great music groups your daughter could join by audition-doesn't have to be music major. Son loves it there, he is a music performance major. They have rolling admissions and her stats would certainly fit in. Sorry I don't know about the creative writing-perhaps Carolyn will answer. We were there last night for first Jazz performance. Students seem to know each other and are very supportive of each other-cheers to my son while dorm mates long boarded by while he played. We are comfortable with the safety of the city, it is in a very nice neighborhood-apparently many "old people" like to jog through campus in the morning. Alcohol is there but does not seem to be necessary for social life. Redlands is not a large city, but to our son it is the big city.</p>

<p>I thought UPS was a beautiful campus. My D's overnight host was very pleasant -- introduced her to friends. The first question they asked her was if she drank... and then the friends (Freshman) drank Vodka and ordered some kind of illegal substance online. Her overnight occured before the tour and class observation and unfortunately colored the rest of the visit. We discussed it afterwards -- that all campuses have alcohol, etc -- and she is realizing that it's part of the college scene. Still, I can't get her to look at the big picture after that experience. She admitted to me that if she had just gone on the campus tour and met with admissions, she would have liked the school... but the overnight visit gave her a completely different perspective. She had trouble visualizing herself in the social scene and probably lacks the maturity to see beyond it.</p>

<p>Funny how times have changed. I told her that I applied to and attended colleges I had never even visited. I relied solely on the catalogs and the academic offerings. Today it seems like students are evaluating everything from geography to campus food. [She wants a cooperative non-competitive setting, enthusiastic students, non-preppy, no part of frat scene.]</p>

<p>My daughter is at Reed and really likes it, isn't part of substance using community which isn't as big as reputation.
A friend's son is a physics major and looked at Reed as they are superlative in physics ( only LAC with a nuclear reactor) however the dorm he was visiting ( not freshman) were drinking beer and offered him one, he was so shocked that he didn't apply.</p>

<p>It can be hard to see around the inital experience, I have trouble myself, when we bought our first house I liked it cause of the furniture!</p>

<p>I'll read up on Redlands, lamom and Lewis & Clark, emeraldkity4. Thanks for the suggestions. Interesting history about Earlham, mini.</p>

<p><<it can="" be="" hard="" to="" see="" around="" the="" inital="" experience,="" i="" have="" trouble="" myself,="" when="" we="" bought="" our="" first="" house="" liked="" it="" cause="" of="" furniture!="">> Emaraldkity4, You made me laugh out loud -- but I know exactly what you are saying. I think my D realizes that now, too, and even the order that we view these colleges makes a difference. It's all relative. Unfortunately, our own geography, work schedule and budget prevents us from visiting all of these schools.</it></p>

<p>"Oh, mini, care to describe more about Occidental? I posted in the Occidental subforum but there are no replies yet."</p>

<p>First of all, both my kids did some music at UPS, and we know a lot of the faculty. It's a good place, but not terrific. Most folks around here (from the little we know), given the choice, choose Pacific Lutheran over UPS (and music there is better! we know the head of the jazz department, and the chair of composition was one of my older d.'s mentors.) It is also a lot "dryer".</p>

<p>Whitman vs. Occidental. Both great schools. Both LACs, both selective, both with lots of resources. But the differences are very great. Whitman is basically the Williams of the northwest. It is very strong academically, but also very traditional. Kids are heavily into the outdoors (given the location); it is rural, and somewhat isolated. Students tend to be well-heeled; as I remember, only 40% or so receive financial aid (which is not a comment on the generosity of the financial aid department, but rather the kinds of students they attract.) Lots of future lawyers and med. students, and terrific networking in the Northwest. Very beautiful.</p>

<p>Occidental is a whole different "kettle of fish". It has the highest proportion of low-income students (Pell Grant recipients) of any prestigious liberal arts college in the U.S. Coupled with being in So. Cal, and easy international transportation, it is very diverse, something they pride themselves upon. And they do something with it. The campus is gorgeous (Spanish stucco), but is relatively urban, and is surrounded by relatively poor neighborhoods with high proportions of immigrants and speakers of other languages. Service learning is very, very big at Occidental. There is a large amount of community outreach; future pre-meds work in clinics and local hospitals, future lawyers in legal aid societies, future educators in pre-schools, etc. Language learning is bigger at Occidental and, as I remember, so is study abroad. </p>

<p>Both Whitman and Occidental have reasonable music departments, and jazz bands. Occidental's location obviously makes access to a vibrant musical scene easier. </p>

<p>So it kind of depends what your d. wants. A fine, more traditional education in a magnficent setting is to be had at Whitman. (I imagine Knox would be similar, though perhaps a little less academically intense - note, though, I've never visited.)Occidental is a bit edgier, more diverse, and more urban.</p>

<p>Thought about Smith?</p>

<p>We visited both Lawrence and Earlham with my eldest son who wanted creative writing and a chance to play jazz piano. He really liked Lawrence in particular. The students who gave us our tour were from diverse backgrounds and had very varied interests. One was studying opera and art, the other economics. One was pierced and from Oregon, the other was fairly conservative and from Taiwan via Germany! Son liked them both as they were relaxed, bright, enthusiastic, open minded. The campus has a small frat scene, but there was a lot more than that going on- particularly with the conservatory program being there. The city is small and not necessarily student oriented, but my son felt it was fine for him. There are great opportunities in the Fox Cities for internships. The campus is very pretty with some interesting new buildings. Hands down the admissions office is the best we have encountered anywhere! They have a trimester system, if I remember correctly, so the school year ends a bit later then other places. </p>

<p>We visited Earlham a few days before. There was a boy on our tour whose older brother had graduated a few days earlier from Lawrence! We felt that Earlham was a very supportive school environment, and had a nice sense of community. But, my son and I both agreed it felt like a high school- it just lacked the punch of some of the other small LAC's we were seeing. It has some fine programs, however. The town of Richmond was not a particular enhancement either.</p>

<p>A caution about Lewis & Clark - it has a rep for drug use. Like all reps, it may or may not be based on truth but I found the fact that 2-3 RA's were found selling pot from their dorm rooms last year interesting. </p>

<p>A good way to get a sense of campus life is to do an "interest" search for the college name at - Many schools have general discussion groups where current students post and will anwer questions. It is also interesting to read the private journals of individual students (just remember that they may or may not portray the entire student body). Examples - a search for Earlham brought up a discussion among students noting that while Earlham is officially "dry" current students told a prospective student that they'd describe it as "pleasantly damp" - they said that some kids drink, some kids do pot, and many kids do neither but busy themselves with other activities. This pleased my daughter, who is looking for a place similiar to your daughter. By the same token, I had to pause when freshman on the livejournal for Lake Forest College in Illinois talked a lot about people passing out in the bathroom from drinking, etc.</p>

<p>One second hand caveat about Whitman - Last year there was a dad and son who posted here. ("Mike's Dad") - Son applied to both Whitman and Univ. of Puget Sound. He was a very good student. He was turned off when he visited Whitman because he saw lots of people drinking there. As Mini noted, he also felt that the kids tended to be wealthier at Whitman which was a turn off for him personally. He preferred the social scene at UPS where he felt things were more mixed. He ended up going to UPS. My point: everyone's opinion is going to be a little varied based on their actual impressions and experiences.</p>

<p>Good point, Carolyn. My daughter spent the night in an all girls' dorm at Whitman which was probably a lot quieter and "tamer" than the coed dorm. We were not comparing apples to apples when we vistited UPS. And her host at Whitman was a very serious student. I'm sensitive to the comments about the preppy or wealthier student body, as my D probably wouldn' feel comfortable in that climate. I'm wondering how Knox and Lawrence would compare. (I'm ordering the video tapes you recommended in a previous post.)</p>

<p>Robyrm -- Is your son planning to double major in music? Or play as a non-major? Just wondering if non-majors have quality musical opportunities at Lawrence. It sounds like a great school.</p>

no, he was not planning a double major..just wanted to have the chance to play in good ensembles. It seemed to him that there would be ample opportunity at Lawrence. The other option that was similar, in terms of conservatory resources, was Oberlin- which has a very different feel to it, but a similar breadth of options.</p>

<p>Don't overlook Rochester. The presence of a world famous conservatory (Eastman School of Music) greatly enhances both the quality of music offerings and the opportunities for enjoying great performances (MANY free!). Although Eastman is on a seperate campus (it's downtown and U of R is out a little further - but still urban), and U of R offers its own music program too, there is opportunity for cross over. U of R has lots of underground tunnels if you don't like snow - but I've lived in Rochester for 40+ years and it is really a great city.</p>