Conn College Visit Reports

Now that there seems to be more curiosity about Conn on CC, I think traffic on this board may pick-up.

If you visit Conn, please report back! Here’s my summary from February 2018:

My D19 and I were back at Connecticut College this weekend. By noon on Saturday, all the students were emerging and it was a vibrant scene. A lacrosse game in the middle of campus drew plenty of kids and families cheering for the athletes, and for some reason, a plethora of dogs. Once D had greeted a majority of the dogs, we walked over to the arboretum where about 70 kids were lounging on the lawn listening to a likable student do a dry stand-up routine. Other students were preparing instruments and what looked like gymnastics mats for later acts.

Next, we walked to the field house which has a view of the river where a sailing regatta was in progress. At Conn, you can take beginner and/or intermediate sailing as a PE class. There was also a track meet going on, and we loved seeing the students come down to watch, hang out with their friends, and mingle with kids from the other participating schools.

We were particularly impressed with the student art on display in the museum and with our tour guide. He’s an Architectural Studies major who speaks only Arabic while living in the language house, plays volleyball, was the lead in Rocky Horror, and spoke genuinely about Conn’s inclusive atmosphere and stance against sexual violence.

Our overall impression was:
Well-rounded, well-adjusted kids with many talents.
An easily walkable, classic campus.
Very supportive administration–each student given four advisors (academic, career, staff and student).
Great location (we dislike traffic, so train = ideal).
Everyone wants everyone to feel welcome and to succeed.

@3SailAway Thank you for starting this! We also went last February and my daughter wasn’t sure what she thought of Conn College. We are going back soon to do an interview and another tour. It checks off many of her boxes, most importantly that it has a physics/astronomy major. Her current favorite schools are Mt. Holyoke, Smith and Wheaton in MA., so she’s looking for something that gives her that type of vibe. She is very concerned with fit, which is important. My older daughter transferred from her college because of fit, so it is something that is at the forefront of her mind.
The school was beautiful and the people seemed very nice. We have been getting mixed reviews (from online sources). Some say it is more prep school, wealthy, elitist type of vibe, while other reviews say it is inclusive, artsy… just discrepancies that we aren’t sure what to make of.

My daughter is also looking to be involved in social justice activities, horseback riding is her sport and she might like to play in an orchestra (not as part of her major). So, if anyone has any more input I would love to hear it too!

We took our second visit today and did a tour, info session and interview. This visit was better than our first, mostly in part to having a good info session. Our first one didn’t give any good information and was a turn off to my daughter, but we wanted to give it a second chance. Both times we had very nice, informative tour guides. My daughter’s interview went well and they gave her some names to contact for more specific questions. Also our tour guide is working to put her in touch with someone from the equestrian team. The honor code was highlighted as was that there wasn’t just one type of student that went there. My daughter said the school moved up on her list after this second visit. Any questions, just let me know!

@travelfamily we are looking at some of the same schools for D. Do you (or anyone else) have an opinion on the party/social scene at Conn? How often do students go out, is there a lot of binge drinking, where do they usually go, etc.? What are the students like there? You say that there isn’t just one type of student that attends, but do you have a sense of the attitude of students towards money, etc.? D is not looking for an overly artsy/super environmentally conscious/social activist filled student body. She has nothing against those students, just wants a more preppy student body, but without all of the overly entitled students who take things for granted!

@bosscross Hello! These are really good questions. We had difficulty putting our finger on a typical ConnColl student. We got the standard answers that most tour guides give- you will find your people; there is no pressure to party; there is so much to do…etc… However we have an older daughter that transferred out of a small NY liberal arts college located in the Adirondacks due in part to the partying atmosphere. Many students had extra money to spend and a lot was spent on drugs (at least in her dorm).

I do hear that ConnColl is a combination of artsy and preppy. We visited in the summer so we didn’t get to see many students. Our first visit was during the school,year, but again we really didn’t get a good handle on the type of student there. I do have to say everyone we encountered was very nice. My daughter knows someone going there next year, so if we hear anything from her I can report back.

Currently my daughter is changing direction a bit and starting to look at some larger schools. But she is keeping ConnColl on her list for now. Good luck on your search!

FWIW, Conn was a school that 2 of our college counselors’ kids had attended, both very happily, so it was one that lots of kids from our school considered (and several attended). Very different “types” attended, from the very sporty to the artsy, so I tend to believe those who see the school as more “mixed” and inclusive. And the kids from our (boarding) school were not entitled, so sound like your D. I would totally recommend going for a day of class and/or a game on a Saturday to get a read on the vibe. It felt less preppy that Trinity, for example.

We ended up there 2 or 3 times and found everyone at admissions to be really warm. (Providing the connection to someone involved with the equestrian team seems consistent, rather than an outlier.) Unfortunately, something turned off DS when he went back to shadow a student for the afternoon. (I am always wary of those insta-yuck encounters, but it was enough to demote the school from ED contender to RD.) The counselors also recommended applying ED if it was a first choice, saying that for a “typical” applicant (i.e., strong but not super-wow student, no hooks), the outcome was far more likely to be positive in the ED round.

We heard through the grapevine that the administration was relatively supportive of(or intentionally oblivious to) on-campus partying in an effort to keep the kids out of the local bars (which can be a tad rough given the sub base.) That was not a turnoff for DS, but an interesting reference point. (Perhaps a current student can speak to that.) We liked that it was on the Northeast Corridor so easy train access to major cities. It offered the community of most LACs without the isolation.

Personally, I thought it hit a lot of the right notes, and the funding for summer internships struck me as a creative way to help students explore and launch. Good luck.

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@bosscross @travelfamily I am a Conn College student. You both are spot on with there is no one particular Conn College student; there are both preppy and artsy kids who seem to intermingle. If your daughter wants more of a preppy school, you will see tons of Canada Goose and Barbour jackets in the winter. There is a fair share of New England boarding school kids that are both athletes and non-athletes. Just like at every college, there is partying. Students on campus will party at the Ridges where the seniors live. If it gets out of hand, campus safety is quick to shut it down. There is no pressure to participate in this, there are plenty of other options for kids to do. Kids of age will also go to the bars on occasion, they’re about an 8 minute uber. The bars are relatively safe, the bouncers don’t let locals or anyone else in with the exception being Coast Guard students. Hope this helped a little.

@travelfamily

[quote=“travelfamily, post:5, topic:2057354”]

However we have an older daughter that transferred out of a small NY liberal arts college located in the Adirondacks due in part to the partying atmosphere. Many students had extra money to spend and a lot was spent on drugs (at least in her dorm).

[/quote}
Would you share which Adirondack college?

We learned a great deal about Conn by attending an open house. We got to meet many students, and they even had a lunch where we ate with faculty (who impressed me a great deal). I got to sit next to PEN/Faulkner nominee Blanche Boyd. It was quite persuasive; S19 was sold, applied ED and will report in 2 weeks (gasp!).

Even the college President Bergeron stopped and talked to me and my wife in a hallway for quite some time (she cornered us, not the other way around!). She is awesome. IMHO the vibe there is very personal and supportive.

If you want to learn more about it, the open house day is a good choice.

@camelllll That is actually very helpful information- thank you!

@BktoNJ Just sent you a PM.