Cute town & pretty campus, B+ student

One of my D20’s criteria is that she’d like to go to a school that has a cute town, some other things to do nearby and a really pretty campus. I’m sure she’ll party some at college but she also likes to just go to dinner/movies/shopping with friends. She wants a smaller school, probably an LAC. She wouldn’t mind being near a city, but not right in one. We have run the NPC’s and can make these work financially. Some that we are looking at visting are listed below. Would love to get a feel for how the campuses looks and the surrounding areas. We have done the virtual tours. She wants either an English or psychology major and most schools seem pretty strong in both.

College of Wooster
Ohio Wesleyan
Univ of Scranton
Loyola Md
Catholic Univ
St Olaf

Her GPA is 3.7 (avg rigor, some honors and 3 Ap’s) and ACT was a 29 with a 33 in both the reading and English sections. She doesn’t think she wants a southern school (she thinks they will be too conservative) and isn’t worried at all about prestige or rankings.

We have visited:
Marist- loved the campus, school, academics, but surrounding area was not so great.
Clark- loved the academics but campus was small, students a bit too quirky, and didn’t like the area
Hobart- beautiful campus & likes the academics. Town was cute but very small.

I’d add Drew University to list. Campus is beautiful, town of Madison is very nice, Short Hills mall is nearby, and NYC is a short train ride away.

I’d also say that it’s hard to find “conservative” LAC’s, even in the south, so maybe something like Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA.

YMMV, and it’s a great school, but S17 wouldn’t get out of the car for U of Scranton. I know many who love it, but not a great area. Susquehanna is huge by us; beautiful campus. Depending on where you live, I’ve heard people say it’s too rural, but compared to where we live kids love it and everything you need is nearby.

Wooster has a pretty campus, with a drop-dead gorgeous science library. There is a compact part of town with amazing food – bistros, steak place, hip brew pub plus the St Paul hotel in restored industrial space – looks like it was dropped in from Brooklyn, but otherwise, the town is a little tired and Wooster is about an hour from anywhere.

Dickinson is also lovely, with “downtown” Carlisle about 2-3 blocks away, with the requisite casual restaurants, coffee shops etc. Harrisburg is about 30-45 min away, not on many people’s list of “city” life but even as a Philly girl, I’ve never actually been so like so much else about college exploration, Harrisburg could have changed a lot since my youth.

Ohio Wesleyan and Depauw probably have a similar feel, campus is intermingled (OWU) or adjoining (Depauw) a small town which, like Wooster, feels a little tired. OWU is maybe 20-30 min from Columbus. Depauw is about 45 min (I think) from Indy.

Denison is up on the hill in Granville which is a lovely, New England style village, with local shops with the college student pre-requisites, coffee shop, pub, custard shop, a nice, local grocery store. 10-15 min to Newark/Heath where there is Target etc. and 20-25 minutes to an upscale, outdoor mall, Easton Center, complete with luxury movie theater, high end shopping and restaurants. Admissions keeps getting more competitive at Denison, 29% this year with another 10% increase in applications for something like 8800 apps.

Denison is a beautiful campus (designed by same architect as NY’s Central Park) and the nearby (walkable) town is cute and has most things a college student would need.

St Olaf, also on the hill near a small town, has an exceptionally pretty campus, a beautiful Hogwarts-style library and a lovely chapel, and a nearby arboretum with trails. Careleton is nearby if one wants access to another campus and student community.

Both are about 45 minutes from Columbus/Twin Cities airports, respectively.

I agree with @Midwestmomofboys regarding Dickinson and Wooster.

Anecdotally (supported by Princeton Guide), there is said to be a fair amount of drinking/partying at Gettysburg.

Lawrence might be too quirky. My kid, who had Clark on her list before she decided she wanted women’s colleges, thought that Lawrence was quirky enough for her.

Dickinson fits your description - lovely campus and cute town, great school. Gettysburg had a nice town right by campus - I wasn’t crazy about the campus and we were turned off by a perceived heavy Greek and party scene. Susquehanna is a lovely campus - pristine comes to mind. Don’t remember much of a cute town feel. Didn’t like Ursinus campus; don’t remember the town at all. Muhlenberg campus is very small - felt like a high school; don’t remember the town. Don’t think it was close enough to walk, but it’s been a couple of years and we visited a lot of campuses so can’t say for sure. Wouldn’t call Scranton campus or location cute. You might consider Mt. Holyoke (might be a low reach) if she’s open to women’s college. Wheaton in MA and SUNY Geneseo are two pretty campuses in nice towns.

Take a look at Lafayette in PA. The town of Easton is not exactly cute, but it is nice and quirky with cafes and a movie theater and the Crayola Crayon factory. The campus is beautiful and the school is small (2400 undergrads). It may be a bit reachy for your daughter, but you never know.

Its about 70 miles from Manhattan and there are multiple buses every day running back and forth.

I met some McDaniel college parents who were happy with their kids’ experiences there. Westminster is a pretty town. Small school, not quite southern though south of the Mason Dixon line’

Saint Michael’s College. Bucolic campus minutes from great college town of Burlington, Vermont. Close to great hiking/skiing and Lake Champlain waterfront. Very doable road trip to Montreal. Solid LAC with a warm community vibe.

Wheaton College in Norton, MA has one of the prettiest campuses we saw. It’s been used as film locations a number of times. They had some impressive academic offerings and are very generous with merit aid.

I’m not familiar with the locations of the ones you listed but Providence or Fairfield might also have what she’s looking for.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. Seems like Denison and Dickinson have the most of what she is looking for but Denison esp seems like a high reach and Dickinson maybe a high match. Lafayette seems like a reach as well but we may put it on the visit list.

Some of the other suggestions-

St Mikes- we may look at closer

Wheaton-only about 1/2 hour from our house so too close to home.

Providence- my alma mater which seems to automatically take it off the list. Also too many kids from our town go there. Same with Fairfield.

Drew- 2 of my friends went there & they have some concerns with the financials there. Won’t look at it for their own son.

I’ll look into the other ones. Not sure if she would feel like an outlier as in OOS student at a state school. Also not sure if I can convince her to look South.

Any more suggestion or comments on her current list would be appreciated, especially whether you think these might be safeties, matches, or reaches. She wants somewhere that she can have very intellectual conversations and be challenged but also that she won’t be doing 6-7 hours of homework everyday.

Fort Collins is a great town and Colorado State is a good (though bigger than you want) university for B+ student. Town larger and more fun than Carlisle PA or Wooster OH with more access to larger Boulder and Denver.

And I agree that Burlington VT is a great town but you have to like winter. If St Michaels there is too small, there is University of Vermont which is only about 10,000 and has a lot of non-Vermonters.

You might have her look into URochester. My daughter was only looking at small LACs and was planning on majoring in English, but URoch had so much going for it that it stayed on her list until the end. She had a 3.7w and 31 ACT, so it was a reach, but she made it in. She absolutely loves it. It’s in a city, but it’s a very defined campus (I think it’s pretty) and Rochester (at least the area around campus) doesn’t feel “big city”. There is a lot to do on campus and off and with the Eastman School lots of performing arts events to attend. She also wanted an intellectual vibe and high quality academics and feels she is getting both. She loves her teachers and is really thriving. Is now majoring in Public Health and Environmental Studies and minoring in English. While it’s a top research university, the humanities are not an afterthought. She’s challenged but not to the point of intense stress. Even her premed and engineering friends find time to have fun. She has found it to be a perfect size, about 6500 undergrad.

Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Liberal, campus on Boca Ciega Bay. Downtown city of St. Petersburg- 10 min away, city bus stops at the guard shack, you can rent UHaul Car Share cars on campus, (diverse,cultural, dining, shopping, festivals and entertainment-college has a bus to first Friday events, Saturday market, etc.) Eckerd has the writers in Paradise series every January, nice merit awards.

If you visit Denison or Ohio Wesleyan you might add Otterbein University to your trip.

@cameo43 is right about the campus at Wheaton. D the school is awesome.

Your second part about cute little town is a bit different. I speak as someone who went to high school in Attleboro (the little city next door) it has a lot of qualities but being called a cute little town Isn’t one.

Norton proper was more a wooded and agricultural feel than cute little college town. It’s nice but very quiet.

Brockton and Taunton in the other direction I will defer from commenting on. But they are not cute towns in the traditional sense.

non-conservative and really great schools that fit your criteria include–
Southwestern University – close to Austin, pretty town, hip/cool, and old campus (1840s), FA is surprisingly good.
Rhodes in Memphis
Agnes Scott
St. Mary’s of Maryland (a bit more rural but gorgeous on the Chesapeake–like a country club)