Deciding between Colby , U Pitt and Penn State

Thank you, Bill. Coming from a very small STEM focused high school has turned her off against small colleges which have a spotlight on the students. She is not a go-getter and that is partly due to her part anxiety and ADD ( not on meds). Hoping and praying that she will adapt and implement coping skills. A very bright student though with 34 ACT but still poor study skills because of the ADD.
But maybe a small college will be more supportive in the context of the ADD.
I guess the cold bothers me more than it bothers her – I am sure she can handle it :slight_smile:

I’ve been on the Pitt campus a number of times, and I think it’s gorgeous! It also is close enough to downtown Pittsburgh without being downtown! The area is very nice…and pre covid had tons of nice shops and eateries. Have you been on this campus?

I think your student needs to now focus on where she wants to live for four years. The schools will all offer her good opportunities.

Does she want to live in a rural maine town? (Colby)

Does she want to live in rural PA? (Penn State)

Does she want to live close enough to a city? (Pitt)

I know what I would choose for myself…but that has to be her choice.

listening to you describe your daughter, i strongly believe colby is the correct choice. the one on one experience between students and faculty is excellent and the small size means that it won’t be overwhelming and hard to meet people. my sister (who was pretty introverted) went there and ended up making a really tight friend group. as for career opportunities, colby is also excellent. sister has had an internship with the US embassy in Romania and just recently got a summer internship with J.p. morgan. the alumni are very involved and look to help current colby students


Thanks for the input.

Thank you stashton2020.

I will second the sentiment that the career office and Colby alumni network both are superb in terms of internships and job placement based on DS’ experience.


IIRC, each first-year student is assigned an advisor in the career services office. I was impressed.


Colby, as long as you are okay with the price. She is going to have an overall better educational experience there. PSU will be busy, crowded, probably fun, but will be a totally different educational experience. My D is also an introvert and totally nonsporty. She thrived at an LAC very similar to Colby. My son is the opposite and nearly chose PSU. I don’t know much about Pitt, but it is also very large.

I would consider Pitt a medium or small-large sized school. It is urban but not downtown. About 19,000 undergrads if I remember and some of those are commuters (but not many).

The school offers many majors but I would consider if mostly pre-professional. Engineering, IS, Business and any health related major are in its wheelhouse.

UPMC’s main hospital sits on campus. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a hospital, clinic or lab.

The campus is fairly compact. The main piece is 3x5 blocks but the surrounding area has a mix of shopping, offices, and off-campus housing. There still are a fair amount of families living in Oakland too. Lots of public transportation (pre-Covid). The beauty of Pittsburgh are the neighborhoods spread-out over the city. Of course CMU borders the campus.

Yes. I’m a Pitt grad and currently living close to Pittsburgh.


Thank you chmcnm. We plan to visit Pitt tomorrow -looking forward to it.

Good luck. Message sent.

For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t consider Penn State “rural”. It is in the countryside/mountain but it doesn’t “feel” rural. It’s not a small town in the middle of nowhere like you read sometimes. The State College area has about 150,000people, 55,000 of whom are students. There’s a real town with everything a student would need, public transportation, art house theaters, a giant concert hall, sports facilities, every brand and store you can think of, artisan boutiques, chain restaurants and local “chef owned” restaurants, etc. It’s “rural” in that you’ve got fields with cows&an Ag college + a mountain nearby, and it doesn’t have giant skyscrapers and no company headquarters compared to Pittsburgh. But it’s not “rural” in the same way that Urbana Champaign is rural for instance, or at least hasn’t been in 20 years at least.
The environment is very different from Pittsburgh. Visiting both would give you a good idea of which you prefer.
And, for what it’s worth, I’d pick Colby.
As an advisee who used to worry about the cold said “Well, when it’s cold, it’s cold, 20 or 10…you bundle up and you’re okay”. There are other reasons to pick Pitt or PSu over Colby, but I wouldn’t avoid a great college just because you worry about the cold, and I’d take cold&sunny any day over cold-ish and gray skies.


Thank you all for your input. She visited all 3 and is leaning towards Colby ( although still hesitant about her fit in the sporty culture and rural setting ). To make things more confusing, she got off the waitlist at Bucknell . She likes the fact that it is larger than Colby ( >3200 students vs 2000 ) since she was at a very small high school.
Any thoughts on Colby vs Bucknell? FYI- she is not into Greek life.
Thanks in anticipation.

If she’s not into Greek life, Colby is a better choice. And I think Colby is the best choice anyway over the others.


I would pick Colby over Bucknell, especially for a student not into Greek life.


Colby over Bucknell is she is not into Greek Life

Bucknell would be better than Pitt or Penn State, but for liberal arts I’d still choose Colby over Bucknell.

My daughter also wanted to go to a bigger school since she was coming from a small high school. I had to point out to her that a small college - in this case, Colby (2000) - is still way bigger than her small high school.

1 Like