Denison vs Kalamazoo

I have no idea where to attend to between Denison and Kalamazoo. Anybody who knows well about them, please give me some advice. I would like to study Business major and ultimately I hope to attend to a graduate school for MBA or Law School.

And I could find out some keywords on the internet about ‘parties’ in Denison and I felt they were not that positive… Since I am an international student, I don’t know well about the party culture in US colleges. Is is the case that parties in Denison are negative? What does the party exactly mean?

I don’t know anything about Kalamazoo. Denison has a very good reputation among people who know about small, liberal arts colleges. I grew up in nearby Columbus, and the only negative I can think of regarding Denison is that it’s somewhat isolated. There are a few shops and cafes a couple of blocks away at the bottom of the hill, but I’d go crazy without a car to get off campus. I’d imagine there’s a bus that goes into Columbus or Newark.

As for the party scene, I’d guess the complaint is that there aren’t enough wild parties. Seems like it would be a really quiet school, although I went to a small, relatively isolated school for undergrad, and since we couldn’t walk to many bars or restaurants, we ended up getting drunk in the dorms every weekend.

Happy to help, as my current Denison student was choosing between Kalamazoo and Denison as well as some other schools.

What we loved about Kalamazoo was the tight community and cozy campus tucked among several streets near “downtown” Kalamazoo. It is a few blocks from a major public university campus, Western Michigan University. My son also liked the flexible curriculum, with only foreign language and senior writing project required, as well as the trimester format. Kzoo draws primarily Michigan residents though students do come from California and plenty of other states. We all liked that the Kzoo students reflected a range of types, there was no dominant “type” of student – we saw blue hair, piercings, preppie, etc.

What he preferred about Denison was the larger student community as well as the national reach of the campus community. Only about 20% of the students come from Ohio, with both east coast and west coast well represented, plus a heavy percentage of international students. Both fine arts and performing arts are superb, and with Columbus about 20-30 minutes away, there is a lot of opportunity to engage with business, arts and political opportunities in the city. The town of Granville is a charming village at the foot of the “Hill,” with a CVS pharmacy, grocery store, restaurants, banks, small shops etc. Newark/Heath are about 10 minutes away for “major” shopping like Target, Chipotle etc. There is a high end mall, Easton, about 20 min away when you want to splurge.

In terms of party culture, there is greek life (fraternities and sororities) at Denison but it is non-residential, meaning that the students don’t live in the greek life houses, the houses are just for meetings and “chilling” and cannot be used for parties. There are big parties, formerly in the “Sunnies” – the senior apartments – and now in the “Moonies” – newly built social spaces. 1st year students may overindulge in that but at least my kid and his friends, pretty much lost interest after a while. There is a campus wide “gala” every fall, plus “D Day” – a day of music performances capped off with a headlining music act in late fall. There are movies on campus most weekends, plus endless music, singing and theater performances on campus. The Vail Series is a music series which brings internationally known performers as well as under-the-radar performers to campus – my kid saw Wynton Marsalis as well as lots of young, rising performers. A long way of saying – there are “traditional” loud, crazy parties if you want them, but also lots of other things if you don’t.

Finally, in terms of academics, Denison has an excellent Econ department which is the usual major for students interested in business at a liberal arts college, since they don’t offer business degrees. Within Econ, there is the Financial Econ concentration, which seems to allow for greater specialization, plus there is a Data Analytics major and a Global Commerce major, which can be other possible majors for students interested in business or just interested in rounding out their education. The career services at Denison are excellent, really comprehensive outreach, programming and support for students.

Thank you so much for your kind advice! It helped me a lot ^^

I prefer the education at K (foreign study, global view, K plan), but Dennison is more fun. Dennison has sororities/frats with more preppy kids and a more homogenous student body. At K, I found more cerebral, global-minded kids trying to show their individuality. Not sure what you are looking for, but both schools are very good. Honestly, you can’t go wrong: Both have great towns and strong academics.

While Kzoo is higher on the “quirky” scale than Denison, what my Denison student has enjoyed is the range of students, there is no single “type” of student, though the common factor seems to be genuinely nice, caring people. A visitor to Denison could see lax girls and bros, but they could also see banjo playing, flannel wearing residents at the Homestead (the organic living co-op), artists, writers, musicians, dancers, entrepreneurs etc. Denison is close to 20% low income/Pell grant eligible, as well as about about 20% 1st gen, and close to 20% international students. It is about 65% white. With generous merit awards, it does a good job of economic diversity, bringing in more “doughnut hole” middle/upper middle class families. As a parent who first visited Denison 6 years ago, knowing only its reputation as a party-hardy place when I went to college in the 80s, I quickly realized Denison has changed enormously and is very much a different kind of school than I expected. It’s not the right fit for everyone, but it is much more diverse an experience than many people realize.

Midwestmomofboys- I appreciate your perspective. My son just graduated from Dennison. I am going by his perspective, what I’ve seen on campus and his friends’ perspectives. I totally agree that there is a good mix of people and wasn’t trying to imply that there isn’t. It’s just that the atmosphere, for me, on campus is so much more fun than that of K’s. The sororities/frats, whether you participate in them or not, also change the feeling on campus. And yes, K is higher on the quirky scale- good way of putting it. Thanks for clarifying things.