Econ at AWS

<p>Which of the three most elite LACs (Amherst, Williams, and Swarthmore) has the best economics "program"?</p>

<p>Most friendly teachers etc.</p>

<p>If anyone could share some insight, I’d appreciate it.</p>

<p>All three have solid economics departments, small classes and accessible (friendly) professors. Econonics is a big department at Williams with excellent alumni/ae connections to Wall Street and the big consulting firms, enhanced by the Center for Economic Development.</p>

<p>Career wise, would you say that Williams is better than the other two?</p>

<p>It depends on the career. I’d say Williams and Amherst have the best connections to Wall Street and major consulting firms. Swarthmore and Amherst have the best connections to NGOs and governmental agencies, though I’ve known quite a few Williams grads who have pursued public sector careers. </p>

<p>I don’t know the statistics on business school acceptances, but I would think that all do well. Williams grads are well represented in prestigious MBA programs. </p>

<p>There’s a lot of overlap, though, so you’d be better off choosing the school that suits you best in ambience and personality. </p>

<p>Williams and Amherst are quite similar in character though their location is somewhat different: Williams is rural and insular; Amherst small town and part of a consortium. Swarthmore is in a suburb of a big city and attracts a different kind of person. </p>

<p>You’d get an excellent education at all three. They are all highly selective so if you’re on the fence apply to all (be sure to visit) and defer your decision until you see your acceptances.</p>

<p>Fantastic response. Thanks for your help.</p>

<p>It is hard to find data that expose clear, significant differences in the strength of specific departments at liberal arts colleges. I’ve looked. If anyone else has found it, please do share.</p>

<p>If a few schools have better connections to Wall Street, consulting firms, NGOs, etc., I doubt this necessarily reflects objective superiority of their Economics (or any other) department. It may reflect the fact that these colleges are more selective, and so certain firms believe admission sends a signal that graduates are more capable, or more highly motivated. I doubt that any school’s connections will get you very far with salaried, non-contract, entry-level employment at government agencies, where all applicants presumably must jump the same hiring hoops (objective testing, etc.)</p>

<p>You could Google for a paper by John J. Siegfried and Wendy A. Stock that examines the baccalaureate origins of economics PhDs. The per capita rates may suggest which schools do a better job of motivating and preparing students for research in economics. Swarthmore’s rate is more than double Williams’ rate and about 5x Amherst’s rate. Grinnell, Carleton, Macalester, Bowdoin, Oberlin, Earlham, and Kalamazoo all graduate more future PhDs in Econ per capita than Amherst does. Of course, it may be the case that relatively more Amherst grads simply choose a different path (such as law school or employment) rather than pursue a PhD. </p>

<p>Bottom line: Choose the college, not the department (especially if you’re considering standard majors at LACs)</p>

<p>Also another great response. Thank you tk21769.</p>