ED at Middlebury or Vassar?

<p>Hello! I've been lurking for a while and decided to make an account. I'm a male from NH. (Sorry for the length of this post!)</p>

<p>I'm torn between Middlebury and Vassar. Each have aspects that I really like and some that I dislike. I've been planning on applying ED to Middlebury, but now I just don't know. I have 8 days (November 1st) to submit the supplement to my ED school.</p>

<p>When I toured Middlebury, I had that "just struck by lightning, I'm going to apply here ED" feeling. The beauty of the campus, the honor code, the awesome facilities, the easy access to single rooms after freshman year, how the cost of food is included in the comprehensive fee, the renowned foreign language programs, and the new library (I can't see myself working and being productive in my dorm room, so this stood out to me) made the school very attractive.</p>

<p>I can't help but feel that Vassar is more..."me" though. I plan on studying psychology and political science (possibly Spanish and/or Japanese as well), which are two of Vassar's most well-known and best departments from what I've read. The level of gay acceptance at Vassar is extremely appealing to me as well, as I am gay. When I toured Vassar, however, I wasn't too impressed. Compared to Midd, the buildings and classrooms seemed very old and the library was nothing special.</p>

<p>I foresee some potential problems at Midd. I'm not exactly an "outdoorsy" or sporty type, and I haven't skied in over 10 years. I enjoy hiking, swimming, exercising, and being active when I am, but I'm not that active very often. I was before high school, but once I started 9th grade I had to prioritize and put school and ECs over athletics because of how busy I am. Midd is such a rigorous school that I'd probably be in the same situation that I'm in now. Moreover, I can easily see myself becoming a massive stressball at Midd. It's notorious for its workload, and I work very slowly. I read slowly, write slowly, do math slowly, etc. I have no doubt that I could do all the work, I just feel like it'd suck up my entire life. Furthermore, Midd is pretty secluded. This isn't a major gripe of mine, though. I actually kind of like it right now, but I don't know how much I'll like it when I'm there, especially if I have to drive 3 hours through snowy Vermont back roads and mountains to and from home in a sedan.</p>

<p>Vassar, on the other hand, doesn't have many of these issues. It's not known as a "jock" school. Also, from what I've read, the curriculum is not as rigorous as that of Middlebury. Not to say it's that it's an easy school by any means, but I've just gathered that it's not as challenging as Midd is, which is appealing to me. I'm all for hard work and learning, but I'd like to have a life and enjoy it along the way, too. I'm also just a tad concerned about the student body. I'm pretty preppy and I've heard that Vassar is very hipster-y. Could be good for me though! I think I may fit in better here than at Midd, though (mostly because of the gay scene).</p>

<p>I feel like I'm basing my arguments and concerns on stereotypes and hearsay, so it'd be awesome if anyone could address any of them for me. Honestly, I'd absolutely love to attend either school. They're neck and neck. Because Midd would be harder to get accepted at RD (it has a lower acceptance rate and Vassar statistically favors males from what I've heard) and my ideal "Your Space" project of the Vassar supplement can't be completed by November 1st, I'm leaning on applying ED to Midd. If I end up at Midd, though, I fear that I may regret not having a larger gay and gay-accepting community. </p>

<p>So, what should I do? Should I apply ED to the school whose academics and student body are more "me", or the school whose facilities, buildings, and beauty are vastly more appealing?</p>

<p>One last thing: I feel like I'm putting too much weight on Midd's "free food." I probably like it a bit more than I should. I don't have much money so knowing that I wouldn't have to spend cash if I'm out of meal points (or whatever Vassar uses) is appealing. I like to eat, and restrictions placed on eating frighten me. Haha. Does anyone know what Vassar's meal plans are like? Also, Vassar's athletic facilities? Gotta balance the two ;)</p>

<p>As a parent I can't respond to some of this but I have a few comments. Some people might say that if you're not sure, don't apply ED. How marginal are your stats? Re: meal plans----there was a big discussion last spring on the Middblog which maybe you can find. I was surprised how many students said it was a big factor in their Midd decision. It's not only a matter of getting to eat when you want but it becomes socially important because you can always go back with another friend or a different group of friends for a small brunch, for example, after already having had some cereal. I think the political science department at Midd is great, so that may not be a distinction. Also you can do international studies with a political science focus (maybe Vassar has this too----not sure). On the outdoorsy issue, there are students who don't ski at all and students who haven't skiied in years who go up to the Snow Bowl several times a week during J-term. Don't know if Vassar has J-term but it's a great opportunity to take one intensive course and get involved in some activities you don't have as much time for during the other semesters. I think students will say that Midd is very gay accepting, but maybe the actual number of gay students is important to you and then Vassar might have an advantage. Lastly, yes the library is a wonderful space and that is important to think about.</p>

<p>Who can say where is a better fit... except yourself. I agree with Hitch in that you do not apply ED unless you are really certain you see yourself at that particular school. However, here is that blog entry on the food. It's from the President's blog... </p>

<p><a href="http://blogs.middlebury.edu/rononmiddlebury/2010/03/10/how-should-we-eat/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://blogs.middlebury.edu/rononmiddlebury/2010/03/10/how-should-we-eat/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>There are a ton of comments from students, parents and alum that follow.</p>

<p>My 2 boys at Midd-a close friend at Vassar-
Food MUCH better at Midd. Vassar just can't seem to serve hot, appealing entrees.
Rooms much better at Midd-our friend couldn't arrange her room as a frosh w/o her bed touching her roomate's. My sophomore son has a very nice single.
Midd has a fair number of "rainbow people", just not as "out".Very accepting, but Vassar of course is a standout in that area.
Easy to get to NYC from Vassar-easy to get nowhere from Midd, but nobody seems to want to leave.
My older S is not a jock by any stretch of the imagination and finds plenty to do.
Vassar has a more excessive party scene, and LOTS more pot smoking and drugs per my contacts-but there is plenty of that at Midd if you look for it. Just easier to find at Vassar.
It seems that the workload is comparable to me.No one is having an easy time with all their classes.
Follow your heart, but you probably will do fine at either place</p>

<p>Ah, replies from the three legendary Midd moms of CC :D First off, I want to thank you for your replies.</p>

<p>Hitch123, I understand your concern about applying ED when unsure, but my SAT is only in the low 1900s so I feel like it'd be foolish to not take advantage of the admissions rate boost provided by ED. It's great to know that they have a good polysci major. Do you know anything about Midd's psych program? And yes, the sheer number of gays at Vassar, which leads to the acceptance (or maybe vice versa?), makes it very appealing and is the main reason why I'm struggling to decide between the two schools. As long as Midd isn't homophobic or anything, it's alright. I read that Middlebury Open Queer Alliance is pretty loud on campus. According to this blog, Snapshots</a> of A Life, there's a decent amount of gay kids at Midd (100 or so, apparently) which is nice. Maybe I'll contact the blogger, Tony, and ask him some questions.</p>

<p>Thanks for the link, Modadunn. The dining system seems pretty vital to Midd social life.</p>

<p>Oldbatesiedoc, it's great that you have connections at both colleges! Thanks for the perspectives. If figured as much for the food, dorms, and gay scene. Interesting about the partying, though. I figure it's pretty similar at all colleges - just avoid it if you don't want it. Also, it's nice to know that the workloads are comparable. I can cross that off my list of pros and cons, I suppose.</p>

<p>I don't know much about the psych department but I wonder if it's worth e-mailing one of the "senior admissions fellows" who is a psych major. Not sure if there is one and maybe you would feel that the admissions fellow can't be totally objective, but the person could give you details about the program. Low 1900's ----what's your CR +math. Are your SAT II's higher?</p>

<p>I have nothing to add to the wonderful advise given above except to say that I'm really surprised that someone would say that Vassar's library is nothing special.</p>

<p>I <em>would</em> suggest doing an overnight at each if at all possible.</p>

<p>Thanks Hitch, but do you know how I'd go about contacting one of them? I'll peruse the site. Now, I don't want to turn this into a chance thread because I think they're a bit silly and I know where I stand, but my CR and Math are very, very low. Both 620. My writing was 680 - I only got two multiple choice questions wrong and I answered all of them, but I got a 7 on the essay which brought my score down quite a bit (I wish they separated the essay like the ACT does :/ ). That was last May. Over the summer, I took a cheap SAT course to help me with pacing (my biggest problem - like I said, I have a nasty habit of working slowly). I got 660 CR and 650 Math on practice tests. I'm taking the November 6th SAT and hope to do much better now that I know how to pace myself and attack the test. I will be getting my SAT II scores on October 28th. Also, I just took the ACT yesterday and think I did well on English and math. Reading and science...we'll see. I'm predicting a 29 or so composite. On the ACT practice tests I've taken, I got a 32 English, 31 math, 27 science (meh...) and I didn't take a reading one. Testing is my biggest weakness. I'm just awful at it. Hopefully my excellent rank, extensive ECs and leadership positions will help to balance out the poor testing if I don't get my scores up as much as I intend to.</p>

<p>Thanks for the suggestion, mythmom. Doesn't Midd only do overnights for recruited athletes, though? Maybe I'm thinking of Dartmouth. Hmm. I'll look into it. Oh and as for the library - I was equally surprised that I didn't like it. I heard it was beautiful and everything but...I suppose I'm just not a fan of its architectural style. It seemed very dark inside, too. Midd's library felt much more comfortable.</p>

<p>My younger S bombed his SATs(for Midd) and managed a 31 on his second ACT-so that's all he sent. After his PSATs, I steered him away, as I knew no money in the world could get him above 700s. His SAT2s were all in the 600s.He is doing fine so far at Midd, doesn't feel he doesn't belong.
He is a terrible test taker from Grade 1-they make him nervous. So I'm glad you aren't letting that intimidate you. Midd is famous for looking at the whole person, but again, so is Vassar.</p>

<p>Hey well that's good to know that SAT scores aren't necessarily indicative of success in college like Collegeboard claims. An admissions officer at Connecticut College said that's why so many schools are going test-optional now - there is no correlation between one's SAT scores and one's GPA at the end of his/her senior year of college. I feel like many colleges acknowledge these statistics and just use test scores to compare students in the admissions process rather than as an indicator of scholastic aptitude, but that's just a theory of mine. It's great to know that they'll see more as more than just a number.</p>

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there is no correlation between one's SAT scores and one's GPA at the end of his/her senior year of college.

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<p>The article in the Midd student weekly pertains to a NESCAC Report, but the information is still pertinent.</p>

<p>I have all the confidence you did well on your ACT exams. You'll be fine!</p>

<p>
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He added that research conducted by the College Board, the national organization under which the SATs are administered, has revealed a .36 correlation with first-year grades (on a scale where one indicates a perfect correlation).</p>

<p>According to Hanson, students selected for Phi Beta Kappa at Middlebury, as well as those who fail out for inadequate grades, “have SAT I scores falling in all 10 of the deciles represented in the student body.”</p>

<p>To remedy this inconsistency, Hanson said admissions officers pay particular attention to an applicant’s grade point average, rank-in-class, course selection, essays and teacher recommendations.</p>

<p>He commented that the SAT II subject tests and the ACT are more effective indicators of student achievement than the SAT I and that the Admissions Office has “developed considerably more confidence” in these standardized tests in the last few years.

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<p>College</a> Questions Validity of NESCAC Report Data | The Middlebury Campus</p>

<p>Great post, crew dad, you should start a thread with it and post it where others can see. There is so much more to succeeding in life and at college than test scores.</p>

<p>That was an intriguing read, CrewDad. Thanks! I've always wondered how exactly recruited athletes were mixed into the admissions process. Again, it's great that they understand that SAT scores aren't truly representative of a student's aptitude and potential for success in college. That stat about Phi Beta Kappa and failing out of the college speaks volumes in support of why the SAT I isn't a full-proof indicator. Color me intrigued.</p>