ED II: Gettysburg vs. Bucknell vs. Trinity vs. Bates

I’m currently finalizing my college applications, and I’m deciding on what school I might send in an ED II application to.

I understand that ED II is a legally binding application. This post is meant to ask for some secondary opinions, not for an absolute decision.

Basic Stats:
3.6UW, 3.9/W. HUGE upward trend (3.9UW junior year). 5 AP’s total: Lit, Latin, APUSH, Econ, Human Geo.
SAT: 1260. 690 Verbal, 570 Math. Just retook the SAT on December 4th to bring my math score up.
EC’s: Eagle Scout Candidate, Drum Major, 120+ volunteer hours, first chair in jazz ensemble, pit orchestra, Order of the Arrow, etc.
Intended Major: Geography/Urban Planning/Environmental Studies.
Related Major Experiences: I’m a paid urban planning technician for my town. Currently planning and leading a federally-funded (U.S. EPA Grant) eco-tourism initiative for my town, involving field-work and database management.

Gettysburg: Major: Environmental Studies. Lovely campus. Community seems nice. Has a solid marching band (unique for an LAC). Close to outdoor opportunities. Amazing town. Relatively strong academics. Strong alumni network. However, doesn’t have have my preferred major (although env. studies is still close!).

Bucknell: Lovely campus. Strong academics. Beautiful surroundings. Has my preferred major. Music department is relatively strong. More “prestige” than Gettysburg. However, I heard rumors about cliques, and Bucknell doesn’t take a lot of students from my school.

Trinity: Decent campus. A bit cramped though, and the surrounding city isn’t amazing. Music department is…small. Architecture is nice, academics are strong. Has my preferred major. Alumni network is strong.

Bates: BEAUTIFUL surroundings. Outdoor opportunities galore. Very strong academics. Music department is OK. Love the campus. Nice feel. Has the most “prestige” of the schools on my list. However, tough admissions and it’s a tad isolated. Also has environmental studies, not geography/urban studies/planning.

For reference, I’m also applying to UCONN (match), Syracuse (match), Clark (match), and a few safeties (UNH, UVM, etc).

With my SAT scores right now, I would probably go test optional with Bates, Trinity, and Bucknell. Unless I get that math score up. According to my counselor, Gettysburg is a high match; the others are reaches, except for maybe Trinity.

Any thoughts? Any recommendations for ED II?


Which do you prefer ? That’s where you should go. If Gettysburg is a match and I agree then no need to ED unless it’s your top choice.

If you’re unsure then don’t ED.

In theory each of the schools has more prestige than Gettysburg…you only said that on Bucknell. But Bucknell isn’t that well known outside the Northeast.

Frankly these schools are all fine and you should choose the best for you.

If it’s a case of the hardest to get into then id go Bates. But if it’s not your top choice or you can’t afford it you shouldn’t.

Based on what I gleaned above, I’d be applying RD to all. Seems like you like Gettysburg but why not go RD to make sure you can afford it.

I would not factor prestige in your major, not to mention that all your schools are strong.

Good luck.

My D is a Bates grad. Environmental science is excellent there.

Bates is far less isolated than Bucknell or Gettysburg. It’s only 40 minutes from Portland, a really interesting city with wonderful food and shopping, and its airport, plus it’s in a small city. I imagine it won’t be hard to find opportunities to be involved with urban planning and the like.

Having said that, I think Bates is a reach. Your planning tech experience is interesting and I think will get your app an extra look. Is there anything else we need to know about you? Any minor hooks?

You seem to like Bucknell and I think that might be the best use of an ED2 app as it is more likely than Bates, especially given your experience. Trinity’s location makes it good for your interests but it is an oasis in a desert, IMO.

I agree that Gettysburg seems to appeal to you and you will likely get in. But if you want the more sure thing, then ED2 there. If you absolutely will be happy to attend, do ED2 to Bucknell. If you would 100% be happy to go to Bates, take your shot at ED2, but know that it might be a wasted ED2.

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As far as “minor hooks” go, nothing big seems to pop up on my radar. I do have a legacy to Trinity, although it’s not direct. However, the family members who went there are very active in the alumni community…

For Gettysburg, one of my teachers, who said I was “one of the best students he had that year*” is a Gettysburg alum, and it writing one of my recommendation letters.

*Junior Year

I’ll come back soon once I review my application for any other minor hooks. I have mentioned in previous posts that I’m in the LGBTQ community, but I’m not sure if that would help with any school besides maybe Bucknell or Trinity.

But I’m not a URM/first-gen/anything like that.

Ok, in light of you being LGBTQ, I definitely recommend Bates over the others. I think you are more likely to find likeminded people there.


Yes, I could definitely see how Bates would be a good fit.

If you don’t mind, what do you mean by “likeminded” people? Do you mean other LGBTQ individuals, allies/supporters, or both?

The reason I ask is because, at least for me, I don’t need an entire community surrounding me. I just want to feel safe and not threatened–which is why I ask if you mean LGBTQ individuals or supporters.

With that being said, I understand that Bucknell had an issue (I think within the last year or two) regarding drunk fraternity members attacking the LGBTQ house. Is this a common issue among schools like Bucknell, or is this an isolated incident?

For reference, on the 2021 Campus Pride Index, Bucknell received a 3/5 stars, Trinity and Gettsyburg received a 4/5 stars, and Bates received a 5/5 stars.

I mean a more tolerant and accepting group of students as a whole. Supporters and individuals. None of these schools are known for large LGBTQ communities, though there will be well established communities of LGBTQ kids at all.

I don’t think there’s much debate that of these four colleges, Bates is probably the most liberal. And yes, they will all have liberal students, but again, in general, Bucknell, Gettysburg and Trinity are a little less liberal. All three have active Greek Life and tend to be a bit more on the preppy side, though I think Trinity is becoming less so than the other two. (I am not interested in causing controversy, so I hope no one misconstrues my meaning here.) Most people familiar with these schools will probably agree with me.

Maybe you prefer a slightly more preppy vibe. I’d say of these four colleges, Bates is the odd one out, especially when looking at your whole list. (Clark also is an odd one out, for sure. I really like Clark btw, and UVM too.) Are you applying elsewhere ED1?


I have no EDI school.

I also considered applying to Syracuse as an ED II applicant, but it’s

  1. Significantly larger. I like the school (I like UCONN, too), but it’s the odd one out.

  2. Not as tough admissions-wise. Fingers-crossed, of course, because anything could happen.

Now, here is where I throw a wrench into all of this. I really should have written this in my original post, so apologies for all the time you put into your responses (which were all very helpful, btw).

I’ve visited Trinity and Bucknell. Interviewed with Trinity; spoke with my admissions counselor at Bucknell (they don’t offer interviews, but I was the only person at my high school who attended the college rep session—in a sense, I got a 30-minute “interview” with my admissions counselor).

I have not visited Gettysburg. I have “visited” virtually, along with attending a virtual information session, AND I have interviewed with them. But they did encourage me to visit. There’s a small chance that I might be able to travel down during the holiday break. But that’s a small chance…

Bates I have not visited, either. I have attended a virtual information session and a virtual tour. I have also visited the state of Maine plenty of times, including the city of Lewiston. Just not Bates, unfortunately.

Once again, apologies for not including this in my original post.

Do you have any financial constraints? Are you fine being full pay at any one of these schools?

If not, then have you run the NPCs and shown the results to whomever is going to pay the bills (presumably your parents)?

I’m in the very fortunate position where my parents can pay for most of my tuition. I would have to cover some of it, but at most, I’m looking at a TOTAL loan amount of $30-40K (assuming a full $72K sticker price for all four years).

I have an EFC of $60-65K.

With that being said, I am looking for merit to a certain extent. According to each of these school’s class profiles, most of them are relatively decent with merit.

Understandably, a school like Bates (if I got in) would be near-full pay, whereas a school like Gettysburg might be willing to give me $10-20K.

My kid is a junior at Gettysburg- he loves it! Very friendly campus, fantastic town. The marching band is top notch.

My other son is a part of the LGBTQ community and he felt very comfortable during his visits at Gettysburg- I think he was surprised by the vibe in town. Also impressed with the Environmental science curriculum.
He has applied, but I think will go for a bigger school.
He was going to apply to Bucknell, but the first incident with the LGBTQ house changed his mind.


Yes, no merit at Bates. I think merit at Trinity and Bucknell is not likely. You will not get a penny of merit aid out of Syracuse and I don’t think it’s worth full fare.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t visited colleges. Have you signed up for emails? Have you clicked on anything in the emails? If not, do so ASAP. Have you requested interviews at any of them? Bates cares about interest. You should request interviews with whatever schools offer them.

You can take out $27K in total student loans over the 4 years of undergrad ($5.5K first year, then $6.5K/$7.5K/$7.5K), any loans above that will be on your parents. Are your parents able to contribute their full EFC?

Bates does not give any merit money. Trinity only gave merit money to 17 first years according to the latest CDS (H2G). https://www.trincoll.edu/asic/wp-content/uploads/sites/125/2021/06/CDS_2020-2021-Trinity-College.pdf

Gettysburg and Bucknell may offer you merit BUT some schools give less merit to those who apply during the ED rounds (I don’t know specifics about Trinity, Bucknell and Gettysburg practice wrt merit in ED rounds).

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IMO, this:

blows up everything else. As @Mwfan1921 points out, you can’t borrow $30-40K in your own name- your parents would have to borrow it for you.

So now you have to figure out 1) how much your parents will pay, and figure out if the EFC of the schools that “meet need” is a number that your parents will pay and/or 2) who wants you enough to give you enough merit aid to make the college affordable. That, by the way, is another way around the ‘prestige’ issue: “they offered me such a generous scholarship that it would have been mad to turn them down”.

This was written before the $$ question:

IMO, the fit with your prospective major is the least important variable of the ones you have listed: based on your other threads, your interests are still evolving (not a negative btw! exactly what LACs are for).

Bucknell’s unfortunate fraternity issue last year is in most ways not reflective of the campus community- but in some ways it is: there are a lot of students who are pretty happy with the a traditional fraternity-type social environment (northern, not southern version), with the pluses and minuses that entails.

The academics are not meaningfully different across these schools (don’t be @ing me, fellow posters! a motivated student will be able to get all they want/need at at any of theses schools). What will be different is the community.


What I notice is that you are stuck in the same loop as you were last spring: trying to find the most “prestigious” of the NE LACs that you can get into, and making yourself fit into one of them. Rather than parsing an EDII list, why not branch out- look outside the NE? Look at places such as St Olaf or Whitman- colleges that fit with a lot of the pieces that you have mentioned across your threads and are so outside of the NE box that people won’t quite know what to make of them.


why do you think that being LGBTQ would help with admissions at Bucknell or Trinity? It won’t “help” with admissions anywhere.

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Yes, my parents can contribute their full EFC. Especially because my grandparents have saved a significant amount of money for my education (thankfully).

I’m looking back at a text chain with my parents. They mentioned a few weeks ago that at most, I would be able to have about $25K in loans (which lines up with your answer, Mwfan1921), so I just didn’t gather all the financial information before creating this thread.

Yes, one of the reasons I’m not applying ED to Syracuse is because of the limited aid. Because Syracuse is very stingy, applying ED would likely kill any chances of aid. And I would consider the same for these four schools.

With Trinity, a few of my (somewhat distant) relatives are involved with admissions and financial aid. While nothing is certain, my last name is not entirely unknown…not sure if that would help anything…

@Lindagaf I read emails and click most of the links (and I do follow them all on Facebook). Bucknell doesn’t offer interviews, which is why I considered my meeting with my admissions counselor as my “interview.”

As I mentioned, you will get no merit aid from Syracuse, and it sounds as though you will be ineligible for FA anywhere. You will not get anything from UNH or UConn. If you are looking for money, the schools most likely to give you some might be Clark or Gettysburg.

I agree with Whitman, though I don’t think you would get merit. Also consider Lewis and Clark, in Portland, OR. They might even give you some merit.

First, with the LGBTQ situation: I didn’t think it helps in any way, but I wanted to have a definite answer (so thanks for the answer).

Lewis and Clark, Whitman, and even Reed are a tad far for me. St. Olaf might be a tad far (although it’s a great school), but maybe I’ll bring Lawrence, St. Lawrence, or Allegheny back onto my list (although St. Lawrence has a small music department). Maybe even Conn College, Skidmore or Dickinson, but all three of them aren’t amazing with aid.

Part of the reason I’m still “stuck” in the cycle of looking at the NE schools is because I’m not looking to go all that far from home—if I was looking to travel across the country, this would likely be easier.

@Lindagaf with UCONN’s in-state tuition, I’m not super-concerned about getting aid. With UNH (and other NE public schools), most of my potential majors are partially covered by the NE Tuition Break.

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Ok, got it. Was unaware that you are a Connecticut resident.


Since I started this thread, I’m thinking this:

  • All of these four schools will provide me with a quality education. I shouldn’t worry too much about “preferred majors,” as I will likely be exploring to an extent.

  • Bates is the most inclusive. Bucknell is the least. None of them pose an “unsafe” environment, but Gettysburg, Trinity, and Bucknell are relatively preppy and are still trying to work on inclusiveness.

  • Pay attention to the financial aid at every school, just as @Mwfan1921 suggested. Is Bates really worth full-tuition, if I even get in?

  • Gettysburg is closer to a match. Especially when it comes down to chasing aid, it might not be worth the ED II.

  • Consider adding some other schools to the list. @collegemom3717 may or may not have some suggestions.

Thanks for the additions, @Leigh22!


Well, I am biased, but IMO, yes, Bates is worth it. If you got into all four of the colleges you are discussing here with no merit offers at any of them, I believe Bates is by far the best choice if money is not a consideration.

You might want to read this: How Bates prepared my student for her future