Final 3 Colleges: Colby VS Middlebury VS Kenyon

I can’t decide! Help!

Do you want us to pick for you? Or do you have some questions we can answer. Any context would be helpful.

Sorry! First time on the site. Some pros and cons would be helpful. I will probably major in English, or do something in that area. I am also wondering what the college towns are like. For Midd, I was accepted as a Feb, so if anyone knows anything about that…

Congrats on these great options. It’s a tough choice. Kenyon and Midd have the more renown English and creative writing departments. I strongly recommend reaching out to Midd admissions and see if they can connect you with some Febs. Ask them about housing, e.g., are Febs housed together or scattered in the dorms, how is orientation handled, what did they do in the fall before they started at Midd.

Thank you!

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Congratulations! I have first-hand experience only with Kenyon, where my daughter is a freshman. She absolutely loves it: a very nice community, great professors, interesting classes, active clubs. The campus is beautiful and has an idyllic feel to it, with rolling hills and a nice trail/river gap nearby. It’s located in a small village, which is really just the college plus one more street with a couple of cute cafes/restaurants, etc. There’s a larger town, Mt Vernon, about 10 minutes away, which has all the necessary businesses and services and more restaurants (there are shuttles between the campus and the town plus many students have cars on campus). Columbus is about an hour away. Because of COVID, my daughter was mostly spending her time on campus in the fall (and all the freshmen are remote in the spring, but the college expects to be fully open in the fall). As I explained in another thread, while she was a little worried initially about Kenyon’s isolated location, she had an amazing experience and was super busy with classes, spending time with her friends, and playing her instruments both through individual lessons and in a wind ensemble (normally she’d also be involved in theater but wanted to take it a little slower the first semester). Obviously, the English program is very reputable at Kenyon, and there’s a possibility of becoming a Kenyon Review associate for those interested in English, creative writing, and publishing. I’ve been very impressed with Kenyon, but your other two options are excellent as well (my daughter only applied to Midwestern LACs, so we never visited Middlebury or Colby or any other New England LACs). It’s hard to go wrong with any of them.

@apple23 has a recent Kenyon graduate and might have more to say about the college life in a normal time.

No problem. Thanks for the context.

Three terrific schools. You remind me of my son who was an English major and was a little vague on his future otherwise. Ultimately he decided to become a teacher. He was fortunate that he was able to obtain teacher certification as part of his undergraduate program even though he was at a liberal arts college, something which isn’t possible at most liberal arts colleges. As a result, he was able to get a job right out of college. Of the schools you’re looking at, Colby is the only one where I know that you can also do this. Just something to consider when otherwise these colleges have so much in common.

Middlebury strongly encourages its students to study abroad. Many students go there expecting to do that. Is that part of your plan? If not, you may find that a lot of your friends have taken off for a year and left you behind. If that is part of your plan, then Middlebury is the perfect place to be although you can certainly study abroad from either of the other 2 as well.

Thank you! And yes, I would definitely like to study abroad. Middlebury’s excellent study abroad program is one of the reasons I’m so interested in it. It also seems like it has more of a college town than the other two (though I’m only guessing).

Wow! Thank you! I did not know about Mt Vernon (or that it is so close), so that is very helpful. My biggest worry about Kenyon is its location (I live in NY) and the constant cold and snow (though Midd and Colby have similar weather conditions).

All great schools. If you are a skier Colby and Middlebury both have access to great skiing (at least by Northeast standards). Colby also sends a lot of students to study abroad junior year (about 2/3 will spend some portion of the year away) if that is of interest (or concern).

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Having visited all 3, Middlebury has the best town within walking distance. Colby has a dorm in Waterville and is pouring a lot of money into the town. It’s worth reading up on that.

It’s not that cold. It’s central Ohio, not Siberia :). I bet it’s colder in Main and Vermont. Because of Covid restrictions, my daughter and her friends spent most time outside in the fall semester, and it was nice until early November or so. I don’t think she saw any snow there in the fall (they had to all go home for the Thanksgiving break and finish the semester online–that was the original plan, Kenyon didn’t have any outbreaks, and in fact had very few cases on campus all semester).

As for the location, I think all of your three options are pretty isolated. When my daughter was choosing her college, she was put in touch with a current Kenyon student who was from NYC, and she said that she had no issue with the location and, in fact, the upside was a very closely knit community. During our visit, one of the students speaking on the student panel was from downtown Boston–she also seemed very happy. Of course, if one doesn’t find a good friend group, the location might make it an isolating experience, but that would be true of Colby and Midd as well, right?

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Glad to hear it. Thanks!

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