Fordham Honors vs LAC (Vassar)?

<p>Hi everybody;</p>

<p>It's getting down to the wire for me and other applicants for the class of 2014 to decide on a school. Here is my dilemma; I need a) lots of FA and b) an intellectually rigorous experience from my college. I am debating between Vassar and Fordham, if I get into the Honors Program (which seems likely, based on conversations with Dr. Nasuti). I have visited both, and while I very much like Fordham, I love Vassar. Fordham is significantly cheaper than Vassar - enough that, out of the set amount my parents are giving me for college, I could get some help for grad school as well. What think you of this conflict?</p>

<p>Fordham Pluses
- Highly intensive honors program
- New York City
- club lacrosse
- $
- nice campus (RH)
- better internship opportunities, courtesy of the location
- 3-3 law program (unlikely that I'd use it, but it's nice to have as an option)
Jesuit spirit - I'm raised Catholic, and regardless of my current religious preference I have great respect for the cornerstones of service and care.
- only around $10k of student debt upon graduation, and some help with grad school (around 20k)</p>

<p>Fordham Minuses
- Not very good access to nature (I like both road and mountain biking, and I might have to give those up if I go to Fordham).
- Less intellectual campus as a whole vs. Vassar
- Dorms aren't as nice
- Campus music scene?</p>

<p>Vassar Pluses
- Intellectual student body that I fit in well with, so far as I can tell
- Varsity lacrosse team I could play for
- Great campus music scene
- Nice campus, architecturally
- Greater access to the outdoors, it seems</p>

<p>Vassar Minuses
- Worse location for internships
- As an insular haven in a smaller city, it seems one could lose touch with the world a bit
- $: stuck with about $20k in student debt upon graduation, and on my own for law school</p>

<p>I wont ever dis any school. Vassar is a great school. But they have been in the news lately on downsizing programs due to financial constraints. Its Poughkeepsie and you either love that or dont.</p>

<p>Second, Fordham is VERY intellectual. That is a misperception on your part. You will find party animals even at Harvard. I know this directly from friends who have a kid there. </p>

<p>The Honors Program at Fordham is VERY rigorous and the workload is horrendous and the grades are humbling. So if you are up to the challenge of the intellectual environment there, then go for it.</p>

<p>You are adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Gardens. They have fabulous nature programs with Fordham. As for excercise on your bike, you have Van Cortlandt Park very nearby which is ENORMOUS and further out Pellum Park on the water, which is the largest in all of New York. But don't be dreaming of biking all day long, your workload will keep you plenty hunkered down. </p>

<p>Finally, grad school likely looms for you and thus money is an issue. So take the less expensive route. Fordham is about the Jesuit ethics and ethos and part of that is not only spirituality but looking at you as a whole person, being supportive of your interests and helping you explore (critical thinking processes) new ideas and perhaps majors you had not considered before. Trust me when I say the opportunity to be challenged to the max is there at Fordham for the taking. Yes, there are some kids who will float through and take the easy path and so forth...avoiding tough professors etc. But there is also a large number of VERY VERY SMART kids who will compete with you on a healthy scale, not cutthroat, and engage you intellectually.....grow with you, spiritually, intellectually and psychologically/physically. Its transformational. </p>

<p>Rose Hill is magical. The dorms are actually a lot of fun with lots of variety. I recommend Queens Court strongly. Then OHare as a Soph.</p>

<p>If Law School is your bag, there are several paths at Fordham to do that, and several majors which have fed into prestigious law programs, including Fordham Law. Fordham has sent kids to Harvard and Yale law. Recently. Like last year. Probably again this year, from what I hear. And next year 2011 as well.</p>

<p>Fordham had U2 on campus last year for a free concert. Need I say more? </p>

<p>Its the City. Hop the Metro North up to Westchester or down to Grand Central/Manhattan. As often as you like. </p>

<p>Fordham kids are a good group and fairly close. They do stuff together. Lifelong friendships. </p>

<p>Its NOT a safety school, I can assure you. Not even close.</p>

<p>Its a personal decision. My D had a professor who also taught at Vassar. Great prof. Its a wonderful and prestigious school. Its very pretty. Its up to you.</p>

<p>But don't think Fordham is taking a back seat....its a fabulous school and has opportunities galore for the strongest students and those with the gumption to go after it.</p>

<p>I'd take money out of the equation if you really do believe you plan to go to law school. Either your income will be more than enough to pay back your loans from undergrad+law school if you go into the private sector (paying maybe 15% of your income for 20 years, then anything remaining disappears), or you will qualify for total loan forgiveness after 10 years of paying probably 10% of your income if you go into the public sector or non-profits. I would even say that 20k of debt is completely manageable if you decided not to go to grad school, given the new laws regarding loan repayment that are income based. If you would ONLY be responsible for grad school loans, and not undergrad, that further highlights my point. Don't worry about it. Almost everyone in grad school carries their own debt after graduation. They all do fine.</p>

<p>In terms of Vassar - the previous poster is a bit overstating saying programs are being downsized because of the economy. Most students wouldn't feel any difference on campus, in classes, and in course selection, and the school is being incredibly fiscally responsible while also maintaining the high standards they have for academics. If anything, the response has been better than most colleges. The reason it may have gotten some attention is that (like it or not) students like to involve themselves in all sorts of campus administrative decisions and make noise.</p>

<p>Have you visited both? which did you like more? where did you feel like you fit in best? have you looked through the course catalogues of both, and seen which one offers the kinds of classes you are more interested in?</p>

<p>You have done a great job of outlining the positives and negatives of both places I would try to visit both schools again go to the one where the overall package (money, program, students, feel of school) seems right to you. From everything I hear, ghostbuster is right and the honors program at Fordham is great but you shoud be positive you get in the program if that is important to you. City/upstate, mid-size/small school, Jesuit university/LAC....there are important differences between the Fordham and Vassar. But the good news is you can't make a bad choice. My guess is that you will do great and have a wonderful experince wherever you end up. Congratulations for putting youself in a position where you have two outstanding choices.</p>

<p>I was talking to some alumni and they mentioned that the music scene was awesome. There are lots of concerts constantly going in in Brooklyn, Queens, and of course Manhattan. There is also lots of battle of the bands events in Fordham that provide the opportunity for students to play their music. I don't think NYC lacks any music whatsoever.</p>

<p>Just trying to help. You can't go wrong with any choice but Fordham is awesome.</p>

<p>Ahhh, the honors program at Fordham is INCREDIBLE. It's really a special experience.</p>

<p>20,000 is a modest amount of debt that I don't think should rule out Vassar. But like I said, the honors program at Fordham is INCREDIBLE. </p>

<p>Also, in addition to all that NYC has to offer music-wise, on campus is an old cottage from the 1840s that was recently renovated to be a student-run coffee house. It's the hangout spot of Fordham's indie/artsy/hippie crowd (as well as a good mix of students who don't fit these generalizations) and it frequently hosts budding bands and musicians. </p>

<p>I too love nature and I'm able to quench my thirst for it through a combination of the zoo, botans, and massive parks in the Bronx and Manhattan. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Thank you very much for your responses. I just visited them last month, on a whirlwind trip that included American (decent, with a pretty good honors program, but not especially amazing), and Denison (despite going for 10k a year, it honestly kind of sucks IMO. Somehow being 60 miles out of Columbus is a lot worse than 90 out of NYC). </p>

<p>I admit falling in love with Vassar a bit, but I could also easily imagine myself being happy at Fordham. I think I do identify with Vassar's artsty/indie-intellectual crowd, but I'm sure that Fordham has a similar subcategory as well. </p>

<p>As far as music goes, I was thinking in terms that when I was at Vassar I saw two student jazz groups perform, both very good (which was well attended, which was awesome). I'm wondering about that sort of scene at Fordham, with student interest and with quality jazz groups on campus (I'm a jazz pianist myself).</p>

<p>How does Fordham do with study abroad or internships? I'm a bit of a head-in-the-clouds intellectual, but I see the value of making money during and after graduation. Keep talking about your views, and thanks a lot!</p>

<p>A couple of things...
You mentioned that Fordham was 90 miles from NYC. Actually Fordham is in the Bronx, NYC. It is only a half hour or so from from Manhattan. Fordham students get to Manhattan easily (and often) by RamVan (Fordham van from Rose Hill Campus to Lincoln Center Campus, subway or MetroNorth (commuter train).<br>
I honestly don't know if there is tons of jazz on campus, but again NYC is at your fingertips. With its location, Fordham DOES have great opportunities for internships in NYC and many students take advantage of that. In addition, many students study abroad on a variety of programs.
Good luck.</p>

<p>Vassar Grad: I got that information from the New York Times. Google it. Whether they "overreported it" or not I have no idea. And I know Vassar is not the only school having to cut back on programs and lay off professors.</p>

<p>At the rose hill campus is a student group call the "Fordham Jazz Collective" which I believe is the exact sort of group you are describing. They play at various events on campus. I'm not sure what the quality is but maybe somebody else may know.</p>

<p>Yeah, fordham's career services department is great and it is undertaking new initiative to widen it's offerings to Fordham College students (as it used to focus heavily on CBA). I'm sure it would be able to assist you in obtaining an intership while at Fordham.</p>

<p>Keep in mind though that Fordham, like many colleges, does not typically sponsor interships for freshmen. But, if it is very important to you to have an intership beginning your first year, you may be able to find something.</p>

<p>Ghostbuster - I will direct you to the actual source if you are interested. Vassar has kept the community, including alumni, very well informed regarding the economic situation. If you are really interested, feel free to read the numerous letters to the Vassar community from the president regarding the financial situation of the college at</p>

<p>Cut positions have only come from the staff and administration. Faculty were offered retirement incentives for those already eligible. There was a reduction in the number of non-tenure track positions renewed for next year (they are always renewed annually).</p>

<p>However, "programs" have not been affected. in fact:</p>

<p>"Although we are still planning the curriculum for 2010/11, we expect that it will be the same size or slightly larger than this year’s curriculum due to leave patterns and fewer course reductions for faculty who have taken on administrative duties"</p>

<p>And the most recent thing about vassar in the NY Times featured the use of the financial crisis in political science classes - and a great photo of one poli sci professor teaching: <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Whatever, Vassar. That's great. I'm not that interested, don't have a dog in that fight and don't wish to start a fight. Its a great school and I just referred to comments I read in the New York Times several months ago. Many schools suffered horrific damage to their endowments in the crash of 08, but many have also recovered substantially all of their losses since then. I don't do school bashing and in fact, I dislike pitting one school against another in any thread. </p>

<p>The schools which seem to be most affected by budget cuts are state flagships.</p>

<p>If somebody wants to go to Vassar over Fordham, and in particular Fordham Honors, that is a personal decision and I wish them the very best.</p>

<p>I renew my question for further opinion; I just got the official word of acceptance from the FCRH Honors Program. Things are down to the wire!</p>

<p>Like I said before, I LOVE the honors program!! Today I had a truly mind-blowing history class that kept me thinking well into the night...this is a frequent occurrence. The classes are stimulating. The professors are incredible. The personal attention is priceless. </p>

<p>Congratulations on your acceptance. I'd be thrilled to see you here next year.</p>

<p>Congratulations on your Vassar and Fordham Honors acceptances! :) </p>

<p>You have put together a well thought out pros and cons list so I'm sure you will do well at either school. My suggestion, since you have visited both, is that you listen to your gut feeling and attend the school that you feel is the right fit for YOU. If you are being completely honest with yourself and truly feel undecided on that because you think that you will be satisfied with either college experience, then I recommend going with the cheaper option given your desire to attend grad school. </p>

<p>So for you, that is Fordham Honors. The worst case scenario here is that the school does not meet your expectations and you transfer perhaps to Vassar. But I recommend giving Fordham at least a year so that you can be sure you are making the most out of all the opportunities that Fordham has to offer. </p>

<p>If you STILL can't decide after weighing the pros and cons, your gut feelings and the advice that you have been given on this forum, by your parents, teachers and friends, then I say flip a coin on the 30th and let your fate be handed to you! You wouldn't be the first person to go that route! Good luck! :D</p>

<p>The two schools are both excellent but very different. Follow your heart.</p>

<p>For the past week I've been debating between going to Fordham Lincoln Center or Vassar! Ok, so its not the PERFECT coincidence (because I'm looking at Lincoln Center and you're looking at Rose Hill), but still, what are the chances?!
Anyhow, I made my decision once and for all this morning, but I'll avoid telling you which I chose and try to keep this as unbiased as possible. </p>

<p>*What helped me make my decision the most was comparing the opinions of Vassar and Fordham students. Nothing's better than a firsthand account. Please, Please, Please-- if you take nothing else from this post-- visit these two sites. [hey this site won't let me post the names so i'm gonna type the names as though they're acronyms] c.o.l.l.e.g.e.p.r.o.w.l.e.r. and u.n.i.g.o. Explore each aspect of the colleges thoroughly; read every post if need be.
Ok now I'm going to go down your list of pluses/minuses and comment. But remember, although I've been researching for the past week straight and I like to think that I'm pretty informed, you shouldn't just take my word for it. Go to the sites I mentioned above and see if there's some idiosyncrasy about the campus/ student body that could deter you from getting the optimum value out of your time spent there.</p>

-Fordham is top-notch academically, and being in the honors program will help you because you'll get more in-depth exploration with the subject as well as a more personable experience with the professors thanks to smaller classes. On the downside though, I've read that the core curriculum gets to be too strenuous (I recall somewhere that it totaled 18 classes). So if you're looking to double-major or minor, it will be very, very hard. Also there tends to be a more negative learning environment because many students feel like they're being forced to take classes they don't enjoy. However being in Honors may solve that.
-New York City is a strength and a weakness. You have access to a diverse array of cultural events, yes. there will always be entertainment and nightlife, yes. But all these things can easily become distractions. Nightlife is big at Fordham on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. And they like to go to off-campus to clubs, pubs, and bars. You have to know yourself enough to decide whether you'll be able to balance it all. And with all that venturing off campus at night, make sure you stay safe. It's still the Bronx.
-La Crosse Club? Cool. If you want to play professionally or something like make sure its a varsity sport and not just a club. And check out the work-out/ gym facilities for both colleges too. But hey, I'm not much of a sports person so... I'm likely making the wrong assumptions.
-Ok I'm going to tackle the money issue for both schools all at once.
-the campus is nice, true. But find out specific characteristics that might hinder your day-to-day life. One of the biggest complaints I heard about Fordham is that several facilities are never open when you need them to be. If you fall ill, you can't get to the health clinic during the weekend. And the student services/center/something-or-other closes early. The Ethernet connection is known to fail randomly, so that complicates internet access. None of the food sources are open late either, so students with late classes have to spend money ordering/ eating out (which is frustrating since freshman are required to pay $800 for a meal plan). Oh, and about that-- People don't like the food there (but hey, that's apart of college, right?). I would look into that.
-There are lots of internship opportunities in New York, but are they necessarily better? Keep in mind you're competing with lots off people too.
-Hey, Fordham is renowned for it's law program.
- This is one of the things that I really liked about Fordham. still, the Jesuit presence is there in the faculty and administrators no doubt, but what about the character of your peers-to-be? College kids will be college kids, regardless of religious affiliation. I would investigate the values/ behaviors of the students there. Think back to how they treated you on your college visit perhaps. Still there's great opportunity for service in church as well as in the community, esp. in NYC.
-Ok Sooo yes you're definitely trading off the nature for the city, but hey, even NYC has it's parks. You just have to look for them.
-I do think Vassar is the more intellectual campus, but to say that Fordham isn't intellectually charged would be misleading.
-Dorms aren't as nice but at least there's a sense of community on the rose hill campus. Right? I would find out about that. The whole point of the dorm system is to foster cohesiveness within the student body. And keep in mind that about 50% off the students who go to Fordham are commuter, so the ones you see in class aren't always the ones living with you. Also, do you have some kind of dorm-privilege to look forward to as a senior? Or are there nice alternatives in living off-campus? I know renting an apartment can be expensive...
-I'm sure there is an immense music scene in New York, but not so sure about the campus. I know that Lincoln Center is the more artsy side of Fordham, but they don't really have a campus...</p>

-The student body at Vassar is very intellectual, but they party just as hard as they study. Really. You say you think you fit in with the student body... That's good. According to what I've read, students tend to be more liberal and eccentric than usual. But they're also intellectually diverse. This creates a very interesting learning environment I'm sure. Another aspect to consider is the Professors. They're all very qualified and accessible. Many students say they're one of the best parts about going to Vassar. Another thing is that there's no core curriculum at Vassar, instead they require 'types' of classes (Something like so many 'writing-intensive' classes, so many 'quantitative' classes, etc.). this makes it easier to double major, but more importantly students are enthused about the courses they're taking.
-Again, Sports, Not my thing. But I remember that student athletes at Vassar feel underappreciated because the school-spirit is sort of apathetic regarding sports.
-Yes, they love music and theatre at Vassar. I've never seen a school with such a large proportion of a capella groups.
-The campus is nice architecturally. although some complain that some classrooms are too small. People really appreciate the homey style of most of the dorms there. A plus is the easily accessible wireless internet all around campus. And you said you appreciate nature? Well there's plenty to enjoy on and off campus. Vassar is an arbortorium, meaning they have so many species of trees and invest a lot of money into the upkeep of the wildlife. Did I mention they've got a very green, eco-friendly campus, if you're into all that. They even have a farm.
-Yes Poughkeepsie is an unpromising place for internships, but it's an hour and a half away from the city of NY. Also consider other nearby towns. If you really want an internship, you can get one.
-Ahh yes, this is an issue. Students say the worst part about attending Vassar is the "Vassar Bubble". Students feel the campus is too cut off from the real world. Right now the administration is working hard to better relationships with Poughkeepsie and other nearby schools. But for now most student life is exclusively on campus (or not further than a block or two down the street).</p>

<p>Here's some miscellaneous information I've discovered that might help to cure your indecision.</p>

<p>MONEY: It seems that you would be ready to pick Vassar if Fordham weren't a little cheaper. Money will inevitably be a factor in choosing a college, but don't let it keep you from going to the college you want. Just FYI, US News and World Reports ranked Fordham 61st in its category and Vassar 11th in it's category. USAToday ranked Vassar in the Top 50 Best-Value Colleges in the country (Fordham didn't make it). Don't decide solely off these rankings, but consider that maybe the higher quality of education at Vassar makes it worth the extra cost. It'll eventually effect which grad schools you get accepted to, your chances of landing a job, and even the initial salary you earn. If you're still worried about money, consider that Fordham has a smaller endowment and a larger student body (whereas Vassar has a larger endowment and a smaller student body). So technically there's more money available per kid at Vassar (And when I looked, they did have a very long list of funds for Vassar students).</p>

<p>DIVERSITY: You didn't mention this criteria, but it is something worth considering. Ethnically, Fordham is a little more diverse than Vassar. Politically, Vassar is very left-wing; hard conservative students feel out of place there. Intellectually, Vassar students tend to be the type to know (or like to learn) a lot about a little. But they always engage in stimulating conversations outside the classroom. I can't say much about intellectual conversation regarding Rose Hill, but the Lincoln Center campus didn't have that vibe.</p>

<p>DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Drugs and alcohol are everywhere at both universities. Everywhere. I read complaints from both campuses regarding substance abuse, but I think that's inescapable for college. At Fordham there seems to be slightly more alcohol and a greater variety of drugs, but it's because the Bronx is right there. But that's not to say that the students aren't stashing any. Vassar was started by a brewer. On founder's day, they give away free beer. I would say drugs at Vassar are the 'lite' kind (pot, marijuana, prescription drugs), not that this is any better. Another thing is that the Vassar Administration is relatively tolerant about students using drugs and alcohol. Still On both campuses though there is still a large crowd of substance free activities and night life. Student's claim that they don't feel pressured. Both colleges offer "wellness halls".</p>

<p>SECURITY/SAFETY: Students at both campuses report that it's very safe. Students at Fordham complain a LOT about the strictness and hostility of the RA's, and there's a lot of friction between the students and the conservative policies (such as who can visit what dorm at what time), but it's all for a good cause. Vassar students seem to be on better ground with the administration. Students think they're tolerant, but not so lenient that student safety and wellness is compromised. There are desk attendants, and security patrols the campus until 2 or 3 am. </p>

<p>STEREOTYPES: Beware of stereotyping the student body at each of these schools. Not everyone at vassar is a hippie/ a treehugger/ socially awkward / homosexual/ a pothead/ a rich white kid. And not everyone at Fordham is a religious hypocrite/ overzealously christian/ stuck-up/ gay/ an over-privileged white. The stereotypes are born of truth, but they are never the majority. </p>

<p>Geezers, hope this helps. Didn't think it would be so looooong but it is. My apologies, but this was a very stressful and important decision for me, and I wanted all the help I received to be thorough.</p>

<p>Ultimately the decision is yours, just be informed. Weigh which aspects are most important to you and which aren't as prominent. Both are really good schools.</p>

<p>LOL...p rowler is not a very good resource. Sorry. Many of those comments are plainly inaccurate. I don't know which school you picked but I hope it was Fordham and hope that it wasnt based on p rowler. </p>

<p>The Student Health Services are available on weekends. My D has USED THEM ON WEEKENDS. She got violently ill one time and they were fabulous, and arranged to have her taken over to St. Barnabas for further tests and consultations, who were also wonderful and we even spoke LONG DISTANCE on the telephone to the ER doctor. Not only that, but three of her friends went over to the hospital with her and stayed with her. (No it wasnt drinking or anything like that. It was a horrific case of the flu and bronchitis and exhaustion all at once.) </p>

<p>Vassar is a fine school. So is Fordham. They are different on some levels. If you come to Fordham wonderful. If you don't, then best of luck to you in school.</p>

<p> we have a decision??? :)</p>

<p>In the end, with the price difference not being exhorbitant, I had to go with my heart: Vassar Class of 2014.</p>