<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>