Gettysburg vs Bryn Mawr vs various others

All my decisions are in, and Gettysburg and Bryn Mawr are the schools I am most fond of. I am still in hope of getting in off the waitlist at my top two choices, but I am very happy to be able to decide between these two colleges.

I want to study political science with a focus on international diplomacy and conflict studies, so whichever has the stronger program in that area of study will probably be my final decision. Which school has the better alumni network? The most fun traditions? Highest amount of students going to top graduate schools? Financial aid is plentiful at all schools I am accepted at, and it will not be a factor in my decision.

I think the biggest difference between these schools for me is small town vs suburb of large city. I really want to be close to the city, but I would give that up for the right school.

The colleges I’ve been accepted to (ranked in level of interest besides Gettysburg and Bryn Mawr which tie):
Bryn Mawr
Washington College (MD) (honors program)
Washington & Jefferson (honors program)

Bumping this because I’m majorly conflicted #-o

I’m a big fan of Bryn Mawr. Location is a plus, as is the Quaker consortium. The campus is beautiful and it has very nice student housing. Bryn Mawr grads do very well in getting into grad school. In addition to Political Science, Bryn Mawr has a Peace, Conflict, and Social Justice Studies major, and you can choose to major on the Haverford campus if you wish,

Will you have an opportunity to visit both Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg for accepted student visits?

Bryn Mawr is a very compelling choice because of its location and the cross-registration opportunities.

@doschicos I have visited both already, and I am going to both of their accepted students days in April. I love both of these schools for different reasons, so the choice is going to be very hard for me.

Is the political science program stronger at Gettysburg or Bryn Mawr, or are the pretty equal because of the consortium?

@NotSteveBuscemi‌ - I don’t know a lot about the 2 poli sci programs specifically. I do know the program at Haverford is quite strong and, as a Bryn Mawr student, you are able to take advantage of those classes and the major there. I would think both Bryn Mawr and Gettysburg would have good poli sci. However, Bryn Mawr attracts a more intellectual, high stat student body and is known for its strong academic vibe.

The two schools are quite different in terms of social vibe. Hopefully, your visits will provide you with some clarity on which would be a better fit for you academically and socially.

Gettysburg is much like Bucknell, Work Hard, Play Hard. My nephew is there. From what I am told Bryn Mawr is quite different.

I would think Gettysburg is a more traditional college experience.

If you are looking at only the academics Bryn Mawr is the answer. If interesting traditions like the first year class walk through town to the reading of the Gettysburg address is most important then Gettysburg wins. Greek life is huge at Gettysburg and if that is important to you, then Gettysburg is your choice. Access to a major city would favor Bryn Mawr. I would say it is time to ask lots of questions and perhaps revisit both schools if you can manage it and you don’t need to wait for the accepted students days to do that. You will probably get a truer picture of campus life on a visit other then the school supported accepted students days. Best of luck to you!

One things my D (not a Bryn Mawr student but it was on her list) liked a lot about Bryn Mawr were all the traditions.
If you haven’t seen this yet @NotSteveBuscemi‌, this website page explains a lot of them:

"You will probably get a truer picture of campus life on a visit other then the school supported accepted students days. "

So true, @beenthereanddone D went back to 2 schools last week, one on an accepted visit day and one on a regular school day. Got much more out of the regular school day. (The accepted student day was a zoo!)

These two are so different it is hard to see the same student interested in both. I dont see enough difference in the student body statistics to say Bryn Mawr attracts a better student, maybe marginally but its negligible. Really depends if the OP is looking for that traditional college experience that Gettysburg offers. Gettysburg is about twice the size as well.

@timetobreath - If you look at the SAT breakdowns in CDS, Bryn Mawr is definitely higher. That doesn’t even factor in that Gettysburg is test optional so the stats aren’t including that group, a presumably lower scoring group. I realize that SAT scores, however, don’t capture the whole picture but it is one indicator.

Bryn Mawr
Score Range CR Math Writing
700+ 30.68% 34.47% 34.85%
600-700 47.35% 40.53% 51.14%
500-600 19.70% 23.86% 12.50%

Score Range CR Math Writing
700+ 13% 15% NR
600-700 63% 68% NR
500-600 23% 17% NR

I agree the 2 schools are very different places. The intellectual, academic focused vibe of Bryn Mawr is one of those differences.


Gettysburg has 22 sports teams.

The scatter plots don’t show that big a difference not enough to say one is decidedly more intellectual.

@TimeToBreath‌ - I don’t have a dog in this fight with ties to neither school. Just stating facts. Not sure what you mean by scatter plots??

So, by commenting on the number of sports teams, are you saying that is why Gettysburg’s SAT scores trend lower, not even factoring in the number of students that chose the test optional route? I’m not sure that is helping your case. Bryn Mawr has 12 sports teams (just females obviously) and given the smaller student body size…

Bryn Mawr is also test optional, though…

Bryn Mawr is now, starting with the 2014-15 admissions cycle, so the stats quoted above predate the adoption of a test optional policy. I am a big fan of test optional schools BTW.

I have friends at both schools, and Bryn Mawr is going to be your best bet academically, from what I’ve seen. It’s a pretty solid atmosphere of academic excellence. The libraries are beautiful, too. They also have a lot (A LOT) of school traditions which involve freshmen being assigned upperclassmen and lots of silly but fun-looking events. You would be looking at a more alternative, girl-power rich 4 years at Bryn Mawr, while Gettysburg is going to be a more typical college experience. That’s not to knock them in any way. My friend loves it there. She does intramural sports and has made a lot of really close friends.

Haverford and Barnard were my top choices (waitlisted so maybe I’ll still end up there), so I like Bryn Mawr because it’s all women’s but still has the bi-co and tri-co. I’m not sure how Bryn Mawr’s political science program is, but I like Gettysburg a lot because its poli sci program is amazing and their alumni network is extensive. For me, alumni network is very important, but I might just be more aware of Gettysburg’s because they advertise it like crazy.

I definitely like Bryn Mawr’s architecture and traditions more, but I do not want to gauge my decision fully on that. Is either degree worth more when seeking employment or applying to grad or law schools?

Definitely ask at your visit about the Bryn Mawr alumni network. From what I understand it is quite strong. I know BM consistently places very, very high in rankings on sending students on to graduate study. Again, a great question to ask when visiting or feel free to email them.

Another point worth mentioning is that both Bryn Mawr, and Haverford as you’ll probably take at least some classes there, have a strong honor code. I think its a real plus. Due to the strong trust between students and faculty, many of your exams can be self-proctored and self-scheduled. Also, students are intellectual and driven but not competitive. They don’t talk grades. These aspects allow you as a student to explore your intellectual and academic goals while helping minimize stress relative to other academic environments.

So I was looking into the AP credit policies at each school, and so far, only one of my past exams qualifies for credit at Bryn Mawr, where all of my exams qualify for credit at Gettysburg and Pitt. I know a little less than $1k spent on exams isn’t enough to base an entire college decision on, but it’s something else I have to consider. I should have looked up the AP policies before applying because I only knew the policies at my top choice colleges.