Got into my LAC reaches, now I have to choose!

<p>So I applied Regular Decision to Swarthmore, Amherst, Williams, and Wesleyan, all of which I considered reaches. I did not expect to get into one let alone all of them with early writes. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that I got in, but now I realize that I have to make a choice and I'm terrified I'll choose the wrong one. So here's the deal
1. Swarthmore has been my number 1 since I went to Discovery Weekend. I had a great time and met some really interesting and cool people who were a lot like me in that they loved learning and weren't afraid to talk about it. They were also seriously friendly and just awesome lol. But I hear really bad things about Swat constantly i.e. the workload is ridiculous, students are weird, all students do is study. While I like to learn and I don't mind studying, I don't know if I want to be in that intense atmosphere all the time...? But I really loved it and clicked with it while I was there. I felt a real connection.
2. I was in love with Amherst my sophomore and junior year and still liked until I visited at the Diversity Open House. Bad experience... However, I'm hoping that my experience was an anomaly and if I go back to visit during their accepted students weekend I might have a different experience. However
3. Williams has their accepted visit weekend the same weekend and I can only go to one. My school only allows us to visit schools for official accepted visits twice (already decided that I'm going to Ride the Tide for Swat). I didn't really like Williams when I visited (people were pretentious, kept talking about how good looking they are, lots of construction, rainy and humid day) but I still liked the idea of it and applied anyway. I never did an overnight so I didn't get a feel. However, I'm worried that if I attend the visitation weekend at Williams, I'll miss a good experience at Amherst with whom I think I'm more compatible. But if I don't do it then I'll never know if Williams is right for me. But I still like Swarthmore...!</p>

<p>I know I sound whiny and I should be happy I have such great options but I'm so scared that I'll choose the wrong school. Any advice for me?? Thanks in advance my CC folks. You all are awesome and really helped me through this process. I'm forever grateful.</p>

<p>Is there a reason you're discounting Wesleyan from this equation? I know I'm biased, but I always though of Swat as being more like Wes than Amherst or Williams (and everything you said you love about Swat has been my experience at Wes, and students DEFINITELY do more than study here ;) ).</p>

<p>Anyway, first some general advice: on the accepted students weekends, make sure to try to mingle with a lot of different CURRENT students. It’s really easy to just hang out with tons of accepted students, which is fun and totally awesome if you are set on going to the school, but doesn’t tell you that much about what the school is actually like. I mean, getting a sense of what your future classmates might be like is useful, but not as useful as figuring out what ACTUAL students are like, and what their experiences are like (I know this sounds obvious, but people really do congregate with just accepted students at these things). </p>

<p>Anyway, I say definitely visit Swat again: sure, there are horror stories, but for students it fits, it fits. If you visit again, talk to a lot of students, and still love it, go with that. I had the “click” experience with Wes when I visited, and I have not regretted coming here at all, so I put a lot of stock in that gut feeling.</p>

<p>Anyway, if you think you’re more compatible with Amherst, I’d say it’s probably best to go give them the second chance, but it depends (well, actually, I say go visit Wes instead, but, again, biased :P ). What about the experience was bad? If it was the kind of things that are mainly caused by the specific people you were with, DEFINITELY go visit again. If it was something more systematic about the school itself, then maybe you should give Williams a shot. </p>

<p>Anyway, I don’t think there is really a WRONG choice with four fabulous schools. I bet you won’t think twice once you get to whichever you chose. So visit the two you think you’re most likely to fall in love with (which sounds like Swat and then one of the others), and then go with your gut after you’ve visited.</p>

<p>Major major major congratulations, I'm mega-jealous.</p>

<p>You found Williams pretentious? When I visited they had possibly the nicest people I've ever met. I met multiple students and alumni who went far out of their way to help me out. The Inn was really pretentious though.</p>

<p>If you have the connection, go to Swat. I felt that connection at Williams(but got deferred ED :( ), so I committed myself to that. Academically these schools are essentially equal, all fantastic in nearly every regard.</p>

<p>The main difference as far as I can tell:
Swat - most 'academic' and most 'quirky'
Amherst - in the middle
Williams - most (only in a very relative sense) pre-proffessional, most jock/prep(once again, not really very jock/prep, but relatively the most)</p>

<p>Personally I loved the mixed style of Williams, the tutorials and stuff to satisfy my nerdy side, and one of the top D3 athletic programs and a very active intramural program for my athletic side. Plus they have the Clark and a great theatre program and stuff. I don't know as much about the others. So go to one of the other ones, maybe Williams will let me in :)</p>

<p>I'd second what Weskid says and add that:
Every school has bad stories or experiences associated with it. There are bad reputations and stories for every school. What matters is how you felt. Sure, some of the tales may be true, but if you spent some time there and it felt like a good fit, don't discount it because of what "people" say. Also, you could talk to a few students (through emails, if you have any, or online chat) about your concerns and see how they feel.</p>

<p>Second, I can't tell exactly what your experiences with Williams and Amherst were, but if you had a problem with Williams in general, but just had a bad experience one-time problem at Amherst, I'd say go for Amherst. If you don't enjoy it, then you've eliminated a school, if you do enjoy it, it will discount your bad experience. It kind of seems like you already know Williams may not be right for you--sometimes the "idea" of a school isn't the reality--at least not for everyone. Again, I don't know the situation, so I could be wrong, but if you feel that Amherst is more compatible and it seems more likely that your experience there was an anomaly, I'd give Amherst a second chance over Williams.</p>

<p>Also, I second weskid--just out of curiousity, what about Wesleyan? </p>

<p>Finally, I don't think you're being whinny. It's exciting to get in--but it's also scary thinking that now you have a choice but might not pick the best school for you. Luckily, you've got good options, and it seems like a pretty good sense of your experiences and yourself. Good luck!</p>

<p>You don't need to do an over night. You can visit Amherst and Williams the same day; they are only 1 and a half hours apart.</p>

<p>However, it sounds like Amherst and Swat both appeal to you more so you could just cross Williams off your list and make your choice easier.</p>

<p>You have to trust your instincts and it sounds as if you're in love with Swat, so it's okay to go with that.</p>

<p>I know I was amazed when my S chose Williams over Amherst, Wesleyan and Brown without any second visits. </p>

<p>This process is very mysterious. Go with your gut.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>And PLEEEASE visit another time than the accepted student weekends. Discovery Weekend and Ride the Tide and all that stuff can sometimes give the wrong impression because there are more events and it's sort of like the campus at its best. Visiting on a normal weekend or even during the week can be helpful.</p>

<p>Note: The rest of this is coming from someone who visited and loved Swat and has Swattie friends, but hasn't experienced it herself. So take it "with a grain of salt" or whatever.</p>

<p>I think that if you honestly like learning, then you'll like Swat. You'll have to learn to prioritize and you'll have some really busy times, but they do more than study. Taking part of junior year off to study abroad can also help with Swat-stress. </p>

<p>If I were you, I would trying revisiting all of them- go to Ride the Tide and then maybe stay a little over or go a little early so you can see some more 'typical' days. You can go during the week too, if you can afford taking some time off from school. Don't let bad visits spoil Williams and Amherst.</p>

<p>They're all amazing amazing schools, and I wish you luck!</p>

<p>First off, congratulations on all your acceptances. It would help if you gave us a little more information on what you are looking for in a college. What attracted you to Swarthmore, or Amherst before your last visit. What was your bad experience at Amherst that turned you off? What is the "idea of Williams" that you were still attracted to?</p>

<p>It sounds like it's between Swat and Amherst.</p>

<p>Amherst is a bit more relaxing than Swat with the workload, but they are both great schools. I like Amherst because it is a member of the five college consortium, so if you want a change of pace...</p>

<p>But, at Swat you also have the option of taking classes at Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Penn, so that could be good too.</p>

<p>Tough decision.</p>

<p>Congrats. :)</p>

<p>Is haverford much worse than Swat? I would've applied to swarthmore but made up my mind too late, and decided to apply to haverford (1/15 deadline) because i figured they are pretty similar</p>

<p>chicago: Haverford is an excellent LAC, especially when you can take classes at Bryn Mawr, Swat, and Penn.</p>

<p>Congrats on your acceptances to these fantastic schools. I know 2 of my friends who ended up at Amherst. Even if I can't speak for other LACs on your list, I am certain that Amherst is a fantastic school which provides you very individualized education, very tight and supportive social groups, and highly intelligent student body. My friends both love it there and they told me they are having the time of their lives! You should definitely consider Amherst as your top choice since most of their current students and grads, it seems like, cherished their Amherst education and experiences.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I like Amherst because it is a member of the five college consortium, so if you want a change of pace...</p>

<p>But, at Swat you also have the option of taking classes at Haverford, Bryn Mawr and Penn, so that could be good too.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>It all depends on how convenient it is to take classes on other campuses, which depends on things like transportation, bureaucracy, etc. At Amherst, the [url=<a href="http://www.pvta.com/files/schedules/38394043_2007sep.pdf%5DPVTA%5B/url"&gt;http://www.pvta.com/files/schedules/38394043_2007sep.pdf]PVTA[/url&lt;/a&gt;] buses run 2-3 times per hour during the day between all the campuses. This enables the Amherst student body to take around 400 classes per year at the other campuses.</p>

<p>I'm not sure how Swarthmore's consortium compares as far as useability, although the [url=<a href="http://www.brynmawr.edu/transportation/trico.shtml#weekday%5Dvans%5B/url"&gt;http://www.brynmawr.edu/transportation/trico.shtml#weekday]vans[/url&lt;/a&gt;] between campuses appear to run only once every hour or two during the day.</p>

<p>Wow...congratulations to sgtpepper! I, too, am curious about the differences between Swat and Amherst (and Wellesley, for that matter). Current students of these schools (and parents of students) faced with the same (wonderful) decision...What choice did you make? Why? Any regrets?</p>

<p>THANKS EVERYONE! you've been extremely helpful. I'm going to try to convince my school to let me do overnights at amherst and swarthmore that are not accepted students weekends and maybe try to go up to williams during their weekend. It's going to be really hard since I have AP exams coming up and my teachers are getting crazy so we'll see. Also to weskid, I haven't completely kicked wes out of the running, it's just that my parents really like amherst, swat and williams because of their no-loan/little loan policies but I'm still going to Wesfest for a day or two to see if I fall for it. Wes was actually the first school I ever visited and still have a soft spot for it. and I've had good experiences there too. But I don't know...thanks again everyone!</p>

<p>Well, finacial aid is def. a good consideration! Have you gotton your packages yet? If not, those might actually help the decision.</p>

<p>side with amherst....williams is in teh middle of no where, and swathmore is a wierd college experience</p>

<p>Again, lots of good choices. I agree that accepted student days sometimes give<br>
a "company's coming" impression that may not be realistic. </p>

<p>Do you mean your current high school restricts your visits and you might have an unexcused absence? This is too big of a decision, in my opinion. Just go. And of course, financial aid packages should always be a big piece of the picture. Especially in your case when all the choices are stellar. You would not be "settling" for any school if you stuck with the best no loan/few loan policies.</p>

<p>the thing about wesleyan is, that it combines aspects of both amherst AND swarthmore. And, a bit more.</p>

<p>SgtP, My son is a graduate of Williams so I'll start with the disclaimer that I am prejudiced in that direction. </p>

<p>But . . . and this is a big but . . . Williams (and Swarthmore and Amherst and Wesleyan) are not for everyone. Each has a distinctive personality. The physical surroundings alone are vastly different. </p>

<p>So you've already too many good choices. And my guess is that your life will only get *more *complicated when the ivy league acceptances come out. If something about Swarthmore and Amherst appealed to your gut, then go with those two and give Williams and Wesleyan a miss. </p>

<p>My son's ranking was exactly the reverse of yours -- Williams, Weselyan, Amherst, Swarthmore. There were factors that pushed Williams into top place but I have no doubt that he would have enjoyed his four years at any of the four (or for that matter a couple of less selectives as well).</p>

<p>Trust in what you see when you turn out the lights.</p>

<p>I don't know, but I know it's mine. Excellent, momrath.</p>