Hamilton vs. Haverford vs. Carleton

Definitely undecided but likely some sort of social science or humanities major! Money is a factor but not hugely so.

Hamilton - strong gut feeling when I visited campus, love the alumni network and career advising emphasis, hopefully good social/work balance, wanting to do acapella and love that culture @hamilton. Worried it’s the least communal/homey feeling, too preppy, too cold and remote?

Haverford - love the location (and weather), great teaching and prof/student relationships, also fun acapella (prefer Hamilton’s but not strongly), strong gut feeling while on campus, communal/family/Quaker vibe honor code would suit me well for life? Worried too small, too rigorous, most expensive, bookish/quirky student stereotype (same as Hamilton preppy stereotype- not necessarily a negative! Just looking for a range of personalities :))

Carleton - most affordable, excellent teaching and prof/student relationships, communal vibe, northfield is fun and cute, trimesters (more classes and opportunities to “restart” in a year). Worried about unappealing acapella scene (this is huge for me but I realize seems unimportant to most!), trimester system is fast paced (too rigorous?), super cold, similar quirky type to Haverford?

Clearly I’m quite indecisive so any thoughts would be so welcomed (esp thoughts about overall culture) :slight_smile: thank you for taking the time to read this!!

Based on what you have written, you may be under-regarding Hamilton’s classroom environment to some extent:

With respect to campus culture among your choices, Haverford has experienced challenges to its unity in recent months, a situation that has received attention from the press:

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With Carleton being the lowest cost, a capella would have to override every other consideration to make either of the schools worth the extra money - unless the extra cost is minimal. The quality of education at Carleton is equal to or better than either of the others.

You mention that money is not a huge factor, but not knowing where you live, I don’t know if it becomes a factor for extra costs for transportation to any of these. You may develop an interest in studying abroad where extra money would help. The larger point is that unanticipated financial factors can emerge in the next 4 years where access to extra funds could make a difference.

If costs will be considered, then it would make sense to consider return on investment. For a humanities major, for example, Hamilton places 8th in the nation in ROI compared to colleges of all types by available information:

Hamilton tends to be recognized generally, as in this Forbes article from a few years ago, for being worth its price:

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Sounds like you don’t want preppy, quirky, or bookish. Well, you’re going to find lots of bookish students at all three of these, so let’s move on to quirky/preppy

I wouldn’t say Carleton is “quirky,” - academically serious, possibly slightly nerdy, but overall well-balanced. Maybe you could improve the a cappella scene there, give St Olaf a run for its money? :wink:

Haverford has a lot of student athletes and shades towards “sporty” as well as intellectually serious. A plus is the consortium with Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore and U Penn. The first two will have plenty of intense bookish types. Penn is more preprofessional in vibe.

As these schools only offer need-based aid, presumably money is a factor to some extent if your family qualified for financial aid?

Hi everything! Thank u so much for the insight

Quick exciting update - I just heard back from Hamilton about my aid appeal and it’s now down to the same cost as Carleton! I’ve decided to rule out Carleton, so I’m now down to just Hamilton and Haverford. Not sure if that affects everyone’s advice, just a little more info :slight_smile:


Happiness is having a good music group!

Wondering whether the low availability of males in the Bi-college consortium might make a difference to singing opportunities?

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Regarding Hamilton’s environment, it tends to work especially well for students who seek a collegiate experience somewhat offset from the East Coast megalopolis and who also want access to, or simply the atmosphere of, majestic natural features such as the Adirondacks. On campus, Hamilton impresses as well in its spatial attributes, such as in offering two distinctly different major dining halls, and other assorted other places to eat, and athletic facilities such as an ice rink and pool. Beyond your stated interests, consider whether some of these aspects aspects might appeal to you, as well as whether you might ultimately appreciate the area’s winter snow suitable for the adventurous. If you do choose to attend, consider a geosciences elective, which will familiarize you with the deeper natural elements of your surroundings.

Based on what you’ve said here, I think Haverford sounds like the best choice for you. The fact that you specifically like the Quaker aspect and Honor code system is a huge thing so I suspect you’ll be happy there.

Hamilton also has had an enduring honor code, of course:

Yes, as do many colleges. But at Haverford it’s front and center. In fact, of the 30 or so colleges I’ve visited, it stands out as the only one to ever speak at length of its honor code. They make it very clear that it’s an extremely important aspect of Haverford life, both during info sessions and during the student led tour.

Well, they certainly talk the talk. But, in practice the Honor Code at Haverford has been left in tatters by the social unrest that has become a focus of campus life this year.

The president of Bryn Mawr expressed a similar fear, connecting the bullying across the Bi-Co campuses with a violation of these schools’ honor codes:

For this quotation in its full context, see the extensive Inquirer coverage, linked above.