Hamilton vs. Middlebury vs. W&L

<p>Hi, I'm a new member and first time poster.</p>

<p>My S has offers to be supported for admission at Hamilton, Middlebury and Washington & Lee to play football. All great options. Any thoughts or differentiators regarding academics, social scene and weather? Anything else he should consider before sending an ED app?</p>

<p>I know some people at W&L so I can give you some perspective. The school has a huge frat scene and party scene. If you don't go Greek, you won't have a social life. Lots of drinking and fun. The academics are definitely some of the best in the country. Great liberal arts school overall.</p>

<p>My son (a sophomore at Midd) and I looked at Hamilton and I really liked it. I think it's a great school and they seemed to take themselves a little less seriously than some of the top LACs which I liked. There was a certain sense of humor about the place (free Hamilton flips flops) and I loved the all-night diner on campus. I would say Midd is a little more academically rigorous (just a guess, probably depends on the kid), maybe a little more environmentally aware, and has no frats, but does have social houses which may be a different name for the same thing. I'm sure the weather is better at W&L unless he likes to ski!</p>

<p>Hamilton and Middlebury are definitely more similar than Midd and W&L, or Hamilton and W&L. W&L is VERY conservative. Great school and I know some great kids that have gone there, but I've definitely gotten the impression that you'll feel out of place if you're not a republican (I could very easily be wrong about that though). Middlebury is very open and accepting. Middlebury probably has the highest prestige factor (whatever that's worth), but it's a VERY slight difference. If you're son is from the North that will be a little important since most people who count up here will know Middlebury, but not necessarily know W&L. Down South most of those same people will still know Middlebury, but will also know W&L. Academics are probably equal across all three.</p>

<p>I seriously doubt academics at W and L are comparable to Midd and Hamilton.</p>

<p>The "second smartest boy" in my S graduating class went to W and L to play soccer. He hated the school, the team, the beer-guzzling frat boys. Classes were too easy for him, and the southern vibe didn't fit. He transferred after one year and is now at a Boston area small LAC, much happier.</p>

<p>Can't imagine going there over Midd and Hamilton, unless you are a "beer-guzzling frat boy". There's a place for everyone....</p>

<p>I usual, I seek to balance OBD's opinions with some other POV's. My nephew attended W and L for both undergrad and law school and loved it. He matriculated from a liberal and progressive Oregon family of smart and involved folks and came back to the state where he was active in community and county government. He was NOT a 'beer-guzzling frat boy' and had his choice of all the top LAC's. All schools have their cultures, no doubt, Club Midd as well, but my sense from him was that academics were serious and top notch, as are alumni networks. NESCAC schools are great -- my son is a NESCAC grad -- but many schools in other parts of the country, especially W and L, also provide relevant and challenging experiences for, at least, my curious and committed nephew. As always, visit the school, do your research, keep asking questions, and take the with a grain of salt. Good luck with your search and decision.</p>

<p>BTW, it goes without saying that Midd and Hamilton, though different, also provide great and unique experiences and I suspect select their student body from amongst many qualified applicants who they think will contribute to their respective cultures.</p>

<p>Thanks for all of the viewpoints. My S has taken OVs to all three schools, really likes all three and is mulling his choice. ED deadline is next week so we'll see.....</p>

<p>Good Luck!</p>