Help me choose: Kalamazoo, Knox, Goucher, Wooster, Allegheny

Hi!

I’m an independent, married student of traditional age and I have been admitted to Kalamazoo, Knox, Goucher, College of Wooster, and Allegheny (and couple others) as a philosophy major. I wasn’t admitted to my state’s flagship.

I would like to try the premed path, and I realize it’s very very hard so if I didn’t continue on that path, I would like to go into journalism or something politically related.

All schools are affordable, Kalamazoo and Allegheny are by far the cheapest.

I feel like Allegheny and Wooster are the most isolated, and I like that Kalamazoo, Knox and Goucher are urban or near big cities.

I would also be living off campus!

I’m looking for a healthy environment, not cutthroat, and still a little intellectually challenging which I know these colleges are - but do they differ in that area?
Being politically involved is important to me (violence against women, cyberethics, political campaigns) and I’d prefer a liberal vibe.

I unfortunately can’t afford to visit the campuses.

Do you have any feedback on those schools and how they compare to each other or the areas they’re in ?

Thank you!!

We visited Kalamazoo a few years ago and this is a lovely campus and seemed like a great school. The areas immediately surrounding the campus, however, looked like they were struggling. This was not a factor in our student’s decision to not apply, that was about their area of study. But I would urge you to investigate that before making any decisions.

My current HS senior is looking seriously at Allegheny and has visited the campus. I did not go with them but they really loved the campus. Again, the town where the school is located seemed to be less of a draw but I got the impression that it was not quite as stark a contrast as Kalamazoo.

Since you are married, that makes it a little more difficult. Does your spouse have any constraints that would impact where you should attend college?

@LadyMorgan Thank you for your feedback ! I read that major changes had been made to the city lately. How did you like the campus of Kalamazoo and Allegheny ?

@Eeyore123 No none, except that I didn’t really want to be in the middle of nowhere, that’s why allegheny was giving me some doubts

All are good, but I would give Goucher some serious consideration for it’s proximity to Baltimore (and Washington DC), as well as solid Political Sciences and writing programs.

They have solid pre-Medical/pre-Health Studies, with good advising, which is key to getting into med school, should you choose that path. They also have an an affiliation agreement with Lake Erie College of Ostepathic Medicine (LECOM), which awards a DO (as opposed to MD) degree. You would apply to the program within your first two years at Goucher for an early acceptance at LECOM.

You really can’t go wrong. Just be sure that whichever school you select has good academic advising, as well as good pre-Health advising.
Best of luck with your decision.

Biased toward Kzoo since S1, D1, and D2 attended and graduated (D2 is class of 2020). Majors in Econ (receiving an Ed.D this spring in college leadership and finance), chemistry (now in dental school), psych (looking to become a speech pathologist). The immediate area surrounding isn’t really a problem, but you want to act safely wherever you are anyway. D1 and D2 lived off campus close by after 2 years in the dorms. All 3 found their classes academically challenging, the professors approachable, many EC opportunities in sports, arts, music, theater, clubs, or “start your own”.

The premed path is tough, but manageable if you put in the work and the time. Collaborative, not cutthroat. Lots of tutoring and study groups available. Poly sci has students with a wide variety of backgrounds, though you’ll find the school leans to the left and liberal.

D1 and I visited Allegheny and Wooster, in addition to K. She found Allegheny not intellectually challenging and did not like the campus. Wooster was her first choice until her overnight visit. She liked the campus, the professors, the classes, everything but the student vibe. And chose Kzoo. We have a friend at Wooster graduating this year and while she has been thrilled with the education, it’s been hard for her socially.

PM me if you want to ask more specific questions. We live an hour away from K so I am fairly familiar with the Kalamazoo area.

Kalamazoo and Knox are on a trimester system. So, very fast paced “semesters” that last 10 weeks instead of 15.
Not sure about Allegheny and Wooster?

I would suggest Knox if you are looking at majoring in Journalism.

Are you familiar with the town of Galesburg ? How is it ?

I’d like to go to graduate school afterwards, not specifically journalism, but something related to social sciences, health or politics

I’ve heard good things about most of these schools, in particular Kzoo, Knox and Wooster.

Goucher probably has a good location for you and it sounds like the vibe you are looking for… You need to check with all of these colleges though about their requirements for freshmen. Some require them to live on campus. When you say you’re of traditional age, do you mean 18 or so? Or a traditional married age, like 25? It’s not clear from what you wrote. Is your spouse going to live with you? That might be a problem if you must live on campus. If you are an older student, I think living in an urban area will be more desirable.

@Lindagaf I’m 18, I’ve made arrangements with housing at each of these schools to have an exemption :smile:
Goucher is not great if I live off campus that’s why I’m reluctant
I’d like an urban campus because of volunteering opportunities if I do manage to go for medical school (volunteering would be good anyways)
Allegheny is very tempting but the only thing I’m afraid of is the isolation

Galesburg is a small city of around 30,000. It has had its ups and downs like most once-booming railroad towns or river towns (Galesburg is a former railroad town, and though trains don’t roll through with the same frequency as in the distant past, you will typically hear a freight train blare its horn every other hour or so–Knox students get used to it).

Too many Knox students give Galesburg a bad rap, with some even calling it “ghetto,” but this is simply evidence that the college is well-populated with all-too-comfortable suburban kids. The people in Galesburg are friendly overall, and from what I understand, town-gown relations are improving (Knox students, after the 2016 election results, foolishly marched into Galesburg the next day; I’m no fan of the president, but what point could there be behind such a decision?). But I digress. Knox has a Galesburg-themed video that you can find via YouTube or the college website, though obviously it’s designed to present the town in its best light. There should be other user-created Galesburg videos that will give you a feel for the place.

Seminary Street, which borders one edge of campus, is quite lovely, with small shops and an eatery or cafe or two, and since Galesburg is the county seat, the courthouse is right across from campus. The more modern strip (with Target, Walmart, Applebee’s, etc.) requires a car, as it’s about a mile or two from campus…

Galesburg is what it is: a prairie town that has seen better times, but I for one miss it.

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Pretty much how @Hapworth describes it.

One of D19’s closest friends is a first year at Knox and is really happy there. She is politically active and I think that she is an Sociology major (I spoke with her a few weeks ago, but that, somehow, has escaped my mind). Another friend is transferring there, as well.

Galesburg sounds a lot like Carlisle, PA (down to the freight trains rumbling through). If someone knows both, how would they compare?
(Just curious)

I think all these schools are excellent. None of them, with the exception of Goucher, is close to a big, bustling, city. All of them will probably give you an excellent pre-med education, and will have decent English, Writing or Journalism-related majors.

My son was accepted to Knox and Allegheny and visited both. Both are excellent schools. He found Knox more friendly and the professors a bit more engaged. He ended up going there. Galesburg is bigger than Meadville and has more going on. They have a fairly decent downtown. Both have probably very cheap places to live off-campus. Galesburg is 3 hours from Chicago, and 45 minutes from Peoria and Quad Cities (slightly more bustling than Galesburg). Meadville is about 90-120 minutes to Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Both Knox and Allegheny will give you opportunities for volunteering. Knox is more liberal and diverse (close to 20% foreign students). Allegheny is a bit middle-of-the-road politically and has a somewhat more traditional white, middle-class student body.

I think the Allegheny campus is more beautiful (the rolling hills of PA) and that part of the country is very wooded. Knox is in a prairie town and through the campus is really nice, it’ very, very flat.

You’ve got to think about what would support your married life well. All these schools are, more or less, geared for care-free single kids whose social life will revolve around campus activities. clubs and parties. How comfortable will you spouse feel on campus at events, etc? A school that isn’t only about partying may be more your speed. How much social life and activities can you both have off campus? You might want a place where you can connect with other married couples.

FWIW, my son is very happy at Knox, has lots of friends and enjoys the academics.

Allegheny has a slight edge in the sciences (especially Environmental Science), Knox has a solid Biology dept and a phenomenal English/Creative Writing Dept.

My gut read is that since Knox is a little quirkier, more diverse and the town is bigger, your non-traditional situation (being married student) might be served better there.

I can’t speak about Goucher, Wooster, or Kalamazoo.

–Alan

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@Hapworth @MWolf @Theoden Thank you so much for your detailed responses! They’re very helpful.
I am looking for a place that is near a big city, or at least a bustling area with working opportunities, as I think this would acoomodate my situation more.
From what you’ve all writen, I think I’m leaning towards Knox and Kalamazoo, and I should hear from Denison soon as well does anyone know how it compares to the other two ? (It’s a reach, but just to know), along with Wheaton MA ? (Got accepted)
I wanted a place where the student body is “realistically political” meaning they don’t just post something on social media and call it a day but actually lead projects and actions. I’ve spent my education in France, so I really got used to having very engaged students :lol:
Thank you everyone for you answers they’re very helpful

“Goucher is not great if I live off campus that’s why I’m reluctant”

What do you mean by that? Are you concerned about the cost of apartments in the Towson, MD area, or are you concerned about transportation there if you don’t have a car? Happykid graduated from Towson U and knew several Goucher students who cross-enrolled in her classes. She lived off campus while at Towson, and remained in the area for two more years after graduation. If you’d like details about her life in that area let me know, and I will send you her email address in a PM.

There are a large number of newer apartment complexes close enough to Goucher for you to walk to class and to shopping, as well as older buildings that have been converted into apartments in the neighborhoods nearby. In addition to the public transportation network in the greater Baltimore area, there is a free bus service between five of the colleges/universities that stops at Goucher: https://baltimorecollegetown.org/shuttle/ There is a lot happening in the Baltimore area, so if Goucher students would prove to be less engaged than you had hoped, it would not be hard at all for you to find activities to participate in.

But back to your spouse. You say you have been living and studying in France. Does your spouse have permission to work in the US? If so, then wherever you do live, your spouse will be able to establish in-state residency which means that future studies at a public college or university in that state will be less expensive for you and/or your spouse if your spouse decides to complete college at the same time as you.

Goucher has a great track record for med school acceptance if you stay on that track.

I don’t know about living off campus - the beautiful campus and new freshman dorms were a big draw for my daughter (although she will not be going there). The surrounding area seemed fine, but we didn’t see that much of it.

@happymomof1
Thank you for your feedback! Yes I’m worried about rent cost, especially since Goucher is a bit more expensive than my other options, I think that yearly it would be a lot.
The area is great, but my only problem was rent.
Do you have names of the appartment complexes around the area ?

@Coun2316 I couldn’t access the data appart from their graduate premed program?
What else did your daughter like about Goucher ?