Help me compare Wesleyan and Tufts

<p>Can anyone help me compare/contrast Wesleyan and Tufts? Daughter is smart athlete, more artsy than preppy, but not extremely so. Would she be happy at either place? Intended study areas are art history, Italian and some studio art. She likes the city but has conceded that a "good enough" college town would be OK.
Thank you!</p>

<p>Since she's athletic, she might consider Williams which also has an excellent art program; it's out in the boonies but it's only a couple of hours to Boston. Ditto Colgate and Middlebury, but which are also remote. Like Williams, Middlebury's art program is highly regarded, but it's also less athletic unless you're a skier, boarder or hockey player.</p>

<p>While both schools are liberal, Wesleyan students are known to be more actively so (definitely un-preppy in look, though the students there are probably from the same socio-economic background as Tufts and Ivies). They are both excellent schools and attract students with similar stats.
A big difference, however, will be in the location of the two schools. Wesleyan is located in Middletown, a rather unprepossessing town. Tufts is just outside Boston and very accessible by public transport (the Red Line takes you straight to Harvard Square--two stops--4 stops--, MIT, and downtown Boston--6 stops). Davis Square is a bustling square full of ethnic restaurants and funky shops and a few night spots. If your D wants a college town, Tufts is the place to go to. Another great place would be Smith. Northampton is a great college town. It's two hours from Boston (Williams is three hours).</p>

<p>I am not sure about studio art, but I am sure (having researched this one with my older one), that neither Wesleyan nor Tufts is even close to Smith in the quality of its Italian department (for which Smith is very well-known and has a graduate program), or art history (where Williams is the obvious best choice, but all the women's colleges have huge collections, and historically strong programs.) Smith has the longest standing JYA program in Italy of any college in the country, and has a significantly larger faculty than either Tufts or Wesleyan in Italian. And the Smith teaching museum, while not up to Williams quality, is far superior to Wesleyan's (I know nothing about Tufts in that regard.)</p>

<p>Of course, it is only X chromosomes; my d. hadn't really considered double XX schools until she visited (she has strong musical and opera interests, so Italian was important); once she visited, as an issue that fell way down the list (she had already spent a year at Evergreen in a coed environment.)</p>

My son studies Art and Art History at Williams. He also considered both Wesleyan and Tufts. Had he not chosen Williams Wesleyan probably would have been his second choice although they are very different in character and environment.</p>

<p>Tufts is on the outskirts of Boston, really more like a suburb. To my son it was the worst of both worlds, neither city nor country, but some like the accessibility to Boston. Tufts has an affiliation with the art school at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts that is very appealing, but again, son felt that it was too inconvenient. Arts at Tufts per se are not a strong suit.</p>

<p>Wesleyan is a rowdy and raucuos campus -- a little run down and in a dismal town -- but the kids have a lot of fun. It's known for its wide diversity -- political, sexual, cultural -- and outspoken and lively students. The studio art facilities are quite good. I don't know much about the art history department, but it is reasonably well respected. Boston and New York museums are within a couple of hours.</p>

<p>Williams is unarguably the best LAC in the country for art history. Renowned professors, alumni (The top curators of many US museums are part of what is known as the "Williams mafia".) and world class museums. The art department is fairly strong: beautiful facilities, talented and accessible faculty. They put a lot of emphasis on process, which is good, and have instructors who can teach many media. The Clark museum, which is right on campus, has an astonishing collection of impressionism (some 40 works by Renoir, Degas, etc) as well as other representative works of just about every artist and period so it's a wonderful teaching museum. There are also the Williams College museum on campus and MassMoCA in a nearby town. The college museum, which also has a respectable collection, offers a program under which the kids can act as docents and learn the museum trade from the inside. MassMoCA is a showplace for contemporary art.</p>

<p>Williams is located in a profoundly beautiful rural setting -- not for everyone, but those that like the out of doors really enjoy it. Sports are big (smart athletes like your daughter abound). Italian although available is underdeveloped. Specialists in Italian art are plentiful however so study abroad opportunities in Italy are very common.</p>

<p>In addition to Wesleyan, other LACs that my son considered because of strengths in art and/or art history are Swarthmore, Skidmore, Hamilton and Kenyon. None is as good at both as Williams is, but all have strength in one or the other.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for your input. It is so helpful. I agree that Williams would be great for the academics but she feels it is too isolated. Smith is on her list, but I think she would prefer coed. She does not like it too cold so she is ruling out Maine and Vermont. She just got back her second set of SATs and got 1530 (up from 1380) which puts her into play (or on more solid ground) for many schools so we are now reconsidering her list. She is top 10%-ish (school doesn't rank) at a very competitive school, and is a very accomplished but not stellar 3 season athlete being recruited for D3. Other schools on the list are Conn College and Trinity, Vassar, Dickinson, and Barnard, my alma mater where she would only be able to compete on the club team level. I have suggested Amherst as a reach but she thinks the students might be too intense there. So I arrive at Wesleyan and Tufts as good top possibilities. Any additional feedback is appreciated!</p>

<p>Mom55, If 55 is your age (and you needn't say whether it is or not), then we were at Barnard at about the same time. It's on my D's list too, and it is very very different than when we were there!</p>

<p>I do understand the co-ed thing, and it was an issue until my d. visited. Then the quality of the place took over. Amherst has no Italian - students try to take the courses at Smith, but this is one place where it is often difficult to use the 5-college exchange (my d. reports), because Smith wants to ensure that it will fill up its JYA program in Florence with Smithies. Lots of Amherst folks come over to Smith for art history, which is far more extensive. The town is awesome. Lots of team sports (amuses my d. no end - she is a "noun", but has friends on the crew team (though she is part of a very active outdoors club.)</p>

<p>Needless to say, there are tradeoffs to be made everywhere. But if I were to add together Italian, Art History, studio art, college town, and women's athletics, I don't think any of the other places your d. is considering would be comparable (and we visited most of them.)</p>

<p>Here's a nice article published today in the Times on NOHO.</p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Momrath -</p>

<p>Could you comment more about what you found out about studio art at Swarthmore when your son was looking at it? Thanks.</p>

<p>55 is the year of my birth, so I don't think we overlapped at Barnard. I agree it is different now... My daughter liked it; the day we visited there was an African dance class on the (Lehmann) lawn; it looked so vibrant. </p>

<p>I also agree about Smith being wonderful. My husband got his MS at UMass back in 1980 and had an apartment in an old victorian on Elm Street right across from Smith campus. What a great place; I loved to visit him! We will definitely keep it on the list.</p>

<p>I don't remember much about Swarthmore's studio art offerings except that it wasn't a particularly strong area. The facilities were passable but not especially well funded. My son liked Swarthmore in general although neither the art studio nor the art history department is a major strength. He felt that Swarthmore's intellectual focus and appreciation of the creative process ingeneral would compensate. Access to the finearts museum in Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr's art history department were also a plus. </p>

<p>If studio art is a student's main interest, then I wouldn't put Swarthmore at the top of the list; if it's in conjunction with another of the humanities, then Swarthmore has a lot to offer.</p>

<p>mom55, your daughter's improved SAT score will solidify her chances at the more selectives. We were in New York recently and had dinner with three Barnard girls. They were overwhelmingly delightful and pleased with their experience. One was second generation Barnard and had never considered any other choice, the other two looked at several schools but decided that Barnard had the right combination of arts and stimulus. Art, art history, Italian are all strong suits, but athletics? . . . I don't think sports are high on the priority activity list.</p>

<p>I can understand the concern about the isolation at Williams, but as far as the weather goes there's not a whole lot of difference between Williams, Amherst and Smith. Has she considered Brown?</p>

<p>If you're in the position where you have to compare to two and decide, don't worry about it. I'd spend more time finding a comfort zone within either one, it's more important and will determine your success moreso than rep or "quality of life" (whatever that's supposed to mean anyways).</p>

<p>People are always like "well Harvard as this going for it" and "Tufts has a better engineering program" and "Swarthmore has a more involved campus"... </p>

<p>If you don't like the people you work with or live with or play with, or you don't like the city you live in or you're depressed about your body image or can't study because you can't focus...and you're not comfortable with where you are and you just don't like it... that #1 engineering (or language or whatever) won't do a bit of good for you. You'll hate the school and the program that goes with it.</p>

<p>On a similar note, it kinda amazes me how people come back from college visits and were like "the chapel and the architecture were so BEAUTIFUL! I'd love it there!"<br>
I'd hate to be pessimistic, but realistically if you don't like the school and where you are, you'd be more than happy to crumble the gothic architecture with your own hands.</p>

<p>I'd look more into where your child would be most comfortable.. it's the biggest factor in success, not the superiority of the best arts program in the world.</p>

<p>Again, thanks so much for all the perspectives. It is very helpful to get both the details and insights on the particulars (strength of majors, locations, etc) as well as the "wide angle lens" view of "does she fit well generally/will she be happy?" I think I switch back and forth, hoping to satisfy both.</p>

<p>My daughter did an overnight at Wesleyan and found the people happy and smart, diverse, informed and active. My gut feeling upon listening to her (she, normally quite reserved, was so excited!) was very decisively positive: "how could she NOT be happy there?" She liked the coach who was relatively laid back. She attended 2 classes (not in her intended majors) and found them really interesting and stimulating. My feeling is that her academic interests can be adequately addressed there, but the overall place is a very good match for her personality. </p>

<p>She is heavily leaning toward ED at Wes (11/15). We are now in the process of making sure that she likes it the very best and, if she's not admitted, that her list has a lot of other good options given the random nature of admissions. </p>

<p>I think she would love Brown, but it is so popular at her school and she couldn't compete in sports (it's Div 1) it's unlikely. </p>

<p>I can see her happy at Barnard, too. Competing at the club level with her sport and perhaps taking dance classes (something she's never done) instead. She would enjoy the city. So, we'll see.</p>

<p>I can't compare the two, though we did tour Tufts and my D applied (not accepted first time, acceptedas a transfer). She ended up as a transfer to Wes, instead, and it was the best thing that ever happened to her. Got a great education, and even more important, had a wonderful life there. The students are very warm and welcoming; it's the first place she ever really felt like she belonged. Everyone she knew was intellectually curious, open-minded, and at the same time shared a sense of fun. YOu could be as goofy as you want, and no one would look at you funny. She really liked the Main street of the town, too, even thought it's not one of those "classic"college towns. Her only regret is having had to graduate!</p>

<p>Thanks for the Swarthmore info. What you say reinforces what I've gleaned so far from the conventional sources.</p>

<p>Your daughter sounds like a really great kid with wonderful qualifications putting many schools within her reach. Her list is very solid. Considering the schools that she finds appealing, I would also suggest Brown to her. </p>

<p>Two of your D's schools were on my D's list....Tufts and Conn College....and from what you are writing, or her criteria, I am going to throw Brown (where she ended up) into your ring. My D is also a three season varsity sport athlete though not a recruit. The location of Brown and the things your D is looking for, fits, as do her qualifications from the little bit you shared (obviously I can't predict her chances on so little info). Smith is worth looking into even if she is not looking at all girls, which my D was not originally either but she really liked Smith and got in, plus would have been able to be on the varsity teams there.

<p>PS ...just looked up that Brown has an Italian Studies Department with a program in Bologna as well. They are strong in studio art and art history. Tufts, my alma mater, has those programs too. You likely know that about Tufts already obviously. Check out Brown's website.</p>

<p>sooziet, thanks very much. i am absolutely positive that my d would love Brown, but literally half of her class is applying and she won't get the boost of being recruited (and probably can't even particpate on the team because it's d1). Her one weakness is her GPA; she took the most honors/APs (11/3)of anyone on her team, but it looks kind of paltry next to the many high achievers applying to the top schools. (i honestly don't know how they do it!!!) On a nightly basis, because she is a distance runner, she has had to close the books earlier than she'd like to so that she can get a decent sleep for the next day's race/practice. She also had a C in 10th grade math and a few b+'s scattered in 10 and 11 grade. I think she has accomplished an awesome amount and am very proud of her, but worry that the competition is just too stiff at the top schools where she would not get the benefit of being on a coach's list. She also felt that, based on profiles/admission results of friends a year ahead she just would not make it into Brown. Our school/geographic area is also "overrepresented" at Brown. I am happy that your daughter is enjoying it so's a great place!</p>

<p>Mom55, I do understand your reasoning regarding not applying to Brown. Before, I just was thinking of schools like the ones your daughter loves so far. Every situation is different and I very much understand the one your D is in at her school so thanks for explaining. Here, nobody else applied to Brown but my D. I think one or two others applied to Tufts but just my D got in. We just don't have as many kids going for these selective schools here that you do there. Then again, most selective schools don't know much about our high school either. </p>

<p>Your D sounds like an excellent candidate for many fine schools. </p>