DD has been accepted to her top to colleges–Hope and Juanita. They are both small, liberal arts colleges, with a kinder and gentler approach to education but have very different campus vibes. I think (but may be wrong) that Juanita is better known but perhaps that is because I am not from the Midwest. She doesn’t know what she wants to study. Both schools have given her very good merit aid packages so the cost differential is minimal. Anyone have any thoughts on this schools?
Hope is BY FAR the better school academically and better known nationally. It is one of only 40 colleges listed in the Colleges that Change Lives. (Although Juanita may be on that list this year.) Hope is affiliated with the Reformed Church, but you can be super religious or not and still be comfortable there. Very active Greek and social life. And their sciences are top notch. Great blend of academics and social life. Great school spirit–which is totally absent at Juanita.
Hope is larger (3,150 v 1,600). Hope definitely has a religious component (clearly communicated on all over their website) where Juniata does not. Hope has a Greek system and Juniata does not.
USNWR ranks Juniata #86 and Hope #103. Both Hope and Juniata are both CTCL schools.
My guess is that Hope is not as well known on the east coast and Juniata is not as well known in the midwest.
I have never been to Hope, but have been to Juniata - everyone is genuinely nice (students, staff, admin, etc).
My child attends Juniata, and with the exception of there being no real town or city (we are from a very urban suburb of New York), he is very happy. As you point out, education is “kinder and gentler” there, but also far more individualized than most schools. My son has gotten to know some of his teachers very well-he has never had more than 30 students in a class, and often has 16 or less. Thirty percent of students create their own individualized majors, and the school takes being a “liberal arts” college very seriously. In addition, the sciences are very strong, and the facilities for science majors extremely impressive (a Juniata alum recently received a Nobel Prize). Despite what others have said, school spirit is very strong, with regular events and activities scheduled at the school. Many people in the surrounding community partake of the numerous cultural events on campus. As others have mentioned, there is no Greek system, which is a big plus for many. Many students participate in D3 sports. And with a campus of just about 1600 students, almost everyone knows each other. As long as your child is not looking for a city or big town (but the surrounding mountains and Raystown Lake are amazing), Juniata is a fantastic choice.
Hope tends to be pretty conservative. Juniata much more open to liberal ideas. Hope has been known for not having ANY liberal speakers on campus – a student ran an editorial in the Hope paper not too many years ago asking whether they should invite a liberal speaker (any liberal speaker) as the school hadn’t had one before. If you’re conservative this might be the place for you. Juniata is much more liberal. Be sure that whichever you choose, it feels like a place that your child would want to be part of.
My daughter is a freshman at Juniata and LOVES IT. It has a very close-knit, dynamic student body. The students are wonderful to each other and not having a Greek system is a huge bonus. It isn’t very clique-ish and even the students who were probably bullied in HS for being a little different are appreciated and accepted. Juniata has been a CCTL school for ages. The academics are no joke and the work is hard. She says the professors/quality of education is far beyond what she expected. The campus is very liberal, the surrounding town conservative. Not much to do in town, but there is something happening on campus every day. They take shuttles to Penn State, in fact they took two of them today. The dorms are older but large. Food service was poor but seems to be improving. Housing/meal plan very expensive. The students are driven and rather mature, and there aren’t a lot of rules, which my daughter appreciates. It’s not a rehash of high school.
Hope this helps!