Kenyon vs. Oberlin vs. Franklin & Marshall for Undecided please help me decide!

Is there a college you can go to without your mother borrowing money for you?
All 3 colleges meet need - what happened, is your father not contributing perhaps (more common than you’d imagine, alas…)?

Hi! I have two moms; one is disabled, and one works in public service. We also live in a part of the country where the cost of living is very high, but we are going to work it out :slight_smile:

Thank you for all of your help everyone! I committed to Kenyon today! About an hour later, I got into Grinnell off of the waitlist. I’m also on the Wellesley waitlist. For me to consider either of these schools, the financial aid would have to be comparable. (Grinnell’s package is.) I would also like to play softball. I’m in contact with the Wellesley coach, but have not heard back from Grinnell. If anyone has any insight, I would love to hear it!


Yikes – and congrats! We visited Grinnell (and Kenyon, Oberlin and many other LACs) multiple times with two kids. We loved Grinnell, it was our favorite LAC of all we visited. Diverse student body, super smart kids but collaborative vibe, no greek life, incredible resources, dedicated faculty. Both my kids sat in on classes at Grinnell and found the faculty really supportive and committed. The town of Grinnell is similar to the town of Oberlin, Ohio, and is just about 2 blocks from campus. If the money were the same as at Oberlin, I would take Grinnell in a heartbeat, but I’m sure you will get more viewpoints.

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Congrats! Grinnell was one of our favorites, too. It came down to really small details for us last year. Good luck making your decision.

I hope Grinnell’s package makes it affordable without parental loans :slight_smile: as it’d be a perfect combination of what you like about various colleges, without their downsides.

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If you choose to attend Kenyon, strongly consider its IPHS program.

Just to add some more info about Grinnell, based on our experience visiting with 2 kids, 1 who was recruited athlete. What we loved about Grinnell: diverse student body, a blend of “types” from blue hair and men in skirts to polo shirts, leans liberal but not a strident political vibe, nice, engaged students. We were particularly impressed by my recruited athlete kid’s experience – most recruit visits involve a meal with a bunch of the team but, at Grinnell, unlike every other college visit, the group at lunch was all kinds of other kids too, not just the athletes at the table. That said a lot to my kid about how “integrated” socially the school is, which mattered to him.

On other issues – Grinnell is excellent in sciences, including CS, and the flexible curriculum and small class size (all classes are capped at 25, as best I recall) was a big selling point for my kid. I think the only gen eds are foreign language and a writing requirement, though there are parameters so that a student cannot graduate by only taking classes in a single department.

Travel is not ideal, but actually not that different from what it would be from Bay area to either Kenyon or Oberlin, since there don’t seem to be non-stop flights from SFO to Cleveland (Oberlin) or Columbus (Kenyon). For Grinnell, a student would fly to into Des Moines and its about an hour to campus (similar to trip from Kenyon to Columbus airport). I don’t know the specifics, but presumably around breaks, the college organizes airport shuttles, like other schools do.

The town of Grinnell is much like the town of Oberlin – everything a college student needs, with a great bike shop, pizza, doughnut shop, great grocery with large organic/natural selections, and the college does a lot to bring in entertainment. The 10 min trip from the interstate to town is a bit disheartening, a Walmart and a John Deere distributor, but once you get to town, it is quite charming, complete with a lovely park with a bandshell, summer concerts etc.

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