Lafayette vs Bryn Mawr

Hi! I recently heard back from all my colleges. I was accepted at Bryn Mawr, Lafayette, Lehigh, Villanova, Marist, Rutgers, and St. Joe’s. I am also waitlisted at Haverford, Wesleyan, and Georgetown.

Right now, I feel like the two colleges that are the best fit for me are Bryn Mawr and Lafayette. These colleges are currently closed, which means that I have to decide without visiting the campuses for a final look. It would mean a lot to have your input on a few questions!

  1. Prestige- Is either school considered more academically prestigious? Would I receive a higher quality education at either school? Bryn Mawr has an excellent reputation as a sister school while Lafayette has a lower acceptance rate. I should also mention that I am interested in studying politics and English.
  2. Social- How do these colleges compare socially? I want to be able to attend parties and social gatherings, but I don't want to feel pressured into always prioritizing social events. I do tend to be more introverted, but I still want to have fun at college! I want to strike a balance between academics and social events. I love theatre and artistic events, but I tend to dislike athletic events and the idea of greek life.

I also think it is relevant to mention that I was accepted as a Bryn Mawr merit scholar, which means it would be significantly cheaper to attend Bryn Mawr.

Please let me know your opinions and personal experiences!

My DD is a sophomore at Bryn Mawr and has had a wonderful academic experience. Uniquely, she Can take classes at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore, or UPenn. Her freshman year she took a Mapping Philadelphia course at UPenn and is currently taking Latin at Haverford. She loves that Bryn Mawr students are serious about their studies without being competitive with each other. She has made amazing friends at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford (only a mile away). It’s a wonderful school with easy train access to Philadelphia, which was a major criterion when she was choosing schools. Lastly, the faculty have been amazing.

Bryn Mawr IMHO is more prestigious than LaFayette, though it’s also a fine school. BMC’s prestige can’t be summarized in its acceptance rate because, like many schools that offer unique experiences, the applicants self-select before applying. Part of its additional prestige is its lengthy history, being among the first schools offering Ph.Ds to women, the Nobel prizes, the many women it’s helped to propel to great career heights in unique fields, and the sisterhood that it shares with other schools, both its consortium schools and the Seven Sisters.

Also LaFayette’s Greek-heavy party scene is much more prominent and hard to avoid. Bryn Mawr has not Greek life, and it offers students the wonderful choice of being introverted and studious when they want to be and parties when they want that. The parties tend to happen at Haverford–by hopping onto the Blue Bus. It’s a safe way to have both worlds. When you’re ready to come back to Bryn Mawr, you hop on the Blue Bus again and are delivered safely to your dorm. Because of the close connection with the consortium schools, and because Bryn Mawr has graduate students, some of your classmates there will be men.

Here your best financial option is also the one with the biggest range of options for you to find your way- and they really want you. It’s nice to be wanted :slight_smile:

Did you visit both initially?

In this case, I think U.S. News fairly captures these schools’ comparative academic reputations:

Lafayette, as you would know, ranks highly by Greek life participation:

One thing that’s also unique about Bryn Mawr is that, though it’s top notch in terms of academics, it’s not uber pressurized. They have many ways to ensure that the students are not hyped up about grades grades grades and inter-student competition. The emphasis is on learning rather than grades, while recognizing that grades are not unimportant. The students are supportive, generally, of each other, and not competitive–by design.

My D went to Lafayette and had an absolutely fantastic experience. I think Lafayette has found that balance where students are challenged academically yet still have time to develop strong friendships and get involved in ECs, research with professors, community service etc. There is Greek Life (my D surprised us and joined a low key sorority) but it is not necessary to join to have a full social life (you can’t pledge until sophomore year and my D stayed very closed with her freshman friends regardless of if they went Greek or not). I’m a huge fan of Laf based on my D’s expereince there.

That said, I also have a friend whose D had an absolutely wonderful expereince at Bryn Mawr. If BM is significantly cheaper (and especially if money is a factor to your family) then I would certainly give the edge to the more affordable of you two excellent options.

Congratulations on your successes!

Hi! I am a current junior at Bryn Mawr College. I can definitely speak to our social scene here. Bryn Mawr is in a very active consortium, so the social scene is absolutely what you make of it. If you are in the mood for a frat party, game night with your friends, or anything in between, Bryn Mawr or one of the other schools in the Quaker Consortium will have it. One thing I love about Bryn Mawr is that it’s very low-key. We don’t typically have huge parties but when we do, drinking is NEVER required to have fun. Dancing is the main focus! We also tend to be more of a hang-out culture than a party culture on campus. In the dorms that I’ve lived in (the Pems and Erdman), it is much more common to have hall hangouts and food delivery than a party. This has been great because I can go out to a party, but when I’m home, it’s quiet and full of community-based goodness! Another great aspect of Bryn Mawr is its location. I’m not a big party person, but I do go into Philly for concerts and food quite often. I think Bryn Mawr is so special because we have a campus and feel like a close-knit community but we are only 20 min away from Philadelphia by train. Philly is a huge part of my social life and you will definitely find good theater downtown!

I would call these 2 schools pretty even in terms of prestige and academics. And I would not think or Lafayette as Greek heavy or a party school anymore. I was struck when I saw Laf at how happy and balanced the kids seemed, and the school def encourages g with the world.

But…Bryn Mawr has Philly. And it’s cheaper for you…so unless you don’t want an all-girls school, it seems like a great choice.