Middlebury vs Smith [for CS & Campus Culture + Other Suggestions]

Hello! I’m considering applying to one of these schools (with Haverford as a possible runner up) Ed 2 next year.

For context I’m applying to Yale SCEA and in the likely event that I’m rejected/deferred I plan to apply ED 2 elsewhere.

I would like to major in computer science but would like a school also strong in the humanities as I may want to double major/minor or at least be able to take a number of high quality humanities/arts classes.

Pros/cons of Smith: I like the idea of a women’s college but I have slight reservations about what I’ve heard of Smith being VERY politically correct, including some students who object to such things as the default pronoun being “she”. Mind you, I consider myself generally liberal and accepting of all sexualities/gender identities. Again, this might just be way overblown, but some insight would be appreciated. I also really like the housing system at Smith, the traditions, and the sense of community they foster. The five college consortium is also a plus as of course Smith is a small school in a small town(both of which are factors I like), so I like the idea of it not being too isolated and allowing me to meet other students(including those ahem of the opposite sex). Smith also seems to have more research opportunities relative to other LACs and I’ve heard good things about their career/internship advising.

Pros/Cons of Middlebury: I like that it’s rural although I worry that it might to too rural (ie that there may not be much to do around there making drinking a major pastime). I heard that the student body is rather outdoorsy which is a plus to me. The fact that it’s coed I’d assume makes it easier to meet boys but being coed has its cons as well, hence why women’s colleges are still valuable.

Both of these schools seem to have very good study abroad programs, that are inclusive of STEM majors, so that’s good.

If anyone could help me choose between the two, both of which I really like (though in case anyone is wondering I haven’t visited either). If anyone can make a strong case for Haverford that is also welcome as there are aspects of it that I like, such as the honor code and the Bi-co system, though I worry it may be too small.

Sorry if this is a bit long, but thank you in advance for your advice!

I highly recommend that you visit both before applying ED.


I of course would like to, however, I don’t know that it will be possible.

It is a very long time from here to December, so IMO it is too early to be narrowing the field. You don’t know what will be important to you in 7 months, which is when you will be deciding what you want to do.

It sounds as though you are in a selective school, surrounded by people all aiming for the same couple of dozen names. In another thread you indicate that your safety will be a SUNY- but will you cry if that is your only choice? If so, instead of playing parlor games about where to ED2, spend some time this summer thinking outside the box. Come up with a safety or two- that is, someplace that your family can afford, that you are certain to get into and which you will not be crushed if it’s your only choice. Then work on your target schools- find 3-4 that you genuinely like.Then turn your focus to reach schools. B/c you mention Yale and the house system at Smith, I’m guessing that system is interesting to you, so you might start by identifying other colleges that have similar setups.

In the meantime, talk to your GC. Based on your various posts, Yale looks implausible- but your GC will know how your students from your school do with Yale admissions. Yale is rejecting more than 95% of applicants at this point: be honest with yourself about the use of your SCEA / ED card.

re: school visits: if you in NYC, you can get to Smith by train in ~4ish hours for ~$50ish. Middlebury is harder - 5 hour drive / 7.5 hours by train + bus, but still under $100. And that’s w/o qualifying for ‘fly-in’ visits, where the college pays for it. Applying to any school ED w/o seeing it is a high-risk strategy.


I realize it’s a bit early for this but these are two schools that I’ve been strongly interested in since the beginning of my college search and of course nothing is final yet.

Mount Holyoke is one of my safeties (based on what I saw on naviance most people, except one or two, with my stats were accepted) and I’d honestly would be very happy to attend. If anyone wants to offer advice for any other safeties/matches based on this and my other schools that’ll be great! Also, the one school I have visited is Barnard and I did like the school a lot, but I don’t really want to stay in NYC, where I’ve lived my whole life.

To anyone else reading this, I understand that I should keep my options open however, could someone please give me real feedback on the distinctions between these two schools.

For now just forget I ever said anything about ED, just based on my pros/cons which would be a better fit? General commentary about the culture and strength of CS department also definitely appreciated. Thank you!

Direct train service between New York City’s Penn Station and Middlebury will begin in July. Midd’s train station is within walking distance of campus.


I don’t know your budget or background, but if you’re looking at Mt. Holyoke, Smith, & Yale, then two other schools you might consider are Franklin & Marshall and Vassar, both of which have a house system. SUNY Binghamton might, too.

That suggests that it is not a safety, but (at best) a likely.

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Well yeah that’s true, but I figure more likely than not (I have other safeties anyway).

I’m considering Vassar and Binghamton, the later more as a probable match, it’s not rally at the top of my list. Franklin and Marshall didn’t really appeal to me for various reasons. Thanks!

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P.S. regarding Mount Holyoke being a safety, there were also a decent amount of people with slightly lower stats also admitted, though of course naviance doesn’t take everything into account. Hopefully though I’ll get in!

This might be a bit off topic but I noticed on naviance that a fair amount of people with pretty high stats from my school were waitlisted (everyone else at that level though was accepted). I wonder if they may have been waitlisted because of lack of demonstrated interest. Could anyone comment on how important demonstrated interest is to Smith? I signed up for their mailing list and plan to do an interview. Is this sufficient demonstrated interest? (I’m not sure I’ll be able to but I will visit if I can; for the purposes of this question assume I will not visit.)

I would look at Smith’s common data set to see what level of importance it says that demonstrated interest is. But you don’t need to do an in-person visit to demonstrate interest. If a recruiter is somewhere nearby, attend the event (like college fairs or if a recruiter is presenting at your school). Attend online info sessions (general or pertaining to particular interests). Email your admission rep questions that can’t be answered from the website. Open the emails they send you and click on the links. And this is to show demonstrated interest at any school, not just Smith.

Smith College itself says that it is “not considered” in section C7 of its common data set: https://www.smith.edu/sites/default/files/media/Smith_CDS_2020-2021_update%204-7-21.pdf

However, other factors that are not easily visible or comparable between applicants if you are not in the admission office (essay, recommendations, character/personal) are “very important”. The Naviance plot does not indicate the quality of essays and recommendations, or how the applicant presented character/personal to the college for example.

This sounds more like yield protection. The school waitlists higher stat students on the assumption those kids get into higher ranked schools. If they don’t, they let them in off the waitlist. My son got into most of his reaches but one; but he was waitlisted at 4 schools where he exceeded the 75th percentile while classmates with lower stats got in. I can’t blame the schools, however. They were right he would get in and go elsewhere.

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