New England LACs to look at

<p>My main criteria for a school is discussion-based classes. Not all of the classes have to be discussion based but at least half. I learn best being able to ask questions and discuss ideas. So that probably means a small school with small classes.
I want to study animal behavior/ethology. There are only a small handful of schools that have it as an undergrad major. My top choice at the moment is Franklin and Marshall. I love their academic program (no gen eds, foundation and interdisciplinary classes instead, small classes), the admissions people I talked to were really nice, and they have an animal behavior program. When I visited the students were noticeably less friendly than Bucknell and the food was just okay, those are my reservations.
I've gotton overwhelmed with all the schools in New England and am having a hard time deciding where to start looking! </p>

<p>Criteria
Interested in a small school 2,000-3,000 range approximately, Liberal Arts Colleges because I want to be able to take classes outside of my major. Strong programs in Bio, Psych, Neurobiology and/or Environmental studies. I'm not sure what it'll be like going to a LAC with a lot of preppy rich kids so schools that have more diversity and more middle class students is a plus. I like the idea of hippy schools but thought Hampshire was too alternative. Definitely would like a school with liberal minded students. Having a theater group for non-Theater majors is a plus. Not interested in party schools and would prefer schools with less drinking and drug use. Also, good food with vegetarian options is a big requirement. I don't care about the reputation of the school, just that it's an excellent education. </p>

<p>Schools I'm considering:
FandM
Oberlin
Grinnell
Clark
Macalester
Bucknell (animal behavior program)
plus some of the Colleges That Change Lives Schools</p>

<p>My stats:
2nd in class of 100+, 3.95 GPA, school doesn't have honors or AP but I've taken the top tier of classes, think I'll get an A in Harvard Extension undergrad course I took, strong ECs. </p>

<p>So given the criteria what LACs in New England should I look at? Also, any safety schools that I could get a lot of financial aid and scholarships from that meet the criteria?</p>

<p>Take a look at Wesleyan, and maybe Bard.</p>

<p>Also Sarah Lawrence.</p>

<p>Wesleyan isn't preppy. Vassar is more towards the 'artsy' end (and if you are a guy, they are actively recruiting more men to address their gender imbalance.) But these LACs don't offer merit aid.</p>

<p>I would also urge you to check out Pomona, in Claremont, CA if distance isn't an issue. I assume there is a reason Carleton isn't on your list for the midwest. Again, no merit aid here.</p>

<p>Without test scores, it's hard to know what a safety would be for you.</p>

<p>Glad to see Grinnell, Macalester and Oberlin on your list. You sound like a great fit for all three. (S is at Grinnell, a science major, vegetarian-loves everything about the school, especially that no class is bigger than 25 students, and no distribution requirements. We love the merit aid.)</p>

<p>Wheaton College (MA), Middlebury College (VT), Colby College (ME) Bates College (ME)
Bowdoin College (ME) Connecticut College (CT), not much merit aid there) </p>

<p>Not in New England: St. Lawrence University (NY), Alfred University (NY) (not an LAC, but a Master's University) Have had kids at both, I highly recommend, especially if you are looking for merit aid, both highly ranked schools.</p>

<p>As you've discovered, very few LACs have programs in Ethology or Zoology. What you can do is look closely at the individual course descriptions and faculty bios at each college to see if anyone there has a strong interest in animal behavior.</p>

<p>For example at Middlebury College, Mark Spritzer and Tom Root teach some courses related to animal behavior. Middlebury is an excellent LAC with a strong environmental science program. The atmosphere may be a little too preppy for you but check it out.</p>

<p>~2000 miles away is Colorado College, which is somewhat less selective than Middlebury, but also seems to have a strong environmental science program. The Rocky Mountain location and the unusual, one-course-at-a-time "block plan" are advantages for field work in the life sciences. For years this was considered something of a "hippy college". It ranks #12 on the P'ton Review "class discussions encouraged" scale.</p>

<p>I like some of the course descriptions in the Bates College catalog. Example: BIO114, "Extreme Physiology" (Bates</a> College Catalog: 2009-2010)</p>

<p>All I can say is that I think FandM's food is pretty incredible, particularly their KIVO (Kosher, International, Vegetarian, Organic) section.</p>

<p>Thank you so much for all your responses. I really appreciate it! </p>

<p>@raiderade I'm slightly biased against FandM's food because it's provided Sodexho and I went to a summer program with pretty bad food also provided by Sodexho. I did eat there at KIVO and thought it was pretty good but other than KIVO didn't see many things I'd want to eat. Plus, Bucknell's food was a big wow (provided by Bon Appetit) and FandM didn't really compare.</p>

<p>@M's Mom
I'm female so no help at Vassar. :P
As to test scores I'm taking SATs in June. PSAT: 74CR/60M/70W SAT Subject Tests: Bio 680 Math I 650 Think I'll be able to raise the math on the SAT having taken the Math I Subject Test, plus I ran out of time on the PSAT. Expect I'll get something similar to PSAT but am not going to kill myself getting much better than the 74CR. I test reasonably well but not perfect scores.
Nope, hadn't looked at Carleton. Thanks for the tip. Distance is a medium issue. Great fit with financial aid is much more important but if possible I'd rather stay in driving distance. (I live in NE) So, NY is a lot easy to consider, CA is probably too far. </p>

<p>No, to Sarah Lawrence because I don't want to be in NYC. </p>

<p>@tk21769 Thanks for the tips on Middlebury and Colorado College and Bates classes. Looks like some of the classes my friend is taking in the UK where all the classes are ultra major specific. </p>

<p>@SLUMOM What does master's college mean?</p>

<p>How about Smith?</p>

<p>Sarah Lawrence is most definitely not in NYC.</p>

<p>Sarah</a> Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY - Google Maps</p>

<p>to 101mutts: master's universities is one of the categories in the USNWR.
There are national univerisities -- research level univerisities with everything from baccalaureate to doctorate.
LAC's -- undergraduate only
Master's Unversities --baccalaureate and some master's, but no doctorate.
Each category has it's own ranking, so a school like Duke(national university) would not be in the same category as Bates(LAC) and Alfred is yet a third category (Master's)
I assume trying to compare apples to apples.</p>

<p>Master's Universities offer Master's Degree programs, but not PhDs. In addition, their undergraduate programs tend to be less exclusively focused on the liberal arts, compared to LACs and the more selective private universities. They typically offer majors in accounting and business administration, communications, journalism, etc. Quite a few of the schools near the top of the US News Master's list are Catholic (Villanova, Providence College, Loyola MD, St. Joseph's, Marist, LaSalle.)</p>

<p>Alfred</a> University : Academics : Degrees/Majors</p>

<p>Alfred</a> University : Financial Aid : Undergraduate Freshmen Scholarships</p>

<p>Links for majors & financial aid at AU. Alfred is in Princeton Review's "Best 371", the Fiske Guide 2010, "Great Schools Great Prices"-USNWR. Nice private university which is not not a 50K school either! No Greek Life, small classes, charming village of Alfred, NY. </p>

<p>School of Engineering, School of Art & Design, College of Liberal Arts, (largest school) and School of Business, 2200 students, Division III Athletics. They also want more students from outside NYS! The population of New England students there is about 9%.</p>

<p>Thank you everyone for your help!</p>

<p>I just went to the Colleges That Change Lives college fair and came away very impressed with College of Wooster, Beloit, Lawrence, Goucher, Hiram and Earlham. Less impressed with McDaniel even though they have a program that sounds like what I'm looking for. When, I visited Juniata (CTCL school) I liked the student body but felt there were fewer opportunities than FandM. </p>

<p>Also looking at College of the Atlantic (smaller than I want but fits many other criteria) and Southwestern (animal behavior).</p>

<p>As far as women's colleges, probably not. My high school has many more girls than boys and I'd prefer a more even ratio. </p>

<p>@SLUMOM Thanks for the links to Alfred.</p>

<p>What about Swarthmore and Amherst? Both schools are in consortiums, so if you can't find a class you want there, you can find it at another school in the consortium (Amherst: Smith, Mt. Holyoke, UMass, Hampshire; Swarthmore: UPenn, Bryn Mawr, Haverford). You'd need to get your SATs up, though.</p>

<p>One of my daughters is attending Earlham next year. She was wowed by it when she visited. My other is headed for Smith. I am really impressed by both places. Not bad considering I am a professor at Brown (graduate level).</p>

<p>I second the suggestion of Conn College. I agree that COA is probably a great fit for you academically and socially, though I'm not sure it has a theatre group. It had the highest percentage of international students of any LAC the last time I checked, so it makes an effort to be fairly diverse.</p>

<p>Allegheny was the first school I thought of. You may have seen it at the CTCL fair; it's very strong in the sciences and is quite a good school overall.</p>

<p>Welcome</a> to Allegheny College</p>

<p>Connecticut</a> College : Financial Aid - Eligibility Requirements</p>

<p>Conn is not a good choice for you if you are looking for merit aid! </p>

<p>Most LACs these days are mostly female! Sometimes that is a turn off to both males & females, this gender disparity.</p>

<p>Alfred is unique in that it has an Engineering School & is small, 2200 students, and so maintains a 50-50 gender spread.</p>

<p>Trinity. Wesleyan, Wellesley, Holy Cross, Williams, Amherst, Bowdoin, Bates</p>

<p>I like the look of Middlebury and Wesleyan. Amherst has a reputation for having a very preppy student body, right? I'll look further into some of the others. What's the weather like at Alfred?</p>

<p>As far as test scores, I'm predicting SAT will be in the 700-740 range and I might take the ACT if I do well on practice tests. Might also bring up my 650 Math 1 Subject test if I have enough time in the fall to study.</p>

<p>It definitely seems true that a lot of LACs have the gender disparity but there are definitely some that don't.</p>