Oberlin vs Conn College

I’m very interested in these two colleges, but because of covid I cannot visit either before applying, so was wondering if I could have some info about these two schools.

Prestige/reputation is something that is very important for me, I was wondering which college is more well known/prestigious, and are more well known by employers around the US? (I’m thinking of majoring in Economics and International Relations). And which is better in terms of internship opportunities?

As a queer student, I want to know if both schools are known to be a safe and accepting place, and do both schools have well-representation of the LGBTQ community? (I know LACs in general are very accepting) I also know both are in small cities so I was wondering which you would say is better for gay-dating, meeting other gay students.

I am also down-to-earth, not preppy and would like to think myself as an artsy (non-athlete) kid. As a non-preppy middle class student, which college do you think I would fit in more? I also love to party (well not under the covid circumstances, of course) if that helps.

If you could answer even one of the questions only, that would be amazing

If any of you have had experience visiting either campuses and know the vibe, please let me know because that is something I can’t experience before applying because I cannot visit the campus.

Any other information would help as well :slight_smile:

Thank you so much!

I think that from what you have described about yourself, you’d be at home at either college. You might want to look at secondary issues.

Oberlin has a longer history as a coed school, as Conn College was all woman’s college.

IMO, the biggest difference is location. Oberlin in is in a small town in the Midwest. Though Conn College is not a big city school either, it’s closer to major cities, being on the East Coast

Are you looking To apply ED to one of them?

thank you for your reply!
yes, 'm highly considering applying ED to one of the schools right now, I had amazing interviews/talks with admission officers.

If you want to major in economics and international relations, I think that Connecticut College may have the edge.

In 2019, Oberlin had 30 graduates in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics, while Connecticut College had 41 graduates in General Economics. While Connecticut College has a International Relations major, from which 21 students graduated in 2019, Oberlin’s International Relations program is a concentration, and no students graduated with a degree in International Relations is 2019.

I agree with @cptofthehouse that Connecticut College is also geographically better placed for things like internships and various other connections to industry.

While, as @cptofthehouse stated, you would feel comfortable at either one, and I think that you would do well at either one, I think that Connecticut College is, professionally, a somewhat better choice for you. However the difference is not enough, IMO, to override other considerations, like personal preferences or differences in cost.

I think @MWolf has given you some insightful numbers. I also urge you to research the histories of both schools. They have very divergent histories coming to a close point these days. I have dear friends who graduated from both schools and are are active in the legacies and basic missions. Oberlin has always had a strong activism mission that continues. If that is something you want, it would be difficult to find another school like Oberlin’s.

I have not looked at the rankings or the endowments of the two schools, something you might want to check. Small differences in those numbers do not amount to much if anything. I think of Bard as similar to Oberlin and Skidmore in terms of Conn College

Conn offers a strong IR program, an aspect I would place in its favor.

Oberlin appears in this list of top liberal arts college economics departments, as ranked by faculty publishing: https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.uslacecon.html.

To mention a side aspect you may find of interest, the protagonist of the film *The Visitor/i taught economics at Connecticut College.


Oberlin’s proximity to the large and historic city of Cleveland appears to have been overlooked so far in this thread.


We visited both for my LAC kid who was going through athletic recruiting. Both terrific schools and both have strong fine art offerings, with on-campus art museums. Neither school has greek life though both will have plenty of parties.

Oberlin is more on the “leading edge” of LGBTQ issues, and social/cultural issues generally. It is a place where conversations often start by establishing one’s preferred pronouns. While that is becoming increasingly common in many college communities, it seems to be more of the norm at Oberlin. Conn Coll student body would probably feel less “quirky” than Oberlin overall.

Other considerations of note – Conn has a summer internship funding program which, as best I recall from when my LAC kid was researching schools, provides $3k a summer for students to take unpaid internships. Oberlin gives merit money, which Conn Coll historically did not but has started in the past few years, though Conn Coll’s merit money is new enough it is hard to predict who might get it.

Oberlin has an “open” campus which adjoins and is interspersed with the small town of Oberlin, Ohio, so students cross town streets to get from one part of campus to another. The town “green” feels like the college’s front yard, and there is a wide range of architectural buildings. Conn Coll feels much more enclosed, there is not literally a wall, but it is set off from town, as best I recall, it felt like it was on a hill, away from any adjoining residential neighborhoods.