please, i would love advice!

<p>I'm a junior, and I think I have an idea of some schools that I could be happy at, but I would love suggestions or comments on those that I already have down. </p>

<p>What I'd like:
- strongly intellectual environment, one of the top schools basically whether LAC or Ivy, but real people not just brains on feet
- conservative atmosphere, not a lot of wild partying
- survivable climate (I'm from Texas, but I'm okay with cold I think)
- BEAUTIFUL campus
- quaint college town
- great people</p>

<p>What I have going for me:
-all honors at a highly competitive college prep school (4/120) 4.5 weighted gpa
-writer last year and one of a few editors this year for our school magazine which won the National Scholastic Press Association's annual award for FIRST PLACE last year
-probably will be Nat'l Merit (224 selection index on last psat)
-lots of community service at a couple of places that I consistently go to
-a social life (haha)
-class president twice
-took 2 classes at Northwestern this summer and made 2 A's
-honest and informative teacher recs (they've taught me 4 yrs so we really know each other)
My interests include NOTHING in math or science. Probably more like English lang and lit. So that's about it for me. Given all of this information, here is what I came up with on my own</p>

William and Mary
Wake Forest (family there)
Washington and Lee (Is it true all they do is drink?)
Bates, Bowdoin, Colby (can I handle Maine winters?)

<p>If you've been to any of these places or you can tell me about another school, I would greatly appreciate it!!</p>



<p>Could you clarify this a bit? By "conservative" are you refering to a campus with a lot of Republican students? Or, are you refering to the social life (not a lot of "wild partying?")</p>

<p>There are not many elite colleges that have a conservative political bent. Part of it is that this generation of professors grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, so they are pretty liberal. Part of it is just the nature of the beast. People tend to be their most "liberal" politically during college.</p>

<p>Depending on your answer, you might want to add Swarthmore to your list. Fiske Guide calls it, "pound for pound, the most intellectual college in America". It fits all of your criteria, except that it is not a politically conservative campus. Stunning campus in a gorgeous suburb 30 minutes from Phila by train. Students are academic, but down to earth and friendly. Less drinking than at most college campuses, although there are parties on Thurs, Fri., and Sat. nights. There is some snow, but the climate is not extreme at all.</p>

<p>Your "Maine weather" question should be expanded to include Middlebury and Williams. Without getting into too much detail about New England weather patterns, these two schools will have winters that are every bit as harsh as anything Maine can throw at you. In fact, both will be colder and snowier than Bowdoin.</p>

<p>It is pretty much true about drinking at Washington and Lee. It has probably the HIGHEST fraternity/sorority membership in the country. Big time party school. Otherwise, it would fit all your criteria except that the southern gentleman frat boys would probably not be considered terribly "intellectual".</p>

<p>The Maine schools (and, recently, Williams) are known for pretty hard-core drinking as well. These are sort of like two schools in one -- half the campus is fairly "intellectual" and the other half likes to party.</p>

<p>If you are female I would suggest Wellesley. It meets ALL your criteria, especially beautiful campus. It has the most beautiful campus I have ever visited.</p>

<p>I'd replace Washington and Lee with Washington University. And of the Maine schools, I have a slight preference for Bates. </p>

<p>Based on everything you have posted Carleton College would be a great pick. </p>

<p>When you answer the "conservative" question re: partying and politics I may have another suggestion or two.</p>

<p>If you don't like cold, skip Maine and Chicago. Those are long hard winters.</p>

<p>I'm guessing that you mean 'Christian' when you write 'conservative'--which would put my vote on Wake Forest for warm weather and Christian student body. </p>

<p>You might also consider Vanderbilt, UVA, UNC honors, Duke.</p>

<p>Agree with interesteddad. Take a look at Haverford - very pretty campus, also near Philadelphia, slightly easier to get into than Swat and a little less intense. Your list seems populated by fairly conservative/"preppy" colleges -- so I wonder if you wouldn't like Davidson.</p>

<p>Rice fits, I think..... ('cept the "quaint college town" thing) But, it's in texas and it seems that you want to come East.</p>

<p>I guess conservative = mainstream types, which tend to party hard; Northwestern comes to mind.</p>

<p>When my dd says conservative "as far as partying" she means liberal intellectual committed types.</p>

<p>I have 2 house guests right now who went to Colby; she is a doctor and he is a novelist. They met there and love it. She says Bowdoin is superior.</p>


<p>To be perfectly honest, I just don't understand the labels such as "conservative", "mainstream", "intellectual" and so on and so forth as they relate to colleges.</p>

<p>For the most part, the same kids go to all of these elite colleges. They all got A's in high school. They all are pretty smart, study reasonably diligently, involved in some extracurricular activities, and are at least social enough to get good recommendations from their high school teachers.</p>

<p>The distinctions probably have as much to do with the campus culture at each school than the pool of freshmen they start with. Some schools tend to be a little harder academically, so they get tagged as "intellectual" schools. Some have more drinking, so they tagged as "party schools". Some have more future investment bankers and Abercrombie & Fitch attire and get tagged as "preppie". Etc.</p>

<p>I'm surprised you don't have Davidson on your list. It's a great LAC just north of Charlotte, NC. Davidson is a quaint town, but close enough to Charlotte for shopping and entertainment. Go to their website, their livejournal community, etc. to find out more.</p>

<p>I think Williams would be worth a visit: definitely fits your criteria for intellectual environment, top LAC, real people, beautiful campus, quaint college town. </p>

<p>The winter as Interesteddad points out, can be brutal: very cold and lots of snow. If you think you may like winter sports, you'll have fun in the snow, but if you're one who likes to hibernate it's not the place for you.</p>

<p>If by conservative you mean politically toward the right, then I'd say you'd find more company at Williams than most Northeast LACs. It's still primarily liberal, but at least you get an opinion. </p>

<p>Williams kids definitely party, but they work hard and and are involved in a wide range of activities. It's a great school with wonderful academics and an accessible and supportive faculty.</p>

<p>If you need some other choices that are in the less-selective range, you should consider Skidmore, Hamilton, and Kenyon.</p>

<p>You sound like my daughter last year. Another vote for Davidson, also Dartmouth.</p>

<p>On the drinking - almost all college campuses have widespread drinking, the drinking culture seems to vary from school to school (which can be important, think binge drinking vs social drinking), but on most campuses most people drink. There will be a significant contingent of non-drinkers on all campuses as well, some places they may actually be the majority.
My point is, unless you want a predominantly Christian campus or teetotalling campus, don't make the partying a make or break criterion at this point, make mental notes about that as you look at schools, but don't exclude them this early in the process. You will find that the relative importance of things shifts as you are looking at schools.</p>

<p>Without knowing your sex, it's hard to tell if this is a good recommendation, but Smith and Holyoke both match your description quite well--esp the "quaint college town" part.</p>

<p>Cambridge is not quaint by anyone's standards, but it is a great college town, and if you're considering Princeton, why not Harvard? It's a big place, with room for every kind of person.</p>

<p>Okay, to answer some of the confusion, I'm a girl and what I mean by conservative is not a Republican bent but rather a place where I won't be persecuted for the fact that I am a Republican. I do not want to attend a place that is notoriously activist, which I realize cuts out a lot of great schools, but it's all about feeling like I belong at the same time. Basically, I cannot emphasize enough that I would love a top-notch education in a beautiful campus. I also love bodies of water (silly, I know. but true). And also if I adore sitting outside in jacket weather, would I feel depressed in the cold northeastern winters? I thought I liked WashU until I heard that their campus was super condensed with buildings stacked up and very little open area. If I'm going to be there for four years I need to appreciate my surroundings. Also, I'm begging you to tell me some of the terrible things you've heard about the schools already on my list. I think I'd like to narrow it down, but all I ever hear is the good stuff from college counselors and reps! Help!</p>

<p>Are you going to have any opportunity to visit these schools? Perhaps you should try to visit at least one northern school during the winter to see if you can survive the environment. </p>

<p>My daughter and I visited some of the colleges on your list (William and Mary and Williams), and she eliminated William and Mary from her list - great school, but it just didn't "feel" right. Especially when the tour guide said she was unfamiliar with the library. Williams is gorgeous in the summer, but I imagine the winters are quite harsh. Also consider there will be fewer hours of sunlight in the winter at the northern schools.</p>

<p>I would look at Wellesley seriously. </p>

<p>Why not come West, though? How about Pomona or Scripps? They seem to fit your criteria pretty well. All your colleges seem to be in the East, but you are talking about weather. You can't beat the weather especially if you are used to some heat coming from Texas. The Claremont Colleges are very attractive (and Scripps in particular is beautiful), Claremont could easily be considered a quaint town and the Pacific Ocean is less than an hour away, several lakes within a half hour (a bit muddy though:) ) as well as the mountains are right there in North Claremont if you need a real nature fix.
Just a thought.
Most places that have beautiful Falls and cool clear bodies of water have brutal winters.</p>

<p>Are you considering any schools in Texas? Rice, Trinity U, and Southwestern would all fit your requirements.</p>

<p>I'd also suggest that you look into the Claremont Colleges in California - particularly Scripps College. These are a group of 5 liberal arts schools all located side by side so you get the benefits of cross registration. Obviously, nice weather as well. Occidental in Calif. might be another school worth looking at.</p>

<p>And, if you don't mind a bit of a religious bent, you might also want to check out Pepperdine U and the University of San Diego. Both are excellent schools in a warm climate. Another thought would be the pacific northwest - specifically Willamette and Whitman. Two great schools with moderately cold climates.</p>

<p>Ok. thanks for establishing your meaning of 'conservative', ie Republican.</p>

<p>This is a bit of a funny op, L. You seem to be asking for confirmation of your choices, not 'advice' per se. And you seem to want to hear the 'dirt' on those choices. that's not a good look.</p>

<p>As for being a persecuted 'Republican' on campus, that's a paranoid thought but you could email the YR group on each campus and find out if they experience discrimination. In general though, the majority are very expensive schools with many students sent from wealthy--and Republican--families. I feel sure you will feel safe.</p>

<p>Lovinglife, I'd say that Williams would fit your political position well. A good mix of positions, mostly liberal but definitely not bleeding heart. Can't say anything more about the weather, except to recommend that you visit in January/February and see how you feel about it. We live in the tropics so my son was quite apprehensive about this aspect, but as it turned out he loves the snow and tolerates the cold. He's also become an avid snowboarder. The kids who do best seem to relish getting outside despite the cold -- skiing, sledding, skating, even winter camping.</p>

<p>Williams campus and the surrounding area is profoundly beautiful. The sports teams take what they call "beauty breaks" which means time out just to look around and appreciate.</p>

<p>For dirt and defense I'd suggest you read the Class of 08 thread on the Williams board. Just take it with a grain of salt and do your own visiting and appraising.</p>

<p>If having a sizeable Republican presence is important, then I think the Southern schools (for example, Davidson) will be more promising.</p>

<p>The fact of the matter is that New England and the Northeast are heavily "liberal" in general and especially liberal in the academic community and among young people.</p>

<p>Personally, I would enjoy being a Republican on a Democratic campus. There's nothing more boring than a bunch of card carrying Democratics debating each other -- interesting discussions come from differing viewpoints.</p>

<p>But, in general, I just don't understand the rationale for using "political viewpoints" as a primary criteria in college selection. It just doesn't seem like that big a deal when viewed against the overall tapestry of college life.</p>