@taverngirl @Lindagaf While we thought Swarthmore would be a good fit for her, and pushed her a bit in that direction, she was turned off by their “we are the smartest people in the world” in their brochures and correspondence and grade deflation “would have been an A anywhere other than Swarthmore” t-shirts they sell in the college shop. It reminded her too much of a culture she has not liked at her current school, even though she has succeeded at it. We also felt the same positive way about Vassar but she thought it was too “partaking” and “alternative” (pointed out Wesleyan same but she seems to think it has other redeeming factors); and Williams, Midd, Kenyon and Hamilton were too in the middle of nowhere. ME, VT, NH, IL, Great Lakes too North.
The humanities academic side is the more dominant aspect of her, and the creative side is very much a structured social/hobby outlet; she is off the charts on academics at one of the most academically challenging schools in the nation, with grade deflation that has not affected here. Her relationship and appreciation with teachers is a big driver, but she wants to avoid the social pressure to fit in at smaller schools (eg Amherst). She is also URM and values diversity and inclusion, and would like to have very strong and unlimited whole-person counseling resources available (as she should remembering how stressful it can be). On Georgetown, our sense is that, while snooty/preprofessional/not artsy, the people tend to be very genuine and diverse/international and DC would more than makeup on arts/theater consumption choices for the lack of school focus on those; also the Catholic/upper middle class thing commonality and moderate liberal politics would help. WashU lacks DC, diversity but seems to have tremendous physical facilities/dorms etc, and has humanities/poli sci and prof access in those in particular more like an LAC without the smaller size; St Louis has impressed on video tours also as a city. Duke is very well known to us parents for reasons I can explain in sidebar; we feel comfortable we will be able to guide her find her place there, and she would be going in with a niche social strategy around major/language/academic/artistic interest communities and not being a campus celebrity or valedictorian (no SLCs). Should be less of an issue once there than if she was a guy.
Our main remaining question is why no more LACs (especially Swarthmore)? But believe me we have tried. I think she is just looking for something markedly different from her present social setup.
Also forgot to mention BC… but sense it’s a much larger HC.
Are any of these particularly cheery not dreary places where you are sought out and school makes big deal of having lots of structured social activities outside of Greek and formal advising or close prof availability to undergrads? WashU for example seemed particularly good in those respects while not being LAC in overall size (arts and sciences undergrad is only 4000).
Any thoughts on Rice? It was on list for long time but then read tons of reviews re hyper competitive in your face culture with humanities and social sciences seen as unloved stepchild…