S21 Wesleyan vs. Haverford vs. Bates vs. Hamilton

Great photo!


We really liked Hamilton, and I spoke with a current student over the weekend who has really enjoyed his time there, but a few comments about Clinton.

That’s a great photo, but it’s literally showing 40% of the downtown. It’s a nice area, but you can walk the entire downtown in 5 mins (with a cup of coffee in your hand).

We were first directed toward Hamilton by a former head of school for our kids who graduated (from Hamilton) in the mid-70’s. We spoke with him about Kirkland, and his reflections were of a very small school. Kirkland’s impact was more akin to an all male school admitting women than it was the merger of two major institutions (Radcliffe / Harvard it was not). The biggest impact was the capital raising and construction aesthetics that lead to the “dark side” of campus.

Any real shopping is done in Utica, 15 mins away. Clinton is a nice, albeit very small, college town. The climb up the hill and the campus are fantastic…but it is remote.


@EyeVeee, Happy to hear your D say things have turned the corner at Haverford since the strike. And good news re: COVID. S21 crossed many schools off his list based on COVID policies—whether students were invited back to campus, etc. (Georgetown is one example of a school that was quickly eliminated.)

@gardenstategal, Thanks for your vote!

@merc81, What a lovely town! Appreciate your comments and the photo—now I have an even more detailed picture in my head. Hamilton is offering self-guided tours to admitted students, but no admission to buildings, so we aren’t sure if it’s worth the long drive? On top of that, S21 plays two Varsity sports whose seasons were shortened and piggybacked (due to COVID), allowing him zero time to travel. Ugh.

@EyeVeee, Love to hear feedback from happy students! S21 is outdoorsy, but part of me still worries about the long, gray, snowy winters in that corner of New York. S21 never
used weather as a determining factor when looking at schools, though, so maybe I’m worried about something that’s ultimately a non-factor.


Assuming no waitlist movement, then “not quirky at all” = Hamilton College.

Seriously…who wouldn’t want to wake up here?
(taken during an early morning walk around Hamilton… first week of October in 2016)


I’m guessing Hamilton and Bates have less “quirky” kids than Wes, but there are definitely sporty kids and some frats. It’s funny, because our D just “toured” (no tour guide) and was thrown off by seeing “jocks” and some frat kids drinking on their balcony! (Which she doesn’t want). My guess is that there are all types at Wes, and it’s so much bigger than the other 2, that you find all types to socialize with. It’s definitely a liberal campus.


My D’s BFF is a first-year at Wes. She’s a “typical” Wes NYC theater type who said to my D, “Every guy I meet is an athlete! I was not expecting that.” :grin:


A Vote For Wesleyan -

Seriously, if S21 is awaiting a W/L decision from Brown, the logical next choice would seem to indicate, Wesleyan. The overlap between the two schools is tremendous; they occupy similar southern New England campuses with eclectic architecture and easy access to busy commercial districts (Thayer Street and Main Street); similar weather patterns (one or two heavy snowfalls a year; long Autumn seasons, early Springs). Really, there’s enough variety among both student bodies for a middle-class kid from anywhere in the country to find their peep:


President Roth mentioned Brown in his talk yesterday. Something like, sorry to those of you out there who didn’t get into Brown, but …(My D was rejected from Brown after ED deferral, her only rejection!).


Ugh, I don’t care for that approach, even though I know he’s joking. Did he follow that “but” with, “Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bill Belechik are managing.”

Excellent point. Wes is known as the “mini-Brown” because of the similar open curriculum as well as the other factors you mention.


Ha ha, no. If I remember correctly, he was talking about the 3 main things he hopes all students get from their education, whether it’s a Wes or somewhere else. But don’t quote me. My D has a bunch of schools she’s trying to decide from and I’m going to some of the daytime sessions to try to figure out what the differences are (with no real visits, they all seem similar to us!).


We were stuck with virtual visits last year, which the schools had to put together at the last minute given the timing of the pandemic, and even though we had visited most of the schools, it was back in junior year. I wonder if my D might have chosen a different school had she been able to attend admitted students events in person. She’s confident in her choice, which is the school where she knew the most current students and recent grads, so she was able to get the best sense of what it was like to attend. Good luck.

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Any specific recommendations?

@EyeVeee, Beautiful! TY! I would :100: want to wake up to that. Will show S21 your photos.

@havenoidea, Were the jocks at Wes that much of a turn off for your D that she moved Wes down on her list? To be clear, S21 is sporty, not bro-y, if that makes sense.

@gotham_mom, Is your D’s BFF happy at Wes? At S21’s small HS, theater types hang out with athletes all of the time. They date one another and attend the same parties. S21 would be disappointed if he were at a college with more of an athlete/non-athlete divide.

@circuitrider, Love Bojack! So cool that a Wes alum wrote for the show. Agree with your take regarding the overlap between Brown and Wes. The variety of kids, as you mentioned, at both schools is a big plus for S21.

@havenoidea, Good idea, I will log on and attend more of S21’s virtual events myself. S has missed a bunch because of school and sports.

@gotham_mom, S21 would like to feel as confident in his choice as your D. I will reach out to our HS guidance counselor, who might be able to put him in touch with recent grads.

Finally, I’m new to CC, and I just wanted to thank all of you for being so generous with your time. :grinning:


Specific recommendations with regard to . . .? Restaurants?

Yes, restaurants, close-by sites, etc. Taking the D to get a sense of Wes and the area without a formal school visit tour. Thanks!

Wow! I can offer a lot of suggestions since I live in the area. When are you going? I’m asking so I know how much time I have to organize my thoughts.

I’m going to Wes next year and I decided not to apply to Hamilton after visiting last year. It is a beautiful campus and I’m sure students are happy there but it felt way too isolated for me. That’s why it’s so important to visit and see if you can picture yourself there for four years. I literally felt like I was in the middle of cowtown.

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Yes, based solely on first impressions, she decided she thinks she liked Vassar better than Wes! (Before, she wasn’t even sure she liked Vassar; meanwhile, I can’t tell the difference between them (her dad took her).

This is a major problem with having no tours at these schools. A friend toured her around Vassar, so of course everyone there seemed nice. She walked around Wes on her own and based her decision on how the kids looked/who was hanging out with whom.

She’s looking into it more; only 3% of boys are in a frat there!