S21 Wesleyan vs. Haverford vs. Bates vs. Hamilton

Still working on logistics, but looking like 4/19-4/20. Thanks!


Agree, not holding tours is a huge issue, especially during these critical few weeks. And 3% frat participation sounds like a reasonable number, good to know. Some fun parties without overwhelming the social scene…

Thanks for your input on Hamilton. Congratulations on Wesleyan, and best wishes for a wonderful school year!

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I sent you a PM. Check your messages.

Though the first part of this misses the conception and reality of Kirkland completely, Kirkland was, certainly, nothing like Radcliffe. Kirkland was born in a cultural era when the best potential realities seemed possible — an era in which utopian visions were popular as expressed in books such as Small is Beautiful, Walden Two and The Teachings of Don Juan; maverick psychologist B. F. Skinner made the cover of Time; and, on a collegiate level, other experimentally oriented schools such as Hampshire, Franconia and UC–Santa Cruz were also founded. If Hamilton were to lose its memory of its former coordinate college, Kirkland, some of the remnants of this visionary era would be lost with it.

(For an expanded perspective on Kirkland’s relationship with Hamilton, anyone interested may want to seek Coordinate Colleges for American Women: a Convergence of Interests, 1947-78. Morice.)


@EyeVeee, your family friend’s recollection is similar to mine. I stayed at Kirkland as part of a summer counselor job in 1970. It was essentially an art center with some dormitories built around it.

I don’t have a dog in this fight, so if others find meaning and believe Hamilton has benefited from Kirkland’s relatively short existence…that’s great.

I was impressed by the support of the arts at Hamilton, and if that’s the legacy of Kirkland, then it was an important decade for today’s community.

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I think the differences in academic profiles of students at these schools are greater than this perception indicates.

Judging by the comments in this topic, lots of people visit “remote” Clinton, which could bring forth a Yogi Berra remark. That noted, the distinctive energy of the village appears not to be suited to those who would prefer a metropolitan setting:

This NBC video offers a similar perspective:

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In case this aspect was overlooked, I suggest you check the Common Data Sets for each school. Pay particularly close attention to the percentages of students who come from the top 10% of their graduating classes and standardized scoring profiles. This will give you a legitimate academic picture of your son’s future peers.

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My S21 (NMF, 1570SAT, 35ACT, 780/790/800 SAT2s, 13AP classes, top GPA) was admitted ED2 to Wesleyan this year. His decision was made after his interviewer described his experiences as a physics major, the research opportunities available to undergraduates, graduate school acceptances, and the 5th year free masters program. He liked the open curriculum and the larger student population. A high stats girl from his high school has also committed to attend, and another high stats boy is hoping to get accepted off the waitlist.

He decided not to apply to Bates after their virtual info sessions stressed the forced focus on community service built into every sport team, club and even course curriculums.

Haverford had great acceptance rates to graduate schools so he did apply regular decision, but felt it was way too small for a NJ public school kid coming from a high school with over 2,000 kids.

He had applied regular decision to Hamilton because he liked the open curriculum and the emphasis on public speaking, but did not select it for ED2 because of its small size and isolation in upstate NY. He said he got a “weird vibe” from the Hamilton students during our tour. He also was concerned that there was a divide between the athletes and non-athletes and was not sure how he would fit in as a former travel/AAU/varsity basketball player who wanted to play casually but not varsity level in college.

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Congratulations! Wesleyan provides great opportunities for all the reasons you describe. Just plan extra time driving up from NJ because you have to get through Fairfield County traffic, which gets heavily congested. Or travel off hours. Or find an alternate route. :scream:

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@njboymom, Congratulations to your S!
My S21 is attracted to Wesleyan for similar reasons. I am particularly interested in your son’s take on Hamilton, given the overlap in our boys’ stats and student-athlete profiles.

Your son’s concerns regarding the athlete/non-athlete divide are shared by mine. S21 isn’t interested in pursuing his sports beyond the club level in college. One sign S21 might be leaning towards Wes: This week he said he wanted to take some film(!) classes in college. I am a huge fan of an open curriculum for just this reason. Explore it all!

@merc81, TY! Photo essay of Clinton is super helpful.

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I may go back and take a look at the CDS, thank you. We are probably more concerned with “fit” and culture than numbers at this point, though…

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I think @apple23 made an important point with respect to differentiating your son’s choices, in that their student profiles vary widely. Nonetheless, your son could consider a few more subjective aspects. If he thinks Brown’s environment would match his preferences, then Wesleyan’s would as well, with the added benefits in the case of Wesleyan of offering a larger campus (at 316 acres) and some of the country’s more engaging film courses. Haverford’s Main Line location hasn’t been discussed much, but should appeal to anyone who would like a fully suburban college experience with excellent academics. Hamilton offers a bit of an Adirondack, call-of-the-wild appeal. If your son might have an inner Buck to express, he should consider Hamilton for its setting as well as for its evident academic attributes. Bates, the most compact campus from these four (at 133 acres), offers nice programs in your son’s academic areas of interest. As an overall opinion, your son’s choices represent too strong of a group academically for him not to consider each one carefully. To clarify the next stage, however, I’d recommend he let go of at least one school, even if reluctantly.


Weirdly similar situations here. My S21 is deciding between Wesleyan and Hamilton. He too played a quite high-level sport, premier soccer, that involved a great deal of time and travel. And money. But he too would like to just play club in college. Wesleyan gave a very generous FA offer but Hamilton, which initially came in higher, adjusted theirs to come in just below Wesleyan’s. Hamilton has an advantage currently in that they’re allowing on-campus, self-guided tours while Wesleyan, like most other schools, is not. We did a tour last week on a beautiful sunny day. My older son went to Middlebury and Hamilton gives it a run for its money in terms of the sheer beauty of the campus. S21 has been doing a lot of hiking and backpacking in recent years so Hamilton’s proximity to the wilderness areas of the SW Adirondacks is likely a plus for him. We’re planning to do a drive-by in Middletown sometime in the near future to at least catch a glimpse of the Wesleyan campus and the surrounding town.

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Middletown is far from the Adirondacks, but it has its diversions, mainly revolving around the Connecticut River which is just down the hill:

Or, maybe S21 would be interested in rowing:

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