My daughter is a jr at Conn - (currently doing a semester abroad in Kenya). She is a bio major with a concentration in environmental studies and a minor in antropology. She also had to choose between Conn and a Maine school, Colby. She felt many of the same things your son did when she walked on campus. There was just something about it...and she has been so utterly happy since the day she walked on campus as a frosh. The sciences are fantastic - I can't say enough about the professors, facilities and very importantly, the excellent advising she has received. She has been extremely involved at Conn, and really wasn't in HS, so this has been a great treat for us to watch!! She served as the Judicial Board Chair this year, serving as class rep fresh and soph years. She has also been involved in 'House' (dorm) gov't, etc. The adults that have mentored these kids, not just the executive board kids, but all members of the jboard and student gov't, have been so wonderful - they take great interest in the kids at Conn. D had to go to campus 2 wks early this summer to run a workshop on the Honor Code. The shy girl from Ohio spoke to incoming freshman and their parents at orientation. Shy no more! The skills she has learned are invaluable.<br>
Academically, she has been challenged and has found her classes interesting. They are small and intimate. They are difficult enough to keep her interested, but she has plenty of time for her other activities and parties. The workload is heavy, especially in particular classes. The students are all very driven and bright, but IMHO, learning seems to take place for the sake of learning, and cutthroat competition among the students does not seem to be an issue at all. These kids seem to be very supportive of one another.<br>
Socially she loves Conn. She has made some wonderful friends, many whom have visited over breaks and summer. They do drink, I don't kid myself about this. But weeknights, save Thursday night, are 'school nights.' I guess the saying 'they work hard, play hard' is true here. But I haven't seen or heard of too many extremes.<br>
They do go to Harkness Beach a lot in the fall, but in the spring it is rarely warm enough for swimming in the ocean. Music is huge there, they get a lot of bands on the weekends, the SAB - Student Activities Board - is good at getting these bands and attendance is good. They have some really fun traditions, such as Floralia in the spring, Winter Formal and Festivus before Christmas Break. I'm not sure how well attended sporting events are, but I know that lacrosse and soccer on the green are popular, as are hockey games (I think!)<br>
The dorm situation is a good set up as well. They identify with their particular dorm, and compete against the other houses in things such as Camelympics. The floors are busy and social, and like Huskem 55 said, doors are open and the kids get to know one another quickly. D says 99% of the kids stay on the weekends. Having singles starting soph year is really a plus, although D was crowded in w/2 other girls in a double freshman year. Some of the dorms are presently being remodeled, which they desperately needed. Everything is close by. Vandalism in certain dorms, like Hamilton have been a problem, but Jboard is dealing w/the kids causing the problems fairly harshly now, as is the administration.<br>
The trip to Belize for tropical Bio soph yr as mentioned above was quite an experience. But it was not free - there was the cost of the trip in addition to tuition fees that semester. But it was pretty cheap for 10 days. D said she thought, not positive, but thought that if kids were getting financial aid, the trip was covered. Don't quote me on that, but I seem to remember questioning what would happen if a student in the class didn't have the means to take the trip. They had a great time.
Two other things - Conn's study abroad program is excellent. Again, excellent guidance and support from the school. The program D is in in Kenya is quite competitive, and with her good courses and recs, she got in. She is presently studying wildlife management at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro, totally roughing it with 34 other kids from all over the country. She has seen every kind of wildlife, and from her letters is learning and experiencing things she never dreamed of.<br>
Internships, or paid internships are a big thing. Summer after jr year the school funds $3000 for each student to do an internship. This funding allows the kids to take an internship regardless of whether or not it pays, and they don't lose out on a summer salary! D is going to be interning at Mystic Aquarium working with rehabilitating marine life...(injured seals, beached dolphins or whales, etc.) I am in awe of the opportunities she has had, and the atmosphere has really promoted much growth and maturity in our daughter. I only wish my senior in HS daughter would have applied there!<br>
All in all, it has been a very positive experience for her and us. I really think the new president is going to get the school back on track, getting it the recognition it deserves. I think it's one of the best kept secrets in the NE LAC world!
Oh yeah, the Coasties - don't think they are a huge presence on campus. They are around, and do take some classes at Conn. D has not spoken much of this, think she has one aquaintance from there.<br>
Good luck to your son with his decision - I too am going thru this right now. But all I can say in summation is that D had a gut feeling, she followed it and we followed her lead. And it's all been great. If you have any other questions, or if there is something you would like more specifics about, such as the sciences, PM me. If I cannot answer your question I can get the answer. ~Nikki~</p>