<p>We've got a list of schools to research/visit this coming year. Some of the visits will take place in October and the rest in January except the day trips. Daughter just gave me a list of her criteria and I was wondering if you had any suggestions. She has a list of colleges that sort of make sense academically, but this list is more personal, so . . .
1. Good and varied food
2. Nice dorms with non co-ed bathrooms (women's colleges are preferred)
3. lots of class options in the classics/history fields
4. Within a couple of hours of NYC (Boston should be included, and Case Western and Catholic are potentials for other reasons)
5. Generous wth merit aid with the caveat that she will have need in her first year.
6. Not overrun with snobby or preppy people
7. Good name/reputation
8. Attractive campus
9. Near-ish city</p>

<p>She plans to major in Classics, soph PSAT score was 213, GPA 3.7 in pre-IB. Very interesting ECs. Not in the range of hooks, but definitely a couple of things that would make someone say "tell me more about that."</p>

<p>I must sound like a broken record by now, but will start the list with Tufts. Near Boston, friendly, diverse student body. Never got a snobby or preppy vibe there. S. loves it. Food is also a high point - varied and lots of healthy options. Don't know how extensive the Classics Department is, though S has taken one course and hopes to take more and possibly go for a classics minor. Don't think they give merit, aid, though.
If womens' college are preferred, then maybe Wellesley?
If you're looking for Catholic Universities, maybe BC or Fordham (Rose Hill Campus).</p>

<p>Has she considered Bryn Mawr? The campus is beautiful, and near Philly. I believe their need-based aid is very good, but not sure about merit. The women at Bryn Mawr are serious but fun loving, and not preppy or snobby. The school has an excellent reputation, and they have an arrangement with Haverford (walking distance) and Swarthmore (a direct shuttle) that allows students to take courses for credit if they like.</p>

<p>I'd suggest taking a look at Vassar. Although there are co-ed bathrooms, there is one all women's dorm (to keep Seven Sisters status) which she'd definitely get into if she requested that. It's about an hour and a half from NYC - an easy train ride. Not snobby or preppy. The campus, of course, is beautiful, and academics are outstanding.</p>

<p>Classics department: Vassar</a> College Classics Department : Curriculum
History department: History</a> Department</p>


<p>I see you mentioned Case on your list as a potential option for "other reasons". I realize that there are some students presently enrolled there and active on CC who might disagree with me, but I would strongly urge you stop considering it. In my experience, and I say this having recently completed my freshman year there, it is a miserable institution. And this is not only my opinion, but that of the overwhelming majority of my friends, and many less close associates of mine. </p>

<p>Certainly, it fits most of the criteria you've listed. It's in a city, is in the top 50 (thus has a good reputation) in USNWR, ample merit aid, and a minimally snobby student body (until the subject of Star Trek is raised). But it is also lacking in certain areas that you mention. I would contend that the dorms available freshman and sophomore year are quite bad. While rooms in The Village are quite a bit better, they are also very costly, and only available starting with junior year. As for the food, there is a degree of variety, but it is pretty mediocre. And for most of the weekend, the reduced hours and selection is a major annoyance. As for campus aesthetics, I would imagine this is a small consideration at most. But there is no real cohesive style, and the campus is fairly disjointed architecturally. The only well regarded building in terms of visual appeal is the business building (Peter B Lewis), for which the internal layout is quite bad. </p>

<p>I think though in terms of academics, this is where you are most likely to fall short. The Classics department is fairly small, and is more of a footnote than anything else. I only took one course in it, and it was chiefly because it cross-listed with the History department, and thus seemed more relevant to me, as a Political Science major. Even though it was a 300 level class, it was exceptionally easy, the lectures were painfully dry, and most of the students would have killed to be elsewhere. And this isn't some obscure class taught by a visiting professor, but rather a regularly offered, fairly large (by department standards) Classics class taught by one of their "star" professors. I have a couple of friends in the department, all of whom dislike the structure of the required language classes. </p>

<p>History is a larger, better department. But I've found that all of the best professors in the department tend to be visiting faculty. And many of the most interesting classes get pulled at the last minute. The real problem though is that anything below the 300 level is too simple to be intellectually enriching, and the 300 offerings often conflict with one another. So there are really very few good offerings, even among their broader range. </p>

<p>The truth is, in terms of academics, Case is excellent for Biology, Biochemistry, and Biomedical Engineering. Other than that, the offerings range from moderate (Physics) to laughable (Anthropology). Humanities and Social Science majors are more accidents than integral parts of the campus community, with their departments severely underfunded. And, stepping outside of this and the other aforementioned issues, the social scene is not something to boast about. Case is ranked among the 20 unhappiest schools in the nation for a reason.</p>

<p>Smith is an obvious choice. </p>

<p>Bryn Mawr is a good one too, but I'm not sure how generous they are with merit aid. The students can (and do) take classes at Swarthmore and Haverford, which greatly increases course selection.</p>

<p>If you are willing to go to the West coast, Scripts would be a good possibility with the Claremont colleges consortium.</p>

<p>In case my name wasn't enough of a hint... ;)</p>

<p>1) I personally like dining. Variety exists. And food in Northampton is at your disposal, if you wish. I transferred to Smith from a large public university and most of the food was fried. Some Smithies complain but I like it a lot. Also, a good friend of mine over at Brandeis says that anyone from there who has ever visited Smith has liked the dining.
2) FWIW, Princeton Review seems to like our dorms. I love my house.
3) I don't know much about either but I've heard that both are very, very strong. Classics has an awesome library too!
4) 3-4 hours to NYC, 2-3 hours to Boston.
5) No idea. Financial aid is all over the spectrum.
6) For the most part, there are going to be snobby or preppy people everywhere. It really depends on who your daughter chooses to hang out with and who she associates with. That is one of those things that she has a lot of control over.
7) Ever heard of Smith? (Groaner: Yeah, that's that lesbian school?)
8) I think it's quite nice.
9) Refer to #4.</p>

<p>Good luck with the college process!</p>

<p>If you take a look at Smith you should stop at Mt Holyoke as well (virtually the same town). They have some merit aid though it's not clear how many types of scholarships. DD2 will be visiting both this summer.</p>

<p>Barnard, Smith, Bryn Mawr and Scripps immediately come to mind.</p>

<p>BMC doesn't offer merit awards (I'm not sure about Barnard and Scripps), but it is closer to Swatty/Hav and Philly than Smith is to ther 4 colleges its consortium or any major city. </p>

<p>Mt. Holyoke is probably a bit more remote than you want. MHC is the farthest from the other colleges in the valley (more difficult to cross-register for courses). You can certainly vist Smith and MHC on the same day, but So Hadley is about 35 min from N'hampton and you will see that the two towns bear NO resemblence to each other. MHC does, however,t offers more merit awards than Smith and b/c it's slightly less compeitive than the othrers, your D is more likely to stand out. </p>

<p>The best and worst thing about Barnard is the fact that it is in the city. Being in NYC prvides many opptys, but the draw of the city means there is less of a campus-focused life that at other residential colleges; it also means the campus is small/urban. And don't forget that NYC is expensive, so taking advantage of those opptys will cost the proverbial arm/leg. Finally, although Barnard students are not overly snobby/preppy (I've found them to be intense, but down to earth), the Columbia students are more of a mixed bag - - and they often grumble about lesser/weaker Barnard students "sneaking" into Columbia classes.</p>

<p>Smith offers the best of both/all worlds - - right in N'hampton, 2hrs to Boston, 3 hours from NYC and 4 nearby colleges (Amherst, UMass, MHC, Hamp) at which to take classes. The housing is great (except for the infamous Cutter/Z); the campus is pretty, but a bit small for my taste (I like expansive vistas and rolling lawns). Both need-base finaid and merit awards are available. The women at Smith are intense and take everything seriusly - - academics (that opening scene in "Mona Lisa Smile" reminded me more of Smith than Wellesley), politics and partying - - and in that order. NB: the history dept is reportedly weak (check the posts on the Smith page); classics is stronger. All of the the remaining "sister" schools have some degree of cache and name recognition and all have to deal w/ the lesbian issue, but Smith seems to be the school writer chose to indicate a female character's top-drawer pedigree, most recently Dr. Christina Yang ("Gray Anatomy"), Emily Gilmore ("Gilmore Girls') and Charlotte ("Sex and the City").</p>

<p>Scripps has the most beautiful dorms I've ever seen (balconies, fountians, orange trees) and it is as close to the other Claremonts as Barnard is to Columbia. Also, like Columbia, the folks at Pomona seem to have chips on their shoulders re: students from the other colleges.</p>

<p>The list screams Smith and Holyoke, Wellesley, and Bryn Mawr. Especially Wellesley. </p>

<p>The classics part makes me wonder if she should at least glimpse at Reed even though it meets none of her other criteria. Reed takes classsics seriously.</p>

<p>I'm reading this list and it all sounds very good, but don't you think most of these schools are really, really reachy for her? Fordham might be a fit, but the rest seem a little too high up for her, no?</p>

<p>I think gprime's view of Case Western is an anomaly. I would definitely visit the campus and the academic departments your daughter is interested in if you have not done so already. We know kids very happy in a variety of majors at Case.</p>

<p>I second the suggestion of checking out Fordham Rose Hill campus.</p>

<p>I think very few colleges have co-ed bathrooms.</p>

<p>Zoosermom, I don't think Smith and Holyoke are reachish but more a match. The 75% for SATs are about 700 each (which is in line with your Ds PSAT) and the admit about 50% of applicants based on latest posted common data sets. I'm not sure where your D lies in the class rank. Most at both Smith and Holyoke are top 10%.</p>

<p>If you come down to Philly to visit Bryn Mawr, you should really look into Haverford, Villanova, and Swarthmore. I don't know a whole lot about Bryn Mawr, except I study at their science library, and it rocks! </p>

<p>Haverford is a very nice, but little, college. It's Quaker, I think, and the people are just genuine and friendly. All 4 are highly ranked, and food is decent at each. I know for a fact that Villanova offers a large amount of scholarships, even full tuition! Villanova is probably the preppiest of the three, but there's enough of a variety of studens that it shouldn't be a problem. Swarthmore is quirkier, and has very difficult academics, as well as being harder to get into.</p>

<p>What's her basis for a women's college? I find that some of my friends who initially limited themselves to that, found that they would be equally as happy at a college with a women's dorm. I went to an all-girls middle school and part of high school, and hated the "girl drama." It's really nice to be able to leave my girl friends and go chill with the guys sometimes. I"m not guy-obsessed enough for their gender to bother me, and guys often have a different perspective on life.</p>

<p>Zoosermom, if she really wants to major in classics and really is drawn to women's colleges, Bryn Mawr should be up near the top of her list. It meets nearly all of her other criteria too, and it's slightly less reach-y than some of the others. Take a look at the handful of "I want to study classics"-type threads and see how often Bryn Mawr comes up. And as others have mentioned, students really do take advantage of the Tri-Co consortium (with Haverford and Swarthmore).</p>

<p>If you think the women's colleges are reachy, why suggest Swatty (which I believe is now ranked #3) and Hav. ZoozerD will have a better shot at admission and merit aid at a women's college than at a coed school using its finaid and merit dollars on males to maintain a respectable male/female ratio.</p>

<p>I think all the women's colleges mentioned will be a match based on what you posted. She still needs a safety, but all the ones on the "lists" are viable choices.</p>

<p>ZM: Just reread your criteria and missed that you are looking for merit aid. Vassar does not offer merit aid, but our experience has been that it offers generous need-based aid.</p>

<p>Smith has a strong Catholic presence as well. Check with Thedad whose daughter was heavily involved in the Newman Association.</p>