UCSB vs Bryn Mawr vs Scripps vs Stony Brook - pls help!

I have a daughter who is a 3rd year at Pomona & I would echo some of other folks thoughts on Scripps. It is a lovely location, very walkable - easy access to LA when wanted via the train. This will be the first year that my kid will have a car down there, but it hasn’t been any issue parking anywhere on campus when we’ve visited. The ability to take courses across the 5C’s is a great asset, and as far as the ‘party scene’ there seems to be a consensus among the consortium that most of them happen at CMC but folks from all the schools are welcome. Again in terms of diversity of political thought - it’s there - each of the colleges has its own ‘flavor’ but the ability to access classes, people, opportunities and diversity of thought is fabulous. Good luck!


i also wanted to echo some support for scripps. UCSB is lovely, but from what you’ve said in your other posts, scripps seems to fit your overall vibe. if a school being too liberal for you is a problem (I’m ngl, most HWCs are fairly leftist), CMC and HMC are known to be pretty central when it comes to politics (if not right of center for CMC), so finding friends at either campus who share the same views as you since they’re each a couple of blocks away from one another is undoubtedly feasible.

(i just wanted to say that in terms of “liberalness” (quotes since all the schools lean somewhat liberal) i would rank it as such from least to most: CMC > HMC > Pomona > SC > Pitzer)

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Thank you! The consortium at Scripps has always been very appealing to me, and I completely understand what you’re saying about the OOS tuition at a UC. I appreciate the response!

Got it, thank you. Trying to determine “fit” is difficult but I completely understand what you’re saying.

Thank you so much!

Understood, thanks so much! I’ll definitely give Scripps some more consideration.

I agree with kalons assessment of the liberalness continuum


Hi there perspectives, congrats on your acceptances. It is a tough decision and my son is facing many of the concerns you are. We can manage about half the cost at a small private liberal arts college with the other half being covered by merit aid. Or we can take the much less expensive route and choose Stony Brook. At this point, my son is still choosing between Sarah Lawrence, Vassar, Stony Brook, Binghamton and Dickinson. Yet, I am finding that we are leaning towards Stony Brook for the new creative writing BFA program and because the admissions office and other departments actually seem very transparent in our dealings with them. We,too, are worried about comments we heard that Stony Brook is a suitcase school and clears out on the weekend. However, we have also heard that in recent years there are many more OOS students (you can see this from the Stony Brook Class of 2025 Facebook page) plus international students. Have you applied to the Creative Writing program? Will you be in an honors or scholars program? We are hoping these things will make a large school feel smaller.

Would also love to hear more from TheGreyKing who suggested ruling out Stony Brook for a number of reasons including the students being decent but not at their top of their HS classes and that the brightest students are there because they were either rejected by their other choices or their parents did not know they could qualify for aid at private colleges. Living in NY, I have heard that Stony Brook is a feeder school for students from the top specialized high schools who definitely have other options. My son is at the top of his class and got into many great schools, some that I have mentioned and some that we have already eliminated from consideration for various reasons. Additionally, I believe Stony Brook has gotten much better in the last several decades. Now, they are tied with Binghamton on the US News and World Report ranking of national universities and even came out higher than Binghamton in the Wall Street Journal. If I am wrong about this (admittedly I only know two Stony Brook grads from work) please feel free top write back and let me know so that my son and I can make the most informed choice possible! Thanks everyone and best of luck narrowing down the choices to find the best fit.


Also, totally agree on the kinda ugly campus and the impersonal feel. As for large classes, not sure if it depends on the major - I have heard that freshman take two relatively small seminars and that classes get smaller by the second year. I also think there could potentially be a decent amount of walking at other colleges, too, depending on the distance between the dorm the student lives in and the buildings they have the majority of classes in.

Any thoughts on whether there is a plus to being an arts/humanities major at a largely STEM-school? Could there be more attention from the arts and humanities faculty members? Or, are professors pretty inaccessible at Stony Brook? Feedback please - thanks!

Hi @groovebaby123! Congrats to your son on some great acceptances as well!

I was also admitted into the Creative Writing BFA program! I’m not in an honors or scholars program, but I did receive some merit aid. And I can say that despite being a largely STEM school, the Creative Writing department has been INCREDIBLY helpful so far. I actually reached out to the director and was given the chance to attend 2 virtual creative writing classes, and the professors of both these classes were extremely accessible; I emailed with them personally and received copies of the material the class would be working with, as well as a list of classes that Creative Writing majors are typically expected to take.

Also, thank you for the comment on OOS and international students. I suppose that could mean Stony will become less and less of a commuter campus as time goes on.

Apart from that, I second your questions for @TheGreyKing! Hope this helps!

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So many coincidences. My son sat in on a creative non-fiction workshop, too! And once he gets acclimated to college life, he would like to get a job (either on campus or perhaps in NYC one day a week). There is the Long Island Railroad stop right on the campus that goes into midtown Manhattan. Anyway, please keep in touch as you narrow down your choices.

I PM’d Groovebaby because I also can comment on Vassar.

Look. There are many factors to weigh in making a college decision. You both sound excited about Stony Brook and seem to be part of a special creative writing program. If you would be happy to go there, then go!

Because I live on Long Island, most people I know who went there, from the 1980’s through today, have been commuter students, or in a few cases have lived there during the week but gone home on many weekends. (I did host some international students who lived on-campus.) And tons of local kids are accepted to it every year. So obviously it would look like a commuter school to me!!! But the admissions office should be able to give you actual statistics on that.

College is largely about what each student puts into it, and every family will have different values and preferences that influence their child’s choice of college. There is not really a “wrong” choice here, just different. Based on my belief system— the more intellectually elite a college is, the better. And our family’s experiences have been that a small elite college experience is incredible.

Individual priorities and experiences will vary!

That might not be that surprising – advanced high school students taking college courses are often among the stronger students in the subject compared to on-level college students. For example, would you expect to be stronger students on average in a college single variable calculus 1 or 2 course – high school seniors taking it in a dual enrollment program, or the college students taking it during their frosh year?

Will do! I think I am eliminating Bryn Mawr from consideration. And thanks for the comment about the Long Island Railroad stop – I plan to get a job in NYC too, so that was good to know!

@TheGreyKing Thank you as always for your insight!

Based on your criteria: Scripps. Consortium, warm SoCal weather, really good humanities. Smaller class sizes and more individual attention than UCSB. Not in LA, but not too far away. Ticks all your boxes, it seems to me!

Thank you! I signed up for a few virtual Scripps events this week and I’m very excited!

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Southwest Airlines now going to Santa Barbara. Southwest to start flights Monday - Santa Barbara News-Press

Jobs close by in Isla Vista — no need to drive into Santa Barbara. On campus jobs probably best option.

Agree with others that Scripps sounds like your best fit.


I wish I could give TheGreyKing’s post triple stars, at least with respect to the commentary about Stony Brook. It is spot on. SBU is very largely a commuter/weekday only school, and many if not most of the students there are nothing special, mid-level graduates of high schools from the surrounding area. It is true that there are some brilliant people there, but they attend SBU because of financial constraints or because they are needed at home or because they just did not get into better schools, for whatever reason.

Also, the campus is horrendous and truly depressing. Lots of boxy buildings. There are tons of strip malls and big box stores in close proximity, but you still need a car to access them. The area around campus is charmless and congested. It’s a way out from NYC, although the train does run somewhat frequently (the trip in takes about an hour and a half).

Give yourself the gift of a real college campus experience. You got into some great places. Yes, money saved is a huge consideration, but it’s not everything and very fortunately for you, is not a deciding factor.

Wow. I definitely needed to hear this. Thank you so much!

You mentioned travel into NYC. Would this be in addition to taking classes? You need to know that the Stony Brook Long Island Rail Road station is not that close to campus and would require a car or Uber/Lyft to get to, for one. But more important is the fact that this train line (known as the LIRR Port Jefferson line) is abysmal. The LIRR is not cheap. The ride itself takes about an hour and a half to get into midtown Manhattan, and most destinations in the city would require additional subway travel time (and expense). Moreover, there is a required train transfer in Queens (sometimes there is an additional transfer at one of the Long Island stations). This is much despised. So taking a job or internship in Manhattan is easier said than done, and not advisable in addition to a full course load or for more than once or twice a week.