Washington and Lee v. Vanderbilt v. Northwestern

<p>Okay. So I am having trouble choosing between three schools: Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Washington and Lee. I'm thinking about a double major in political science and philosophy with a minor in visual arts.</p>

<p>As of right now, I really have no clue.</p>

<p>I visited the Washington and Lee campus and I loved it. It is the only LAC I'm looking at. The individualized attention that I would get there is great. I hear their political science program is really good and they have this really nice center for the arts. The campus is great. Professor accessibility, students, all great. My only main concern is the size of Lexington, VA...about 7k. That is a big problem for me and seems to be the only one I can't get past. There are 3 big cities about 45 min - 1 hr away in three different directions. But still. It's not quite the same. They did offer me full scholarship though.</p>

<p>Vanderbilt is another really good school. The campus is gorgeous and of course the academics are spot on. My sister goes there already so I'm pretty familiar with the area. Not to mention the fact that I live only 30 minutes away >_<. I visited the campus one weekend and like it a lot. And the students and faculty seem really nice. Nashville is a great city too. They also gave me stellar financial aid. But still...it's so close to home.</p>

<p>Last but not least...Northwestern. It's the only three of these that I haven't visited. I may be visiting later in April, I'm not sure yet. It's a nice campus, from what I've seen in pictures. And it's pretty close to Chicago, which is a big plus. Of course the academics are legit and all that jazz. I do know less about Northwestern than the other two though. The aid they gave me can't top Vandy's or W&L's, but it's definitely do-able. One big plus? It's NOT close to home or in a SMALL area.</p>

<p>I really haven't a clue what to do. Input?</p>

<p>I'm a current W&L student who was in a similar situation. Education-wise, you will probably get comparable education at all three of your listed schools. However, I really liked the small class sizes that W&L offers! My english class has 6 people in it and we frequently hold class outside on the collonade! It is gorgeous. I have never found the size to be a problem. It is actually kind of nice to see someone you know in every part of campus. You always have someone to sit with at meals. But, the school is just big enough that you'll never know everyone. </p>

<p>If you were offered a Johnson or an R.E.Lee scholarship, I would strongly advise you to take the offer! You will absolutely not regret it! We also are within close proximity to DC and have a great politics program so you'll have plenty of great internship opportunities.
There is literally a place for everyone at this school and we are are genuinely happy here!</p>

<p>I firmly believe that Lexington, Virginia is as close to Heaven as you'll get on this Earth. Maybe excepting parts of Italy ;)</p>

<p>It's indeed a small town but the W&L students I've known never seemed to mind. Probably because it's a social school in the best sense of the word: friendly and welcoming. My opinion? You can't go wrong with any of the three you're fortunate enough to be considering but you can always go to a big city campus for graduate school!</p>

<p>I can't tell you which one is right for you, but one thing you might want to keep in mind: at highly demanding academic schools most students rarely have time to take advantage of all the things they anticipate doing before they arrive. Once you are fully engage in campus life your time will likely be filled with plenty of responsibilities and things to do - right on campus. You can certainly do it, of course, but the amount of time you spend away from campus that is not school related (e.g. interships, special programs, etc) will probably be less than you imagine. For that reason, I think your compatibility with the different environments on campus is far more important than the surrounding area.</p>

<p>One of my closest friends (sorry, we're too old for his experience to be any great indicator) went to Northwestern and liked it, but Chicago itself is a very tough, cold, crime-ridden place. If you're a native, certainly there are things to do (the Cubs!) but I don't know why anyone would locate to that area. Northwestern is a fine school, but if you're not a frost belt type the locale would be a big minus.</p>

<p>I've lived most of my life in NY-NJ but my Dad's from the Deep South (FL panhandle) and I kind of know how things are in Dixie. I myself attended Transylvania and the U. of KY long ago. Vandy's reputation is pretty snobby and I think Nashville is, well, weird. I'd pick both Rhodes and Suwanee ahead of Vandy, actually.</p>

<p>Yes, Lexington VA is tiny but it's beautiful and W&L's academics are excellent == overall, whatever their supposed rankings< these are roughly equivalent schools. I would encourage my daughter to apply to W&L, would not discourage her from applying to Vandy, but unless there were a specific program at Northwestern, if she were inclined to apply there I'd as soon have her take a shot at Columbia or Barnard.</p>

<p>The lakefront neighborhoods in the northern half of Chicago and Evanston are pretty nice and they cover a pretty large area. The crimes are mostly concentrated in the southern half.</p>

<p>I just accepted the Johnson and will be attending W&L in the fall, and had these exact concerns. I also received a scholarship to Vanderbilt and those were my final 2 choices. The strong alumni network finally pushed to me to W&L.</p>

<p>Congrats Emily! You will love W&L. There's a real collegiality there and the quality of life can't be beat. Add that to the very strong academics and you have a great combination.</p>

<p>I chose W&L over Northwestern. Clearly you had to make a choice by today, but I thought I'd leave my advice for future students caught between two stellar schools.</p>

<p>Everything that was said about W&L was exact motivators for my decision.</p>

<p>Thanks Marsden-are you an alum or current student? I am excited!</p>