Which is your favorite liberal arts college and WHY?

Okay, this is kind of irrelevant to the original thread, but #GoIrish!! I’m wearing my 2015 “The Shirt” t-shirt right now!! :smiley:

@blourring If you really want to close the deal on ND, read up on Father Hesburgh. I had the pleasure of being there while he was President.

@happy1: You could do worse is to say, there are many great things about Bowdoin, and you’d be choosing a great place to choose it. Not that “it is near the bottom, but not the very bottom.” I meant it when I said Bowdoin is a great place. Perhaps it is a usage thing.

Who said anything about those from Lafayette and Lehigh doing well or not? It was not I. Nor was a reminder needed, as ScaredNJDad intimated that those from Lafayette and Lehigh would, in fact, place well among the employed - even before Swatties.

@ScaredNJDad: Where my daughter and I see her “fit” being is not either of those places. Doesn’t mean one of the other kids won’t look; doesn’t mean one of the other kids isn’t in contact with admissions at one of those schools. Interesting that you feel the way you do about the early entrant into the work world, and who may be writing the evaluations. I know others from the Mid-West who have a completely different view of what their degrees have meant. The arguments we’ve had where I am defending the strength of the degree, no matter where it came from, the industriousness and ability to form connections in the work world fall on deaf ears for those who view graduates from the eastern seaboard as inherently higher in stature. Some regional thing, I guess.

And, yes, teenagers can be arrogant. As she mingles, she will reassess; as she reassesses, she will grow.

Um… Trying again. This thread is just about what LACs people like and why. Not fit for your kid. Another thread to discuss that would be a good idea.

I hear you, @intparent. Got it.

To that end, Bates is also a great school. The range of interests featured in their viewbook a few years ago were amazing and inspiring. The programs of study that were put together by some of these students were unique and beyond interdisciplinary. Were I to do it all over, I might choose to put Bates on my list, and attend if accepted. They are also among schools that have decided the standardized tests that students take are simply not to be used in determining who will be accepted into their college. I deeply respect that, because they are looking to assess the nature and fit of their institution to the sense they get of the students who apply.

@Waiting2exhale

I dunno, W2E. A lot of people have never seen a Californian outside of capivity.

@ScaredNJDad (referring to post #38), the good news is that there are many different college options available to fit the differing ambitions of applicants. If an applicant’s desire is to potentially become an academic, Nobel Prize winning scientist, or left leaning policy wonk there are few better alternatives than Swarthmore. If their hope is to become an investment banker there are probably better options (if only because the investment banks tend to predominantly choose other schools for on-campus interviews).

I don’t know Lafayette well enough to comment on its strengths, but I am certain there are many and have no doubt they are effective in placing their students in jobs.

I think it’s pretty impossible to separate what one considers one’s “favorite” liberal arts college from one’s or one’s kids particular interests and tastes. That being said, I think I’ve visited 17 LACs now between my D and my S’s searches, and I have a special fondness for Carleton. Superb sciences (arguably the strongest among LAC’s, excluding places like Harvey Mudd), outstanding teaching even relative to peer institutions (check out their ratemyprofessor scores), a studious and committed student body that has a quirky, fun-loving, non-competitive, unpretentious vibe. My D came within a hair’s breadth of going there, and while she’s had a great experience where she ended up (Olin), I’m sure she would have loved it.

@rayrick Thank you for that! Carleton is one of the choices that I’m considering. Can you perhaps tell me more about what the environment/campus community is like? Do students have a lot of activities to bond over? Are they willing to help out visiting prospies, parents, etc? Any info about Carleton would be helpful.

Also, what are some of the other LACs you have visited?

Davidson gets my vote.

[ul][]Lovely, sprawling campus, highly intelligent students, friendly people, nice weather, great facilities, and D1 athletics (esp. basketball)
[
]Emphasis on the arts and community service/outreach
[]In a [quiet college town](http://www.ourstate.com/davidson/) but close to a large city
[
]Awesome town-gown relations; for example, people in the town have baked students cookies during finals.
[]Unusual emphasis on the honor code (along with Haverford) that goes along with a lot more student freedom and trust on campus than usual.
[
]Nearby lake campus lets students participate in sports like water skiing
[li]Good financial aid and loan-free for all students[/ul][/li]
I’m also quite fond of Haverford and Bowdoin, the only LACs I might choose over my alma mater were I to do college all over again.

I also like/admire Deep Springs, Swarthmore, Knox, Lewis & Clark, Rhodes, the College of the Atlantic, Allegheny, Earlham, Wesleyan, and (though my Y chromosome disqualifies me) Agnes Scott.

@blourring: Carleton is one of those schools that will keep in touch with you once you make initial contact. They will ask if you’re still interested if you’ve been out of touch for a while, and would love to see that you’d like to visit them. I say reach out to them if you’re interested.

While you’re waiting on rayrick, the one thing I remember the Carleton rep saying to a group a few years ago is that Ultimate Frisbee is like a major past time there, as well as (virtually? actually?) being a varsity sport. They take extremely bright kids who can walk away from narrowly self-identifying as top-scorer this and top-scorer that. Also, I believe the kids from this school go on to earn a Ph.D. within ten years after graduation at a higher rate than any other LAC in the nation.

Yep, concur with everything @Waiting2exhale said. I’m kind of an Ultimate fanatic, so there’s another reason Carleton holds a special place in my heart.

The thing that struck me about the student body at Carleton is the students seemed very happy and friendly. Random smiles, greetings, offers of help, etc. They call it “Minnesota nice”, and it seems to be a real thing. There’s also a subtle quality that makes it feel just a little different than its Northeast brethren…not sure what to call it… earthiness? Relaxedness? Lack of pretension? Maybe it’s the higher percentage of public school kids, or more midwesterners? D went to a New England prep school and never felt truly comfortable there. She did two overnights at Carleton (one in the fall and again during accepted students days when she was agonizing over her final three choices) and felt totally at home.

As far as other schools we’ve visited, like I said, it’s a long list. The truth is, I liked virtually all of them. Considering just LACs D applied to, we saw Williams, Middlebury, Bowdoin and Carleton, and there wasn’t a bad apple in the bunch. She probably would have thrived at any of them. We went to Davidson, too, and like @warblersrule said, it seemed like a terrific school. Mainly got crossed off the list because the only dance studio was in the the basement of the gym and had no windows (sometimes it’s the little things…)

Just in the Minnesota/Iowa area, we also saw Macalester, St. Olaf and Grinnell. Liked all of them, too! For both of my kids, it’s helped to have a few specific areas of interest where they were looking for strength, because, otherwise, it’s awfully hard to narrow down the field. There’s a lot of great schools out there.

Quiz Bowl is big at Carleton (for a LAC). They sponsor a big HS tournament there every year. I always looked forward to taking D2 and her team every year. :slight_smile:

Wow, thank you all SO much for all this info! It’s really helping me in my process of narrowing down the list of school I am applying to (mainly because I can’t visit them all)! :slight_smile:

D1 is a freshman at Middlebury and absolutely loving her first few months; other schools that topped her list where she would have been very happy to attend were Bowdoin, Colorado College, and Bates. There is an endless list of amazing schools out there!

If you’re curious to know more about LACs - what helped me most was talking with my friends at those colleges. Also I went to the College Peek page, where I got to talk to people over Skype about the colleges they go to. I think they still have free trials, available, so try that out! Good luck on the application! Btw anyone know any additional information about Pomona? Like some insider info about/page about that uni??? Thanks!

Have you got a copy of the Fiske Guide to Colleges?

Pomona is proud of its historic architecture. That whole region of Southern California finds that its architecture pays great homage to the more historic buildings, with their grand court yards and fountains, of stately Mexico. It is a great looking place.

The town had a quiet feel to it, though I don’t remember what was said about the relationship of the college to those who live in the town. That can be a significant factor for those who plan to live and play there during their time as an undergraduate.

The kids at Pomona are smart, and aware of that, but do not “hype” it.

You’re about an hour and a half away from the ocean and the train which runs up and down the coast, but the students take jaunts over when they know they have the time to decompress.

Middlebury gets my vote (surprise!). The campus is breathtaking, and its location in rural Vermont adds to its charm (although I realize this setting isn’t for everyone). It has a larger student body that most other NESCACs, which in my opinion is an asset considering the rural setting. The facilities (particularly academic and recreational) are first-rate–among the best of any college I’ve visited (and I’m seen most of the eastern LACs).

But what really separates Middlebury from the pack is its focus on internationalism. The college looks outward at the larger world beyond the hills of western Vermont, and that is reinforced through many of the college’s programs. The recent acquisition of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies gives the college a strong West Coast presence, and the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School Abroad in 16 countries adds to the international dynamic.

@arcadia, I’ll add that of all the campuses we visited, I personally thought Middlebury’s may have been the very prettiest, and their facilities are nothing short of spectacular (“Wow – Look at this science center! Dang, this library is gorgeous! How 'bout that Center for the Arts!” It was like that the whole visit).

Another school that really wears its citizens-of-the-world, global focus on its sleeve is Macalester, so if that’s your bag, definitely check out both of those schools.