How do they compare culturally and otherwise?
Hmm, my kid has visited all but Beloit so far, and is applying to all of them. There are probably more similarities than there are differences, but here are my thoughts.
Lawrence and K are on trimester schedule, so classes start a little later in Sept and end in early June instead of the more typical mid-May end of the year for semester schools. Students take 3 classes a term, for 3 terms, rather than 4 or 5 each for 2 terms. Pluses and minuses – my kid, a fall athlete, likes the idea of being on campus and competing some before classes begin, a longer time to adjust. We also hear that the trimester (or some schools call it quarter system), allows athletes to do international study more easily, because there is less conflict with their sports season.
Lawrence has the Con, which seems more inclusive than at, for instance, Oberlin, in that ensembles are not reserved only for Con kids but are open audition. Lawrence, Beloit and Wooster all have greek life, though not in the traditional big state U sense. At Wooster, greek life is not affiliated with nationals, if I understand it correctly, so all groups are regulated directly by the College. We get the sense that at Lawrence and Beloit, this is not “traditional” greek life at all.
K does not have gen eds, only foreign language proficiency and progressive steps of seminar/writing courses. The other three have fairly typical gen eds.
Students at the three we have visited seem to fall all across the spectrum, from very preppie to blue hair and guys in skirts. At Lawrence, Wooster and L, there seemed a real comfort and acceptance among students, didnt strike us, as visitors, as cliquey. At both Wooster and K, there was great school spirit at sporting events. I would say K and Wooster have better athletic facilities than Lawrence, and we haven’t been on campus at Beloit.
Towns of Wooster, Lawrence and Kalamazoo have a lot in common, older midwest towns with some neat stuff going on. Some great restaurants and boutique hotel in Wooster, lots of art in Kalamazoo etc. None of these schools is especially isolated, so they share access to medium sized communities.
If you are looking at these 4, you might also consider Knox. We were very impressed with the school, a real treat.
All 4 of these schools offer merit aid, which is a key component of my student’s search. Good luck in your search.
I should add, we just haven’t managed to get to Beloit yet-- nothing against the school! Just a busy fall for us.
This is precisely the thread I was hoping to find, though I have little to offer having only visited Wooster, which we liked a great deal. Their admissions office was by far the most organized, personalized and welcoming of any we saw, the facilities were similarly attractive and welcoming and my kid left with a very positive feeling about the school. (We did not spend any time in the downtown area however, because it was late, it was our second visit of the day, and the weather was deterioriating.)
We are on the fence right now about whether the kid should submit applications to any of the others sight unseen. They sound good on paper, but it’s a tough sell without having visited them. Very eager to hear some other perspectives.
By gen Ed, you mean general ed requirements to graduate? Thanks!