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help me choose between Smith and Wellesley

h3m5e7h3m5e7 9 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
What it says in the title! I'm choosing between these two colleges for next fall. My majors are art history and dance. Here's a list of my pros and cons for each right now:

Smith- pros; really liked the vibe, open curriculum, great professors, town of Northampton is nice, great art museum/good for my majors, house system. cons; far from a good circus school, far from major museums.

Wellesley- pros; ambitious students, great professors/academics, near boston, great art museum, near major art museums and circus school/dance studios. cons; curriculum requirements, couldn't live in a single, no dance program, possibly more "preppy."

Does anybody have other insights that I may have missed here? I would say the most important factors to me are that I'm challenged academically, I can practice circus arts, and that I like the campus culture. I've visited Smith, and will be visiting Wellesley later this week. Thanks all!
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Replies to: help me choose between Smith and Wellesley

  • merc81merc81 10171 replies152 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited April 16
    As far as I can see, your criteria should lead you more toward Smith more than to Wellesley. Too bad about Smith's distance from a circus school though.
    edited April 16
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  • LynnskiLynnski 245 replies12 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I live in Northampton and know lots of young people who go to circus school! Check out Easthampton (adjacent town) and Brattleboro VT (a beautiful ~45 minute drive). DM me if you want to ask specific questions about Northampton.
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  • pauler80020pauler80020 127 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think you know that you can't major or minor in dance at Wellesley. If that is really important to you, Smith and the Five College Dance program are going to serve you better. I don't know much about Wellesley, but my DD is at Smith; one of her majors is Architecture, which is in the Art department, so she has taken quite a few Art History courses. I hear very good reviews of these classes, particularly those that involve time in the museum. As a casual spectator, the museum in incredible!

    Most dance majors at Smith are actually double majors, so that is not a problem at all and in fact it is encouraged. There are numerous opportunities to participate in performances choreographed by faculty and grad students from the various schools (one of the few grad programs at Smith is in Dance), as well as annual senior thesis shows. These do not require you to be a Dance major or minor. There is also a student-run company, although it is not wide-open; it requires an audition and some dance background is probably necessary to get it. Overall, it's not the quality of dance that you would find at the very top conservatory program, but there are plenty of challenging classes and performance opportunities. Anecdotally, some Smith dance majors/minors do end up dancing professionally.

    I don't know many Smith students who find that the academics lack challenge. Quite the opposite, in fact. There is probably less grade deflation than at Wellesley, but not many sail through with top marks.

    Good luck making your choice!
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  • pauler80020pauler80020 127 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I forgot to mention -- last Fall someone posted on the "Overhead at Smith" looking for people interested in a Circus Arts club, and got a ton of interested responses. I don't know if it happened, but starting something there is usually possible.
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  • h3m5e7h3m5e7 9 replies2 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks all for your help! I ended up choosing Smith :)
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5124 replies74 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Smith has very specific culture right now overall. Perfect for some. Not for others. Inquire fully.
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  • merc81merc81 10171 replies152 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Best of luck to you at Smith, @h3m5e7!
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  • waverlywizzardwaverlywizzard 138 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited May 17
    Circus Smirkus used to train during the summer at nearby (to Smith College) at Hampshire College (which is in a heap of financial trouble right now hanging on by a string). But maybe the circus will still choose to train in the area?
    I do not see a Circus performer at Wellesley, sorry. Smith would be more your type of school imho from what you have written. Good luck!
    edited May 17
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  • Aug2019Aug2019 201 replies15 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Smith alum here - Art History major. I hope you have a great time!
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  • AlwaysLearnAlwaysLearn 301 replies14 postsRegistered User Member
    edited May 20
    @privatebanker (and/or anyone else in the know), Can you provide some insight on the current culture at Smith? My D liked the school when we visited, and I was impressed with students and staff that we met as well. She is a junior and is trying to narrow down her list. I also feel it may be a good fit for her but am a little on the fence (and I think she may be too). Just wondering if there was something that we overlooked or should be aware of, since we were only there for a half day.

    @h3m5e7 , Sorry to hijack your thread. Big congrats to you. Both are fantastic schools, and I don't think you could have made a bad choice. Sounds like you made a good decision for yourself and will have a great experience.

    edited May 20
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  • AtyrauloveAtyraulove 132 replies4 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @AlwaysLearn Not sure what you’re looking for about the culture. I’d encourage your child to apply and then if admitted revisit the school, possibly with an overnight visit.

    I have a child there, and she is probably a bit more preppy / conservative than her fellow students. She has found a great group of friends and likes her classes. I think she also sees the value of a degree from Smith and has already taken advantage of the strong alumni network.
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