Tell me where I (maybe) will go to college!

Long story short: I want to go to University of Wales, Aberystwyth. THey only gave me a conditional offer, so whether or not I go there depends on how I do on my IB exams. I don’t get those scores back until early July, so in case I do poorly on them, I need to decide which school here in the US to send a deposit to, so that I can go to college somewhere next year.

The choices: St. John’s College, in Santa Fe. The curriculum is entirely based on ‘great books’ and philosophy. Everyone (all 450 students) take the same classes, everyone graduates with a degree in Liberal Arts. Very pretty location, but my main hesitations are cost (very very expensive), the fact that I can’t focus academically on anything, really, and the fact that the student body is pretty apathetic about politics.

Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. I don’t particularly want to go to Richmond, Indiana, because it appears boring as hell. However, Earlham has an awesome Peace and Global Studies program, so I’d probably double major in that and either Politics or International Studies. Very liberal, very politically active campus. I’m worried, though, about going someplace where most people are pretty similar in political viewpoints, it could get monotonous.

Bennington College. Artsy school up in Vermont. Very artsy, as in, the visual arts program overshadows everything else there. I’d end up focusing on creative writing there, becuase that’s my art. Very pretty, but VERY small town. I don’t really want to go here, aside from the fact that they’ll give me 2/3rds of tuition in a grant, which means less debt for me, which is a Very Good Thing.

So, decide for me! Go on, you know you want to make a life-changing decision for me!

I don’t know where you’ll end up, but I just wanted to say that I just applied for a job at Bennington - I won’t know for a while if I’ll even get an interview, but the small town thing does worry me. Not hugely - I’d deal with it if I interview, get offered the job and like the place, but still…

I’ll make you a deal. You tell me where to apply (see, just apply, not even where to go) to grad school and then I’ll tell you where you should go to college.

Seriously, making big decisions sucks sometimes, but it’s something we all have to do for ourselves. I can offer some food for thought though.

  1. Sometimes specialization is not a good thing. Learning how to think can be more important than learning a particular branch of knowledge. The particulars can come after the general.

  2. Uniformly ideological environments are probably not the best place to learn (especially if you want to learn to think, not how to regurgitate undigested bits of “facts”). The way to grow is to experience new thoughts and viewpoints and to decide for yourself what parts of those opinions, etc. make sense. This is especially true as many people tend to experience a shift in viewpoint during college. If the place you go is uniformly in favor of your current viewpoint and you change, it can sudenly become a hostile environment, especially if the student body is largely activist.

  3. Less debt is a good thing, but make sure that you’re ready for Vermont winters if you go to Bennington. I know a lot of people who were not ready for the winters here at Penn State, and they’re nothing like Vermont.

I guess it boils down to knowing what you want to do with your life (at this point) and which schools offer you the best preperation for that, as well as the widest range of alternatives in the (very likely) event that you change your mind once in school. Sorry, probably not all that helpful a reply, but it’s the best I can do.

Good luck!

I have heard excellent–no, spectacular–things about Earlham. A friend’s daughter went there and loved it. Hearing my friend describe it makes me regret not having researched colleges better (all I was concerned about was $$). I think I would have liked going there.

I’ve never heard of the other places so I can’t comment.

Long story short: I want to go to University of Wales, Aberystwyth. …QUOTE]
So sorry I cannot help re. the other ones mentioned, but I DO hope you get to go to Aberystwyth - I did postgrad librarianship there many yeras ago. (Hey, what ELSE can one do with a degree in International Politica and Moral Philosophy - you have to have a beard to get a job as a philosopher. :frowning: )

It is a good town to be in. And the Welsh language is wonderful. :slight_smile:

Unless it’s changed recently, UK universities almost never give unconditional places.

I had a friend who went to Bennington College a few years back and really liked it. She was very into theatre and writing and felt that they had some great opportunities in both of those areas.

I, personally, would also make the cost a big factor. If all of the schools seem relatively comparable to you, go for the most affordable choice. Trust me, you want as few student loans as possible, especially if you are thinking of continuing on after your BA. I also firmly believe that you can have an enjoyable experience and make some good contacts almost anywhere if you’re personally motivated.

I would look at a smaller Liberal Arts oriented school. I wouldn’t want to restrict myself to a tiny school that specializes only in one thing.

Places like Berry College in Rome, Georgia or Sara Lawrence Colelge in Upstate New York.

Or, go to a huge school. USC. UFL. UGA. OSU. There you will be free to explore any avenue of study you could possibly imagine.

Always keep your options wide open.

Go to the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls IA. Tell them Pat sent you.

Seriously, it’s a good school, with an excellent art department, great music and theatre programs and a huge business program.

Earlham is a Quaker school in a sea of hawkish conservatives. Sometimes the politics get a little interesting.

As an aside, you’re not far from Indianapolis, Dayton, and Cinncinnati. You might be out in the cornfields, but you’re not far from big cities with stuff to do.

If you’re not committed to attending one of the four schools you mention, consider Reed College. in Portland, Oregon. This is a very good small-ish liberal arts school. They offer a major in International and Comparitive Policy Studies, as well as vanilla Political Science, which sound compatible with the courses of study you mentioned. I visited the campus about 15 years ago when I was in high school. I didn’t attend, so I can’t tell you anything from personal experience, but I remember the students I spoke to seemed enthusiastic.

One thing to remember: For the rest of your life, that college will be on your resume. I went to Florida State University. There hasn’t been an interviewer who didn’t look at it without some smart aleck comments about football and beer parties. A college in Vermont will give you cracks about Phish, pot, and granola. Some small liberal arts schools will not be known by D average Human Resource people 2000 miles away.

That’s still true. I also wanted to add that they try to enroll bright students by asking for fairly high marks but end up offering quite a few places to students even if they fail to reach these conditions because they end up having places left over.

I remember when I was trying to get in to a UK university from Holland they gave me a conditional offer. I was a good few marks of the target and thought I could forget about it, but they offered me the place anyway. Foreign students have an even better chance as they bring in more money for the university.

This doesn’t really happen with the fancy universities like Cambridge and Oxford, but I’d say you have a better chance getting into to Aberystwyth than you might think. It’s good to have a back-up plan, though.

I love finding someone else who’s gone through the IB program! Congratulations on getting through it - it’s a big achievement.

Good luck on your exams! Try not to stress too much; they’re not as bad as some people make them out to be. Not easy, but not end-of-the-world either.

Now go study!


Heh, all our teachers have been telling us not to stress over exams; we just laugh at them. That crazed, stressed, eyes-glazed-with-caffiene-and-too-much-studying laugh.

Apply to the one in Vermont, especially if you like mountains. Just remember to take into account other factors besides the academics. You’ll be living there for a few years and you don’t want to get stuck somewhere you don’t enjoy.